Header image alt text

Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Woo Hoo! Remember Councilmember Alvarez’ promise to resign after the external audit results were made public? Or remember her repeated assertions that she was finished…done…would not run for another term? How the worm turns!!

In the October 31, 2013 edition of the Glendale Star Jamie Aldama, an Ocotillo district resident, announced he is running for Norma’s seat. His experience to date in public service has been to serve on the Glendale Elementary School District Governing Board, past Commissioner on Glendale’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and current Glendale Planning and Zoning Commissioner. That’s more than enough service. I had none when I ran for my seat in 1992. I just happened to catch a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting not too long ago simply because it came on right after a council meeting. So I stayed tuned and watched. Remember Robert Petrone? He’s the guy from the Cholla district who announced his candidacy for the Cholla seat. He’s the one with decidedly questionable financial baggage endorsed by Manny Martinez. As Chairperson of the Planning Commission he was a study in pandering and positively oozed solicitousness. Creepy.

Jamie Aldama is a Chavira clone. Chavira habitually thanks everyone, from the Pope on down, before expressing his thoughts which tend to be light weight and signifying nothing. Aldama does the same…thanks everyone, especially staff, and then says…nothing of substance. How many intellectual light weights does council need? It’s already got Alvarez and Chavira.

As for Norma, say it ain’t so. She now says, “It’s so early, so many things happening in the city I don’t like. I’m so outspoken, I don’t think I’m being effective.” At least she got that right. She goes on to say, “…But I’m not sure yet. If I do, I’ll be deciding by January. There are a lot of things for taxpayers I want to get done.” Said like a true politician, Norma.  Sounds like she’s been co-opted by the perks and privileges of the office…especially the great medical benefits she used repeatedly during her first term. She has spent more time not attending council meetings than any councilmember in recent history. She is truly a Wonder Woman because after she has spoken everyone wonders what the heck she said.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

A word of advice. When you get older, say 70 on up, avoid getting sick at all costs. Wear a mask or go into isolation to save yourself. I speak from experience. Two weeks ago I caught a cold. You know how it goes. You begin to feel better, almost human, and you resume your schedule with gusto. Then you learn your lesson as it comes back, ten times worse. That is exactly what happened last week. Mercifully I was saved from an untimely death by my doctor’s prescription of a really heavy duty antibiotic.

There’s been a lot of activity regarding the Tohono O’odham’s (TO) proposed casino during the week of October 23, 2013. Where to begin? At the council workshop meeting of October 15, 2013 an agenda item was discussion of starting a dialogue with the TO. In a previous blog I described various councilmembers’ positions on the issue. They did not go as far as opening exclusive dialogue with the TO. Rather council majority asked for an assessment from staff of the consequences to Glendale IF the casino were to be built. This assessment was to include gathering factual information from the TO. Good luck to them on that action. Historically the TO have never been very forthright about their plans. A majority of council gave this direction despite newly hired City Attorney Michael Bailey’s admonition to wait until two outstanding casino issues were resolved.

Then at the regular council meeting of October 22, 2013 council passed as part of its Consent Agenda (no discussion occurred and all items were passed in a single vote) Item 14, a resolution of support to accept a $45,000 grant from the TO for use by the Glendale Youth Project. The Glendale Youth Project is a worthy cause and it is not the issue. The issue is the acceptance of any TO grant. How can this council legally or morally accept money from a group that it has opposed and litigated against and continues, as city policy, to oppose? It boggles the mind. Council is repeatedly and short sightedly sending the wrong signal to our friends and supporters – the State Legislature, our Congressional Delegation and all of the Arizona Tribes opposed to machinations of the TO’s gambit to build a casino in the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

On October 26, 2013 the Glendale Republic ran two viewpoint submissions. The pro-casino faction consisted of Bob Barrett, Mayor of Peoria; Adolfo Gamez, Mayor of Tolleson; and Sharon Wolcott, Mayor of Surprise. I find it ironic that not one of these three communities will host or have to pay a dime for the development of the TO casino and continue to believe the TO hype that somehow this project will benefit their communities.  They embarrassingly trotted out their “East Valley Envy” for all to see. The anti-casino viewpoint was signed by Jim Lane, Mayor of Scottsdale; Mark Mitchell, Mayor of Tempe; Jerry Weiers, Mayor of Glendale; Thomas L. Schoaf, Mayor of Litchfield Park; and John Lewis, Mayor of Gilbert. They get it. They understand the broader picture and the ramifications to the entire Valley should the TO succeed. It’s too bad that some of the West Valley cities are greedily willing to chase a mythical pot of gold at the expense of Glendale.

