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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

“It hasn’t been the easiest season for fans of the Arizona Coyotes. After poor on-ice performance, the departure of many beloved veterans, and the lingering sideshow of off-ice issues, the 2014-15 campaign has not been for the faint of heart.” This was written and published by Fiveforhowling.com three years ago during what was viewed as the coming “golden age” for the Coyotes under what was presumed to be a new era of stable leadership provided by IceArizona.

There is an old tale of an emperor in a parade. He was wearing no clothes. No one remarked upon this strange scene until the emperor passed in front of a young boy who blurted out, why is the emperor wearing no clothes? Suddenly it became acceptable for everyone to acknowledge that fact.

Under the ownership of IceArizona we experienced a similar situation with everyone fearful to state the obvious for fear of being ridiculed or worse. Glendale has pointed out that this emperor (IceArizona) is wearing no clothes and this concept is now acceptable to voice.

This is from a Dan Bickley Arizona Republic story(http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2017/03/09/bickley-gary-bettmans-threats-backfiring-valley/98969022/ ) from 2 days ago, “But sports fans in the Valley are smarter than they look. The Coyotes have failed on their end of the bargain, running their franchise on the cheap while depending on handouts to survive. If this team had consistently exposed Arizonans to the majesty of playoff hockey over the past decade, this conversation would sound much different. Truth is, they haven’t done anything to warrant a second home on our dime.” He went on to say, “The Coyotes didn’t help matters in a press release blaming their current location for alienating their ‘premium ticketholders and ticket sponsors.’ What does that say to the people who currently show up to games with open minds and open hearts?” And open pocket books, I might add.

Even Craig Morgan, darling of the Coyotes organization and often perceived as its unofficial spokesperson, said this yesterday in his arizonasports.com article (http://arizonasports.com/story/1050773/morgan-coyotes-need-the-right-location-to-succeed-its-not-glendale/ ) “The hard truth for the team is that it has produced four winning seasons, three playoffs berths and two playoff series wins in 13 seasons in the West Valley location that welcomed it when nobody else would. Winning sells in any market, but it’s especially important in one as fickle as Phoenix. Repetitive losing is an unwise investment of fans’ dollars and emotions.” Morgan did acknowledge, “The Coyotes’ hirings, and their delay in releasing financial statements to Glendale per their agreement, raise questions about their commitment to the partnership…”

Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic in his story(http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/legislature/2017/03/09/glendale-fires-back-arizona-coyotes-glendale-arena/98967020/?hootPostID=19ace9c56558711ce78486b73ec4649f ) from March 9, 2017 weighed in with this, “The new arena managers run the facility for one-third the cost. The team’s claims that it can’t be successful in Glendale came after the city in 2015 stopped subsidizing the Coyotes through a $15-million annual arena-management deal. “

The mainstream media has finally been willing to acknowledge that the emperor is not wearing any clothes. Certainly it appears that the Arizona legislature realizes that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Sadly, the fans, always the last to give up their allegiance to a team are also beginning to see an emperor with no clothes.

In 2013, everyone rejoiced in the prospect of a new era with IceArizona. Celebrations abounded among Bettman, the new team owners and the fans. Then no one, not Bettman, LeBlanc or the fans, rejected the Glendale/IceArizona deal with commentary that heck, Glendale was a lousy location. How soon we forget. They had a home that they welcomed then. They have a home now… if they only choose to bury the hatchet.

The fans are weary of an eight year drama with seemingly the only end in sight possibly being the relocation of the team outside of Arizona. They are weary of belief in anything the team spokesperson, Anthony LeBlanc, says after a series of incendiary and sometimes misleading public pronouncements. How will they feel if the coming season turns out to be the team’s last in Arizona? Will they bother to attend games? This coming year’s attendance could prove to be the worst one yet. Perhaps ownership will hold off on dropping the bomb until after the next season is completed. Who knows?

Two unanswered questions remain. Has the team paid off the $70 loan from the NHL? And where’s Waldo…er…Anthony LeBlanc?

