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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

cit mtg 2Wow, we just saw a window into council priorities. Since January and the new council began meeting, their meetings are conducted with lightning speed, usually lasting half an hour and on rare occasion because of the sheer number of items on their agenda it may go as long as an hour. Today, June 18, 2013 there were only 6 items on their workshop agenda and it took them over an hour to deliberate. Why? Because these were all items that have a direct impact on them and their business.

Here’s the lineup:

  1. Council has changed the voting meeting time from 7 PM to 6PM.
  2. The Vice Mayor’s position will follow a calendar year (Jan. to Jan.) rather than the fiscal year (July to June).
  3. Council subcommittees will remain annual appointments with a 2 year consecutive term limit. After serving 2 consecutive terms a councilmember must move to the other subcommittee (there are only two). After being off for 2 years councilmember may again sit on committee vacated.
  4. Response time for Council Items of Special Interest remains 30 days for staff response.
  5. Council has traded Moment of Silence for Prayer after they have opportunity to review suggested guidelines for conducting a Prayer.
  6. Workshop meeting location has moved from Council Chambers back to its old haunt, Room B-3, or the “basement” as Mayor Weiers likes to call it.

calendarInterim City Manager Bowers announced that at the June 25, 2013 meeting the Internal Audit will come forward. After the open meeting, Council went into Esession and it was an unusually long one for them, starting at 2:45 PM and ending at about 6:30 PM. The issues were substantive. From various statements made to the media by the City Attorney and some councilmembers there will be no vote on the Coyotes deal on June 25th. So look for June 28th or July 9th. However, Council has a vacation break in July so it makes more sense for it to become an agenda item at the specially called meeting for June 28th.

polling 1We know council was briefed on the PAD and SMG bids and council probably learned their asking price to manage the arena. It probably made Councilmember Alvarez’ heart beat faster and I imagine she offered an impassioned but hardly eloquent plea for acceptance of one of them. We know another topic of discussion was the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) bid. Councilmember Sherwood publicly admitted that there were deal points that caused council difficulty. I would think the city’s guarantee of $15M (or X number—you fill in the blank) a year without any guarantee that there would really be the elusive $8M-$11M in enhanced revenue going to the city could have been a stumbling block. Whatever the issues were, council would have given direction to staff to go back to RSE and renegotiate those deal points. The ball in now in RSE’s court. If RSE is serious, it will have to make further concessions that demonstrate their skin in the game. Councilmember Sherwood also publicly acknowledged that the deal points need to be publicized one week before the vote. I applaud council for their stance on the side of reasonable and prudent public disclosure.

Councilmember Alvarez walked out of Esession in disgust, complaining that council was making “too many concessions” to RSE. The mere idea of entertaining the RSE bid is a “concession” in Alvarez’ mind. One other Alvarezism from the open meeting springs to mind. While discussing putting public comments at the beginning of the meeting she virtually accused her fellow councilmembers of not championing Democracy and the American Way by accusatorily saying, “We’re not dictators.”

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moyes

Jerry Moyes

It is time to review some previous ownership deal making history. Jerry Moyes threw the Coyotes into bankruptcy in late 2009. In 2010 Glendale and the NHL began to entertain offers for a buyer of the team. Everyone assumed that it would be a fairly quick process but that was not to be. One deal after another was rejected throughout 2010 and 2011. In order to continue the process the NHL held up the city to the tune of $25M a year. In 2012 Greg Jamison entered the picture and a majority of council (I being one of that majority) believed we had a solid deal that was in the best interest of the city.

In June 2012 a majority of council made two significant votes. One was to accept the Jamison deal after the management fee had been reduced and penalty/incentive clauses were added. During contentious council discussions Interim City Manager Skeete presented the council information about the financial impacts of keeping the Coyotes or losing them. One of the bullet points that I remember to this day stated that over the 20 year life of the deal Glendale was better off by some $20M by keeping the team. Skeete, at that time, had worked out a financial plan that called for budget cuts over 5 years. Many became confused and blamed those projected budget cuts on keeping the Coyotes. Not so. Those budget cuts were in anticipation of losing the sales tax increase in 5 years. His plan was solid, accommodated keeping the team and was in the best interest of the city.

That same month a majority of council voted to raise Glendale’s sales tax for a period of 5 years. A fire storm lasting 6 months erupted. Ken Jones, virtually single-handedly, although the Goldwater Institute was lurking about and seen helping Mr. Jones on occasion (later they would part ways), mounted a Referendum petition drive to reject council’s vote on the Coyote deal. He failed but it created unanticipated delay. Shortly on the heels of that effort another group began an Initiative petition drive to get rejection of the sales tax increase on the November, 2012 ballot. They were successful and the voters rejected their initiative in the November election. But it created further unanticipated delay. These folks were not working to further the best interest of the city.