In the October 27, 2013 edition of the AzEconomy Section of the Republic there is an article about Steve Ellman’s Phoenix-like rise from financial death. Ellman was the former owner of Westgate (until 2011) and co-owner of the Phoenix Coyotes (until 2006).  Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/business/news/articles/20131026ellman-glendale-coyotes-tribe-deal.html . Part of the story recounted Ellman’s efforts back in 2009 to obtain a $100M investment from the TO. The major city players at that time would have been Ed Beasley, Julie Frisoni, Craig Tindall and Art Lynch. I had heard about such a proposal – not in detail — years ago but dismissed it for a variety of reasons. It was disturbing then and is disturbing now to read it. Ellman was lobbying for a deal that certainly would have benefitted him but not necessarily the City of Glendale. $10M a year for 10 years would have been invested by the TO in the arena AND Westgate. How much would have gone to the arena? Not much. A token amount would have gone toward naming rights but the lion’s share would have been used by Ellman for Westgate. In return for this largesse (read bribe) Glendale would have been required to support the TO’s plan for the casino. The article quotes Ellman as saying, “the deal between the tribe and Glendale ‘would have allowed ME (caps mine) to stay in (sic) the team…and stay in Westgate’.” This unsavory deal was always about Ellman.

The TO continue to press their plan for a casino and we can count on more pressure until the Secretary of the Interior makes his final determination about reservation status and until Representative Trent Franks’ bill is settled one way or another.

If you would like more information about the impact of a casino in Glendale please visit this site: www.keepingthepromiseaz.com . The site recently added information about available county islands within other Valley cities that could become targets for a casino if the TO prevail and break the state compact.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

The City Council workshop meeting of October 15, 2013 had a little something for everyone. Since Mayor Weiers has been at the helm all of their meetings have been extraordinarily brief. Not so this time.

The first item was an informational presentation on light rail in Glendale by Steve Banta, CEO of Valley Metro. Keep in mind that even if all the stars aligned, Glendale still wouldn’t see light rail for a minimum of ten years. The corridors under study remain the same: Northern Avenue to Bethany Home Road; Camelback Road; and the Loop 101. The only strong sentiment was expressed by Vice Mayor Knaack whose business is located in downtown Glendale. She remains adamantly opposed to light rail being sited along Glendale Avenue. Ummm…I guess she didn’t get the memo about Mesa. They deliberately sited their light rail on their Main Street to spur redevelopment. Their experiment with light rail has been so successful that Mesa is paying for an additional 2 miles from a city fund dedicated to street improvements.

Council moved on to the next item, Councilmember Chavira’s plea to get more amenities in the Western Regional Park (now called Heroes Park) at 83rd and Bethany Home Road. He proposed as temporary, soccer fields; or the addition of sod to green the park; or an archery range. He needs to bring something home to his constituents before he runs for reelection. Poor Sammy, it won’t be park improvements. He ran into the same brick wall as I. Keep in mind that a majority of the former council diverted $6M earmarked for the park to the construction of the Public Safety Training Facility. It was a spite move orchestrated by the former Mayor because I refused to become a member of her team. Council has an obligation to restore that $6M deliberately and willfully taken from the park. Chavira heard a resounding “No” from his fellow councilmembers to his requests. Even Alvarez said “No” and called for prioritization of needs. They fell back on the council policy directive that mandates maintaining and improving the parks already in place. They grudgingly agreed to move forward on the concept of an archery range provided it “was at no cost to the city.” I have never seen a project come forward that didn’t involve some cost to the city. In addition when residents of the area publicly participated in the planning of the park there was not one request for an archery range. In all my years on Council I received one call from a father who wanted to establish an archery range in a nearby retention area for his son so that he could conveniently practice. As the Director of Parks and Recreation Erik Strunk stated, “There will be no available funds in the Parks and Recreation Capital Improvement Program until Fiscal Year 2018-19.” At that time all seven councilmembers will be vying for the use of those funds.

The Sister Cities Program was next on the agenda.  This item was Councilmember Sherwood’s request. His motive was to partner with Canadian cities that host hockey and perhaps to boost Canadian attendance at Coyotes hockey games. It was a subject that didn’t engender a lot of comment. However, Alvarez and Chavira broadened the concept to include Mexican cities. Council directed this initiative be shifted to the private sector for further exploration and called on the Civic Pride Ambassadors, the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau to lead the effort.