It’s been a rough season for all…

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have 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, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In 2009 when Jerry Moyes put the Coyotes into bankruptcy NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was desperate to save the situation. His worst nightmare would have come true if Moyes had succeeded in selling the team to Jim Balsille and the team was moved to Canada.

Then, as now, someone or something, had to be thrown under the bus…because, of course, it’s never the League’s fault or a team’s fault when a team goes south. Back then, Jerry Moyes went under the bus but deservedly so. Mr. Bettman said at the time, “The team hasn’t been particularly well run.” This time, Mr. Bettman, has no problem throwing Glendale under the bus, undeservedly.

What a difference a few years can make. A 2009 Financial Post story said, “There is a brand-new building in Phoenix,” Bettman said of the Jobing.com Arena, the Coyotes’ home in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb. “There are people that are supportive of the franchise and want to keep it there.” Here is the link: http://www.financialpost.com/m/bettman+coyotes+situation+phoenix+fixable/1617384/story.html .

Bettman also said at the time, “What you don’t do is just abandon places to go somewhere else because somehow you think you have a divine right to a franchise in a particular place.”  Doesn’t that beautifully sum up exactly what IceArizona has been doing? That certainly has been IceArizona’s attitude and why? Because LeBlanc, et.al., became angry and vengeful when Glendale pulled the plug on their annual $15 million dollar subsidy. It was not a “divine right.”

I’m not sure the general public knows where Glendale’s annual $15 million payment went. The ink was not even dry on the Glendale/IceArizona contract when IceArizona sent a letter to Glendale directing that the $15 million be sent directly to Fortress Investment Group, a major entity that loaned IceArizona money to buy the team. Did you know IceArizona’s owners put relatively little of their own cash up to buy the team? Between the 10 or so investors they managed to raise $45 million toward the purchase price of $170 million with the balance of the purchase funded by two loans–one from Fortress and one from the NHL.

It is finally beginning to dawn on everyone, including the media, where the real problems lie and it’s not the location of the team. It appears as if the management (owners) has literally been systematically raping the team of all of its talent. This is reflective of a string of poor management decisions occurring over the last several years creating a poor product on the ice. This is not to demean the players for there are some very talented men on Gila River ice. However, collectively, they don’t appear to “jell.”

Perhaps the last straw was the recent trade of Martin Hanzal. Martin Hanzal and Shane Doan were buddies…more than buddies, like brothers. They worked the same line on the ice for the team for years. They were a team and could read each other’s moves instinctually. Trading Hanzal had to have been a major shock and wake up call for Doan, indisputably the icon and unique symbol of this franchise. No wonder he is reported to have said that if the right offer were to be made, he would have to give it serious consideration. If and when Doan leaves or retires, his loss will cause many fans to abandon the team.

What about IceArizona’s marketing efforts? Do you remember when they first took over the franchise, there were major media buys and you couldn’t go through a day without seeing at least one Coyotes TV ad, and often more. Today, I bet most of us cannot remember the last time we saw a TV ad for the team. They’ve disappeared from the media market. It is simply a symbol of the lack of time, money and talent being employed to advertise the team and grow the fan base.

Bettman’s ultimatum sent shock waves throughout the Valley. He angered long-term, committed fans who are now voicing remarks like, “leave” or “bye-bye.” He has created enmity where there was none and the actions and comments of IceArizona have split the Valley apart. They have created a bitter pill that no one wants to swallow.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have 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, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Has anyone else noticed that Anthony LeBlanc, presumably still CEO of the Coyotes, has been publicly missing in the latest Coyotes dust-up? Where is he? We’ve heard from the General Manager, the Public Relations people, even Gary Bettman and Andrew Barroway…but not a peep or sighting of LeBlanc? Has he been muzzled or given his walking papers? Hmmm…who knows?

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman

It seems in the light of a new day NHL Commissioner Bettman is back peddling just a tad. Today, March 8, 2017 down in Florida he said the Phoenix area is a terrific hockey market. Yep, just follow the money, Mr. Bettman. Oh, again, by the way, has Ice Arizona paid the NHL the $70 million it borrowed to purchase the team, Mr. Bettman? Yet Glendale has proven its support with millions in cold, hard cash.