Leblanc

Anthony LeBlanc

The city imposed a deadline of January 31, 2013 for Jamison. He failed to meet that deadline and that is a story for another time. In May of this year the NHL identified Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) as a buyer of the team and rejected the Pastor bid outright. Has it occurred to anyone that RSE is, in fact, the ONLY bidder the NHL has? To this day they have never made a formal announcement of RSE as the buyer. Is this deal in the best interest of the city?

There are some councilmembers who understand that keeping the team is vital to the city but they are having problems guaranteeing that $15M a year that RSE has said it must have. They are between “a rock and a hard place.” It reminds me of the original Ellman deal. At one point council was presented a “bucket list” graphically. One of the diagrams showed an enormous amount of revenue being literally poured into city buckets. Unfortunately those buckets filled with oodles of revenue to the city never materialized. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” Now the current council is being presented with another version of a “bucket list.” This time RSE had identified additional revenue streams that will reimburse the city for its guaranteed pledge of $15M a year for a lease management fee. Some have asked why doesn’t the city just pay the $6M a year and RSE keeps ALL of the additional revenue streams itself. It accomplishes the same thing. The assumption is that to satisfy its lenders RSE must show that it has an annual guaranteed source of $15M. Who better to guarantee that amount than a city? The problem is, will those additional revenue stream buckets fill up as assumed? No one knows. Those additional revenue streams could bring $4M or $5M a year to the city or (hallelujah chorus) they could earn $11M a year. Yet the city will guarantee $15M a year. Why is it the city’s responsibility to assume this financial risk on behalf of RSE? Is it in the best interest of the city?

Let me be very, very clear. I want the team to remain in Glendale but not if it does further financial harm to a great city that I love. My frame of reference for any deal has been in terms of whether it meets the best interest of Glendale. I have demonstrated my commitment by voting in the affirmative for the Jamison deal and subsequently losing my council seat. If not for my vote and that of 3 others, there would be no RSE deal to consider today. I want a clean deal that the city can afford to pay and I suspect some councilmembers want that as well. Can they make that happen? We won’t know until the deal is made public. I, for one, will be reading every comma, period and paragraph. Only then will we truly know if this deal is in the best interest of Glendale.

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jobing.com arena

Jobing.com arena

To date the media and Glendale residents have been denied access to the four bids submitted to Beacon Sports, the city’s $100,000 consultant hired to accept and vet all bids to manage Jobing.com arena, a city-owned facility. Very recently the city finally released the names of the four bidders and it has been reported that R Entertainment and Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG) were rejected for not meeting minimum specifications. By the way, Art Jimenez, principal of PMG, publicly stated that he has formed a new group, PMG Management and Entertainment, LLC. As of this date it is not registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission and the name is still available, if anyone out there is interested.

There is no legal basis with which to deny the public access to the Beacon bids. We first go to the City Charter to see what it says about bids. In Article VIII, Section 2-Competitive Bidding it says, “The city council shall establish by ordinance formal guidelines regulating the purchase of goods and services by the city. Such ordinance shall specify the conditions pursuant to which formal competitive bidding shall be required, conditions pursuant to which informal competitive bidding shall be required and those conditions under which no bidding for city contracts shall be required.”  Last amended on 3-15-88.

This section authorized the city council to establish a formal bidding process. That formal process is outlined in Glendale’s Municipal Code, which was originally adopted and subsequently amended by city council vote as ordinances. An ordinance is a city law and can only be superseded by the Arizona Revised Statutes (established and passed by the Arizona Legislature).

scalesWe then go to Glendale’s Municipal Code, Section 2-145, Formal Purchase Procedure, (2) b, Sealed Bidding Procedure (IFB) which states, “Bids shall be opened publicly at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids. The amount of each bid, and such other relevant information as may be specified by the materials manager, together with the name of each bidder shall be recorded as determined by the materials manager. This record shall be open to public inspection after the bid opening in a manner prescribed by the materials manager (bold mine). Except to the extent the bidder designates, and the city concurs, trade secrets or other proprietary data contained in the bid documents shall remain confidential.”

Then we have to check Arizona Revised Statutes to see if there is anything different from city code. For that information, we refer to Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 41-2533. Competitive Sealed Bidding. D. which states, Bids shall be opened publicly at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids.  The amount of each bid, and such other relevant information as may be specified by rule, together with the name of each bidder shall be recorded.  This record shall be open to public inspection at the bid opening in a manner prescribed by rule (bold mine).  The bids shall not be open for public inspection until after a contract is awarded.  To the extent the bidder designates and the state concurs, trade secrets or other proprietary data contained in the bid documents shall remain confidential in accordance with rules adopted by the director.”

Well, look at that, the Glendale Municipal Code and Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) almost mirror one another on the language! Please take note of the sentence in the above cited ARS that says, “The bids shall not be open for public inspection until after a contract is awarded.” That prescription is lacking in Glendale’s Municipal Code. As it is not a prescription in Glendale’s Municipal Code it appears that Glendale is required to release the bid information after bid opening and I don’t think it means weeks later. Both bodies of law allow proprietary information to be redacted from any bid. And both codes allow public inspection after the bids are opened.