Now we get to the meat and potatoes…er…steak and potatoes of the workshop…the Tohono O’odham and its proposed casino. The new City Attorney, Michael Bailey, presented information first. He said for 5 years the city’s position has been in opposition as expressed by various city council approved resolutions. Until council passes a new resolution expressing a new direction, the city will remain opposed to the proposed casino. He went on to say the city is no longer involved in any active litigation against the TO’s plan. Everyone is waiting for the results of two actions: U.S. Representative Trent Franks bill currently enjoying bipartisan support which has passed the House and moved on to the Senate; and the 9th Circuit’s Court mandate that the U.S. Department of Interior further clarify its justification for provisionally placing the land within Glendale in reservation status. He also expected that no matter what the Department of Interior’s decision, we can expect further litigation.  The City Attorney advised waiting until these issues were resolved before moving in any direction. He likened the current situation to council’s ordering and paying for a steak dinner and then just before it arrives, getting up and walking out of the restaurant. He alluded to the fact that entering into a dialogue with the TO could send the wrong signal to our friends and supporters – the other Tribes, the State Legislature and our Congressional delegation.

Despite his sage advice, here’s how the council lined up on the issue. Mayor Weiers and Councilmember Martinez remain firmly opposed and counseled waiting until the issues resolve. As expected Councilmembers Alvarez and Hugh are in the TO camp, breathlessly awaiting the casino’s arrival as if it is the cure for all of Glendale’s financial woes. Councilmember Chavira, in whose district the proposed casino would be located, has never been one to take a strong position on anything, maintained a fence sitting posture (painful to say the least). If he had a brain, he’d listen to and represent his constituents who will be dramatically affected and simply do not want the casino. Councilmember Sherwood after proclaiming that he was still opposed to the casino then trotted out a litany of reasons in its support. Vice Mayor Knaack, ever ready to appease everyone and anyone, listed the reasons why a casino was not in anyone’s best interest then flopped to supporting dialogue with the TO. Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. What happened when the European nations practiced appeasement?

The result of the long and sometimes contentious discussion was 5 of 7 councilmembers supported directing staff to fact find (including dialogue with the TO) to produce an assessment of the impacts of the proposed casino on Glendale. I find it amazing that 5 of them believe they will get specific facts from the TO. This is the same Tribe that hid its ownership of the land in question for years. This is the same Tribe, when asked by Glendale staff, for specifics regarding their proposed casino, offered only conceptual ideas, nothing concrete. This is the same Tribe that publicly stumped for the State Gaming Compact in 2002, knowing that they already had plans to violate the spirit of the compact. There is and should not be, justifiably, any trust regarding assertions that they make. What’s the old saying? Trust but verify?

Council’s reasons in support of dialogue were superficial and may have been motivated by the people who spoke at their last council meeting (by the way, many were not from Glendale). This council left their steak dinner on the table having already paid for it, unwilling to wait and to let the issues play out and knowing that possible further litigation will not see an end to this situation for several years.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

On Sunday, October 13, 2013 the Arizona Republic posted an editorial entitled City Finally Getting Clue on Super Bowl. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/articles/20131007glendale-super-bowl-editorial.html . If I wanted a sermon I can always get one from my priest.

At least the editorial acknowledged the NFL’s heavy-handed demands with, “The NFL can be a demanding taskmaster when it comes to operating its big game. It wants to have things just so, and those things can be costly.” And that’s the point. The costs borne by the Host City far outweigh the revenue earned to cover those costs. Not so for Scottsdale, Phoenix, etc., who reap the revenues from major NFL events that earn enough to pay for their expenses. The editorial failed to acknowledge or even mention that other states, Texas and Florida, do pay Host Cities for their losses.

It goes on to say, “But, like it or not, if you want to continue playing host to the Super Bowl, you mostly have to play by NFL rules. That is just how it is.” There are two assumptions in that remark. There is an assumption that Glendale wants to continue to play host to the Super Bowl. I am sure every other Valley city most certainly wants to but is it in Glendale’s best financial interest? Not currently. Don’t be so quick to assume that Glendale should host future Super Bowls without recompense. The other assumption is that every Super Bowl Host City is held hostage by the NFL with their remark, “that is just how it is.” It’s time for potential Host Cities to form their own monopolistic league and negotiate terms with the NFL. It’s time when the NFL asks a Host City to jump, the Host City stops asking “How high?”

The article lays blame on Glendale, its usual modus operandi and its favorite city to bash, by saying, “…Glendale has been slow to grasp these essential details.” Oh really? Glendale successfully hosted a Super Bowl. It knew what to do and when to do it and performed at a very high level.  Glendale has proven its ability to host successfully. Glendale understands what is required of it and when but it is up to the Arizona Host Committee and the NFL to acknowledge Glendale as a full, participating partner. They have failed to do so to date.