It seems you have drunk the IceArizona kool-aid and have joined in the mantra of blame Glendale for cancelling its long-term IceArizona arena management contract after 2 years. I guess you forgot about Craig Tindall and Julie Frisoni, City of Glendale employees who allegedly aided and abetted IceArizona while it was negotiating its management contract with the city. I guess you forgot that IceArizona allegedly represented that the city would recoup its $15 million a year payment by receiving “enhanced revenues” from parking fees, ticket surcharges, naming rights, etc.?

Did you know that IceArizona submitted its annual financial report to the city, kicking and screaming, at least 3 months after it was due? Did you know that while some of the financial numbers presented were audited numbers some of the critical revenue numbers the Coyotes claimed as proprietary and were not audited? Glendale was told trust us and don’t verify. As a result, each year of the 2 years the contract existed Glendale did not receive verifiable, audited numbers while it received revenues that never met the IceArizona representations…actually millions less than the represented numbers.

At what point did city council throw up its hands? After the alleged collusion between IceArizona and city employees? After it received revenues that in no way met the IceArizona representations? After the city’s inability to get verifiable, audited figures?

The city’s trust had been eroded by these alleged bad acts. Did you forget that these were the reasons why Glendale cancelled its contract with IceArizona? It’s so very convenient to point the finger at Glendale and say, it’s all your fault. You’re the bad guys because you cancelled the contract while conveniently ignoring or forgetting alleged prior bad faith acts on the part of IceArizona. And it’s so much easier to say that fans won’t come to games in Glendale.

How soon you forget. Remember the recent season the Coyotes made the play-offs? The arena was filled…it was magical…seas of white out shirts…fan excitement…distance to travel to a game didn’t matter to see a winning team. The real question to be asked by all is this…is this team now unprofitable because the product on the ice is bad and Valley fans are not motivated to go to the games anywhere they are held or is it, as you claim, because the East Valley will not travel to the West Valley to support hockey? I suspect it is the former reason.

Mr. Bettman, your ultimatum to the people of Arizona created a backlash that you cannot reverse or contain. You angered not just members of your fan base but the general taxpayer population as well. And guess what? You can’t put this genie back in the jar.

Here are just a few of the comments reported by the Arizona Republic’s Facebook page since Bettman and Barroway delivered their ultimatum of pay for a new arena or we leave:

  • ): “I have to say I am a huge coyotes fan. Every game I’m not at I’m watching. But I can tell you if you’re going to issue an ultimatum to the taxpayer to pay for your Stadium or you’re leaving. Then pack your bags and get out. You guys don’t put a winning product on the ice and you’re going to lose the face of the franchise as soon as you try to to trade him or he retires and that’s game over. So tired of sports teams thinking everything should be handed to them on a silver platter as if they provide some service to society that’s beneficial.”
  • “I’m a diehard hockey fan. However, I do not support tax payer funded playgrounds that billionaires benefit from. They make the money, we just pay for the playground and the. To also watch the games. There is not one instance where a publicly funded arena – for any sport – has left the municipality ahead. It is always to their detriment. Case in point Chase Field.”
  • “You might have a bargaining chip if you had a consistent winning team. People are drawn to winners. Start winning and more people will come. DO NOT blame your revenue problems on Glendale, when it is your own doing.”

Channel 12 TV news is running a current online poll with the question being, Has the time come to tell the Coyotes to leave Arizona?  Results as of this writing: Yes 67% and No 33%.

The Arizona Republic in a recent story cited the cost to taxpayers to have publicly funded the construction of sports venues in the Valley. The numbers are astounding and the total of $1.1 billion is just for the building of 4 existent sports venues:

  • Suns $90 M
  • Diamondbacks $354 M
  • Coyotes $220 M
  • Cardinals $455 M

The acknowledgement that IceArizona has lost millions annually does nothing, absolutely nothing, to convince taxpayers that IceArizona merits this kind of investment. Their losses do nothing to assure taxpayers that they can hold up their end of the bargain and will be able to invest $170 million of their own money, what money? into the deal.

