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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.

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 a telephone survey of 786 registered voters conducted on February 24th and 25th, voters overwhelmingly oppose the idea of a new hockey arena and the creation of a special taxing district to pay for it. The margin of error is 3.58%.

The survey was conducted by Coleman Dahm Layeux, a public affairs company. The company said this survey was not conducted on behalf of any client. That means the Coyotes did not pay for it and neither did the City of Glendale. That also means that the questions were not crafted to guarantee a specific outcome favoring one side or the other. Here are the results of the survey:

  • the proposed arena would be financed through local sales tax paid by consumers at the arena and adjacent developments. Do you support using taxpayer dollars to finance the arena?

STATEWIDE                                      MARICOPA COUNTY                         

No             67.90%                                             No     71.86%

Yes            12.78%                                             Yes    14.48%

Unsure       19.32%                                       Unsure     13.66%

  • the Arizona legislature is currently considering a bill that would create a special taxing district to pay for the construction of the new Arena. Do you support legislation that would create the new taxing district to pay for the new Coyotes hockey arena?

STATEWIDE                                        MARICOPA COUNTY

No             70.40%                                              No      79.43%

Yes            10.25%                                              Yes     11.71%

Unsure       10.56%                                       Unsure         8.56%

  • are you aware that the Arizona Coyotes professional hockey team is proposing to build a new arena in the East Valley?

STATEWIDE                                        MARICOPA COUNTY

No             60.66%                                              No      17.86%

Yes            20.81%                                              Yes     68.11%

Unsure       18.53%                                    Unsure          14.03%

  • finally, as an Arizona tax payer, which option do you think is better for Arizona?

STATEWIDE                                        MARICOPA COUNTY

Stay in Glendale            64.76%                Stay in Glendale              66.95%

Special taxing district    10.48%                Special taxing district        11.49%

Unsure                         24.76%                Unsure                             21.56%

It is my personal hope that the Coyotes will reach out to AEG, manager of the Gila River Arena in Glendale, bury the hatchet and work toward crafting a mutually beneficial agreement between them. The arena in Glendale was built specifically for them. It has been their home for years and should remain so.

© 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.

In the February 11, 2017 edition of the Glendale Republic a Letter to the Editor from Larry Johns of Peoria proposed an interesting concept:                                                              “As an 11-year ticket holder, I certainly have experienced highs and lows.     

“The recent plan to build a new home for the Arizona Coyotes with ASU in Tempe is dead. However, CEO Anthony LeBlanc still wants to ‘secure the future of hockey in Arizona.’ He also said that the team is ‘ready to invest more than $170 million in a new arena.’ Glendale still owns nearly $150 million on the Gila River Arena.

“My suggestion: LeBlanc and the Coyotes should offer to buy the GRA for $150 million and put another $20 million into repairs and upgrades. Glendale would be free of the remaining GRA debt payments; it would still have sales tax revenue coming from the use of the arena and could focus on paying down their other sports stadium obligations or improving Glendale’s infrastructure.

“The Coyotes would be free from their acrimonious relationship with Glendale, would have control of the arena and, most importantly, would remain in Arizona. Just a thought.”

Yes, it is just a thought but an intriguing one. As long as the Coyotes remain in their self-imposed limbo weekly rumors will continue to abound. This week’s crop related to a media report on Tuesday that the team had sent representatives to check out locations in both Portland and Seattle. Geoff Baker, a reporter for the Seattle times, tweeted, “Attendees at developer/owner #KeyArena tour by city 2 weeks ago shows no #arizonacoyotes reps among non-city staff/media. Coyotes deny going.” He backed up his assertion by posting the attendees sign in sheets for the tours.

Anthony LeBlanc, Coyotes CEO, was quick to deny the current relocation rumor with this Coyotes Press Release, “Recent reports by the Glendale Star that the Coyotes ownership group has explored arena options outside the Arizona market are completely false. The Star referenced an anonymous arena source and an anonymous Coyotes source, and these are a fabrication.” He went on to say, “Maybe a little less seriously because of the publication, but because it has gone national — which is disappointing — we take this seriously, as does the league.” The magic words in his denial are as does the league.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has already demonstrated his commitment to keeping the team in Arizona by having the NHL manage the team for several years after Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy of the team in 2009. The Phoenix Metropolitan media market is a highly lucrative one for the league. It’s a market the league does not want to abandon. Bettman’s other goal is to create a new franchise in the west.  I suspect after a conversation with Bettman, LeBlanc couldn’t get to the media fast enough to deny rumors of relocation.