Lastly, it says, “The Valley of the Sun has developed a strong reputation among those in college football and basketball and within the NFL who make the decision about where to host their marquee events.” Then it’s up to the member cities of the Valley of the Sun to create a mechanism that makes their sister city, Glendale, financially whole. Glendale was proud to host a Super Bowl and would be proud to host future ones but not by committing financial hari kari.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Coyotes Magic…there one moment, gone the next

Posted by Joyce Clark on October 9, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , , , | 5 Comments

This is not about ownership…only in a peripheral sense in the stability it affords the team. No, this is the rambling of a neophyte, still new to the game. I love the Coyotes. We all love the Coyotes. They are OUR team come hell or high water. Opening night wasn’t for the owners or the fans. It was for the team. Shane Doan’s face was a study in pure joy. That night was their night to win and everyone knew it. That night the team was magical. They played as a unit. They played as if they were one body. We all know that our brain sends signals to various parts of our body and we act and react without thinking about how it happens. That was the play of the Coyotes on opening night of the season.

We have seen and reveled in other magical moments. The team, as do we, remembers each and every one of them. It is the Holy Grail that they seek. So what’s missing these days? Two things. With ownership uncertainty the team viewed itself as the constant scrappy underdog, having to prove that they could succeed no matter what the circumstances. That mindset has disappeared…pouf! In an instant a four year identity was gone and there’s a void still unfilled. The “Hungrier than Ever” slogan is worthy but it is a continuation of a team image that is no longer descriptive. It’s a New Day and a New Team. They need to believe that they are winners and no longer the proverbial underdogs.

The other element is consistency. These men are professional athletes, paid to know and to understand the demands of their position on the team. They must strive to execute their positions flawlessly – no easy task. They must learn to become a well oiled machine and no longer play as individuals. It’s passing the puck and instinctively knowing that your team member will be in the right place at the right time to take it and to shoot. It’s the development of confidence and trust in one’s teammates. When that occurs, it’s magical. The team is not there yet. They lose a couple of games and all of a sudden their anger and the will to win kicks in. Then they are magical once again. These bursts of electricity and will to win demonstrate that the capability is there but not consistently.

The Coyotes are a team of immeasurable potential. All of the right ingredients are there. When you make a cake you need the right ingredients in the correct proportions. Too much flour and the cake is dry. Too much liquid and the cake is runny. Mixing the ingredients too quickly will produce a brick. Mixing the ingredients with enough time and it becomes a cake that magically melts in your mouth. The Coyotes cake has the right ingredients in the correct proportions. It needs to be mixed thoroughly to create its magic.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Lawwho have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

before 1

Burnt house, 2010
RV on left occupied occasionally

 

In the summer of 2010, a tragedy occurred. A home in my district caught fire and was destroyed.  So began a three year odyssey. This morning I woke and as usual, went outside to check my Koi pond and heard the intriguing sounds of heavy equipment. I live on a cul de sac but if you could drive through my cul de sac you would drive directly to this house. As the crow flies, it is a quarter mile away directly west.

The owners, of what I came to call the “burnt house,” had no insurance with which to rebuild. They also had not paid their property taxes. Their registered address was in another Valley city but the house was used sporadically for among other things, teen parties. They kept an old RV on the property and from time to time someone lived in it. Their registered address was in another Valley city but the house was used sporadically for teen parties. As the district councilmember I often received complaints about this eyesore. Nearby residents, after 6 months of inactivity regarding clean up or reconstruction, were complaining about a loss to their property values. Something needed to happen. However, there was activity of a different sort. During the winter holiday season of 2010, the owners hosted a haunted open house and a Christmas open house, soliciting donations to defray the cost of reconstruction. They were not successful events. The house was unsafe, to say the least, and I alerted the city’s Building Safety Department to the condition of the house and the public holiday events. The city quickly publicly posted it as unsafe.

 

do not enter

City posted “Do not enter”

 

donation solicitation 2

Donation solicitation

Burnt house after 1

Burnt house demolition Oct., 2013

My crusade to remove this blighted eyesore began. I bluntly nagged city personnel to move on this situation. The city took the owners to court repeatedly. The owners were very good at gaming the system, asking for continuances; promising to produce documents for the court only to come up with an excuse for their non-appearance and asking for even more time. For 3 years they ran a delaying tactic. They finally exhausted the court’s patience and the city motion for demolition was granted. Today the city is removing the skeleton of this house. The costs will be paid by the city and the city will lien the property to cover those costs. It will be a vacant lot in a great location that someone will love. It will be purchased, the lien paid and a new home will rise from the ashes giving new life to the neighborhood. Three years later my crusade has finally ended.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Disclaimer: I voted in favor of Glendale’s hosting of the 2008 Super Bowl. I wanted to see if its results benefited Glendale financially. It did not. As a result, I voted against Glendale’s hosting of the 2015 Super Bowl. Please take a moment to participate in my informal Super Bowl poll to the left of this article.

