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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

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 17 years and 292 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

On October 8, 2015 Glendale released its analysis of the expenses incurred in hosting the Super Bowl. Here is the link to the full report: SuperBowlXLIXPostEventAnalysisFinal2015_10_08 . I don’t know why this report is not on the city’s website. It should be available to every Glendale resident. The report is comprehensive and offers, “The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview of the city’s obligations and how they were met, a summary of the ancillary events and activities that took place, an analysis of specific city services provided, an assessment of stakeholder impacts, and a comprehensive financial analysis (page 2, executive summary).” I do take issue with some elements of Glendale’s final report, namely, cost avoidance and the lack of tracking employee time.

As I have suggested innumerable times, the only way hosting the Super Bowl works for Glendale is if a reimbursement mechanism is created by the State Legislature or the Host Committee. Whether the loss is a half million dollars or two million dollars, it is not a cost the taxpayers of Glendale should bear to enrich the state or other Valley communities. Glendale noted, “Other communities around the country that host Super Bowl have established a state-level funding mechanism to cover costs to local communities, or in some cases, Host Committees reimburse cities for associated costs. As an example, the city of Santa Clara, California (host of the upcoming 2016 Super Bowl) entered into an agreement with their stadium and Host Committee wherein the Host Committee is responsible for reimbursing the city’s direct costs (actual costs incurred) for all planning and execution activities associated with providing governmental services inclusive of public safety, traffic management, planning, building inspection, and public right-of-way clean-up (page 2, executive summary).” Until such time as a reimbursement mechanism is created Glendale should not participate in hosting another Super Bowl.

The report emphasizes the issue of cost avoidance. What is cost avoidance? According to the report, “At the onset of planning, staff was tasked with identifying service delivery alternatives or creative innovations that could be implemented to reduce costs or engage community partnerships in support of the city’s planning and execution efforts associated with Super Bowl XLIX. As a result of the combined efforts of the city’s planning team, Glendale realized cost avoidance of approximately $672,781…(Page 15).” Cost avoidance is only legitimate when it absorbs costs to provide necessary services to plan or execute the Super Bowl event. There were 2 items that could be classified as true cost avoidance: Light towers provided by the Department of Homeland Security at a cost of $12,000; and the city’s successful negotiation to eliminate a shuttle obligation at a cost of $200,000. These 2 items totaled $212,000.

An item that should not be considered cost avoidance ($415,625) is Valley fire and police agencies contributing staff time at their own expense. It is generally understood and accepted by all that any host city (anywhere) is not capable of providing the total police and fire services required. Other agencies understand that they will provide staff time at no cost to the host city. This action occurs at all Super Bowls, not just here. Calling this item cost avoidance is no more than ginning up the cost avoidance numbers. Other items listed as cost avoidance such as the Visiting Public Safety Officials Program ($16,656) were not required or necessary to plan or execute the Super Bowl. True cost avoidance totaled $212,000, not the $672,781 touted by Glendale.

Another problematic area of the report deals with Glendale’s reluctance to and lack of tracking of employee time spent in preparation and execution of the Super Bowl. Glendale says, “Preparations and planning for Super Bowl XLIX began in August 2013 with the assignment of two project managers and a team of approximately 20 employees representing multiple disciplines over 12 departments. All participating members of the planning team took on the responsibility in addition to their regular duties. Planning activities included participation in the following activities: internal core team meetings/communications, budget development, regional public safety planning, Host Committee briefings, stakeholder engagement, transportation planning, NFL production team, vendor engagement and media interviews (Page 12).” This team consisted of primarily salaried employees (paid an annual wage and benefits no matter the number of hours worked) and included:
• Economic Development Officer Jean Moreno
• Development Services Director Sam McAllen
• Police Commander Richard Bradshaw
• Interim Public Works Director Cathy Colbath
• Building Safety Manager Justine Cornelius
• Assistant Fire Chief Chris DeChant
• Transportation Systems Manager Trevor Ebersole,
• Airport Administrator Walter Fix
• Planning Director Jon Froke
• Fire Inspector II Anthony Gavalyas
• Senior Marketing & Communications Manager Joe Hengenmuehler
• Licensing & Taxpayer Analyst Tammy Hicks
• Fire Marshall Charles Jenkins
• Assistant Police Chief Matt Lively
• Assistant Planning Director Tabitha Perry
• CVB Manager Lorraine Pino
• Economic Development Administrator Kristen Stephenson
• Intergovernmental Programs Director Brent Stoddard
• Communications Director Julie Watters

I can see it now. When one of these people had to meet regarding the Super Bowl, they designated an associate to be in charge of their regular duties. Their responsibilities transferred to someone else who had to pick up the slack. These are valuable employees whose time was taken away from administering their departments and providing service to every Glendale resident. How much time was diverted from providing service to you, me, all of us? 1,000 hours, 2,000 hours? Glendale may consider it inconsequential to track their time but we, the taxpayers of Glendale, would like to know how many hours and the value of their time was diverted as a result of the Super Bowl. It is a true cost that must be accounted for.

Add the cost of non-salaried employees (paid wages and benefits for a 40 hour work week) who were tasked with carrying out the plans of this committee. It constitutes a direct transference of service time belonging to Glendale residents and diverted to support the Super Bowl.