It would seem that Glendale has failed to follow its own Municipal Code process. It should release the results of the bidding process of all 4 bids NOW (in fact, it should already have done so) and redact only that information that is proprietary.  Just to be sure there is no confusion over what constitutes proprietary information; Webster’s defines it as, “possession, ownership or exclusive right.” It’s time for Glendale to cough it up.

There is no justifiable reason to discuss the Beacon bids in council Executive Session. They should have been publicly released by now. Those bids are what they are. The presentation on the bids should be in public workshop session. Council either accepts one or it rejects all but it would provide the public with an opportunity to discover just exactly how much two major companies, SMG World and Phoenix Arena Development think it’s worth to them to manage and operate Jobing.com.

There is also no reason why Councilmember Sherwood cannot discuss the worth of keeping the Coyotes in Glendale. After all, it’s not new information. During the Jamison negotiations, Interim City Manager Skeete publicly stated that keeping the Coyotes brings Glendale an approximate additional million dollars a year in revenue.

contractIt is justifiable and prudent that council discuss the RSE deal in Executive Session. They are in the midst of negotiations with the group. It provides the full council an opportunity to hear the terms of the deal and to offer any and all changes to those terms for further negotiation. It was no more than the former council did that resulted in a lower management fee and penalties and incentives for under/over performance. Once all terms are satisfactory to both sides, the deal terms should be released publicly and the vote scheduled for one week after release.

It has been widely reported that the Renaissance Entertainment’s management deal with Glendale may come before the council for a vote on June 25th, June 28th or as late as July 9th. When there was all of that furor over the Jamison ownership deal last acceptanceyear a court mandated that the deal be made public one week before any scheduled council vote on the issue. I suspect denialthat prescription still holds true. In that case, if the RSE deal is scheduled for a council vote on June 25th, it must be released to the public for its consideration one week before on June 19th. If the vote is June 28th, it must be publicly available on June 21st. If the vote is on July 9th, the public is entitled to review it on July 3rd. Come on, mayor and council, get your act together and practice the transparency that you love to preach.

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I wrote this blog on June 10, 2013 and have been sitting on it. Late this afternoon, June 13, 2013 Mike Sunnicks of the Phoenix Business Journal reported on Glendale’s concerns about the RSE bid. I share the city’s concerns. I see no reason to hold this back any longer.  Remember I am looking at the RSE deal having been a former councilmember. The fact that RSE is using borrowed money to finance this deal with very little of their own equity is disturbing. With such a small proportionality of investment it allows RSE a great deal of latitude to abandon Glendale and relocate in a few years.

I know how desperately fans want to keep the Coyotes here. I share that sentiment but not at any price. It’s time we all took an objective look at this deal before embracing it. There are those who will say if it’s not a Jamison deal I am against it. That is not true. If I were still on council I would have a fiduciary responsibility to make decisions that are in the best interest of Glendale based on the facts. Truthfully, if I were on council, I would not accept this deal based upon the facts that are publicly available about RSE’s deal at this time.

So please save your hate email and nasty tweets. I know that I have angered you but once you get past that initial anger, please take a hard look at this deal. Here goes what I wrote several days ago:

Everyone is well aware that the NHL blessed Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) as a legitimate contender for ownership of the Coyotes. They even chaperoned RSE’s first meeting with Glendale City officials. However, note that the NHL has NOT made a formal announcement to date stating that they are in fact, selling the team to RSE.

Coyotes logoMost of the Coyote fan base and the media seem enthralled with the news and are ready to embrace an NHL/RSE deal. But there are two factors that have so far been ignored. No one in the media has really “kicked the tires and looked under the hood” of this deal; and will Glendale be willing to pay a lease management fee greater than its budgeted and soon-to-be-approved $6M a year?

So why don’t you and I? Let’s take a closer look at this deal. RSE has raised $45M in equity ($10M coming from Gosbee). We will use these figures all of which have been widely publicized in the media and to date unquestioned by any journalist. RSE is getting $200M in loans. One loan from Fortress Investment Group is $120M. Sources say the interest rate is 8%. RSE is getting a loan from the NHL for another $80M. Sources say the interest rate is 5% and that payments start the first year – not in 5 years. The interest on these two debts could be as much as $13.6M a year. My goodness! $13.6M a year in interest! That’s WITHOUT any payment on the principle! Is it any wonder that RSE would like to get an annual lease management payment of $13M-$15M? This deal is heavily debt laden.

Let’s look at costs associated with Jobing.com. According to Coyotes Newco, LLC, the NHL entity that runs the arena, in their Annual Budget submission to the City of Glendale for Fiscal Year ending June 30, 2014, Total Annual Expenditures are projected at $12,468,912 and the Annual Net Cash Requirement as projected by the NHL is $9,088,193. Earned revenue from events will be in the $3.3M range. Based upon these figures submitted to the city by the NHL, the entity currently running the arena, RSE will spend a minimum of another $9M as a Net Cash Requirement. Who would know better what it costs than the NHL currently doing the job?