The NFL is a non-profit and also a monopoly. It has tremendous wealth and power. It encourages potential host cities to upgrade or construct football facilities with the promise of a Super Bowl. It validates the economic benefits of a Super Bowl by funding economic studies and then uses their results liberally.

How did Glendale end up in this mess? Go back to the time when the Bidwills were looking for a permanent home for the Cardinals’ stadium. Remember? None of the East Valley cities, even Mesa, wanted it. The East Valley was where they yearned to locate but it was not to be. So it came as no surprise that John F. Long’s offer of free land in West Phoenix adjacent to the 101 was rejected. Glendale was the bridesmaid who became a bride by default. After all possible options had been explored Glendale was chosen. It was positively embarrassing.

The state created the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) as a mechanism to fund construction of the stadium and the Bidwills took out a loan (at an extremely favorable interest rate) from the NFL’s G-3 Stadium Program. Glendale issued $35 million dollars worth of bonds to pay for enhancing the infrastructure around the stadium. Make no mistake it may be a County facility outwardly under the control of AZSTA but it is the Bidwills who silently manage and operate the facility.

As the specifics of the event unfold it was learned that Scottsdale would continue to have a mutual relationship with the NFL for many years to come regarding hotel rooms and in fact, the teams would stay at Scottsdale hotels. Nearly all of the associated events and parties – even the media center — would be in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Tempe — any place but Glendale. We aren’t tony enough. Is it any wonder when you hear when Jacksonville hosted the Super Bowl each of the 32 team owners was given personalized use of a yacht?

It remains advantageous to every entity but Glendale to this day. Just look at the Scottsdale Council Economic Development report of April 30, 2013. Here’s the link: http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/Asset48262.aspx . Check out the proposed agreement summary below between the Arizona Host Committee and Scottsdale.  Is it any wonder Glendale may not be thrilled with the prospect of hosting at a loss when it continues to receive the back of the NFL’s and Arizona Host Committee’s hand?

Proposed Agreement Summary

The following are benefits outlined in the proposed agreement between the City and the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee.

• Host Committee will include 3,194 hotel and resort rooms within Scottsdale in its official Super Bowl XLIX room block.

• Host Committee, working with the SCVB (Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau), will encourage Host Committee sponsors and prominent groups to use Scottsdale hotels and resorts for Super Bowl XLIX.

• Host Committee, working with the Sponsor and SCVB, will encourage the use of Scottsdale venues and businesses as sites for Host Committee events and activities related to Super Bowl XLIX. The Host Committee will encourage the use of Scottsdale bars and restaurants as sites for third parties for private events.

• Host Committee will include Sponsor and SCVB representatives, to the extent qualified, on committees dealing with regional public safety and transportation issues associated with the Super Bowl. Sponsor and SCVB will also be represented on committees, if any, dealing with Host Committee events in Scottsdale.

• Host committee will work with SCVB to highlight key Scottsdale resorts, venues, restaurants, etc. during the Host Committee FAM trip proposed for 2014.

• Host Committee will use commercially reasonable efforts to include applicable Scottsdale businesses in Host Committee’s Business Connect Program, benefiting local minority and women-owned businesses.

• Sponsor will have representation in the Host Committee Business Development program, focused on attracting new companies to or expansion of existing companies in Arizona and Scottsdale, and increasing Scottsdale’s convention and meeting business.

• In accordance with the Agreement and Sponsor Guidelines, Sponsor or SCVB logo or text will be included in Arizona Host Committee promotional materials including website and brochures.

• In accordance with the Agreement and Sponsor Guidelines, Host Committee will include Scottsdale events in its social media and provide support for Sponsor events, which might include guest speakers, mascot appearances, etc.

• Host Committee will provide Sponsor directly, or if requested by Sponsor, provide SCVB for the benefit of Sponsor, with corporate entertainment and hospitality opportunities related to Super Bowl XLIX consisting of:

• 12 Super Bowl XLIX Game Tickets

• 12 Host Committee Pre/Post Game Hospitality Tickets

• 30 NFL Experience Tickets

• 12 Tickets, in the aggregate, to Host Committee events or other VIP experiences as mutually agreed upon between the Host Committee and Sponsor

• Host Committee will designate a Host Committee liaison that is available to the Sponsor for questions, concerns, resolutions.