To the team owners…it’s time for cooler, saner heads to prevail. Stop bad mouthing Glendale for your failures. Come back to the table. AEG stands ready to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement with you – one that is fair to all. That kind of arrangement will win the support of Glendale. It’s time to concentrate your energies on reviving superior management, a robust marketing strategy and a team that wins your fans back.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have 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, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Today, March 7, 2017 NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman penned a letter of utter desperation to Arizona’s senate president and speaker of the house followed almost immediately by a statement by Andrew Barroway, Coyotes majority owner and chairman. Here is the link: http://www.abc15.com//sports/sports-blogs-local/nhl-commissioner-to-state-legislature-coyotes-must-have-a-new-arena?utm_source=SilverpopMailing .

Let’s think about Commissioner Bettman’s statement for a moment. In 2003 when the Coyotes played their first game in Glendale’s new arena, built specifically for them, Gary Bettman gushed about Glendale. He praised Glendale. He couldn’t heap enough praise on Glendale.

The original owner of the Coyotes, Steve Ellman, had no deal requiring the City to subsidize the team. Ellman, not only ran the team successfully, he filled the arena regularly and consistently with big ticket concerts. Then Ellman sold his interest to Jerry Moyes. Moyes appeared to have bled the team dry until like a sun-baked prune it had nothing more to offer to him…and so, in 2009 he went to Glendale and asked for an annual subsidy. Glendale said “no” and Moyes followed through on his threat to put the team in bankruptcy while trying to craft a side deal to sell the team to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie, who wanted to relocate the team to Hamilton, Ontario. 

In 2009 in a desperate move to keep the team in Glendale, the NHL took over the team and charged Glendale $25 million a year to manage it. Bettman was Glendale’s partner, Glendale’s buddy. Again, he couldn’t say enough good things about Glendale and its willingness to work with him and to keep the team in Glendale…and Arizona.

Glendale invested $185 million in construction of the hockey arena with debt service over 30 years, the final commitment is about $325 million…cha ching.

Glendale paid the NHL $50 million over 2 years to manage the team and keep it in Glendale and Arizona…cha ching.

Glendale paid IceArizona $15 million a year to manage the arena, again to keep the team in Glendale and Arizona…cha ching.

And this is how Commissioner Bettman recognizes the city for its investment and loyalty. Pardon me…but what a crock.

Along comes Anthony LeBlanc and his merry band of Canadian investors. By the way, have the team owners ever paid back the $70 million they borrowed from the league to buy the team? LeBlanc, et.al., in a snit fit, have apparently chosen revenge against Glendale because the city council had the temerity to cancel the owner’s arena management contract and the lucrative subsidy it provided. Didn’t it bother you, Mr. Bettman, that the team couldn’t provide straightforward answers to the city regarding their finances? Didn’t it give you pause?

Glendale was golden, until now. You never wrung your hands about the Glendale arena when it was built in 2003 or when Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. You never wrung your hands up until now. Mr. Bettman, did the majority Canadian owners of the Coyotes threaten to leave Arizona and move to Canada? Is that the straw that caused you to send a last minute, begging letter to the Arizona legislature supporting the Coyotes’ attempt to extort money from the legislature to support construction of yet another sports venue on the backs of Arizona taxpayers? Is your desire to stay in Arizona at all costs founded on its lucrative media market and a move to Canada would eliminate that?

I’m sure the members of the Arizona legislature have wondered how the Coyotes ownership will come up with $170 million as their share of the funding that SB 1149 requires when the Coyotes admit to millions in sustained losses every year, over the last few years. Which city is willing to become the host city and pour another $55 million down what appears to be a rat hole? Certainly there is no support among Arizona’s taxpayers to shell out another $170 million in sales tax to support this scheme.

It simply flies in the face of logic to build another hockey arena in Arizona when there is already a wonderful facility built specifically for the Coyotes. The growth of the Metro Phoenix area is in the West Valley and believe me there are plenty of demographically affluent, potential fans here. Could the possibility of poor management, non-existent marketing and a lousy product on the ice be the reason for the free fall in attendance?

Shame on you, Mr. Bettman. Glendale has proven itself repeatedly to be a reliable and stalwart partner in your desire to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. Now you turn your back on the city. If that’s how you treat friends, I pity anyone on your enemies list.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have 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, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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.

Would you like to attend a FREE spring training game at Camelback Ranch this month?
As your Yucca district councilmember I have 14 free tickets for each of the following games:

Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 12:05 PM

Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Monday, March 20, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Thursday, March 23, 2017 at 1:05 PM

Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 1:05 PM
 
  • The tickets will be distributed to a non-profit organization, i.e., church group, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Kiwanis, Rotary, Glendale Ambassadors, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
  • Some members of the group must be Yucca district residents.
  • Groups of adults are welcome.
  • If the group is comprised of minor children, there must be 1 adult for each 3 children.
  • In order to be eligible please share a recent community-oriented activity in which your group participated or organized.
  • First come, first served.
Please contact Councilmember Clark via email at either of these addresses: clarkjv@aol.com or jclark@glendaleaz.com
What a great way to spend a spring afternoon!
This gift is just a small token of my appreciation for all that you do in support of our community.
Councilmember Joyce Clark
Yucca district, City of Glendale

Disclaimer: The comments in the blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

In the March 1, 2017 edition  of the Glendale Republic there is a story by Jessica Boehm entitled Surprise leaders sound off on tearing down city’s ‘Berlin Wall’ to unify residents. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/surprise/2017/02/27/surprise-state-of-the-city-unite-divided-residents/98301216/ . It isn’t just Glendale or Surprise that has a “Berlin Wall,” every community has its own version. A “Berlin Wall” is metaphorical for what divides a community.

In Surprise, “To the north, retired residents live in age-restricted communities, many of which have lavish parks and other amenities paid for by expensive homeowners association dues. South of Bell Road, young and middle-age couples are raising families in the tract-home developments that permeated the area during the Valley’s housing boom.”

The divisions in Surprise became apparent when, “a $63 million bond measure — which would have funded nine projects, including a new recreation center, swimming pool, road improvements and fire stations — failed by less than 500 votes.” Why? Because the voting clout was with the northern retirement communities who saw nothing in it for them except and increase in property taxes and the southern, younger residents, unengaged in their community and simply failed to come out and vote. Each groups’ priorities are drastically different.

Glendale has been fortunate to date when it comes to bond elections but the future may portend quite differently. While there is no physical wall in Glendale, there is a growing divide between its northern and southern populations. Northern Glendale is characterized by an older, less diverse, more affluent and educated population. They tend to have more leisure time and more disposable income to spend on such activities. They also tend to be universally connected to the internet which can coalesce and encourage them to greater activism and they tend to live in HOA communities.

Southern Glendale is characterized by seas of starter and mid-level tract homes rarely in an HOA community. There is a younger population, decidedly less affluent, more diverse and less educated. Internet access is not universal. It is an area of mid range working families and the working poor with little free time and too busy working or spending time with the kids to be concerned about city issues. They are less likely to become activists and even less likely to vote. The voter turnout between north and south Glendale is historically stark. The north districts of Barrel, Sahuaro and Cholla always produce more voter turnout than the south districts of Cactus, Ocotillo and Yucca.

In the Surprise article several community leaders were interviewed but the $64 dollar question of how “to ignite civic spirit” was left unanswered. Civic engagement can be generated through education. But that is only part of the answer. People need equity. Notice I did not say ‘equality.’ People are motivated to act not only when they are educated about an issue through communication. They are motivated to act when they learn that it is in their best interest to do so — exactly the reverse of “not in my backyard” but rather “yes, put it in my backyard.” Issues and infrastructure development issues will move forward when all citizen stakeholders, both north and south, learn that they will share a piece of the pie.

That may be the reason why Surprise’s latest bond issue failed. The northern portion of the city did not see a share of the pie for it was their vote that cause it to fail. That could be Glendale’s fate, not just on any proposed bond issue but in its continued failure to offer a piece of the pie to its southern residents. Until Glendale recognizes and accepts the imperative of “Upgrading Glendale,” especially in its southern districts, the divide will only grow. At what point does it become Grand Canyon-like where nothing will breach the chasm?

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have 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, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such material. 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.

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