So we have $13.6M in annual interest payments and $9M in cash needed to operate the arena. Simple math says the minimum figure that RSE will spend every year is $22.6M. The $45M of equity that RSE raised will last almost two years. Where do they get the money to continue? Don’t say from the revenue generated by the arena events. That revenue will offset the total annual arena expenditures of $12M. Ok, tires kicked and the hood has been looked under.

Fortress is not in this deal out of the goodness of its heart. The reason Fortress has the option to purchase equity in the team is that they know darn good and well that when RSE flips the team, it will be much more profitable for them to be in the game and get their expansion check profits than just simply to be repaid at 8%. If RSE can get out of its lease in year 3 or 4 it’s a brilliant strategy. They will make a killing on expansion fees and will have essentially bought a team for only $45M in real equity.

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

That leads to the second question. Will Glendale be willing to pay a lease management fee greater than $6M a year? For the sake of argument let’s say Glendale is willing to go as high as $10M a year. How does it find the $4M it is short? Preliminary approval of the budget says monies within the budget may be reassigned to different departments/categories but overall budget expenditures are capped at the approved amount and may not be increased. One scenario could be that the NHL is willing to forgo the second $25M payment owed to it by the city. The city could then apply those funds and cover the $4M shortfall needed to pay a $10M annual lease management fee for 6 years. Or the city could ask for greater revenue sharing from the new owner in the form of a percentage of the concession revenue, a larger ticket surcharge, all of the naming rights revenue and have the team create a new revenue stream in the form of a parking charge. All seem counterproductive but could happen. Would it cover the $4M shortfall?  I am sure somebody somewhere will have created positive projections but there is no way to be sure until one sees the revenues generated in the first year of this scheme.

If the city were to agree to pay $10M a year that would cover RSE’s need for cash to operate the arena but obviously it does not cover RSE’s $13.6M (or thereabout) annual interest payment on their debt. It looks like RSE’s equity investment if used to cover only that debt would last about three years. Then what??

There are those who will be very unhappy reading this analysis because they will perceive the recitation of these facts based upon widely media reported numbers as “negative.” Why bother with facts and dash hopes of RSE becoming the new owner? These numbers are as reliable as possible using sources available. These concepts are known to the NHL and potential owners. Now the fan base should objectively analyze these numbers (or any other numbers revealed by the NHL, potential owners, the city or the media) as we hope and wait (not so patiently) for a final end to this misery of limbo regarding team ownership.

The obvious conclusion is that RSE will bleed money and that will be the rationale for their relocation of the team after a few, short years. Just the news no red-blooded Coyotes fan wants to hear.

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jobing.com arena

Jobing.com Arena

Well, well,well…Glendale has offered a crumb to its residents by making public the names of the four bidders that responded to the Beacon Sports RFP (at a cost of $100,000) for management of its arena, Jobing.com. More to come about the bidding process in a future blog.

The contenders are: Phoenix Monarch Group, R Entertainment, SMG World and Phoenix Arena Development. Have you noticed who is missing? We see none of the expected and well known players in either the arena management industry or the entertainment venue industry – Global Spectrum, AEG and IFG. I suspect that when they learned that as part of the bid Glendale was seeking their investment (counts for 10% of bidding score) they probably said thanks, but no thanks.

Let’s look at the bidders. First up is R Entertainment. It is a privately held company registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August, 2006. It is located in Scottsdale with 1-10 employees. Its Statutory Agent is Kerry Dunne and according to the media, a partner. It manages one venue, the Pepsi Amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park near Flagstaff. By the way, the seating capacity of the Amphitheater is 2,750, not quite a 17,000 seat arena. I congratulate them for submitting a bid but I fear they are way out of their league (no pun intended). Investment counts for 10% of the bid score and this company is too small to make a major investment in Glendale’s arena. Experience is another 15% of the bid score and the company’s management experience with the Pepsi Amphitheater does not meet managing a similar sports facility. Personnel accounts for another 10% of the score. The current management staff of the arena numbers about 135, full time and part time. With a staff of 1-10 people R Entertainment is simply too small to manage a venue of this size. This company’s bid could lose about 35% of available points according to the bid criteria. Quite frankly, it should have been rejected as not meeting the basic criteria of the bid.

Next up is SMG World whose headquarters are located in Philadelphia, PA. It is a world-wide event and venue management company established in 1977. It has the personnel and experience to manage Jobing.com arena and advertises on its website http://smgworld.com that it has managed 230 facilities. So it certainly is a viable contender. One problematical concern revolves around an old saying that you are judged by the company you keep. SMG has a relationship with the Bidwill subsidiary, Rojo Event Management. Yes, the same Rojo that submitted a bid to the city to manage its Youth Sports fields adjacent to the stadium. Rojo’s bid for management is greater than the current Global Spectrum contract and offers way less revenue to the city. This is the Youth Sports field bid the city should reject unless it likes being taken to the cleaners once again.