• Host Committee, at the Sponsor’s request, will provide an annual meeting and/or written communications that provide updates on all that is occurring in the way of progress, planning of the event, as well as sponsorship deliverables beginning December 2013.

• Host Committee shall provide the Sponsor a Post Event Report, which will enable an evaluation of the Host Committee’s performance under this Agreement Report shall include a valuation of the Sponsorship Benefits. The report shall be provided to Sponsor no later than 60 days following the conclusion of Super Bowl XLIX.

• In addition to the Post Event Report, if requested. Host Committee will work with Sponsor to prepare recap for the Sponsor Council within 60 days following Super Bowl XLIX.

• Host Committee will make available to SCVB additional promotional opportunities related to Super Bowl XLIX.”

ESPN has announced it will use Scottsdale as its base for weeklong Super Bowl coverage and will offer the city tons of free publicity as it highlights Scottsdale’s desert scenes. For another “diss” to Glendale check out this website: http://www.visitphoenix.com/media/details/index.aspx?nid=412 that blatantly announces that the NFL has chosen Phoenix as its 2015 host city. Geez…and all along we thought Glendale was the host city. How silly of us. Every Glendale resident should be outraged.

How does the Arizona Host Committee fit into this scenario? It is the interface with the NFL. It prepares and presents a bid for consideration to the team owners.  It is charged with raising millions of dollars to offset the costs (and perks offered to team owners and NFL upper management) of the Super Bowl. It is the visible voice of the Super Bowl until the NFL arrives in town. It must gather thousands of volunteers to work the event. Each of the participating cities must tithe to the Host Committee based on population (ironically, Glendale’s population is greater than that of Scottsdale’s). Prior to the first Super Bowl in Glendale the Host Committee virtually ignored Glendale. It had meetings of which Glendale was not informed and to which Glendale was not invited to participate. From then until now it has treated Glendale as the poor relative to be tolerated.  It never welcomed Glendale as a full participant in the decisions or preparations. When Glendale’s financial loss from the first Super Bowl it hosted was known I began to call for the Host Committee and major beneficiary cities like Phoenix and Scottsdale to lobby for legislation to make the host cities financially whole. After all, it would have benefited them as well. The silence was deafening. What about the Bidwills? After all, they have a lot of influence in this state. Where was their support? Oh wait, they are holding out for a parking garage built by the city. Collectively there was none and instead we heard that perhaps we should wait a few years until the legislative atmosphere was more amenable. Well, a few years have passed and there’s still no support.

The September 29, 2013 edition of the Arizona Republic blares that the NFL will place events in other Valley cities. Oh really? No big deal. They’ve been sticking it to Glendale for years. Excuse me, what are they going to take away when there are no events slated for Glendale to begin with? No, this is really a piece of heavy handed blackmail, big time, by the NFL. They perceive that proverbial crack in the host city dike. They want Glendale’s hotel rooms. Glendale’s hoteliers have declined to participate and why should they? What’s in it for them? Do they get additional publicity because a team is staying at a Glendale hotel? No. Do they get additional publicity because NFL team owners are staying at a Glendale hotel? No. There is no incentive for Glendale hoteliers to cooperate. It earns them nothing other than a cap on what they charge for a room during the event. When will they realize that if they want Glendale’s support and that of its hoteliers rather than using the blackmail stick they might consider the incentive carrot. Our Moms used to say, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar.” It’s time for the Host Committee and the NFL to welcome Glendale into the fold as a full participant in preparation for this event.

Think about this. The NFL has set up a system whereby host cities must bid against one another and are forced to offer more and more outrageous goodies for the privilege. It’s time for the host cities to form a consortium of their own to stop this ever more expensive and crazy bidding war. They should develop their own basic ground rules and commonalities of interest. Perhaps they should develop a rotation system. It would certainly be to their advantage. What is the NFL going to do? Move to Europe? Hardly.