Denying rumors of relocation by LeBlanc is needed to quiet the fan base as well. Since the purchase of the team by IceArizona, average attendance figures have dropped like the proverbial stone and the team has earned the distinction of being the second lowest in the league with an average of 12,841 for the 2016-17 season. Only the Carolina Hurricanes have a lower attendance figure of 12,204. It should also be noted that their marketing efforts this season have been minimal. How many TV ads do you remember seeing this season?

LeBlanc points to these attendance figures as the reason why the team must move

Coyotes play off game White Out

to the East Valley. I would remind everyone that when the team made the play-offs attendance figures were robust. History shows no one complained about coming to Glendale to watch a winning team performing in the play offs. It certainly has a lot to do with the product on the ice. When the product is good, people will come. It’s the same for any sports franchise. When the team is hot and fan expectations are high, people come out of the woodwork to attend and suddenly tickets become very pricey.

All of this circles back to Mr. Johns of Peoria and his thought. If the Coyotes really do have money to play with…why not buy the Gila River Arena and become masters of their own fate? They characterize Glendale as inhospitable. Why? Because the city council didn’t want to continue subsidizing the team’s operations while losing money every year? The council simply wanted to stop bleeding each and every year and work toward insuring Glendale’s financial stability. It wasn’t, as portrayed, because they disliked the Coyotes and wanted to get rid of them.  Keep in mind the city had its own problems in dealing with the ownership group which was often obstructionist, especially in sharing financial information.

If the ownership group really has $170 million dollars why wouldn’t it take the opportunity to buy the arena? Many suspect that the Coyotes really don’t have that kind of money without attracting a new crop of investors. Rumor has it that may be exactly what they are doing…seeking a new investor(s).

Can they strike a deal with Sarver? Doubtful. Can they strike a deal with the Salt River-Pima-Maricopa Indian Community? Doubtful. The painful lesson LeBlanc, et.al., are learning is that no one is willing to pay them to play…anywhere.

© 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 tohttp://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.

An alert for residents living along 83rd Avenue and 91st Avenue from Camelback Road to Bethany Home Road regarding the Planned Area Development application called Stonehaven. The applicant has submitted a revised Stonehaven development plan and has scheduled a formal Neighborhood meeting:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 at 6:00 PM

Sunset Ridge Elementary School Cafeteria

8490 West Missouri Avenue, Glendale, Arizona 85305

The Glendale City Planner handling this case is the Glendale Planning Director, Jon Froke. He can be reached at 623-930-2585 or by email at jfroke@glendaleaz.com. Mr. Froke can answer your questions regarding the city review and hearing processes as well as the staff position once their report is complete. Below is a depiction of the Planned Area Development Land Use Master Plan. It is disappointing as the applicant is asking for more density while refusing to plan for large lots south of the Grand Canal and adjacent to Missouri Ranch (comprised of 10,000 SF lots). The largest lot size being proposed by the applicant is 7,000 SF. The applicant appears reluctant to listen to resident’s concerns about small lot sizes devaluing the property values of those who live near the proposed development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I urge you to attend this meeting especially if you live in Missouri Ranch; 8300 to 8600 W. Cavalier Drive; Pendergast Estates; Camelback Park, and all areas on the east side of 83rd Avenue including Orange Drive and Montebello Avenue.

Casino Issue not settled as U.S. District Judge David Campbell denied the Tohono O’odham’s (TO) request that he rule in the tribe’s favor without going to trial. Judge Campbell said he needed more information about allegations of fraud on the part of the Tohono O’odham. The trial will be scheduled sometime between April and August of 2017 making it a full year since June of 2016 when the Tohono O’odham filed suit against the state for its refusal to grant the tribe a Class III gaming license.

In the meantime Governor Ducey attempted to settle the case out of court by proposing to grant the TO a Class III gaming license in return for its promise to build no new casinos in the Phoenix Metro area. That overture was rebuffed by the TO and seems to signal that the TO may have plans for another casino in the Phoenix area. Could they have once again purchased land secretly betting that they can get their Class III gaming license without promising to build elsewhere in the Valley? I would think any Valley city with county islands should be very, very nervous. Here is the link to a December 19, 2016 story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/12/19/dispute-over-desert-diamond-west-valley-casino-heading-to-trial/95634944/ .