Another bidder has indeed risen like the mythical Phoenix Bird and that is the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG). It was registered with the Arizona Corporation Commission in August of 2012 and its managing member is Arturo Jimenez. In the one telephone conversation I had with Mr. Jimenez (at Councilmember Lieberman’s request) he indicated that an Alvarez (don’t remember the first name) and Tony Herrera were part of his group (more about them in a minute). This group should sound familiar to you. It the group that Councilmember Alvarez brokered a meeting for with former Mayor Scruggs and former Councilmember Lieberman. At that time they were asking for about $7M to host 25 events. Their experience is problematical. They ran an event for the Hispanic Fire Fighters Association (HFFA) which ended with HFFA paying vendors because PMG did not. The only other event (that they classify as ‘major.’ I do not) PMG hosted was a Hispanic Festival for a Peoria Councilmember. PMG easily loses 35% of bid points for lack of experience, personnel and investment. But once again the specter of relationships is troubling. I do not know if the Alvarez Mr. Jimenez referred to is a distant, or otherwise, relative of Councilmember Alvarez. Mr. Herrera, another PMG participant, has a close relationship with Councilmember Chavira with both listed as managing members of two companies, Cool Heads,LLC. and the McCoy Group, LLC. At least in terms of public perception, if no other, Councilmembers Alvarez and Chavira should recluse themselves due to a conflict of interest. They have no business advocating for or participating in discussions and votes on choosing a Beacon bidder to manage the arena.

Last up is Phoenix Arena Development Limited Partnership. It is headquartered in Phoenix but according to the Arizona Corporation Commission it is a foreign limited partnership. It is a privately held company and owned by the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership. The general partner of the Phoenix Suns Limited Partnership is JDM Sports, Inc. and as of 1992 Jerry Colangelo was its president. This company was created for one purpose only and that is to manage the Suns basketball team’s venue. It crafted a sweet deal for itself with the City of Phoenix. Reminds me of the Ellman deal, Coyotes and Jobing.com Arena. It has experience in managing one venue exclusively and somehow or another; I don’t think they will be making an investment in Glendale’s arena. More likely is that, if chosen, Glendale will end up making a hefty payment to this company.

So there you have it – the four bidders that Glendale taxpayers spent $100,000 to find. Pick your poison. It’s the height of chutzpah for Beacon to even present R Entertainment or the Phoenix Monarch Group as viable bidders to the council. Clearly neither one is qualified by experience alone, to manage Jobing.com. Left standing is SMG World with ties to the Bidwills or Phoenix Arena Development with ties to Colangelo. To date, we have not seen the details of any of these bids and have no clue as to the management fee any of these groups is requesting.

Coyotes logoKeep in mind that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the Beacon process was “silly” and it is. The same, major issue is before this council just as it was before the former council and that is, if you choose to keep the Coyotes in Glendale, Westgate viable and save the city’s third major economic area, you must pay the freight and use the team owner as the arena’s manager. The only issue for Glendale is what can it afford to pay to make that happen and will it be enough to keep the Coyotes long-term?

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Below is a verbatim transcript of the Bettman press conference. I prefer to personally hear what is being said about important issues and to make my own verbatim transcript for reference. I did this often when I was on city council and made verbatim transcripts of the former mayor’s remarks as well as staffers and other councilmembers.

It begins with the end of Commissioner Bettman’s opening remarks. I have only transcribed those portions of the press conference relevant to the Coyotes issue but I have inserted time markers for unrelated reporters’ questions. The video is posted on many sites. I pulled it from the Coyotes team website.

Bettman

NHL Commissioner
Gary Bettman

Gary Bettman (GB): “Phoenix. No doubt we’ll get a question. Obviously, we’re getting to the point where some decisions are going to have to be made both by the City of Glendale and by us. I haven’t set a deadline but time is getting shorter. We’re looking forward to realignment for next season. We’re looking forward to the future. But as we look back on this season and take a deep breath before we look ahead to the Stanley Cup Final and then to next season, we find ourselves in a good, strong place. And we’re grateful to be there. And we’re grateful to be here with all of you. So, we’ll take your questions.”

4:55 Reporter question 1 (RQ 1):  What preparations for stormy weather in Chicago?

6:20 RQ 2: Why is Olympic process dragging on so long?

7:52 RQ 3: Question about realignment, names of conferences, etc.

RQ 4: “Bill, you mentioned that Phoenix somewhat impacts the schedule being released. Does that mean or suggest the team won’t be playing there next year?”

Daly

Deputy NHL Commissioner
Bill Daly

Bill Daly (BD): Yes. It’s certainly possible the team won’t play there next year. Look at the short strokes in Phoenix now. The ownership group we’ve negotiated a deal with has been negotiating with the City of Glendale. I think everybody knows kinda what’s on the table. I think the puck is pretty much in the City of Glendale’s end with respect to how they want to deal with that.”

RQ 5: “Just to go a little further on Phoenix. Time is short. How much time do you have left? Why not have a deadline at some point?”

GB: “No reason to. It’s been a complicated process. In our minds understand that we’re dealing with a time frame. But a specific day isn’t going to do it but time is getting short and as Bill said, this is really going to be a decision that the City of Glendale is going to have to make.”

9:27 RQ 6: Stanley Cup questions

RQ 7: “Bill or Gary, I’m sure you have a Plan B or even a Plan C for Phoenix. But if they’re not playing in Phoenix next year will Quebec City, might be a Plan B or Plan C for the league?”

GB: We’re still focused on making it work with the Coyotes staying in Arizona. I don’t wanna begin a process, particularly publicly, with, where there’s gonna be a lot of speculation where the team might go, if it moved because all that would do would be to unfairly raise expectation in places and I don’t want to do that to fans in these communities. So we’re just going to leave it that we’re still focused on the Coyotes in Arizona.”

10:52 RQ 8: how were revenue earnings in a shortened season?

11:21 RQ 9: officiating during the play offs

13:38 RQ 10: Original 6 final game?

14:42 RQ 11: despite loss of 42% of season is NHL impenetrable?

16:53 RQ 12: low scoring in playoff games

RQ 13: “Does the Phoenix issue affect realignment at all especially if they have to move somewhere?”

GB: “Since one’s hope is that they’re going to stay where they are it shouldn’t and if the team is forced to relocate then we’ll have a look at it and make a decision as to whether or not it is impacted.”

18:19 RQ 14: concessions

19:51 RQ 15: after lockout will there be better revenues in the future?

RQ 16: “Two questions on Phoenix that perhaps Bill could answer. If we understand that you’ve got an ownership in place who will only take control of the team once the city council of Glendale strikes a deal, it seems that we’re working off a timeline that is controlled by the city council of Glendale. Is that correct?”

GB: “No. I’ll answer the question. The answer is no. At some point we’re going to have to make a decision.”

BD: “In other words, delay could be a no decision. Or no decision could be a decision in this case. So they understand. There’s no misunderstanding with respect to when our time table is vis a vis the city of Glendale. They know what our decision time line is and what are the decisions we have to make. There’s no misunderstanding on the parties.”

RQ 17: “You’ve spoken of keeping the team there and relocation. Does a third option of having the franchise in hiatus exist?”

GB: “There are a myriad of options and we’re not prepared to engage in speculation as to what the optionality (sic) is. The focus, at least for the time being, remains on having the Coyotes in Arizona. Obviously, we’ll have lots of choices, options and decisions and at the time, if we get to that point, and hopefully we won’t, then we’ll focus on which one is the best.”

21:40 RQ 18:  has a series with two of original 6 teams been achieved?

22:44 RQ 19: results of investigation into deaths of 2 NHL players

RQ 20: “Do you need a decision on Phoenix by the Board of Governors’ meeting on June 27th?”

GB: “Maybe. Are you trying to get me to set a deadline?”

RQ 21: “I’m just curious.”

GB: Listen. There’s a Board of Governors meeting on the 27th. There’s a city council meeting on June 28th.”

BD: “June 25th.”

GB: “I’m sorry. June 25th. Stuff’s gonna happen.”

24:10 RQ 22: world cup hockey

RQ 23: “Gary, question #15 on the Coyotes, if I may. You mentioned that you don’t want to make expectations in other places. Are there that many markets out there available that you could turn around and go to?”

GB: “There are a number of markets that have been expressing an interest to us over the years and the phone keeps ringing more regularly the longer that the Coyotes situation stays unresolved and based on the dates we just happened to talk about with the previous question, it’s causing the phone to ring even more.”

26:01 RQ 24: will acrimony of lockout be present and will GB present Stanley Cup?

26:28 RQ 25: will players participate in future world championship?

RQ 26: “If the phone is ringing about interest from other markets why is Phoenix still the best option for the NHL and can the franchise not just survive but thrive with new ownership?”

nealy

Mike Nealy

Maloney

Don Maloney

GB: “That’s a great question. So let me answer it in two parts. The first is, we try to avoid franchise relocation. We try to do everything possible. We don’t think it’s fair to fans and we don’t think it’s fair unless you have to move, to do it to communities that build you buildings. And so we’re not going to get involved in a bake-off where we’re gonna say, you know, we’d rather be here than there. We’re gonna try to preserve what’s in place. That’s what we’ve always done even when it’s resulted previously in franchise relocation. That only happens when we’ve exhausted all possibilities. We’ve now operated this club for about three years indirectly. We’ve had ownership of it. We’ve had great support by the people on the ground doing there. Mike Nealy and Donny Maloney in particular, have done a particularly strong job. We actually believe that if you gave the community an owner, not the league, who said, I’m committed to being here, this franchise could actively be successful from a business standpoint. We’ve seen what the fan base will do with all the uncertainty. We understand the dynamics from the business community and the broadcasters and the media and the people who buy suites and naming rights and all that stuff. If there was certainty surrounding this franchise its fortunes would improve dramatically and immediately just by virtue of putting in a real owner.”

BD: “No matter how this plays out I don’t think anybody can accuse us of a kind of grass is greener type approach to this. We’ve been committed to this market. We’ve done everything humanly possible to make this franchise work in this market. And now’s the time we’re gonna find out if that works.”

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

GB: “And again, when the obligation that we take so seriously, it starts with the fans and the community but for those of you who have been to the arena in Glendale, you know, I worry about what’s gonna happen to the arena if the team isn’t there. I think it’s likely to get boarded up because they’re not gonna have enough events to sustain it. I worry about what happens to Westgate and all the businesses and people who are employed there. I worry about the impact it may have on the football stadium, having a situation on its front steps that may not be ideal anymore and so we’re taking, we’ve taken all of those things into account over the last three years as we’ve tried to make it work. That’s why ultimately it’s up to the City of Glendale to make the decision that they think is in the best interest of their constituents and whatever they decide, we’ll abide by but ultimately whether or not this team stays at this point is their call.”

END OF PRESS CONFERENCE

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June fish pond update

Posted by Joyce Clark on June 12, 2013
Posted in fish pondKoi pond  | Tagged With: , , , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

Surprisingly we can still see the bottom of the pond and the fish despite the fact that the temperatures have been running in the 105 to 110 degree range. We have a new addition to the pond and it seems like I have to stop trolling the Net for pond information for awhile or we will go broke.

I visited YouTube and can spend hours watching videos of koi fish spawning, feeding, etc., or I can watch fish growing or just swimming around. Everyone once in awhile a video leads to some new discovery. That’s how I happened on the Aqua-Sphere. I saw it on a video, went to the site, bought it and it is now sitting in the pond. While a neat idea, I would not recommend getting it until the company does some modifications. The concept of putting floating food into the ball and seeing the fish magnified is a very good one but their equipment needs modification. The base is too short and not wide enough to provide stability. Since the opening in the sphere is only supposed to be a few inches below the water line we found the base legs to be woefully short. The company should supply taller base legs that can be cut to your appropriate height. So we took an old, plastic tub turned upside down, drilled holes in it and wired the base to in essence, another base. Here is the tub and the Aquasphere:

base for stand

Tub used as base for
Aqua-Sphere stand

Globe 1

Aqua-Sphere in pond
at dusk

 

 

 

 

 

The base ring that the sphere sits on should be wider as well to provide more stability. The first day I discovered that cleaning the pond and creating a strong current will tip the sphere over. Solution is to be more gentle and careful in my movements to clean around the sphere. Have we had fish in the sphere? Yes and no. If you count our hoard of Gambusia (mosquito fish) attacking the floating food, the answer is yes. The Koi are very wary of it so far. One of our Goldfish has exhibited great curiosity and may be the first to venture into it.

Here’s our current Fish Roster. We currently have about 20 fish but I am only going to share photos of half of them. I classify them as Large (between 12” and 24”); Medium ( between 6” and 12”) and Small (up to 6”).

First up is “Big Alice”, an all white, Large Koi. We were calling her “Big A” but during breeding season we realized that she is a female.

Big Alice 1

Big Alice
White koi

Then there are “Ying” and “Yang”, both are Large Butterfly Koi. Ying is orange and Yang is white with black spots.

Orange Butterfly 1

Orange Butterfly koi
Ying

 

 

 

Blk Wh Butterfly

Black and white butterfly koi
Yang

Next, unnamed and Large is a Koi that is primarily white with some red and black on its back.

Wh with r b 1

Unnamed Large koi
White with red and black

“Half and Half” is a Large Koi whose front half is red and back half is black.

Half and Half

Half Black and Half Red koi
Half and Half

Another unnamed and Large Koi has red on its head with mainly black on its body but with some red and white showing.

r w b 1

Red, white and black koi
Unnamed

 

 

 

 

 

 

“K1” is also a Large Koi. He is a light, golden color.

Lt golden 2

Light golden koi
K1

In the Medium category there is “K2.” He started off looking a lot like “K1” but as he has grown he has become more orange and has lost his golden luster.

Golden turned orange

Golden turned orange koi
K2

 

 

 

 

 

Also Medium size and unnamed are our two Skeleton Koi. One is orange and black and the other is silver and black.

orange skeleton 2

Orange skeleton koi
Unnamed

 

 

 

 

b w skeleton 2

Black and silver skeleton koi
Unnamed

I will post about the pond in July and introduce you to the rest of the pack. They all appear to be healthy. I feed them every evening at about 6 PM and it is a joy to watch them hone in on a morsel of floating food. It is the best time of the day.