Did Glendale do a good job hosting its first Super Bowl? You bet it did. The city received many kudos. We were told by NFL officials, “You had the best Super Bowl ever.” Is Glendale capable of hosting the Super Bowl? Of course it is. Transportation and Public Safety personnel already have the experience of one under their belts and have been planning for the next one. Our city personnel are competent and experienced. The city is ready. Is parking an issue? No, it is not. Part of the parking requirements in the bid refer to the NFL Experience which is going to Phoenix, not Glendale. No surprise. The NFL rents vacant land to use as temporary parking lots in addition to the parking provided by Glendale. It’s a non-issue. There is one area of concern. In preparation for 2008 the council made a conscious decision to allocate funds in a special account for several years prior to the event. This time there has been no conscious decision to allocate funds for use during the event. Perhaps it will be done at the October 1, 2013 city council workshop or failing that, certainly at the council budget workshops in the spring.  The 2008 Super Bowl cost the city over $2M. Expect that cost to have doubled to at least $4M. Where will it come from? Council must address this issue and do so quickly.

Someone asked if the first Super Bowl was so bad for Glendale why is it hosting another one? The answer is not quite so simple. A majority (I was not one) of the council voted to participate in the bid process and therefore were on board to act on a winning bid. I cannot speak for the majority. Their rationale appeared to be to ignore Glendale’s fiscal loss from 2008 and to focus on the intangibles, especially the Frisoni message of intangible publicity value for Glendale. I question that assumption when the media center will be sited in Phoenix and networks like ESPN will broadcast from Scottsdale.  I assume they thought the intangibles outweighed the negative fiscal loss to the city. Or perhaps they feel that hosting the Super Bowl gets them an invitation into the “big boys club.” Our former mayor, who voted in favor of hosting the Super Bowl in 2015, often stated that the West Valley, especially Glendale, did not get the respect it deserved from other Phoenix metro cities. Councilmembers Knaack and Martinez were very tight with the former mayor and may have shared her perspective.

If I was on Glendale’s city council and another opportunity presented itself to host another Super Bowl, just as for 2015, under the current conditions, I would vote “no.” It’s a matter of principle. Glendale must be recognized by the NFL and the Arizona Host Committee as a full partner in the process. It must reap some of the rewards as a host city by becoming a site for major special events and parties. Until there is a financial mechanism in place to make Glendale whole it makes absolutely no sense for our residents to subsidize an event that seems to benefit everyone but Glendale.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

The NFL is a Super Bully. It is incredibly rich which accrues it tremendous power. It is a non-profit that pays no taxes and is a monopoly. Quite literally, it is the only (football) game in town. It can call the shots and is not shy about doing so. It’s also like your miserly grandfather, watching every penny and constantly on the lookout for freebies. Do you think Glendale should host the Super Bowl? Vote in the informal poll to the left of this article.

The NFL has a wonderful scam going. It encourages potential host cities to build or upgrade facilities by dangling the carrot of an economic bonanza with the prospect of a Super Bowl coming to town. The website www.planetizen.com has an article by Boramici from February of 2013.  He says, “ ‘Since 1990, taxpayers have been paying more than 60% of the bill for new NFL stadiums and more than 59% for new professional baseball stadiums in the U.S. While professional sports teams are integral to their host cities, the sense of ‘identity and civic pride’ they lend comes ‘at such a high price, one extracted not by these civic-minded fans, mind you, but by a uniquely undemocratic cabal of mayors and monopolists’, writes Harry Moroz.
“This year’s Super Bowl in New Orleans’s rehabbed Superdome comes with a price tag of $471 million to taxpayers with $41 million of those coming from FEMA.
“Several survey-based recent studies show that the value taxpayers place on professional sports team retention in their cities does not match up to the cost of building new stadiums or even renovating existing ones.
“What keeps the cycle of dependence going?
“With a limited supply and a more or less credible threat of leaving a city, sports teams are able to appeal to the risk-averse part of city leaders’ brains: People forget about $100 million lost here or there, but the departure of a sports team will be written in a mayor’s obituary.”

Couple the NFL clarion call to build even bigger and better facilities with its tried and true tactic of funding and issuing an economic study that promises untold financial benefit. There is an excellent piece of research by Victor A. Matheson of the College of the Holy Cross; Department of Economics entitled Economics of the Super Bowl. Here is the link: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/Matheson_SuperBowl09.pdf . He contends, “The Super Bowl is America’s premier sporting event. This paper details basic economic facts about the game as it examines the controversy surrounding the purported economic impact of the game on host communities. While the league and sports boosters claim that the game brings up to a $500 million economic impact to host cities, a review of the literature suggests that the true economic impact is a fraction of this amount.”  In his research paper he refers to a W.P. Carey MBA Sports Business Program study commissioned by the NFL on the economic impact to the Phoenix metropolitan region as a result of the 2008 Glendale hosted Super Bowl. That study claimed an economic benefit of $550.6 million dollars to the greater Phoenix area. He states, “There are reasons to be skeptical of such claims, however, since the league has strong financial incentives to publicize studies that report a large financial windfall for host cities. The NFL explicitly uses the lure of the Super Bowl as a carrot to convince otherwise reluctant cities to provide public subsidies for the construction of new playing facilities.” Relying on a study the NFL paid for isn’t the most reliable indicator as, “It appears that most economic impact reports are “padded” at least as well as the players on the field.” That study has become mantra in the Phoenix area and every time there is renewed discussion of hosting yet another Super Bowl it is cited ad nausea. If you repeat something often enough we assume it must be true. Doesn’t this sound all too familiar? The state created the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) to collect hotel and rental car taxes within Maricopa County to fund, in part, the construction of the UofP Stadium because the NFL and Bidwills all but promised that it would host a Super Bowl. And we all drank the kool-aid.