Tax increment financing for the Coyotes new arena is by no means guaranteed passage in the Arizona Legislature. Rather than granting tax increment financing and incentives for the Coyotes the legislature would be well served to assist the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) in crafting new revenue streams for the sagging revenues it currently receives. The Authority has only paid out $49.2 million dollars in reimbursements toward a total of $220.7 million dollars owed to various Valley cities for their ballparks facility construction/renovation.  AZSTA has commitments to reimburse Surprise, Tempe and Scottsdale by 2007 and now estimates those repayments will not be completed until 2021. Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix, Glendale and Goodyear are not expected to receive their reimbursements until 2031 and beyond. Better the legislature develop a fix that enables AZSTA to meet its commitments for those facilities already constructed by a vast array of Valley cities struggling to find the money to pay off their debts for construction. Here is a link to the state’s latest audit of AZSTA: http://az-sta.com/downloads/files/financial/2015-special-audit-by-the-office-of-the-auditor-general-full-report.pdf . Below is a chart (page 23) from that AZSTA audit:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anthony LeBlanc, CEO of the Coyotes, acknowledged that the legislature is “essential” for their plan. You can be sure they are already lobbying members of the state legislature. However, in past years Valley cities have also lobbied for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) only to be denied repeatedly. One of the plans floated last year by the Coyotes involved capturing portions of sales and/or tourism tax revenue in a tax district created in the area of their proposed arena. The Coyotes will have a difficult time pushing to the head of a line that relies on tourism sales tax revenues. The legislature would be well advised to create a financial fix for those facilities already in existence rather than diverting scarce resources to yet another new sports facility. The subsidization of sports teams and their venues is not a popular public topic when people are still hurting financially and have not derived economic benefits from the national recovery. Here is a link to a Mike Sunnicks article in the Phoenix Business Journal about the Coyotes plan to have the taxpayers and tourists subsidize their proposed arena: http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2016/12/02/arizona-coyotes-arena-real-estate-group-eases.html

 © Joyce Clark, 2016        

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.

PLEASE CHECK OUT THE CHAVIRA VIDEOS TO THE LEFT OF THIS COLUMN. EACH IS ABOUT A MINUTE AND A HALF IN LENGTH.

It has been 18 years and 190 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

June 24, 2016, marks another milestone of 350,000 reads of my blog since I began in February of 2013. That averages about 100,000 reads a year. I am pleased and very grateful to all those who have become faithful readers. Thank you. In addition, in 3 months, over 1,000 people have viewed my 3 Chavira videos. Again, thank you for taking the time to view them.

In Sammy Chavira’s latest weekly e-newsletter of June 24, 2016, he said, “After serving 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter and Glendale City Council Member, Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Gosh, in addition to all his other misdeeds now we can add embellishment and exaggeration.

While Sammy may have served 17 years as a Phoenix firefighter, he certainly, thankfully, hasn’t served as a Glendale councilmember for 17 years. He has only served one term of 4 years. As for “Chavira helped bring a Super Bowl to Cardinals Stadium.” Really? And how might he have helped? The bid for a Super Bowl and the choice of the stadium for the last Super Bowl was made long before Sammy became a councilmember.

We have just another example of Sammy’s misdirection of the facts and an attempt to give himself recognition for something he did not do.  Add to his practice of embellishment, his lavish trips at taxpayer expense, his failure to attend council meetings and to hold district meetings and his failure to appear in court with a subsequent suspension of his driver’s license while he claimed it was “a minor glitch.”

While we’re at it, let’s take a look at some of the promises made by Sammy in the campaign mailings he sent to voters in his first run for office in 2012. In one campaign mailing Sammy said, “On the City Council, he’ll fight to protect funding for local schools and excellent, academically-enriched after school programs.” Or how about this from another campaign mailing, “Sam understands that good jobs and good schools go hand in hand. He will fight to fully fund Head Start, support education tax credits for our local schools, and make after school programs more curriculum based.” These statements represent one of two positions – take your pick. Fact: The Glendale city council has no authority over federal or local education policies, curriculum or funding. That is the responsibility of your district school board whether it is the Pendergast Elementary School District or the Glendale Elementary School District. Sammy either didn’t know the facts — which makes him ignorant or he knew the facts and he chose to be deceptive.

Here’s another promise from Sammy.2012. “Too many sweetheart arena deals for out-of-state corporations have left us deeply in debt. Sam will prioritize public safety, education and public libraries and isn’t afraid to say no to special interests.” Or how about, “No more sweetheart deals. The city needs to be a tough negotiator, making smart planning decisions that preserve Glendale’s future.” It would appear that Sammy never met a “sweetheart” deal that he didn’t like. He apparently traded votes with former Councilmember Sherwood, flip-flopping on his promise to protect taxpayers from exorbitant, $15 million dollars a year arena management fees with…you guessed it…an out-of-state corporation.

He seems to favor those who contributed large sums of money to his campaign such as Mark Becker of the Becker Billboard issue that surfaced in Glendale last year.

How has he “prioritized public libraries” by supporting a 7,500 square foot modular building as west Glendale’s branch library? It’s insulting that he thinks so little of his constituency that he throws them this kind of bone.

How has Sammy made “smart planning decisions?” By allowing a residential project like Stonehaven in the Yucca district? A residential project in which 43% of the homes will be on 5,500 square foot lots (smaller than that which is required by the city’s standard R1-6 zoning that requires a minimum of 6,000 square foot lots). That kind of “smart planning decision” devalues all of the homes that surround this project.

There’s more, so much more of Sammy’s deceptions…for another blog, I think. Sammy promised a lot and delivered…nothing. Sammy earns a fire fighter’s pay check as well as a councilmember’s pay check of $35,000 a year. Yet he has failed to do his job as a Glendale councilmember. He’s often absent from council meetings and can’t seem to find the time to reach out to, much less listen to, his Yucca district constituents or their concerns.  It’s time to let Sammy go back to being a fire fighter and not a double dipper. It seems as if he can handle only one job at a time.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 116 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

I, as I suspect many other fans, was surprised and quite frankly shocked to learn of the firing of Coyotes General Manager, Don Maloney. Now, I am no more than a casual Coyotes fan, similar to many fans in the Valley. This season I watched games on TV and attended a few.

I have never been thrilled with LeBlanc and the current ownership group but what is, is. They are large and in charge – one adapts.

I first met Don Maloney when the NHL took over the team after Moyes’ declaration of bankruptcy. He impressed me then and he continues to do so. The NHL was never a hands-on manager and quite frankly, that allowed not only Maloney but Tippett as well, to fly…and they did. Sarah McLellan, sports reporter for the Arizona Republic, in an April 11, 2016 story, describes Maloney’s performance. Here is the link:

http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2016/04/11/arizona-coyotes-seeking-new-leadership-gm-after-firing-don-maloney/82920744/ .

With him at the helm, the Coyotes went 326-291-87 and made three playoff appearances. The highlight came in 2012 as the team captured its first division title and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

“After the 2009-10 season, Maloney was honored with the inaugural General Manager of the Year Award for assembling a team that achieved the organization’s most successful season to date. The Coyotes went 50-25-7 for 107 points and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

“Actually, much of Maloney’s best work came after the team was dropped into bankruptcy in 2009 and managed by the NHL for the ensuing four seasons before the current ownership group purchased the club in 2013.

“Despite a hamstrung budget and limited resources, the Coyotes rattled off three consecutive seasons of at least 40 wins from 2009 to 2012.”

There is no doubt that Maloney is one of the best general managers in the business. From the outside, looking in, could it have been that Maloney had conveyed that he disagreed with the current direction and before he resigned, the owners fired him? Often these situations are handled more gracefully with a joint statement of a mutual parting of the ways.

Maloney got his direction and goals in running the organization from the franchise owners. Apparently when left to his own devices under the ownership of the NHL he succeeded. What direction did the new IceArizona owners give to him from 2013 onward that resulted in such a dismal performance?

LeBlanc, at a press conference announcing the firing said, “He absolutely has done a great job of laying the groundwork for the future. However, we believe a change in leadership is needed in order to move our franchise to the next level.” LeBlanc went on to say, “Ownership is completely committed to winning and winning long-term here in Arizona. Today was the first step in moving us to the next phase as an organization.” The question many fans are probably asking is what exactly is this next phase?

Maloney reacted to his firing with the following, “Ownership have (sic) the absolute right to hire the person they are most comfortable with to run their hockey organization. They felt a change was needed at this time. I have no hard feelings or regrets whatsoever.” There is no doubt that Don Maloney is a class act and a consummate gentleman. He is articulate and intelligent and worked miracles during the most turbulent times of the Coyotes’ history. From the outside looking in, the manner in which Maloney’s leaving was handled, was not a class act.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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.

It has been 18 years and 110 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The Glendale city council workshop of April 5, 2016 had 3 major issues up for discussion and direction by city council: the temporary West Branch Library; the pavement management program; and an introduction to the proposed new city owned arena manager.

Since I brought up parking for Heroes Park in my blog of April 5, 2016 entitled Glendale…fix the parking problem you created, it was definitely a topic of discussion. Erik Strunk, Director of Parks and Libraries, stated that they are working on temporary parking. He did not address the issue of Park Rangers sending people to park in adjacent neighborhoods or the safety issue of people crossing Bethany Home Road or 83rd Avenue to get to the park.

The final direction of the city council was to move forward with a temporary, 7500 square foot modular building. This action, of course, removes all impetus to ever build a permanent library structure. So, we in west Glendale, once again, get less — a 7500 SF modular structure half the size of Velma Teague Library in downtown Glendale.

The second item for discussion and direction was the city’s pavement management program. Currently the city spends $10 million annually to repair and maintain the city’s streets. Staff requested an additional $5 million a year. Ms. Vicki Rios, Interim Finance Director, presented a series of slides during the discussion. I bring two of those slides to your attention. This first one shows the city’s current debt service. The red, dotted line is the city’s secondary property tax revenue that is used to pay this form of debt. Please note that as of this year’s (FY 16-17) budget there is new debt capacity available…perhaps to build the west branch library? The new debt capacity is the difference between the red, dotted line and the sold green block depicting debt payments.

Current General Obligation debt

Current General
Obligation debt

Not so fast. Look at this second slide. It depicts current debt plus new, proposed debt.

Current debt plus new debt

Current debt
plus new debt

Note the Series 2016 debt depicted by the brownish square in the legend. That Series 16 debt is the $32 million the city is issuing next week to pay for the land and to construct parking on it to satisfy the city’s obligation to provide adequate parking for Cardinals’ football games. The orange, olive and blue areas above the brownish parking debt represent $5 million dollars a year in new debt for the pavement management plan. Note the red, dotted line which are funds used to pay the debt. Now there is no debt capacity available until Fiscal Year 21-22. With council’s approval of two items: the issuance of $32 million in debt for Cardinals’ parking and the $5million a year ($15 million total) for the pavement management plan there is no debt capacity to do anything else including building a permanent west branch library. The significance of these decisions is that there will be no debt capacity to build a west branch library for SIX more years until Fiscal Year 21-22. We will have waited for the west branch library for 25 years. There is no word to describe this situation other than disgraceful.

The last item was a public introduction of AEG as the proposed new manager of the city owned Gila River Arena. There was no mention of the Coyotes who continue to declare that they will move to some magical, undefined new facility somewhere else in the Valley. The reality is that AEG, as arena manager, the Coyotes and the city will have to come to terms in the meantime. I continue to believe if the Coyotes and AEG can come to agreement for a few years, why not long-term?

Under council requests for future workshops only one councilmember spoke, Sammy Chavira. He requested that the city present its travel policy and compare it to other Valley cities. What was more interesting is that Sammy, largely invisible these days, was cornered by an Arizona Republic reporter and questioned about his trips. Sammy’s only response was, “I want to stick to the policy to find out from now on – so next time, if you look at your policy, if you see anything, that you know that’s what we’re adhering to. What I want to do is I want to put something in concrete.” Say what? What did he say? Here is the link to the full story in the Arizona Republic: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/04/06/glendale-councilman-sammy-chavira-requests-review-travel-policy-after-council-trip/82631826/ .

I can see it now. Sammy’s defense is that he followed city policy. OK, so now it’s the city’s fault? Where is Sammy’s ethical and moral compass? In essence he is admitting that he took advantage of a policy. It’s the same as if there were a policy that said, thou shall not steal. Since the policy is so vague an argument could be there is no definition of the word “steal.” Sammy is playing word games but they won’t work this time. He is accountable for his actions. He should voluntarily reimburse the city for the nearly $25,000 he spent for trips to see the Pope, his buddy sworn into Congress, his excessive baggage claims and rebooked flights, and his two highly suspicious trips to California. Don’t hold your breath on this one.

© Joyce Clark, 2016

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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