Coyotes logoThe entire Coyotes ownership saga began with the Glendale city council’s decision to accept Steve Ellman’s proposal for a sports and entertainment district that included the construction of an arena for the express purpose of having the Coyotes as its anchor tenant. Their first game was played in the new arena in 2003. The original lease management agreement did not require a payment to the manager of the arena. That concept died with the Moyes’ bankruptcy in 2009. I was part of the drama until January 15, 2013 as a councilmember. I speak for myself and not for any Glendale elected officials, past or present.

homework 1During my 16 year service on Glendale City Council one of my imperatives was to make decisions that were fully informed. As a councilmember one does that by “doing one’s homework.” That means a commitment to read the material you are provided. Ascertain all of the facts of the proposal. Question staff by asking follow up questions on material not always presented. Talk to people in the industry and talk to the stakeholders, i.e., prospective developers and business owners, and last but certainly not least, one’s constituents by informing them of the facts of the proposal and asking for their comment. You take this vast amount of information and process it through a personal sieve. One overriding parameter is to make a decision that you believe to be in the very best interest of your city, economically and socially.

diff people 2Just as all people are different so, too, are all councilmembers different. During my time on council, I have met some councilmembers who were lazy and didn’t bother to do their homework or who became wedded to a position immediately and would not budge and let facts get in the way. I have even observed some who let personal prejudice determine their position. I have also observed councilmembers who did, in fact, do their homework. Their final position may have been different from mine but that was because their personal framework of reference led them in a different direction. No matter, they earned my respect because they were not swayed by personal prejudice or preference.

city hall 2I was first elected in 1992. I think I can be considered as a Councilmember Emeritus. There are very few of us still living much less living in Glendale. In fact, there are less than a dozen. There are former Mayors Renner and Scruggs, Councilmembers Heatwole, Tolby, McAllister (living out-of-state), Eggleston, Frate, Goulette, Lieberman (living out-of state) and myself. Former Councilmember Hugh is serving once again and former Mayor Klass and former Councilmember Huffman are deceased.

mallarrowhead02From that perspective one has to appreciate Glendale’s recent history. Prior to the 1980’s Glendale was an unremarkable town that offered residents a quiet, hometown quality of life. In the early 1990’s we had an opportunity to create the first major economic engine in the city – the Bell Road Corridor to be anchored by Arrowhead Mall.  I was present for the signing of the beam that was used in the construction of Arrowhead Mall, the anchor tenant for the area.   Glendale had its first major economic engine.

Glitters_lightsGlendale’s second major economic engine became its downtown in the mid 1990’s with the advent of its first, annual major festival, Glendale Glitters and its synergy as an antique center in the state. Since then, downtown commercial has diversified. It is still not all that anyone envisions it can be but it continues to make progress. Its major anchor tenant could be considered City Hall, the Civic Center and the investment the city continues to make in hosting major downtown events. Glendale has its second major economic engine.

Courtesy Christopher B.

Courtesy Christopher B.

In the early 2000’s another opportunity for a third major economic engine was created with the relocation of the Coyotes Hockey team and the construction of arena for the team. The national economy was humming and I and the rest of council were planning for Glendale’s future. The city created a new zoning classification, “Sports and Entertainment District” and Westgate was born. Nearly all of the land surrounding the original core of Westgate to date has been approved with the Sports and Entertainment zoning classification and with Westgate’s and the arena’s stability there will be a surge of development. I won’t relate the history of the arena and the team from 2003 to the present for that has been covered in my other postings.

question 4Today uncertainty about Coyotes ownership and the fate of arena still swirls. Many have asked me for my personal assessment. There is the Beacon RFP and how it plays. There is the current crop of prospective owners: Jamison, LeBlanc/Gosbee, Pastor, Hulsizer and Reinsdorf/Kaites. Do not ignore the non-hockey bids to manage the arena: Global Spectrum, AEG and IFG. They cannot be discounted as players. I am not going to comment at this time and when I do it will be through the prism of what I, personally, believe is good for Glendale. There will be plenty of time to dissect the situation after decisions are made. It’s time to let this situation play out. I think the NHL has come to a decision and it would not surprise me to hear the announcement next week. That much is logical. Whomever the NHL has blessed must get a submission together to respond to the Beacon RFP by May 24. The finish line is in view and the winner is…?