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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.

The 4th floor of City Hall is closed today, September 14th and Friday, September 15th. Staff has been relocated to other city facilities and senior staff and councilmembers’ meetings are off-site. This is a sole occurrence as the A/C for the 4th floor is being repaired.  Everything will return to normal on Monday.

My last blog was about what this councilmember’s activities consist. As a follow up I thought I’d share just two recent activities. I thought I’d flesh out just what these various events are about.

I received a call from a constituent, Mark Werber, inviting me to tour his business located in my district. Mr. Werber owns 3 Tots Unlimited facilities in Glendale and the one I toured is at 8311 W. Glendale Avenue. I didn’t know quite what to expect but I was pleasantly impressed. His facility is clean. Have you ever entered a facility and you could smell urine or something else equally unpleasant? Not so here. It was bright and warm feeling with virtually every wall covered with child-oriented artwork.

At any time there will be approximately 120 to 150 little ones. My favorite was the baby, six-week old and older unit. In every room that I entered the children were engaged in meaningful activities. The kitchen facility was spotless and the food being prepared for lunch was fresh and wholesome.

The little ones are so innocent and unbiased.  They are color blind. It’s a joy to spend time with them. They are curious about everything and they are funny to watch and to talk to. It’s a shame that as they get older the mantle of that child-like innocence is replaced by meaner attitudes.

Although the care provided is primarily for preschool there is also space for after school care for kids from 6 to 12. They can do homework, play games and get an afterschool snack. I spent about an hour touring and asking questions. I was impressed with the facility and would recommend it to the parents of the Yucca district looking for a safe and well run facility for their children.

As an aside, I met an old friend who now manages the facility – Bob Huffman’s granddaughter. Many of you probably don’t remember Bob Huffman. He was a Glendale councilmember when I took office back in 1992. Bob was always a champion for the underserved people of Glendale and well respected by all. The most ironic was that when Bob ran for councilmember for his last time against former Councilmember Goulette, he passed away during the campaign. Yet, even deceased he still won the election. Goulette was second in vote total and ended up with Bob’s seat.

Another event I attended recently was a ribbon cutting event in my district. Union Home Mortgage has established a branch office in Westgate. The firm has been around for 18 years and has branches throughout Arizona but this is their first branch in Glendale. I had the opportunity to meet Roseanna Diaz , Manager and Robert Fettier (sp??), Regional Sales Manager. One of my neighbors and a constituent, Fortunato Beltran, is a loan officer for the company and we had an opportunity to visit for awhile.

The Mayor and I attended and Councilmember Aldama arrived a bit later. Due to a previous commitment the Mayor spoke briefly. I then took up the torch and publicly welcomed Union Home Mortgage to our community representing Glendale. The message was Glendale and especially the Yucca district is booming. New businesses are locating in the Yucca district continually.

Lastly, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra will be at Glendale’s Gila River Arena in early December, 2017. I have FREE tickets to give away for the event. In order to participate for the drawing for the free tickets you must subscribe to my weekly Friday ENews Bulletin. Information for the drawing will be published in the bulletin every Friday in November. You must be a Yucca district resident to be eligible. You must be 18 years of age or older. Tickets are not for resale. Get the latest information about what’s happening in the Yucca District and the city of Glendale by visiting the Yucca Weekly Update page. Sign up to receive these newsletters via e-mail. Read more . Please go to this site to subscribe: https://www.glendaleaz.com/yucca/index.cfmGet the Yucca Weekly Update e-mail Bulletin.

© 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.

Yucca district meeting went live. I have seen various online live videos on Facebook from time to time. A FB friend suggested that I use it to promo my district meeting last night, April 20, 2017. I decided why just use it for a promo? Why not try to bring the entire meeting online? It was our first try and sometimes the audio is not loud enough and we never thought to bring some kind of stand to place the IPad upon for steadiness. So there is some wobbling. And then I ran out of memory…I have no clue as to why. So we will work on those issues and when I have my next district meeting this Fall we will try it again. If you would like to take a look at my first try, here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.clark.338/videos/1469350713087843/ .

Coyotes bill seems DOA. The Arizona state legislature’s adjournment is fast approaching. The tentative date was scheduled for April 22nd. Arizona senate bill, SB 1149, is for all intents and purposes dead. It would have created a special taxing district to enable the Coyotes to build a new arena…anywhere but Glendale. Governor Ducey has already signaled that even if the legislation is rolled into another bill, he will not sign. His reason? He said he would not approve taxpayers supporting the cost of yet another arena in the state. It is my hope that with Anthony LeBlanc gone (he has not made any public statement for the Coyotes in over a month and there have been rumors circulating that another investor has joined the ownership group) cooler heads within the Coyotes’ ownership will prevail and there will be a reconsideration of negotiating a long-term lease with AEG, manger of the city-owned Gila River Arena.

Glendale’s bond rating increases. You might be wondering why city officials are giddy over bond rating increases delivered this week by Moody’s and recently by Standard & Poor. Why the big deal? When a city’s rating is poor, it costs the city more money to borrow because the interest rate is high. When a city’s bond rating goes up, it costs the city less to borrow money as the interest rate drops. With the upgrade in bond rating, the city will be able to refinance a majority of its outstanding debt at a lower interest rate, saving the city (you, the taxpayers) money. It also increases the city’s capacity to issue debt and makes it more likely that the city will be able to begin new Capital Improvement Projects. These projects can focus in on amenity projects, like parks and libraries, that benefit the quality of life of all of Glendale’s residents.

Volunteers appreciated. On Saturday, April 15, 2017 the city held a Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon at the Adult Center to recognize and thank the hundreds of volunteers giving thousands of hours throughout our city’s government. Mayor Weiers presented a proclamation of appreciation. Accepting on behalf of all volunteers was Bobbie Garland. I have known Bobbie for over 20 years. I have seen first- hand her willingness to give of her time. There could not have been a more fitting recipient selected. Kudos to Bobbie and all those who have followed in her foot steps.

A new name for AZSTA’s football stadium. It was announced this week that the University of Phoenix is terminating its naming rights for the stadium located in the Westgate area of Glendale. Frankly, I suspect that this action brings joy to every Glendale resident. Calling it the University of Phoenix Stadium was an anathema to many. It also created a great deal of confusion as to its location. Was it in Glendale or Phoenix? We are confident that AZSTA and the Cardinals will choose its new naming partner carefully and hopefully with no reference to Phoenix.

© 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.

Disclaimer: I am presenting my views as a private citizen who blogs about Glendale issues. The thoughts and opinions expressed do not represent the Glendale city council or its leadership staff.

As I write this blog, news has just been issued that ASU has pulled out of the plan to allow the Coyotes to use property within their athletic district. Never the less, the information below may help shed some light on why legislation introduced on February 1, 2017 would not have passed. Here are links to stories just published: http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nhl/coyotes/2017/02/03/asu-pulls-out-plan-bring-arizona-coyotes-tempe/97460974/ and http://www.abc15.com//sports/sports-blogs-local/arizona-state-backs-out-of-tempe-arena-deal-with-arizona-coyotes?utm_source=SilverpopMailing

Don’t ya just love it? SB 1474 was introduced to the Arizona legislature this Tuesday, February 1, 2017. The media announced the proposed legislation today, Friday. Fridays are always good days to introduce anything controversial as this is sure to be. It gets buried amidst a weekend, filled with fun activities and is generally ignored by the media, much less noticed by the general public.

SB 1474 is a proposed amendment to well established state tax code. The amendment proposes the creation of a “community engagement district.” Here is the link to the bill’s full text:

https://apps.azleg.gov/BillStatus/GetDocumentPdf/447123 .  Who introduced this bill?

  • Senator Kate Brophy McGee, Republican, representing District 28 in Phoenix
  • Senator Sonny Borelli, Republican, representing District 5 of Lake Havasu City
  • Senator Karin Fann, Republican, representing District 1 of Prescott
  • Senator Frank Pratt, Republican, representing District 8 of Pinal County
  • Senator Bob Worsley, Republican, representing District 25 of Mesa
  • Representative Douglas Coleman, Republican, representing District 16 of Apache Junction and Pinal County
  • Representative Thomas Shope, Republican, representing District 8 of Coolidge
  • Representative Bob Thorpe, Republican, representing District 6 of Flagstaff                                                                    

Please note that with the exception of Senator McGee (Phoenix) and Senator Worsley (Mesa), all of these legislators represent areas outside Maricopa County…hmmm.

It proposes the establishment of a “community engagement district pursuant to Section 48-3802.”  What’s in Section 48-3802? It sets the parameters under which this community engagement district may be established. Under A. it says, “The governing body of a city in which a university athletic facilities district has been established (read ASU’s district) pursuant to Section 48-4202, Subsection C may also establish a community engagement district in the city pursuant to this section if the governing body (Tempe) determines that the public convenience, necessity or welfare will be promoted by the district’s establishment…but must satisfy both of the following requirements:

  1. On the petition of the owner or owners of all of the real property on which a public facility will be located, the governing body of the city in which the property is located, on or before December 31, 2018, must adopt a resolution as described in this section.”

Most interesting is, “The district board of governors must have received, from the municipality in which the district is located (Tempe) or from any lawful nongovernmental source (ASU? Coyotes?), a financial commitment in an aggregate amount equal to or greater than the total amount to be distributed to the district under this section…” That aggregate amount has been stated publicly as $200 million dollars toward a $400 million dollar facility.

Lastly, the district will levy and excise tax on business activity in the district of no more than 2%. This is in addition to regular, state, county and city taxes.

I’m no lawyer but upon reading this proposed bill it seems to call for Tempe to pass by resolution a community engagement district since it is the jurisdiction in which the Coyotes arena would be built. Tempe must hold a public hearing on the matter. Bring your seat cushions because that promises to be one heck of a long public hearing.

Under this proposed legislation it appears that if Tempe creates such a district, “…that the establishment of the district may result in the levy of taxes to pay the costs of improvements constructed by the district and for their operation and maintenance.” It seems as if Tempe could have the authority to levy taxes upon every resident in Tempe if there is an annual deficit in revenues produced by this community engagement district. Beware of those bearing gifts in Coyotes’ clothing…the team sold Glendale by promising that the “enhanced revenues” it would receive would cover the costs to the city annually. Never happened.

The proposed bill also seems to require some entity to put up a bond (sort of) to be held in a separate account equal to the $200 million dollars the Coyotes want from the taxpayers…you. Well, we all know it won’t be the Coyotes. So that leaves Tempe or ASU to put up the money. Most likely ASU’s money would come from private donations rather than the annual public subsidy granted by the state legislature to all 3 of Arizona’s universities. I suspect private donors expect their money to go toward improving student education. I’m not so sure they’d be happy to learn that their money is actually going to guarantee the development of a private, for-profit entity such as the Coyotes.

I believe there is a good case to make for why the Coyotes belong in Glendale:

  • The Gila River Arena was built in 2003…specifically for the Coyotes.
  • The arena is 14 years old and is still one of the best, state-of-the-art arenas in the National Hockey League.
  • Glendale has proven its loyalty to the Coyotes by paying the NHL $50 million dollars to run the arena after Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy in 2009. That act of loyalty nearly drove the city into bankruptcy. You would think that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman would be loyal to Glendale and stand behind keeping the Coyotes in Glendale.
  • The Coyotes pay $500,000 in rent annually and have the use of the arena for all practice games. This is a unique to the Coyotes. Most NHL teams own and operate their own separate practice facilities at their own expense.
  • The Coyotes have the second sweetest arena deal in the entire Hockey League. The team gets 100% of the parking revenue, merchandise sales, concession sales and ticket surcharges as well as 80% of the naming rights.
  • Between 2015 and 2050, the West Valley will have an estimated population of 1.2 million; Phoenix will have an est. population of nearly 700,000 and the East Valley nearly 650,000. Between 2000 to 2010, the West Valley added about 300,000 people, Phoenix added about 125,000 people and the East Valley almost 250,000 people. MAG predicts future population growth in the West Valley will be nearly equal to the combined population growth of both Phoenix and the East Valley.
  • Well respected economic analyst Elliot Pollack predicted that Glendale will become the geographical center of the entire Valley
  • The new loop 202 bypass route known as the South Mountain Freeway will be completed by 2019 providing a significantly improved connection between the East and West Valleys

Anthony LeBlanc decided to teach Glendale a lesson when the city cancelled the contract that included a direct subsidy to the team. He is not acting in the team’s best long-term interests. While he gets short-term revenge, he fails to acknowledge and recognize the tremendous long-term growth of the West Valley and that is where his customers will come from. How long before he decides that the East Valley was a mistake because a booming West Valley customer base doesn’t want to commute eastward? After all, that is, in large part, his rationale for trying to move to the East Valley.

There have been many chapters written in the on-going Coyotes’ story. Some of those chapters were written by the National Hockey League; some of those chapters were written by the City of Glendale. But the latest chapters of turmoil and uncertainty about the Coyotes’ fate were written by the Coyotes themselves. The team attributes its lousy attendance to East Valley fans unwilling to commute to the West Valley. Perhaps they should acknowledge that the team’s performance is driving the lack of attendance these days.

There is no doubt that the Coyotes should remain in Glendale, Glendale has paid the price to keep them (something that the most rabid of Coyotes fans and LeBlanc fail to acknowledge). The Gila River Arena is a Class A hockey facility. The Coyotes have a very good revenue deal. With the explosion of growth occurring in the West Valley, this is the best location…for now and into the future.

It’s time for LeBlanc to make peace…not war…with the arena manager, AEG, and the City of Glendale. Glendale has proven its commitment to the Coyotes. It’s time for the Coyotes to prove its commitment to Glendale.

© 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.

On Monday, November 14, 2016, Anthony LeBlanc, representing the NHL Arizona Coyotes, announced the possibility of a Coyotes move to a new arena in the East Valley. Note that I, as others, used the word “possibility.”

Here are the links to major stories about the announcement:

As one read media reports or watched TV reports about the announcement the impression given was that it was a done deal and we could expect construction of a new arena immediately. A very few of the media did admit that the Coyotes face tremendous obstacles. Everyone should take a deep breath and sit back and wait until next June to learn the results of on-going negotiations. 

What was really said at the announcement? Simply this…Catellus Development Corporation, master developer of the ASU Athletic Facilities District, and the Arizona Coyotes are in negotiation. In 2010 ASU was successful in getting the Arizona legislature to approve an athletic district, a special revenue district for lands owned by state-supported universities, which could be used as a funding source for some of its athletic capital projects such as the $268 million dollar renovation of Sun Devil Stadium. Shortly thereafter, in 2014, ASU announced Catellus as its master developer of the Karsten land.

The Catellus Development Corporation is described by Bloomberg as, “Catellus Development Corporation, a real estate investment trust (REIT), engages in the ownership and development of primarily industrial properties in the United States. The company operates in Core segment, and Urban, Residential, and Other segment (URO). Core segment manages and leases its rental portfolio, as well as acquires and develops suburban commercial business parks for its own rental portfolio and for selling land and/or buildings to users and other parties. URO segment manages residential projects and urban development activities, as well as the desert land sales. As of July 28, 2005, the company’s rental portfolio totaled 41.1 million square feet. It operates principally in California, Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, and New Jersey. The company has elected to be treated as a REIT and would not be subject to federal income tax, if it distributes at least 90% of its taxable income to its shareholders. Catellus Development is headquartered in San Francisco, California.”

What I found to be most interesting about Catellus is that was a spin off of a major railroad company. This is from http://www.muelleraustin.com/about/catellus/ : “Catellus was founded in 1984, following a proposed merger of two railroad giants. When Santa Fe Industries (which owned the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) proposed a merger with the Southern Pacific Company (which owned the Southern Pacific Railroad), the new company created a wholly owned subsidiary named the Santa Fe Pacific Realty Corporation. The subsidiary was charged with managing the company’s non-railroad landholdings and turning unproductive parcels across the country into revenue generating assets. In 1990, after the merger of the railroads was denied, Santa Fe Pacific Realty Corporation spun off as a publicly traded company named Catellus Development Corporation (NYSE:CDX).”

Everyone by now is aware of the proposed site location and the proposal of a 16,000 seat, $400 million dollar Coyotes arena. What the announcement signals is Catellus has granted the Coyotes until June 30, 2017 to review the land and get the political, developmental, architectural and financial plans required to build it.

Take special note of two words…political and financial plans. Where were the political figures as this announcement was made? Governor Ducey, Phoenix Mayor Stanton, Tempe Mayor Mitchell, ASU President Crow or anyone representing the state legislature were all AWOL.  In fact, it was reported, “Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton who has pushed for a new hockey-basketball arena downtown, threw cold water on the Coyotes’ plan.”  He said, “A deal is far from complete, and appears to require new levels of support from both state of Arizona and City of Tempe taxpayers. My thinking hasn’t changed: Building a third professional arena in this market doesn’t make sense, especially when it would likely require new public dollars as a part of the deal.” The Governor’s office declined to comment. Mayor Mitchell of Tempe didn’t even know about it until the public announcement was made. Even Deputy Commissioner Daley’s comment was lukewarm, “I’m very pleased with where they are. I think this is an incredible opportunity for an exciting new future in the Valley.” Coyotes coach Dave Tippett reflected what many others are feeling these days when there is an Anthony LeBlanc announcement, “It’s good news. It’s early. A lot of us have been through a lot of this before. Hopefully, everything turns out as wonderful as it sounds.”

The Coyotes expect the state legislature to create a special taxing district that would require taxpayers to pay $200 million of the $400 million needed. They floated the idea last legislative year and were told to come back in 2017 for possible consideration. General sentiment is that the Republican-controlled legislature will view the Coyotes’ latest request for public subsidy with a decided lack of enthusiasm.

One has only to look at the snapshot poll run recently by TV Channel 10’s Sean McLaughlin. At last check 31% of the poll respondents supported using tax dollars for construction of another sports facility. 45% of the respondents did not support use of public money and 24% wanted the Coyotes to remain in Glendale. If this poll is an accurate gauge of public support, it isn’t there with 69% opposed to using taxpayer dollars. It appears the public/political will to use $200 million dollars of taxpayer money for another sport facility is no where to be found.

As for the financial aspect, the Coyotes said they would pony up $200 million dollars. Let’s revisit some history. When IceArizona purchased the team, relatively speaking, very little of investor money was used. Instead two loans were granted for the team’s purchase… one from the National Hockey League and one from Fortress investment. The actual cash investment by the IceArizona investment group was less than a third of the purchase price. The investment group came out of the gate heavily in debt. It is no secret that the Coyotes lose millions every year. That’s why the City of Glendale’s annual taxpayer subsidy was so important to them. It made the annual bleeding a little less.

If the Coyotes really want to control their own destiny, why not just buy Glendale’s arena? It certainly would be cheaper than building a brand new $400 million dollar facility and it would give them the advantage of having complete control of the building and all of the revenues it generates.

I have heard but not enough for ironclad confirmation, that AEG, new manager of the Glendale arena, offered the Coyotes a smokin’ deal. Reportedly LeBlanc’s response was to reject the offer and walk out of the meeting.

Where are the Coyotes going to find $200 million dollars for their portion of the deal? There are only so many Andrew Barroways around. Mr. Barroway currently owns 54% of the team and according to Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/teams/arizona-coyotes/ , the team is valued at $220 million as of November, 2015. Here are additional facts provided by Forbes:

  • Price Paid: $170 M
  • Year Purchased: 2013
  • Revenue2: $92 M
  • Operating Income3: $-4.5 M
  • Debt/Value4: 63%
  • Player Expenses5: $60 M
  • Gate Receipts6: $20 M
  • Wins-to-player cost ratio7: 62
  • Revenue per Fan8: $11
  • Metro Area Population: 4.5 M

It should be disconcerting to Catellus, ASU and Tempe to hear that the Coyotes hope the project “pays for itself” or as Barroway says the Coyotes finally might break even with a new Tempe arena. Glendale should be an object lesson for them. Even with all of the revenue sharing schemes in its deal with the Coyotes, the Coyotes’ projections never became reality and those revenues never compensated Glendale for its annual subsidy.

LeBlanc brought much of the continual speculation and fan pressure upon himself. He repeatedly assured everyone that an announcement about a new site was forth coming. Before the draft…after the draft…beginning of the summer…end of the summer. What he provided publicly with this announcement is merely a fig leaf designed to cover his…

I believe the Coyotes best option remains the Glendale arena. I, personally, would like to see them stay.Glendale’s City Manager Kevin Phelps said it best, “the city will keep operating as if their arena will house the Coyotes long-term, noting that new arenas are very expensive to construct. I don’t think the last chapter of this book has been written — and until it is written, we’re going to keep doing our part to see how we can add value to the Coyotes.”

© 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.

It has been 18 years and 49 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

The City of Glendale received 3 bids to manage its arena. The bids were from AEG Facilities, Comcast Spectacor and SMG. All are extremely reputable, large national companies, experienced in operating venues throughout the country. After senior management reviewed all 3 bids it recommended AEG to the city council. All of the discussion with council was done in executive session and the public is not privy to those discussions. On January 2, 2016 in its executive session council approved AEG and directed staff to negotiate a final contract over the next 60 days.

It is a very positive development. AEG can add another premier venue to its portfolio that is sure to benefit Glendale when AEG negotiates packages of venues with performers. It had previous experience operating the Gila River Arena from 2006 – 2009 and during that period it acquired some major performers: one that comes to mind is Bruce Springstein. It manages over 120 facilities worldwide and the majority is located in the United States.

What does that mean for the Coyotes? I, and many others, remain hopeful that AEG and IceArizona can negotiate a deal that benefits both. That still is the best option for all parties: the city, IceArizona and AEG. Anthony LeBlanc, an owner of IceArizona and its spokesperson, continues to play poker when discussing the situation with such recent comments as, “The good news is that all of the discussions we have had have been pretty open as have other organizations — be it the city of Phoenix or Tempe or Arizona State. Everybody has been pretty open that we have had discussions with and they have all been positive (www.arizonasports.com, Rodney Haas).” If this is his attempt to raise the ante with Glendale or AEG it doesn’t seem to be working. One has only to look back upon his previous history of blustery statements that were found to be less than forthcoming.

If the Coyotes are serious about moving there are still major hurdles to overcome. A new facility would not be available for at least 3 years. No matter whether is it Phoenix, Tempe or Timbuktu, pesky voters will have to be swayed to support the construction of yet another sports venue. Voters are becoming more discerning and will question the value of diverting precious tax revenue away from community needs and to another subsidized sports facility. In today’s day and age, it is not an easy sell as it once was.

Then there is the issue of location…location…location. Larry Feiner, a Coyotes fan, recently tweeted the results of an informal poll he did about the difficulty of the commute. His responses were split right down the middle, 50/50. Those fans who live in the east valley consider the commute to Glendale a hassle. Those fans who live in the west valley consider the commute to the east valley a hassle. The question for the Coyotes is will the ticket holders they pick up from the east valley offset the losses of west valley fans? All of the good will created among west valley fans could be lost. That is a question only the Coyotes will be able to answer. For the past 10 years the Coyotes have had a home in the west valley and it has served them and their fans well. It is a wonderful facility build exclusively for hockey. It is not to be dismissed lightly in a pique of anger because the city is no longer subsidizing losses to the tune of $15 million dollars a year.

I remain positive and believe that a successful accommodation can be achieved between all parties. Can the Coyotes?

©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 23 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Over the holidays there wasn’t much news about the Coyotes. Now that we are in a new year on January 7, Paul Giblin had a story in the Arizona Republic citing the results of a recent poll on the subject of a Coyotes relocation. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2016/01/07/poll-arizona-coyotes-should-stay-gila-river-arena-glendale/78314406/ . He reported, “Approximately 54 percent of frequent voters in Maricopa County surveyed believe the Coyotes should remain at Gila River Arena in Glendale, according to the poll that was conducted Dec. 29 for Phoenix-based public-relations firms MBQF Consulting and Marson Media.”

The problem for any other governmental agency attempting to locate the Coyotes will be to garner enough public support to pay for yet another very expensive sports facility. Thirteen years ago, in 2002, the cost to build the Gila River Arena was about $180 million dollars. The cost today to build the same type of facility has exploded. It is expected that the cost would be in the $400 million dollar range. The sixty four dollar question is can enough public support be generated in some other Valley community to use precious and scarce taxpayer dollars?

Public support would probably be found if the economy was booming and world affairs were stable. That is not the case. The economy staggers along as the middle class continues its death spiral. The general public fears more ISIS inspired events on our soil as the Middle East explodes into further turmoil while China’s stock market takes a dive and North Korea’s bomb tests reminds us that we, as a nation, are vulnerable. This is not an environment that is conducive for public sentiment to use taxpayer dollars on yet another sports facility.

Anthony LeBlanc, one of the Coyotes’ owners and apparent Public Information Officer, has had to walk back some of his previous assertions about the Coyotes.  He has hired a sports consultancy firm to assist him in his quest for a new location. It seems likely that a location in any other Valley municipality will be very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. His only hope may be can he cut a deal for another new facility funded and built by the Gila River Pima Maricopa Indian Community? His refusal to bid for management of the Gila River Arena may come back to haunt him.

Which leads to another bit of recent news. The City of Glendale received 3 bids to manage its Gila River Arena submitted by AEG Facilities, Spectra by Comcast Spectacor and SMG. All three are “big guns” in the sports management business. All have the experience and knowledge required to successfully manage Glendale’s arena. Currently the bids are TOP SECRET. In the next few weeks Glendale’s senior management staff and city council will each receive separate briefings regarding the specifics of each proposed bid. This management deal is more complicated because the Coyotes will play in the arena for another season and it is expected the chosen management company contract would begin this July 1, 2016. That means that the preferred management company and the Coyotes would have to negotiate revenue streams for one year of Coyotes occupancy. There is always the remote possibility that a deal could be crafted comfortable enough for the Coyotes to create an incentive for them to stay at the Gila River Arena beyond their final year.

The city council may be ready to vote on an arena manager as early as February 9, 2016. If a vote is not taken around that date expect that one of the bids is in further negotiation before final acceptance. The public, as is the case with mushrooms, will be left in the dark and fed horse manure. There is no opportunity for public input in this process. While everyone understands the theory of representative government they also understand the theory of transparency. It seems that once again “father knows best” trumps the public’s right to know.

© 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 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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