Glendale’s rationale for its failure to track employee time and consequently the value of that time as a direct cost occurrence is, “In conclusion, the determination was made that the task of serving as the host city for the Super Bowl was a service being provided as a result of Council direction (Page 13).” On the face of it, that is one of the most illogical statements ever. Glendale goes on to say, “More importantly, requiring employees to track time would not be an effective or efficient use of scarce resources and there was no monetary gain that could be accomplished by doing so (Page 13).” Really? True, no monetary gain would be achieved but thousands of employee hours at real cost as well as service delivery avoidance to Glendale residents should be accounted for. It is a true cost to the taxpayers of Glendale that to date has remained hidden.

Glendale goes on to say, “Setting aside cost avoidance, after accounting for Glendale’s direct costs and direct fee-based revenue, the result was a negative net financial impact of $578,965. It is important to note that this does not account for any costs associated with pre-planning activities (Page 2, executive summary).” If the costs of employee time were recognized in this report it is expected that the true cost, rather than the $578,965 acknowledged would double to over a million dollars.

It is to be expected that Glendale would put as much positive spin on its hosting costs as possible and goes to great lengths to point out that Glendale does not have enough hotel rooms or venues to gain financially as well as offset it costs to host a Super Bowl. The overarching issue remains that Glendale experiences a financial loss in hosting the Super Bowl. Until that is remedied Glendale should not be in the Super Bowl hosting business.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

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 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 17 years and 147 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

We all know about the billions the NFL (as a non-profit organization) made from the Super Bowl. It is estimated that the city lost somewhere between $1 and $1.6 million dollars. It turns out it was lucrative for some city employees working overtime for these major events. A total of 305 city employees were credentialed for the Super Bowl. They did not have assigned seats but that would not have prevented them from being in attendance. Many of them worked. The guys and girls on the line – 36 firefighters and 92 police officers – worked hard that day. Some credentialed employees in attendance if truth be told didn’t work at all but certainly were in attendance.

Fire Department numbers and figures provided under a Public Record Request reflect combined Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl figures as the department did not track each of these events separately. However the Fire Department had 105 of its employees credentialed for the Super Bowl (Please note: The Public Records Request provided names of all credentialed employees. I chose not to use them):

  • Fire Chief -1
  • Deputy Chief -1
  • Deputy Fire Chief-1
  • Executive Assistant Fire Chief-1
  • Deputy Chief of Logistics-1
  • Assistant Chief of Operations-1
  • Assist Chief of Logistics & Personnel-1
  • Deputy Chief of EMS-1
  • Fire Marshall-1
  • Assistant Fire Marshall-1
  • Deputy Fire Marshall-3
  • Division Chief of Communications-1
  • Division Manager-1
  • Resource Manager-1
  • Inspector-1
  • Battalion Chief-2
  • Acting Captain EMS-1
  • MD-1
  • Administrative Support-5
  • Administrative Supervisor-1
  • Firefighter-36
  • Fire Engineer-11
  • Fire Captain-29
  • Cadet-2
  • Recruit-1

Rates of pay differed for the top five earners encompassing all 3 major events (Fiesta Bowl, Pro Bowl and Super Bowl)  and each earned (again names were provided and I chose not to use them):

  • Fire Captain at 148.75 hours for $11,339.21 (Overtime at $76.23 per hour)
  • Fire Captain at 138.50 hours for $10,939.73(Overtime at $78.98 per hour)
  • Fire Captain at 98 hours for $7,235.34 (Overtime at $73.83 per hour)
  • Fire Engineer at 152 hours for $7,081.68 (Overtime at $46.13 per hour)
  • Division Manager at 19 hours for $4,180.00 (Overtime at $220 per hour)

Police Department numbers and figures provided under a Public Record Request do reflect the Super Bowl figures alone. The Police Department had 190 of its employees credentialed for the Super Bowl (Please note: the Public Records Request provided names of all employees. I chose not to use them):

  • Police Chief-1
  • Assistant Chief-2
  • Lieutenant-9
  • Commander-6
  • Detective-1
  • Sergeant-18
  • SWAT Sergeant-3
  • Sergeant EOD-1
  • EOD Officer-4
  • Sergeant K9-1
  • PIO Lieutenant-1
  • PIO Sergeant-1
  • PIO Officer-3
  • Detention Manager-1
  • Detention Officer-2
  • OIT Officer-1
  • Check In-5
  • Dispatcher-3
  • Communications-6
  • SWAT Officer-24
  • Officer-92
  • K9 Officer-5

The rate of pay for these Sergeants was $45.22 per hour (Again I chose not to use names):

  • Sergeant for 123 hours at $5,561.25
  • SWAT Sergeant for 70 hours at $3,165.27
  • SWAT Sergeant for 66 hours at $2,984.40
  • Sergeant for 60 hours at $2,713.09
  • SWAT Sergeant for 55 hours at $2,486.99

Of the total of 305 City of Glendale employees credentialed for the Super Bowl 10 were not Public Safety employees. Some of the more notable non Public Safety credentialed employees were:

  • Former City Manager Brenda Fischer
  • Former Assistant City Manager Julie Frisoni
  • Current Assistant City Manager Jennifer Campbell
  • Intergovernmental Director Brent Stoddard
  • Former Communications Director Julie Watters
  • Development Services Director Sam McAllen
  • Program Administrator of Economic Development Jean Moreno

When asked under a Public Records Request to verify those employees who actually used their credentials this was the city response, “The city does not have any records to produce that would be responsive to this request. The credentials provided did require the user to scan in and out upon entering the hard perimeter of the stadium; however, the scanning equipment used did not belong to the city, nor was the city provided with any reports or other information about city employee scans.” How about that? The city doesn’t know but presumably the NFL does.

The city’s designated 22 member Operational Planning Team for the Super Bowl was comprised of the following employees:

  • Richard Bradshaw – Police
  • Cathy Colbath – Public Works
  • Justine Cornelius – Building Safety
  • Chris DeChant – Fire
  • Trevor Ebersole – Traffic
  • Walter Fix – Airport
  • Patty Frey – Fire
  • Jon Froke – Planning
  • Julie Frisoni – Communications/Asst. City Manager
  • Anthony Gavalyas – Fire
  • Joe Hengemuehler – Communications
  • Tamara Hicks – Licensing
  • Charles Jenkins – Fire
  • Matt Lively – Police
  • Sam McAllen – Code Enforcement
  • Jean Moreno – Economic Development
  • Tabitha Perry – Planning
  • Lorraine Pino- Convention Bureau
  • Claire Smith – Management Aide
  • Kristen Stephenson – Economic Development
  • Brent Stoddard – Intergovernmental Relations
  • Julie Watters – Communications

Quite a few of the members of this committee are department heads and even directors of departments. In city hierarchy their time was very valuable in terms of pay. Yet the city never tracked their hours of planning nor counted their hours of meeting as an identified cost incurred by the city for the Super Bowl. The same can be said of the 16 member Public Information Officers group comprised of the following:

  • Tracy Breeden – Police
  • Jackie Cole – Police
  • Ronald Hart – Fire
  • Joe Hengemuehler – Communications
  • Tamra Ingersoll – Communications
  • Sam McAllen – Code Enforcement
  • Jean Moreno – Economic Development
  • Jay O’Neil – Police
  • Robin Phillips – Communications
  • Laurie Sapp – Media Center
  • Daniel Senese – Fire
  • Rochelle Thomas – Police
  • Daniel Valenzuela – Fire
  • David Vidaure – Police
  • Julie Watters – Communications
  • Michael Young – Fire

Jean Moreno, Sam McAllen, Joe Hengemuehler and Julie Watters worked within both groups. These 2 groups were made up of 34 employees some of whom are high salaried employees. What remains troubling is that no accounting of their time and talent is tracked by the city yet they are expenses that the city incurred to host the Super Bowl.

Whatever figure the city claims as its cost to host the Super Bowl is bogus as long as all costs are not tracked. Employee time and wages are one component of the cost. What about equipment used? Police and fire vehicles, sanitation trucks, transportation equipment, etc. the city used? What about O&M costs for these vehicles? What about other equipment or personnel I wasn’t wise enough to ask for in attributing costs? Although my Public Record Requests were as specific and detailed as I could make them there were sure to be items I never thought of including. As we all know if you don’t specifically ask, you won’t get it. The city is not going to volunteer to give up information.

There you have it. Based on the information provided by the city I did my best to calculate expenses and revenues for hosting the Super Bowl. After all is said and done, Interim Assistant City Manager Tom Duensing’s figure of $2.2 million is incorrect. Add another million to two million dollars and you would be in the ball park. Perhaps the city will take note and if there should ever be another Super Bowl in Glendale city administrators will make every effort to track ALL costs not just the most visible – Public Safety. The city loses money owning the spring training ball park and the arena. Should it consciously continue to lose money hosting the Super Bowl and other major events? Perhaps it’s time to revisit any and all contracts associated with these major events as a means of city loss prevention. We love hosting them but the taxpayers of Glendale should not have to pay for them. It is incumbent upon the city to insure that all event promoters pay their fair share to alleviate the burden of loss the city continues to experience.

By the way, the city in its city council meeting of May 26, 2015 refunded $3 million dollars to AZSTA (Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority) in sales tax. That sales tax would have gone a long way to covering the loss sustained by the city. What’s wrong with this picture?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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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It has been 17 years and 129 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

When it comes to determining the actual cost of hosting the Super Bowl it is almost impossible using the city’s current financial tracking system. As the city responded to my Public Information Request it noted for Pro Bowl and Super Bowl expenses, “It was not announced that the Pro Bowl would be held in Glendale until budget development already took place so there were not separate accounts created for Pro Bowl expenses. Everything was charged to fund 1010 National Events.” In terms of Public Safety costs the city also responded with, “There was not a separate reporting code for Pro Bowl. Pro Bowl public safety costs were subject to the provisions of the city’s contract with Global Spectrum for public safety services at the stadium and the city will receive a partial reimbursement for those expenses.”

I requested a list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way. The city’s response was, “A list as requested does not exist, but the documents provided somewhat address the request. There were obviously other departments involved as issues arose that affected their service areas, but a list was not created for tracking purposes.”

Based upon city provided figures I arrived at police Pro Bowl figures of 5,486 hours and wages of $309,387.54 and fire Pro Bowl figures of 1,400 hours and wages of $90,000. The city received partial reimbursement from Global Spectrum and I have established an estimated reimbursement figure of approximately $70,000 for police and $45,000 for fire services. Obviously this does not include other departments’ employee time and materials. Based upon figures available it is estimated that the city spent a minimum of $300,000 for public safety in support of the Pro Bowl. Other department costs are estimated to be in the range of $200,000. The city spent an estimated range of $500,000 in non-reimbursable hosting costs for the Pro Bowl.

Based upon city provided figures I arrived at police Super Bowl figures of 7,321.89 hours and wages of $527,527.08 and fire Super Bowl figures of 2,900 hours and wages of $241,000. The city’s costs for public safety alone are approximately $768,000. Add the city identified travel expenses for the 2014 Super Bowl of $19,000, Building Safety costs of $40,000 and Transportation Department costs of $787,000. These city identified costs total $1.61 million.

Add the untracked, unidentified costs such as the Super Bowl Operations Planning Team, the Code Compliance Enforcement Teams and the PIO team. Now add the untracked, unidentified costs of many departments: Sanitation, Marketing, Streets, Parks & Recreation, Planning & Zoning, etc. These costs are easily estimated to total $1 million to $1.5 million. It is fair to estimate the city’s true cost for hosting the 2015 Super Bowl between $2.6 to $3.1 million dollars.

What have you, the taxpayer, paid to be identified as a Sports Mecca in 2015?

  • Fiesta Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $300,000 to $500,000.
  • Pro Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $500,000
  • Super Bowl non-reimbursable cost of an estimated $2.6 million to $3.1 million
  • Total cost an estimated $3.4 million to $4.1 million dollars.

Ka-ching…

Next up…some interesting factoids discovered and did the city earn any money while hosting these events?

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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 17 years and 115 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

This series of blogs is an in depth look at the true costs to the City of Glendale to host the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl in 2015. This has been difficult to write. Not because the subject matter is difficult but because the city’s response was complex, in some cases non-resposive and much of the material they provided required extensive untangling. The city is to be commended on supplying the answers to my request in a very timely fashion. There is a disclaimer. Despite my desire to obtain complete information from the city, the city did not create a mechanism to capture all of the costs that could be attributed to any of these events. More about this later.

It has been widely reported that Tom Duensing, Glendale’s Finance Director, claimed the cost of hosting the 2015 Super Bowl at $2.2 million dollars. Yet the cost to host the 2008 Super Bowl to the city was $2.8 million dollars. How could hosting in 2015 cost the city less? The answer is…it didn’t.

Inflation alone would have made all costs for services and equipment rise. The average inflation rate per year from 2008 to 2014 was 1.97% or 13.4% for seven years (the amount of time between the two hostings). See this link: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/historical-inflation-rates/ . Just to account for inflation added to the 2008 cost of $2.8M would drive up the 2015 cost to $3.7M. How does Mr. Duensing, with a straight face, claim a 2015 Super Bowl cost of only $2.2M? It’s quite simple…don’t count everything.

My Public Information Request to the city included:

  • The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.
  • A list of all departments that contributed, by event, in any way, including but not limited to Public Safety as well as any and all departments involved from the Attorney’s Office to Zoning (A to Z).
  • The number of employees used for each event from all departments you list, including but not limited to consultants, contract employees or regular (salaried and at will) employees.
  • The number of hours attributable to each event, by department, including but not limited to planning, preparing, action upon and after action review of each of these 3 major events.
  • The total dollar figure for employee costs attributable to each event, including but not limited to straight time pay, overtime pay, special pay, time and a half pay. List of all employees by job title and department, dollar amount for each of those employees who received overtime pay, special pay, assignment pay, time and a half pay, bonuses, Police & Fire to include sworn and non-sworn administrative staff from those departments. Separate list for each of those three events.
  • The total dollar figure attributable to each event for use of all equipment by department or rented from other sources from but not limited to vehicles to trash cans whether a city asset or rented.
  • Total revenues earned by the City of Glendale directly attributable to each of the three events, including but not limited to sales taxes, fees, in-kind contributions and reimbursed costs.

Now that is a very, very specific and detailed Public Information Request. Here’s a secret. If ever you have occasion to request information from this city or from any other governmental agency for that matter, you must be very specific and very precise in your wording. Governmental agencies don’t want you, the public, to have information. Information in today’s world is power. They don’t want to cede their power. If you were to be made aware of the information, you just might question how and why monies were spent.

Let’s begin with my first question: “The cost attributable to each event of planning for, preparation for, game day hosting and after actions.” What do we learn from the city’s response to this question? First, that it did not provide a complete answer. The city’s convention bureau paid the Super Bowl Host Committee $72,000 in support of the Super Bowl. These were not city funds. At the city council meeting of December 10, 2013 council passed Resolution 4758 authorizing the use of funds received from the Arizona Office of Tourism under Maricopa County Proposition 302 to be paid to the Host Committee. The city was merely a pass-through. It received the $72,000 grant, gave it to the CVB, who then gave it to the Host Committee in two payments: one in 2014 and one in 2015.

In November of 2014 the city formed a Super Bowl Operational Planning Team consisting of 22 employees. Those employees came from the Fire Department, Police Department, Code Enforcement, Planning Department, Intergovernmental Relations, Marketing & Communications, etc.  What we don’t get is information on how many times they met, for how long, what direction they gave to other departments. Did they meet for an hour, two hours? Once a week? Once a month? What about meetings outside of city hall, with the Host Committee or NFL agents?

Why wasn’t a special finance code number assigned so their hours could be tracked? This is over a year before the actual Super Bowl. The Finance Department had the time to set up a financial tracking system that would account for hours and salaries but they didn’t do it. The city then formed a separate Public Information Officer Distribution List comprised of 18 employees. A few were from the Operational Planning Team but a majority was not. This distribution list was to insure that all PIOs within the city received the same talking points if queried, about the Super Bowl. Again, we don’t know how much time these 18 PIOs spent on Super Bowl activities.

The city sent 7 employees to the 2014 Super Bowl in New Jersey. Four were from the Police Department and three were from the Fire Department. I would consider this trip as essential. Those 7 employees had direct responsibilities related to Glendale’s hosting of the Super Bowl. They learned current and valuable information. The cost of their travel was $18,639.10.

The city’s Code Compliance division created Clean Zone Enforcement Teams that operated from Saturday, January 24, 2015 through Sunday, February 1, 2015. This encompasses the period in which the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl took place. For 7 days out of that 9 day period teams of 2 code compliance officers were dedicated to the area of these events from 8 AM to 4 PM. On 2 Sundays during this period they worked from 8 AM to Noon. 8 full time employees (FTEs) were used for a total of 128 hours. There was no information provided relating to FTE costs associated with this effort.

What is learned from the city’s answers to this first question? The city and especially Mr. Duensing was very sloppy in tracking the costs of all three events distinctly incurred by other departments that were not attributable to Public Safety. Mr. Duensing was probably correct in using a figure of $2.2M for the Super Bowl but that figure appears related only to Public Safety costs and ignores the costs incurred by other departments.

For example, the Attorney’s Office spent time and personnel reviewing contracts associated with these events. The Building Safety division spent time and personnel inspecting temporary structures. The Sanitation Department made extra runs to pick up trash. The Streets division sent out street sweepers. The Transportation Department manned their transportation center to monitor traffic and hired a helicopter for their use to monitor traffic. They used man hours and FTEs making sure the traffic lights were synched properly. The Planning Department reviewed and approved plans for temporary structures. The Media & Communications Department and the Intergovernmental Relations Department also had duties related to these events. How many FTEs were used and how much time did they consume? How much of their salaries can we attribute? We don’t know because the city failed to track that information.

The hours and FTEs used for these events were enormous and placed a strain on the delivery of regular service to Glendale residents. Yet, unbelievably, the city created no mechanism to track the costs incurred by the many city departments tasked with contributing man power and time.

We know the city created an Operational Planning Team, a PIO team and a Code Compliance team but it can provide no costs associated with any of them. These were committees created a year before the actual events. There was time to create a method of tracking the time expended and costs associated but it was not done.

The only costs acknowledged by the city in answer to question #1 were the $72,000 grant passed on to the Host Committee (not city funds); and the $18,639.10 the city paid for public safety employees to attend the Super Bowl in New Jersey in 2014.

Next up…a look at Public Safety costs for each of the three events, the Fiesta Bowl, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl.

© Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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.

Several weeks ago a friend connected me to Joe Matthews of the Zocolo Public Square website. Zocolo is affiated with ASU and publishes articles that relate to relevant current issues. It then distributes its articles to its media affiliates. Here is more information about them taken from their website:

“Zócalo Public Square, a project of the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University, is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism. We partner with educational, cultural, and philanthropic institutions, as well as public agencies, to present free public events and conferences in cities across the U.S. and beyond, and to publish original daily journalism that we syndicate to 150 media outlets nationwide. At a time when our country’s public sphere is narrow and polarized, Zócalo seeks to be a welcoming intellectual space where individuals and communities can tackle fundamental questions in an accessible, nonpartisan, and broad-minded spirit. We are committed to translating ideas to broad audiences and to engaging a new, young, and diverse generation in the public square.”

They asked me to do a piece on Glendale before and after the Super Bowl. It is my first official byline (if you don’t count the opinion columns I wrote for the Arizona Republic in the late 1990s).  My thanks to Zocolo for allowing me to use the piece on my blog. With their permission I am posting my piece and a link to their site: http://www.zocalopublicsquare.org

Why My Hometown Regrets Hosting the Super Bowl

Not Only Were the Economic Gains for Glendale Exaggerated, But I Can’t Even Go Shopping This Sunday

by Joyce Clark|January 29, 2015

My family and I moved to Glendale, Arizona–where the Super Bowl will be played next week–in 1968, when it was one of many small Arizona towns ringing Phoenix.

Why Glendale? Serendipity. My relatives were realtors and found a house in Glendale that met our specifications. Glendale was a small, comfortable town. Our children, all under 10 years of age, walked a quarter mile to school. They played in the municipal park and swam in the municipal pool. There was little traffic, and getting to work or shopping in Phoenix took 10 minutes, tops. What is today the upscale area of Arrowhead was then a desert where we took the kids to ride motorbikes and to shoot BB guns. On a spring evening, the air was heavy with the scent of citrus blossoms from local groves.

Glendale has bet its future on making itself into a playground for professional sports.

Fans who attend the Super Bowl will encounter an entirely different city, a place that, as much as any other American municipality, has bet its future on making itself into a playground for professional sports. If some locals look less than happy about the plan, know that it’s the risks involved in that gamble, not the traffic, that’s bothering us.

Glendale has undergone dramatic change. At its incorporation in 1912, it was a Russian-Asian-Hispanic farming community. In the 1960s, when my family moved here, Glendale was a small city with a population of 45,000 covering just 12 of its present 52 square miles. Then, in the 1990s, new subdivisions, including Arrowhead, and new shopping, including Arrowhead Mall, grew up. Downtown reinvented itself as an antique mecca. With my children graduated from college and scattered to build their own families, Glendale adopted a district system of political representation rather than the at-large system that perpetually placed the “good ole boys” from downtown in positions of power. At the urging of friends, I ran for the city council and won a seat, serving from 1992 to 1996.

But Glendale wanted more than to be just another Phoenix suburb with the same chain stores. We were determined to carve our own distinct, national identity. In the early 2000s, as I returned to the council, our attention turned to the possibilities of sports as a catalyst. A strategy took shape: if we built major sports venues, the resulting tourism and sales tax dollars would strengthen city coffers and allow us to make major improvements in the quality of life of our residents. Build it and they will come, so to speak – especially sports fans and tourists.

First, a city-owned venue for professional hockey and for entertainment, the Gila River Arena (formerly known as Jobing.com Arena), and a complementary retail complex, Westgate, were built in partnership with developer Steve Ellman. Then, via another partnership with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, we created two more sports facilities: the county-owned University of Phoenix football stadium (home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals) and a city-owned spring training baseball facility called Camelback Ranch (home-away-from-home to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox). The football stadium put Glendale in the Super Bowl business for the first time; promised windfalls from hosting the big game were supposed to afford us the option of paying off construction debt related to the hockey arena and the baseball facility sooner.

Glendale became the NFL Arizona Cardinals’ home field. At the time of approval of the three new Glendale sports venues, our economy was robust. We saw no hint of the dramatic national recession to come. We learned to manage the crowds of people who descended upon our community for games; the effect is felt only by those who live in close proximity to the stadium, as I do. I cope by not shopping or driving near the stadium on game days, and the city, at my insistence, discouraged fan parking in adjacent neighborhoods. And 350 days a year, when there is no football, Glendale remains very much itself.

The bigger downside proved to be financial. It wasn’t long before optimistic staff projections of increased sales tax receipts and new economic development proved to be wrong. Then came the national recession. As we hosted our first Super Bowl in 2008 – next week’s will be our second–Glendale was in trouble. Nevertheless, expectations were high–a major selling point for building these sports facilities had been that the international publicity of a big Super Bowl game would put Glendale on the map, accelerating business relocations to our city and bringing new development. Those expectations weren’t met. To this day not one company has relocated to Glendale as a direct result of the Super Bowl. New retail development has located as close as possible to our freeway, not the stadium.

Pulling off that Super Bowl in 2008 was an all-hands on deck effort, with all city departments involved in the planning, preparation, and execution of Glendale’s moment in the spotlight. The city spent $3.4 million on the event and recouped a little over $1.2 million in sales tax and fees.

The resulting $2.2 million loss, combined with a national recession, was just one sign that our sports strategy was unsustainable. Debt related to the two sports venues that Glendale itself owned–the hockey arena and the ballpark–had once seemed manageable but soon proved to be a financial albatross. Glendale was bleeding. The regular season football games proved to be a wash financially. While sales tax revenues from Westgate are greater on game days the additional revenue is consumed by increased public safety and transportation costs to manage traffic and safety issues.

Other Super Bowl host cities, Miami Gardens in Florida and the Arlington area in Texas, have mechanisms for state reimbursement of their hosting costs, but we don’t. In recent years, Glendale’s mayor has concluded it doesn’t seem prudent to be in the Super Bowl hosting business if there is no way to recover its costs.

So why is the Super Bowl in Glendale again? The Super Bowl bid process is a long one, and locations are approved many years before the actual event. Tremendous political pressure was placed on the city from the Bidwill family, owners of the Arizona Cardinals, as well as other stakeholders, swaying a majority of the council to approve the bid in 2011. I was not in the majority. Glendale held out hope for a bill introduced in the Arizona state legislature in 2014 that promised to reimburse the city for its $2 million in game-related public safety costs. We got the Super Bowl but not the legislation. Glendale expects to reintroduce the bill this year in hopes of a different outcome.

There are some good things about the Super Bowl. Even though Glendale loses money, the state, the county and the Phoenix Metropolitan area will share in the injection into the economy of a projected $500 million dollars. Direct TV is hosting a major music festival in Glendale across the street from the stadium. The city has scheduled one of its premier events, the Chocolate Affaire, the weekend of the Super Bowl. The confluence of chocolate lovers and football fans will generate revenue for Glendale’s merchants and restaurants.

Costs to host this year’s Super Bowl have gone up since 2008. The city’s loss for this game is sure to be greater than the $2.2 million dollars loss the first time. Despite some additional development during the economic recovery, there are still not enough amenities surrounding the stadium to generate the sales tax needed to cover the hosting costs.

We love Glendale and so will this year’s Super Bowl visitors. Even as our population has grown to nearly 250,000 (we’re the nation’s 87th largest city and Arizona’s fifth largest), the city still retains a hometown feel. My family isn’t going anywhere–we are “nesters” and once we plant ourselves we stay planted. I invested 16 years as a councilmember helping to shape Glendale’s present and future. I choose not to walk away from my investment. So we’ve scrubbed our faces, slicked back our hair and picked up the living room. We are ready to welcome you to our home.

But the lack of financial relief has led many of us to believe that this should be Glendale’s last Super Bowl.

Joyce Clark is a 47 year resident of Glendale and served on the City Council for 16 years. She retired in 2013 and is a blog writer on local Glendale issues at www.joyceclarkunfiltered.com

Primary Editor: Joe Mathews. Secondary Editor: Andrés Martinez.

COPYRIGHT 2003-2012 ZÓCALO PUBLIC SQUARE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Before I extend Thank Yous to the people who really merit them I have a few thoughts about the Super Bowl to be played in 4 days a scant mile from my home. Life goes on as normal for those of us adjacent to the site. We have seen the Direct TV Musical Fest site go up in record time. We have seen vacant parcels scraped, leveled and marked for additional parking. On game day we know better than to travel in the direction of the stadium. At my insistence while I served as a Glendale councilmember, the city will protect adjacent neighbors from hoards of fans seeking to find a free parking spot.

The only discernible difference has been the army of helicopters flying over our home. Apparently every agency whether federal, state, county or local, has been granted permission to fly over the stadium and hence, our home. I guess the boys are displaying their toys to see if they can top one IMG_0243another with the biggest and the best. There has been one particularly pesky bird. It belongs to a federal agency and it has been flying a one mile grid pattern for over a week. It wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that it is flying low…really low…perhaps a 100 feet or so above the ground. I have been told that it is surveying radiation levels in the area and that this is a normal practice for many large events, like the Waste Management Open and NASCAR races, etc.

No matter my position on the excessive billions the NFL will earn on game day, the reality is that Glendale is hosting the event. I, just as 99% of the nation’s population, couldn’t afford to attend with nose bleed seats going for a base price of $800. Then I thought about it. Even if I could afford the price of a ticket, would I go? The answer is no. I would not contribute my hard earned money to enrich the coffers of the NFL and the team owners.

In the light of the fact that Glendale is hosting the Super Bowl it is appropriate to thank not the city council or senior administrative employees but the line personnel who make Glendale a success. These are our unsung heroes and heroines…the unseen, silent majority of Glendale’s employees who take pride in guaranteeing Glendale’s extraordinarygood performance.

They did the planning and preparation. They will perform countless duties during the event and they will clean up the remnants after the event is over. Their duties range from reviewing licenses and permits; overseeing the construction of temporary structures; planning approval for siting special events; making countless trips to pick up piles of waste material, insuring that our streets are safe, keeping event traffic moving safely and quickly; checking that all traffic signals and message boards are functioning properly; guaranteeing the health and safety not just of event attendees but responding to the needs of our residents.

This is just a sampling of all that is required to host a Super Bowl. There are far more duties performed than I have mentioned. For those not listed, please accept my apology. These employees, often unseen, are the work horses of our city’s organization. They are rarely thanked and their performance is often taken for granted.

To those employees who made Glendale shine and once again, proved that Glendale is without peer in hosting the Super Bowl game, please accept my genuine and deeply held appreciation and thanks for a job not just well done but extraordinarily done. Go Patriots!

©Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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 quick note before taking a look at the NFL bid requirements for a Super Bowl. Yesterday I wrote about Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers’ inability to purchase tickets for the Super Bowl taking place a mere 5 days from now in Glendale. Today the Arizona Republic has an editorial very much in agreement. They refer to the NFL’s actions, or better yet, inaction, as “petty.” On this assessment I disagree. The pettiness is owned by the Bidwills. If they wanted Mayor Weiers to have Super Bowl tickets, the deed would already have been done.

On to the Super Bowl bid process. There are two links that provide the NFL requirements for hosting a Super Bowl. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the entire 153 page document has a limk. Here it is:  http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/262253921.html . Glendale, years ago, posted only that portion of the bid document (43 pages) relevant to a host city. Here is the link: https://www.glendaleaz.com/clerk/Contracts/8806.pdf . I am not going to go into excruciating detail about the requirements. You have the links to read the entire bid for yourselves.

It is interesting to note that there are several phrases very, very liberally sprinkled throughout the bid specifications. The first is “at no cost to the NFL.” The second is “made available to the NFL rent-free.” The third is “provided by the Host Committee at no cost to the NFL.” The fourth is “discounted to the NFL.” The last is “the NFL must have exclusive rights at no cost to the NFL.”

Host cities go to great lengths to get noticed by the team owners in the hope that they will win the bid. In 2011 Arizona presented each team owner with an IPad, customized with each team’s logo and already loaded with a video presentation touting the Arizona bid. In 2012, Indianapolis had children deliver its bid to each of the team owners. Florida promised the owners yachts; Tampa offered all of the owners a golf outing with Arnold Palmer; and Texas just outright offered a million dollars to cover the Super Bowl game day costs. Here is a sampling of the ‘must haves’ included in the bid:

  • Provide 35,000 free parking spaces
  • Free billboards across the Valley
  • Receipt of all revenues for the game’s ticket sales
  • Installation of NFL preferred ATM’s at the stadium
  • Presidential suites, at no cost, in high-end hotels
  • Free access to three high-end golf courses in the summer or fall before the game
  • Free curbside parking at the NFL house
  • Free access to two top quality bowling venues

And the list goes on:

  • Temporary stadium seating must be 19” wide
  • Seating for the hoards of media must be 20” wide with an accompanying 24” clear, workspace
  • Grass field must be re-sodded for the game; and the NFL can remove chunks of it after the game, for resale, if it wishes
  • The stadium must be available to the NFL 4 weeks prior to Game Day and 4 days after; exclusive use for the NFL is 2 weeks prior
  • NFL has complete and exclusive control for 2 weeks prior to game of all club, restaurant, meeting, and hospitality facilities at the stadium
  • The host city must guarantee that its police, fire, permits, etc. are the top priorities
  • NFL has exclusive right to sell game day programs and novelties at the stadium
  • NFL will receive the stadium’s percentage from the sales of food, beverages and catering
  • Only NFL sponsor’s products will have logos seen on all products; all other logos are to be covered or removed
  • NFL allotted suites get a 30% discount on food and beverages
  • NFL requires 300 top quality buses; 65 limos (no older than 5 years); 5 premier quality buses and 125 “school” buses
  • Hotels where the teams stay obligated to televise the NFL Network for a year before the Super Bowl

There’s far more but this alone is enough to make one’s head spin. What does the NFL expect its game day costs to be? About $2.5 million dollars but let’s be generous and double that to $5 million dollars. For a several million dollar investment it earns billions. Yet it will not reimburse host cities for their costs. How greedy can it get? Oh, and the Host Committee must stipulate which of the NFL game day costs of $2.5 million dollars it will cover.

Did you know the Arizona Host Committee, just like the NFL, is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit organization? Its contributions are not deductible as charitable contributions but they can be deducted as a trade or business expense if ordinary and necessary in the conduct of business. Don’t you think every one of the businesses that contributed to the Arizona Host Committee had their CPAs and attorneys justify their contributions as deductions to the IRS? You bet they have.

Did you know that the Bidwills bought Tom’s Tavern in downtown Phoenix? It’s being operated by Rojo Hospitality, a division of the food company the Bidwills created to serve the University of Phoenix stadium. No wonder Michael Bidwill is so ecstatic to see NFL major events occurring in downtown Phoenix rather than in Glendale.

Why is Michael Bidwill feuding with the City of Glendale? He wants the City of Glendale to build a parking garage in the Westgate area at a cost of $25 to $35 million dollars. Why the need? Every inch of land surrounding the footprint of the stadium has been approved for development as the Bidwill’s Sportsman’s Park East and Sportsman’s Park West. These approved plans call for hotels, apartments, offices and retail — some 200’ feet tall, twice the height of the stadium (to date unapproved by the FAA). Of course those plans call for parking but it is parking dedicated to the structures to be built while removing all of the football parking space surrounding the stadium. That football dedicated parking has to be replaced and what better dime to use than the city’s.

If all of this doesn’t make you angry, nothing will. Perhaps someday the general public (read taxpayers) will realize in reality, they pay for the Super Bowl, and not just with tickets to the game or the merchandise they buy. I still call for all of the potential host cities to form their own league (or consortium), present a united front to the NFL and say “enough already.”

©Joyce Clark, 2015

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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 seems fitting with the Super Bowl in Glendale only two weeks away and the Packers/Seahawks and Colts/Patriots games on today, January 18, 2015 that the NHL and its nonprofit status merits another look.

Many of you may not know that the NFL has nonprofit, 501 (c) 6 status. What other types of organizations enjoy 501 (c) 6 status? Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade. Hmmm, which one of these is not like the others? It originally received its tax exempt status in 1945. It’s doubtful if anyone remembers why. In 1966 Congress reaffirmed the NFL’s tax exempt status in return for a merger between the AFL and the NFL; the promise to locate a team in New Orleans and other miscellany.

The NFL is a billion dollar industry. This year the media is reporting that it will earn well north of over $10 billion dollars (that’s billion with a ‘b’ and not a typo). To be fair it does pay some taxes through a subsidiary, NFL Ventures, for its TV deals and some merchandise sold.

The NCAA, NHL and PGA Tour do have a similar non-profit status. Other sports organizations with the same stature as the NFL do not share in this form of congressional largesse. Major League Baseball gave up its nonprofit status in 2007 and the National Basketball Association has never been tax-exempt.

What makes the NFL nonprofit status so obscene to so many people? It revolves around the ever growing and greedy, very detailed and specific stipulations required to be met by state host committees. It’s gotten to the point that nearly everything, down to the towels used by the players, must be comped or deeply discounted. The bid always requires the payment of no taxes by governments – local, county and state. State host committees are forced to solicit more and more dollars from the public/private sectors to offset the costs of promotion and hosting. For example, the City of Scottsdale ponied up a million dollars to the Host Committee. In 2008, the last time Arizona hosted a Super Bowl, the Arizona Host Committee’s budget was approximately $18 million dollars. This year its budget is over $30 million dollars.

In November of 2014 legislation was introduced in Congress to remove the NFL’s tax exempt status. Don’t expect it to go anywhere. This time it is spite legislation and an attempt by some Democratic congressional members to provide pay back because of the NFL’s refusal to change the name of the Washington Redskins and its failure to address the issue of domestic violence (ala Ray Rice) in a more appropriate fashion. The legislation was offered under the guise of earning the federal government over $100 million dollars in tax revenue over the next ten years.

Congressional efforts to rein in the NFL will, as in other years, die quietly. The NFL spends millions, reportedly over $2 million in the past two years, in support of various congressional candidates.  They will not willingly kill their golden goose. Throw in the dollars spent on pure lobbying efforts to kill any such legislation and the NFL’s nonprofit status will remain intact.

So, it seems the big gorilla will remain the big gorilla, for now, as the league and team owners enjoy tremendous profits on the backs of you, me and every other taxpayer in the country.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The 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 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 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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