An often cited component of every economic impact study focuses on sales tax collection. It is generally accepted that sales tax figures are a reliable indicator.  How the sales tax figures are generated offers an opportunity for exaggeration. Matheson says, “…of the 23 new  stadiums constructed for NFL franchises between 1992 and 2009, 7 were funded, at least in part, through increases in the local general sales tax rate while another 8 were funded through increased excise taxes, i.e. sales taxes on specific goods and services such as rental cars or hotel rooms (Baade and Matheson 2006b).” Among researchers without a financial dog in the fight the general consensus is that any Super Bowl game generates $100 million dollars – not NFL fueled study numbers of $400 million or $500 million — of economic impact.  Many studies have been done on the South Florida area because of the inordinate number of Super Bowls that area has hosted over the years. One researcher offered this rather sardonic comment, “Finally, it is worth noting that taxable sales in the area during January-February 2000, the year after the game, were $1.26 billion higher than in the same months during the Super Bowl year. Strangely, the NFL never publicized a story announcing, ‘Thanks to the lack of a Super Bowl, there was a $1.26 billion increase in taxable sales in South Florida compared to the equivalent January- February period in 1999.’”

If all else fails and one’s critics will not accept sales tax figures one can always fall back on the intangibles.”… in assessing the impact Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, Michael Mokwa, chairman of the marketing department at the W. P Carey School of Business stated, ‘The money is just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands and thousands of people who came here for the Super Bowl, of whom many had never been to the Valley before, took away powerful memories and a good feeling about Arizona.’ This translates, he said, into coveted return visits, family and business relocations, and word-of-mouth marketing throughout the country. Priceless, as MasterCard is fond of saying (W.P. Carey School of Business, 2008).”

The problem with intangibles is they are intangible. They are extremely difficult to quantify and substantiate. Have we ever heard a CEO of a company state that he moved the company to Arizona because he had powerful memories and fell in love with it while attending the Super Bowl in Glendale? It is the stuff of urban legend that was used frequently by Julie Frisoni (Glendale’s Director of Communications and Marketing) in 2008 while making a case for Glendale’s first hosting of the Super Bowl. She continually cited the exposure Glendale would receive in hosting the Super Bowl but to my knowledge, there is no company that relocated to Glendale as a direct result of having attended the 2008 Super Bowl.

Government revenues, another intangible, are also non-existent because of the NFL’s stipulation that it pay no taxes. While there is an increase in employment and as a result, personal income, it does not have a lasting effect beyond the event. It is an event that provides an increase in jobs for perhaps a month and then, poof…they are gone. Matheson goes on to say,“Ex post economic analyses of the Super Bowl by scholars not financially connected with the game have typically found that the observed effects of the game on real economic variables such as employment, government revenues, taxable sales, GDP, and personal income, while generally positive, are a fraction of those claimed by the league and sports boosters. When considering optimal public policy with respect to sports infrastructure, it would be wise to take any claims of super benefits from the Super Bowl with a grain of salt.”

The NFL waves the magic wand of promise of a “Super Bowl To Come” to bring pressure to upgrade or construct a facility worthy of such an event. Then for good measure it issues an NFL funded economic impact study that can prove the region will realize a financial windfall. What’s not to like? It is powerful and enticing and appeals to many regions of the country struggling with the aftermath of the Great Recession. The crushing debt it causes taxpayers will be the catalyst causing us to take a second look and ask the question, is it really worth it?

The very last thing the NFL will tolerate is insubordination in its ranks of host cities. A hole in the dike is to be stopped at all cost to keep a flood of skepticism from washing over its always reliable revenue streams. The sentinel that alerts it to impending trouble is the Host Committee. In the next blog, we’ll look at the Arizona Host Committee and Glendale’s role as a host city.

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

 

 

%d bloggers like this: