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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and

Councilmember Joyce Clark of the Yucca District

 

 

          

 

Present The Lunch Mob

Friday, May 19th at

Tavern+Bowl Westgate

6770 N. Sunrise Blvd. Ste G-100, Glendale, Arizona 85305

 Cost: Each attendee goes ‘dutch’

Time: 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

*If you can’t make it during these times, stop by for a late lunch!

Everyone is welcome to attend – family, friends, co-workers!

Please join me in welcoming the newest member of the  Westgate Commercial Community.
Come out to experience Tavern+Bowl’s scratch kitchen
and complimentary bowling! In conjunction with the Lunch Mob we will be holding a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11:45 am to welcome them to Glendale and the Chamber!  

Support small businesses in your community and enjoy a ‘dutch’ lunch at a local restaurant with your favorite chamber!

The Glendale Chamber of Commerce has partnered with our Glendale City Councilmembers to ‘mob’ Glendale restaurants for lunch throughout the summer months. 

Upcoming Lunch Mobs:

·       Friday, June 2nd from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Anaya’s Fresh Mexican Restaurant with

          Chief of Police Rick St. John

·       Friday, June 16th from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at Dolce Vino Wine Bar Italian Cuisine

with Vice Mayor Ian Hugh

·       Friday, July 28 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

           at The Rogue Tomato

           with Councilmember Lauren Tolmachoff

 

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 623-937-4754| glendaleazchamber.org

Glendale Chamber of Commerce | 5800 West Glenn Drive, Suite 275, Glendale, AZ 85301

It has been 17 years and 210 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Nearly all major battles we face seem to revolve around either love or money. In the case of the Coyotes vs. Glendale it’s definitely money. Before I post a blog on the current deal between these entities it’s important to understand the effects of the biggest driver — money.

Westgate and its sales tax revenue is an important component. It cannot be denied that the majority driver of retail sales tax revenue in Westgate comes from Tanger Outlets. Before Tanger’s opening in November of 2012 retail sales tax revenue was under a million dollars a year. Tanger, when it opened, was projected to earn $2M in sales tax revenue and in fact, from the start, has generated closer to the $2.5M mark.

As you can see from the chart below in calendar years 2013 and 2014 retail sales tax revenue was over $3.5M and almost all of it is attributable to Tanger. In October of 2014 Tanger expanded and the city can now expect an estimated $4.5M in retail sales tax revenue in 2015. Restaurant/Bar sales tax revenue has also increased over time and can be related to football games, hockey games and concerts held at the University of Phoenix Stadium and the Gila River Arena. This component is also attributable to the opening of new restaurants in Westgate. This sales tax revenue has grown as well and is estimated to earn some $3M. “Other” sales tax revenue is composed of bed tax, AZSTA stadium city sales tax, licenses & permits, etc. It is estimated to earn about $5M in 2015.

In 2015 estimated sales tax revenue from Westgate looks like this: Retail — $4 to $4.5M; Restaurant/Bar — $3 to $3.5M; and “Other” — $4.5 to $5M.

Westgate sales tax

The argument often used by Coyotes’ supporters is that the spillover effect from 42 nights of hockey games is essential to Westgate’s restaurants and bars survival and to the city. How much of that spillover is from 70,000 fans attending each of 10 football games? Admittedly it is substantial and could account for anywhere from 1/3 to ½ of the sales tax revenue generated from restaurants and bars annually.

The point is that Westgate has grown despite all of the drama and turmoil of the Coyotes and is strong enough to survive with or without them. If one looks at all of the factors that determine annual sales tax generation at Westgate the Coyotes (from hotel stays and restaurants/bars) are estimated at driving about $2M a year out of a total estimated annual sales tax revenue of a low of $11.5M to a high of $13M.

As long as we are on the subject of money there is another factor to consider. Many Coyotes fans are hoping that the Coyotes will move to downtown Phoenix or a new arena at Talking Stick. Dan Bickley in a recent July 26, 2015 Arizona Republic story entitled Coyotes not out of the woods – or Glendale – just yet said, Sarver says his Suns pay $23 million a year just to play at US Airways Center: $12 million in debt service, $8 million in arena management costs and $3 million in rent. A new arena capable of housing a NBA team and a NHL franchise starts at $500 million, and that’s being conservative.” Kudos to Robert Sarver for publicly offering some expense figures (no revenue figures, mind you). That’s more than anyone has seen from the Coyotes. Any public figures associated with the Coyotes have been minimized or denied by Anthony LeBlanc, an owner and visible spokesperson for the ownership group.

The question for the Coyotes becomes can they afford to move anywhere? Sarver is not in the charity business and I suspect that the owners of Talking Stick are not either. All bets are off if the Coyotes move out of Arizona. Is there an entity out there willing to pay the Coyotes to play in a newly constructed arena? Who knows? The Coyotes will have to pay to play anywhere else in Arizona and as long as they continue to suffer losses of an undetermined amount their options are very limited. No one is offering any love to the Coyotes these days and their entire future is being driven by only one thing – money.

© 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.

Tomorrow, July 13, 2015 the Glendale city council will meet in executive session at 11 AM. What is the topic? Your guess is as good as mine. No one is talking and how could they? Senior staff has decided (perhaps wisely) that council will not know the subject matter of the e session until the actual meeting. The only other period of time staff went to such lengths was when Phil Lieberman was on council. It was suspected but never proven that he leaked e session material on a regular basis to Canadian folk during previous Coyotes’ buyer negotiations. This time the alleged leaker(s) may be Councilmembers Sherwood and/or Chavira spilling all to the owners of the Coyotes.

It may be that senior Glendale staff will present a Coyotes offer to the city council. There are events that hint that this may be the topic. Several councilmembers were scheduled last week for depositions with regard to the Coyotes law suit. Abruptly those deposition sessions were cancelled. Was it because the city’s attorneys were in talks with the Coyotes’ attorneys? The Coyotes payment of $1M bond and the city quarterly arena management payment of $3.75M are linked together and are to be paid concurrently. Neither has been paid to date.

If this is indeed what occurs tomorrow council will have several options. They do not vote in workshops or e sessions but do provide direction for staff. They can provide direction to: 1. Accept the offer; 2. Reject the offer; or 3. Send the offer back to the Coyotes with a counter proposal.

If you look at the council e session agenda for this meeting it is rather specific:

“A. The City Council will meet with the City Attorney for legal advice, discussion and consultation regarding the city’s position in pending or contemplated litigation, including settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3)(4))

“B. Council will meet to discuss and consider records exempt by law from public inspection and are specifically required to be maintained as confidential by state or federal law. (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4))”

A.R.S. § 38-431.03 (A)(3)(4) is also pretty specific:

“(iii) discussion or consultation for legal advice with the city’s attorneys (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3));

“(iv) discussion or consultation with the city’s attorneys regarding the city’s position regarding contracts that are the subject of negotiations, in pending or contemplated litigation, or in settlement discussions conducted in order to avoid or resolve litigation (A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(4));”

It is possible that they will discuss the city’s current law suit with Vieste over recycling issues at the city landfill but it doesn’t seem probable based upon the events of this past week.

On another topic, the University of Phoenix Stadium hosted a soccer cup game today, July 12, 2015. A friend happened to have lunch at Westgate today. The friend related that the Westgate parking areas were jammed and they finally found a parking space literally in the “back forty” of one of the free lots. They almost decided to leave assuming that if the parking lots were filled, so were the Westgate restaurants. That was not the case. Their restaurant, as well as others, was nearly deserted. Who was parking in all of those free Westgate spaces? They learned it was the soccer game attendees at the University of Phoenix stadium.

The stadium has since its inception relied on Westgate parking spaces for football games and major events. Per the agreement with the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority (AZSTA) the city is responsible for providing 6,000 parking spaces for the football games and major events such as the Super Bowl and Fiesta Bowl. The city has always fulfilled its commitment to do so. Now AZSTA and the Bidwills are pressuring the city to build a $46M parking garage and the city is acceding to that pressure. Last fall senior staff brought forward a new capital improvement project – the infamous and very expensive parking garage at Westgate. Instead of building a library or a swimming pool as a capital improvement project Glendale taxpayers will be footing the bill for a Taj Mahal of a parking garage. You can count on its cost mounting. Don’t be surprised if the final bill is way north of $50M.

Glendale’s taxpayers are not happy about this. They ask why AZSTA and the Bidwills don’t build their own parking garage. They are the ones who need it. They are aware that the Bidwills sought and gained city approval for the development of Sportsman’s Park East and West. Those development plans include approval for several parking garages. Why don’t the Bidwills invest in a parking garage to meet the demands of their patrons attending their football games? Is it because they don’t want to pay for it? Is there a trigger threshold or event that requires the city to build this parking garage? What is it and has it occurred? Does the parking garage have to be as large and grand as staff presented or can it be scaled down to meet a minimal requirement? Can we wait until Glendale’s financial picture is stronger and can absorb yet another debt payment? When is the city going to prioritize the needs of its citizens first? So many questions – met with…silence.

© 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.

mothers 4

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.

This is the proposed casino’s reality. Fort McDowell Casino isFort McDowel prime-rib 2 currently running ads that offer Prime Rib on Tuesdays for $6.99 and Crab Legs on Wednesdays and Thursdays for $7.99. It’s not possible for a Yard House, Gordon Biersch, McFadden’s or Saddle Ranch Chop House at Westgate to offer these prices.

Fort McDowell prime rib July 2014You will not see prices like these at the Westgate restaurants for very good reasons: sales tax and regulatory costs. You see, these restaurants have to collect federal, state, county and Glendale sales tax. The Glendale portion of the restaurant sales tax is 3.9%. When state and county taxes are added the total rate is 11.2%.What sales tax does the proposed Tohono O’odham casino with its planned restaurants pay? Nada…zip…nothing.

The icing on the cake is that the Glendale city council just voted to make the temporary sales tax increase permanent…just another stake in the hearts of these restaurants.

Add to the unlevel playing field of all kinds of taxes paid by businesses in Westgate the myriad of federal, state and local regulations with which these businesses must comply. It eats into Westgate businesses’ profits to do so. As a sovereign nation the TO is not required to comply with federal, state, county or local regulations. What regulatory costs does the proposed Tohono O’odham casino bear? Nada…zip…nothing.

TV Channel 5 weekly runs a “Dirty Dining” segment with recent results of inspections of restaurants in Maricopa County. Have you ever seen a Tribal restaurant inspection review? Of course not. Tribal reservations are not subject to these kinds of inspections. They are not subject to federal (OSHA), state, county or local health, safety and welfare regulations because they are a reservation and have sovereign immunity…consider the reservation as a foreign country planted within Glendale. A call placed to the Maricopa County Department of Environmental Services revealed that it has no jurisdiction over tribal restaurants and the Indian tribes regulate themselves. What regulations are there to protect the health, safety and welfare of the casino’s workers and patrons? Nada…zip…nothing.

What do you bet one of the very first elements the Tohono O’odham (TO) will build is paved parking lots. Why, you ask? So they can undercut parking prices for Cardinals games, hockey games and other non-sporting events held at Glendale’s arena, less than a mile away. Is there anything that can prevent the TO from offering cheap parking? Nada…zip…nothing.

I can see it now…shuttle busses packed to the gills disgorging seniors coming from the Sun Cities and Youngtown, spending their time playing bingo and the slots, then partaking of a buffet lunch or dinner before being whisked back to whence they came, never seeing the light of day at Westgate or Tanger Outlets.

Recently I received over the Indian gaming transom some  reliable estimates of what the proposed TO casino is projected to earn in revenue. The numbers are astounding. The numbers offered are not carved in stone but are reasonable estimates provided by people who would know within the industry. Estimates provided are that a new casino in Glendale would earn between six hundred million dollars and seven hundred million dollars a year in gross revenue.

It is estimated that the Tohono O’odham’s net will be half that amount (50%) or three hundred to three hundred and fifty million dollars a year. The net amount reflects the subtraction of all costs associated with O&M as well as an amount of 1% to 8% of the tribe’s gross gaming revenue to the state. To put that in some kind of perspective, it is estimated the TO will net a million dollars a day. Think about that…a million dollars a day.

Which leads to the question of why do the 32,000 members of the TO Nation average an income of $8,000 a year as Chairman Norris testified, under oath, before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs this past week, “Most of our reservation land is located in remote isolated areas and our population is one of the poorest in the United States with average individual incomes of just over $8000.” The Tohono O’odham have 3 casinos operating in southern Arizona. Their website says, “The Desert Diamond Casino, owned and operated by the Tohono O’odham Nation, provides three exciting entertainment venues in Southern Arizona: Desert Diamond Casino (Nogales Highway), Desert Diamond Casino (I-19 & Pima Mine Rd) and Golden Ha:san Casino (Why, AZ).” It goes on to say, “The mission of the casinos is to provide the means for a better quality of life for Tohono O’odham Nation and all people in Southern Arizona.” If the TO are netting even a portion of these revenue estimates from its three southern Arizona casinos, why is part of the net not distributed to the Nation’s members by the Tribal leadership to reduce the poverty rates of its 32,000 members?        

It is widely known that 4 Glendale councilmembers directed staff to negotiate with the Tohono O’odham and the results will be discussed at their August 5, 2014 workshop. Rumor has it that the city council has negotiated something in the neighborhood of $100,000 from the TO. That’s got to be a joke. If it turns out to be true, once again, Glendale’s city council will get snookered…this time by the TO…all the while congratulating staff for their work and patting themselves on the back.

They should demand…not ask…demand a 5% payment of the Tohono O’odham’s annual net revenue earned by all of the development placed on that site. It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What does 5% equal? How about $15,000,000 a year? Doesn’t that number sound familiar? It’s the same amount the city must pay annually to IceArizona under the management agreement. It would certainly go a long way to relieving the tremendous financial pressure the city faces annually as a result of that payment to IceArizona.

Are Glendale residents willing to sell their souls and bear yet another financial burden for not only a token payment but for the TO’s highly inflated numbers of temporary construction jobs and low-paying service industry jobs? Is this city council while pandering to a small number of extremely vocal residents that desperate and gullible? Is this the best that we can expect from our city council?

© 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.

On Tuesday, July 15, 2014 the Glendale city council held a special meeting. It was posted the required 24 hours in advance of the meeting but other than knowing that the topic would be the casino, the posting was generic. Let me make clear I oppose the proposed casino. I have from the first moment in 2009 when the Tohono O’odham (TO) announced they were coming until this day and beyond.

We now know why this special voting meeting was called. There was evident panic in the pro-casino ranks of Councilmembers Alvarez, Hugh, Sherwood and Chavira. The public cover (read excuse) they used for calling the meeting was that the Department of the Interior recently approved taking TO land into trust (blessing it as a reservation). What really has them steamed is that Mayor Weiers has been invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs about off-reservation gaming on July 23, 2014. It was a blatant, back room  attempt to make him toe the city line and support the proposed casino. That was the “gang of four’s” real agenda. There is another element that needs to be considered. The Primary Election. There is every possibility that the majority in favor of the casino could become the minority, especially if Alvarez loses her council seat (a distinct possibility).

There should be some real concern among the public about the orchestration of this special meeting. The four majority vote councilmembers obviously got together and orchestrated this charade. Everyone should be asking, just how much conversation was there between them and was any portion a violation of the state’s Open Meeting Law? They, to a person, repeated each other and called for a new council resolution rescinding Council Resolution 4246 and asking for a declaration of support for gaming on the reservation land.  They obviously were all on the same page and had decided in advance exactly what the strategy and outcome were to be.

It was evident that the four, as a majority, called for the meeting without consultation with the minority. There was obviously a deliberate lack of communication with the 3 minority voting councilmembers. Obviously they were not included in any discussion about this special meeting. In fact, Mayor Weiers stated that he was on vacation and no one bothered to check his schedule for his availability. Vice Mayor Knaack made it clear her attendance was “under protest” and Councilmember Martinez called the meeting “inappropriate.”

Mayor Weiers has the legal right to oppose the proposed casino before this Senate Committee as long as he makes it clear that his comments are personal and do not reflect the city’s newly adopted position.  I sincerely hope that he takes this opportunity to express in the strongest terms possible, the many reasons why this casino is not good for Glendale.

Mayor Weiers made it clear that he was not happy with the process that was occurring and he stated unequivocally that “what is happening is wrong.” He said the entire process was rushed and it was — but now we know why. He reminded everyone that council has a history of making bad decisions when it is rushed.

Vice Mayor Knaack agreed that the entire process was rushed and could have waited until council reconvened in August. Ahhh, but then the majority pro-casino contingent would not have had the opportunity to try to muzzle Mayor Weiers before he testifies before that Senate Committee. She believes that a casino within Glendale will destroy the voter approved Arizona gaming compact passed in 2002 and it will.

Councilmember Martinez said that the council actions could jeopardize any leverage the city might have with regard to negotiations with the TO. Vice Mayor Knaack expressed the same concern and asked, “Will the action today impact the city’s ability to negotiate the best deal possible with the TO?” That finally stopped “the four” and they acceded to going into Executive Session. Apparently whatever they learned from the City Attorney in that E Session was not persuasive enough to dissuade any of the predestined, determined and blind action of the four.

Two comments were made of note. Arthur Thruston, a Glendale Gadfly, said there was nothing wrong with the manner in which the TO had purchased the land. As a reminder, it was purchased by a shell corporation of the TO back in 2002 and kept secret for 7 years, until 2009. Thruston likened it to Intel or any other large corporation buying land before announcing their new location. OMG…Thruston needs to get real. It is not typical for a corporation to wait 7 years between its purchase and announcement.

Councilmember Sherwood again reiterated that all of the businesses in Westgate are just hunky dory at the prospect of the proposed casino. He used the analogy of a hamburger stand on a corner saying, when another hamburger stand locates nearby it creates synergy and each stand will have more business. That’s fine as far as it goes. What if both stands produced hamburgers that tasted equally well but the new stand sold its burgers for less – a lot less? Did it ever occur to him that if both hamburger stands produced hamburgers of equal quality and taste the public would always choose the cheaper product? Voila! Does that make the situation the Westgate area businesses face from the proposed casino clearer?

Predictably Resolution 4828 New Series passed by a vote of 4 to 3.  It has 3 elements: repeal of Council Resolution 4246; support for gaming on the TO land; and direction that this resolution is sent to the entire Congressional delegation. Alvarez, Hugh, Sherwood and Chavira in the affirmative. Weiers, Knaack and Martinez in the negative. Alvarez has finally paid back the TO for their independent expenditures on her behalf. Now they will owe her more in this election.

The seminal question is this: How can anyone possibly trust anything the TO agrees to in its negotiation with Glendale? They kept secret purchase of the land in Glendale for 7 years. They back stabbed their sister Tribes by flagrantly violating the Arizona gaming compact. If you are not dissuaded by their past actions, I have bridge in Brooklyn to sell to you.

This action by council has stirred me to act. I am writing a letter to the entire Congressional delegation repudiating this council’s Resolution. I encourage any reader who is dismayed by this council’s recent policy decision to take the time to write as well.  A trickle of opposition, when joined with one another, becomes a stream and eventually a mighty river. It’s time for Arizona’s delegation to learn there is a mighty river of opposition to the proposed casino.

© 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.

Caitlin McGlade had a story in the Arizona Republic of May 28, 2014 entitled Glendale to collect less than projected on Coyotes Accord. I found the spin by stakeholders fascinating. For instance, Monty Jones, of Global Spectrum and general manager of the arena, had the following to say about the non-hockey events booked into the arena this year, “it had a successful year.” Wow. They set the bar so low that no one can see it. Seven non-hockey, revenue earning events is embarrassing when the anticipated number of non-hockey, revenue producing events was in the 20’s. Jones went on to say, “The company hopes to book more events next year.” I hope to win the Pulitzer Prize next year but it isn’t going to happen. So far, it’s not looking so good for Mr. Jones, et.al., with 5 non-hockey, revenue producing events booked in the arena for next year.

Parking revenues continue to be a problem for IceArizona and the city with cheaper parking available at the Cardinals’ stadium and another 3,000 free spaces throughout Westgate. Who would have guessed? After all the ink on the management agreement was barely dry when  the Cardinals announced that they would undercut the Coyotes parking charge and the Westgate manager announced that there would be no change in their policy of keeping spaces free during hockey games.

The article went on to say Councilmember Sherwood’s solution was, “that the city consider blocking off a road to make it more difficult to access those lots (stadium lots) during arena events. Councilmember Martinez seemed to think it’s an idea worth considering and said of blocking access, “(it) probably crossed most of our minds.” Those minds would be the four councilmembers who voted for the arena management agreement: Sherwood, Knaack, Martinez and Chavira.

Sherwood’s cock-a-mammy idea of using governmental authority to directly impact a private business in competition with the city is akin to asking for a law suit. What are they thinking? Are they thinking?

© 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.

Recently the Arizona Republic started a new item, West Valley Sound Off. They are contacting West Valley elected to get their positions on issues of the day. Their first foray question was, “Do you support the development of this proposed casino? Why or why not?” Those from Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, El Mirage, Litchfield Park, Peoria, Surprise, Tolleson and Youngtown declined to answer. Not so with our brave, intrepid leaders in Glendale. Three of them did respond.

Councilmember Manny Martinez has consistently opposed the casino since it was first proposed in 2009. He gets it. He said, “I do not support the proposed Tohono O’odham reservation and casino. I am very concerned for Westgate’s well-being if the casino is opened. How do casinos attract customers? Cheap booze, cheap food, and the cost of rooms are minimal. At Westgate, we have hotels and restaurants that pay taxes and help us pay off our debts. If the reservation and casino come in, as a sovereign nation, they would pay no federal, state, county or city taxes. Governor William R. Rhodes of the Gila River Indian Community said, ‘We believe the Tohono O’odham Nation, with the assistance of the federal government, has disrespected the rule of law, the balance so carefully struck among Indian gaming tribes, our community, Glendale and every Arizonan.”

Then we have words, signifying nothing, from Councilmember Chavira. He doesn’t get it and he is not representing the majority sentiment of the residents of West Glendale and the Yucca district, who will feel the direct impacts of the proposed casino. He mimics the same, old, tired rhetoric that the Tohono O’odham have used ad nausea, “Yes, I do support the development of the proposed West Valley casino and resort. The benefits of the development will be significant not only for Glendale, but for the entire West Valley. Positive economic impacts such as job creation and an additional tourist attraction in our sports and entertainment district are among the benefits.” I’m sure he knows, uhmmm, well, perhaps he knows…that 25% of the jobs must be filled with Native Americans.

Lastly, Councilmember Sherwood responded. This is a guy who, less than two years ago, ran on a platform of opposition to the casino. Now, not so much. He did a flip-flop at a very recent council meeting voting with Councilmembers Hugh, Alvarez and Chavira to reject U.S. Representative Franks’ HB 1410 and to begin negotiations with the Tohono O’odham (TO). Many suspect his affirmative vote was pay back to Chavira for Chavira’s vote in support of the arena management deal. “Neither – I will support the project if the Tohono O’odham Nation can be treated as close to a private entity as possible and having some form of revenue stream into the city’s general fund. Additionally, infrastructure including any street improvements, public-safety agreements, et al. would have to be included and enforceable in federal courts. Thus far, in fact-finding sessions, the Nation appears to be very amenable to this. Businesses such as Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets, to name a few, are also in support of proposed project. The sports and entertainment district could very well capitalize on a project of this size if it meets the city’s criteria.” He appears to be back-pedaling as he straddles a very narrow  fence, by adding his list of caveats. His declaration that,” Westgate, Renaissance Hotel, Coyotes and Tanger Outlets…are also in support” is downright laughable. There has never been a declaration of public support for the proposed casino from these entities. Have you seen it? I haven’t. Remember when the possibility of losing the Coyotes as an anchor tenant at the arena loomed? Bar and restaurant owners were beside themselves and declared without 40 nights of hockey games they couldn’t make it. They are not going to support a casino that will draw customers away from them knowing that potential consumers will spend disposable income on gambling, subsidized meals and booze and cheap room rates. If they are so willing to commit financial suicide, let’s see them do it publicly. Not one representative of these entities went to the last council meeting when TO negotiations was on the agenda and expressed public support of the project. Sherwood had no public letters of support from these entities that he could read into the record that evening. It’s time for Sherwood to cease making declarations that may not be accurate. Just because he said it, doesn’t make it true.

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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On September 11, 2013 the Glendale Republic ran an article by Caitlin McGlade entitled Glendale softens harsh casino tone. It makes me angry to see the AzRepulsive begin its not so subtle media infomercial in an effort to sway public opinion in support of the Tohono O’odham (TO) Tribe’s ambitions.  In my latest unscientific blog poll I asked the question, Is the Arizona Republic’s reporting fair and balanced? Of the 50 respondents, 40 (80%) said, “No” and 10 (20%) said, “Yes.” 4 out of 5 people no longer believe that its coverage is fair and balanced and recognize that its reporting is slanted.

I stand with Congressman Trent Franks, the Gila River Indian Community and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (and all of the tribes in the state supporting them). I do not support a casino in Glendale and I believe a dialogue with the TO only becomes necessary if all legal avenues are closed and the Tribe prevails. It sends the wrong message.

I am not going to repeat all of the reasons why planting a casino in Glendale should not happen. Instead, in April of 2013 I authored a 5 part blog series on the effects of a casino. If you have not read them, please take the time to go back and check them out:

  •    April 11, 2013      Casino, to be or not to be, Part 1
  •    April 15, 2013      Casino…promise made, promise broken, Part 2
  •    April 16, 2013      Casino…good, bad or indifferent?, Part 3
  •    April 22, 2013       A casino is a casino…no matter where it is, Part 4
  •    April 24, 2013      Casino…it’s lose, lose for everyone, Part 5

What truly dumbfounds me is that one of the major rationales for keeping the Coyotes hockey team at Glendale’s Jobing.com Arena is that it generates more people and therefore more sales tax to the businesses (and the city) in Westgate. Yet Councilmember Sherwood apparently believes that the casino will do no harm to Westgate and says, “There’s not enough right now to keep people here. The casino just offers another thing for folks to do if they’re in town.” Is he nuts? Even Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett who has supported the casino from the start acknowledges, “In the short term, it (the casino) will probably hurt Westgate…” Sherwood is speaking from both sides of his mouth. On the one hand keeping the hockey team is good for Westgate and on the other the casino is good for Westgate as “another thing for folks to do.” We know that the casino will siphon discretionary dollars away from Westgate. Councilmember Sherwood, you can’t have it both ways.

Vice Mayor Knaack is performing her usual wringing of hands routine and practicing “kumbaya” with her comment, “We can’t keep on and on and on with this.” She just wants everyone to get along. Whatever happened to sticking to one’s principles? Is this another example like her avowal that she supports the downtown merchants as she votes approval for a liquor license they opposed?

Councilmember Martinez gets it with, “How do casinos attract their clients? Cheap booze, cheap food and the cost of the rooms are minimal. Here (at Westgate) we have hotels and restaurants paying taxes and helping us pay off our debts to the arena and everything else and the tribe comes in with a clean hand and they don’t have to pay anything.” Bravo Councilmember Martinez. You do get it and you are sticking to your principles.

The Gila River Indian Community said, “…any dialogue between the city and the TO would have no bearing on the Gila River’s position.” Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community President Diane Enos said it best in this statement, “If the commitments to keep tribal casinos out of neighborhoods made by all 17 Arizona tribes during Prop. 202 negotiations were being kept, cities like Glendale wouldn’t find themselves in these circumstances, vulnerable to broaching risky developments like this off-reservation casino, exasperated further by the current economic climate in Glendale.” Bravo President Enos. You get it too. I wonder what the Republic’s position would be if the Tribes pulled their considerable advertising dollars?

Let’s at least acknowledge that the TO and its supporters are preying on Glendale’s weakened financial position and using it as leverage to further their cause. Before its indebtedness became a cause célèbre leaders in Glendale stood on principle. How much gold are our elected officials willing to sell out for? Glendale must stay the course.

PS: In the September 12, 2013 edition of the Arizona Republic the story ran again. Only this time the comments from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the Gila River Indian Community are omitted while keeping the TO’s comments intact. Way to go Arizona Republic!

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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On August 29, 2013 Paul Giblin of the Arizona Republic wrote a story about the Coyotes parking situation. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20130829free-parking-westgate-may-cost-coyotes.html . Hard core, dedicated Coyotes fans are well aware that this season there will be a parking fee for Coyotes games. They have already made clear that they are on board and comfortable with the new parking fees. They understand that it is part of their bargain to keep the Coyotes playing at Jobing.com Arena. Season ticket holders have already been charged for their parking – anywhere from $300 to $600 for the season.

What about the casual Coyotes game attendee? Giblin raised the specter of all of the free parking available in Westgate in lots not controlled by the Coyotes as an alternative that will impact expected “enhanced revenues.” I think his angst was misplaced and deliberately designed to raise an irrelevant issue.

Currently Westgate charges $10 Parking* on Cardinals Home Game Days at Westgate Entertainment District designated lots. Free parking for pre-season games.*Cash Only. Here is the link: http://westgatecitycenter.com/visitorinfo/parking/ . It is logical to expect Westgate to employ the very same system for Coyotes games. If it is not immediately instituted, it certainly will be after a game or two. If one is going to a movie, shopping or eating and not attending a game, look for some kind of rebate system. Westgate cannot allow its customer parking to be usurped by Coyotes fans looking for free parking.              

We can also expect the Cardinals to come up with a parking fee structure for Coyotes games. When the Glendale city council was considering the current ownership deal rumblings were floating that the Cardinals would charge to park (and perhaps undercut the Coyotes’ fees). The city council was well aware of those rumblings. Of course, the council knew about the proposed Coyotes’ parking fees. It was discussed publicly and in its presentation to Council estimates were made by the new ownership of how much revenue would be generated. After 20% is taken off the top by ownership for each game, the balance will become part of the “enhanced revenue” package promised to the city to recoup the additional $9M unbudgeted for the annual arena management fee.  Inevitably, all of the Westgate lots and the Cardinals’ lots will be fee for parking.  

The Cardinals include their parking fee into the cost of each ticket and assign parking lots, i.e., Red, Green, etc., to the ticket holder. A pricey ticket gets you the Red lot. A nose bleed seat gets you the Brown lot and a shuttle over to the stadium. As the former councilmember representing the Desert Mirage and La Buena Vida neighborhoods I raised the concern that fee for parking could push fans into those neighborhoods directly east and across 91st Avenue. The city agreed and established a Neighborhood Protection Program. All mega events (Cardinals’ football games, major concerts, etc.) with attendance of over 40,000 initiate neighborhood protection. Manned barricades are put up and residents have an ID placard identifying their residence in the neighborhood.  It is a system that has worked very well but even with it in place there is a small amount of fan parking that still occurs in those neighborhoods.                                                                    

Back to that casual fan that doesn’t want to pay any fee — $10, $15 or $20 to park. Coyotes’ games have a maximum attendance of nearly 18,000. That is far below the 40,000 needed to initiate the city’s Neighborhood Protection Program. If casual Coyotes fans park in large numbers in those neighborhoods there will be no manned barricades and no means of keeping those fans out of these neighborhoods. There is certain to be push back from residents.  No one wants to see that happen. Is Councilmember Chavira concerned about this issue? Who knows? He was the 4th vote of approval for the IceArizona deal. You would think he would have some clout with them. He should be asking the new ownership group to institute and to pay for the Neighborhood Protection Program for all Coyotes games. That kind of program would drive people back to the fee parking lots – resulting in a better parking payday. After all, part of being a good community partner involves protecting your neighbor from the unintended consequences of your actions. 

©Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has 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, democracy, 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. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those 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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