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agenda 1June 11, 2013 will be a regular Glendale City Council meeting. The agenda, however, is anything but regular. There are four items of special note. All but one item is under Consent Resolutions. Consent Resolutions means that unless an item is pulled by a councilmember for further discussion that item will be passed or rejected along with the 13 other consent resolutions and there will be no discussion – nary a peep out of anyone. The usual disclaimer prior to introduction of the consent resolutions is to say, “They are of a routine nature or have been previously discussed by council in a workshop session.”  Let me assure you two of the consent resolutions are not of a routine nature and have never been discussed publicly by this council. They are consent resolutions #13 and #14. Here is the link to council’s meeting agenda of June 11, 2013:  http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/Meetings/Agendas/061113.pdf .

Both of these consent resolutions require doing business with the Tohono O’odham Nation. Item 13 is a grant request from the TO on behalf of the Aguila Youth Leadership Institute (http://www.aguilayouth.org/) in the amount of $112,100. The second item, item 14 is another grant request from the TO on behalf of Heart for the City in the amount of $100,000.

In the Staff Report, staff’s apparent rationale for doing business with the Tohono O’odham is that we have submitted for the same type of grants from the Gila River Indian Community.  So, if we could take grant money from the Gila River Indian Community then by golly, we should be able to take grant money from the Tohono O’odham. Between August, 2010 and June, 2011 the city received grants totaling $290,188 from the Gila River Indian Community. The funds were used by From the Heart, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix and the Glendale Parks, Recreation and Library Department. The Gila River Indian Community have been one of our staunchest allies in the legal warfare with the Tohono O’odham since the issue of a casino IN Glendale (not near Glendale –darn it – but IN it) arose.

Is something missing? Have all legal issues between the City of Glendale and the Tohono O’odham been resolved? Are we suddenly buddies? Receiving grant money from a legal ally is far different than receiving grant money, no matter how well intentioned, from your legal enemy. It is the height of hypocrisy on Glendale’s part. I am ashamed that staff has brought these items forward. If I were on council and could take action at the meeting I would pull both items off of the Consent Resolution Agenda and speak directly to them and vote a resounding “no” on both – no matter how well intentioned they are. If council approves these two consent resolutions, where are this council’s principles?

Glendale City Council

Glendale City Council

Another Consent Resolution is more amusing in context. Item 8 calls for adoption of council’s Key Priorities for Fiscal Year 2013-2014. This one is a hoot! Council’s very first priority is, “Transparency internally and externally to assure the community that the decisions made for the well-being of Glendale are discussed openly with input invited.” Followed by their second priority, “Arena management, debt service, hockey agreement and enhanced revenues will play a large role in policy formation and financial strategy. The above noted transparency will be vital to gaining community support for decisions necessary to optimize the arena value to the Glendale community” (Italics mine). It appears that we all have missed something in council’s translation of transparency.  It looks like council’s definition of transparency is not what the general public assumes it to be. We certainly haven’t seen much transparency when it comes to the Beacon RFP process or Renaissance Sports and Entertainment Group’s discussions with city personnel or council.

greed 1Which brings up our last target of incredulity, Item 21, Fiscal Year Budget Amendments, as an Ordinance to be adopted. I love numbers. While most people won’t go to the numbers pages and really read them. I always do with gusto because they are so revealing. These amendments are transfers from one hand in the budget into a different hand in the budget. The transfer is from Contingency (you know, the “rainy day” account the city is trying to rebuild) to the City Manager’s Office.  In this case, did you know that this council is paying $500,000 for the Council Special Audit? Can you imagine it? Half a million dollars on a special audit – an audit whose primary purpose is to fix blame on somebody. Let’s hope they find a half million dollars worth of blame because they certainly are not going to find a half million dollar pot of gold at City Hall.

The council is also spending another $100,000 on the Arena RFP Process run by their hired consultant, Beacon Sports.  We all thought Councilmember Alvarez wanted to “get rid” of all the consultants? Not so. They must be OK if they are consultants that serve her purposes. Remember, this RFP process is the same one that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman characterized as “silly.” All of this comes from a council which, when 4 of them were running for office, ran around wringing their hands, complaining about the previous council’s fiscal irresponsibility and vowing it would never occur again because their mission was to be fiscally accountable and transparent about it all. Looks like the joke is on you, Glendale voters.

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blog symbol 1A lot of people are reading my blog. The count as of June 10, 2013 is nearly 40,000. The reason I bring this up is that on March 7, 2013 I posted a blog entitled “Twistn n Turnin.” In it I raised some serious questions about the proposed Cardinals training camp to be located on Glendale’s youth sports fields and the costs associated with using the Bidwell’s company, Rojo Management. Councilmembers may have given some thought to the concerns I raised and now may share them.

In my March 7 blog I pointed out that, “There are lots of questions about this staff presentation that were not asked by councilmembers. Without context it’s like comparing apples to oranges.  Global Spectrum’s contract calls for managing and renting out the sports fields all year long for $216,000. We must assume that Rojo’s contract would call for the same yet their management fee is $69,000 higher.  Why? Do they need more people to do the same job that Global does?  Do they pay higher salaries to their personnel than Global does?

“There are many youth sports leagues that rely upon the use of and rent these fields all year long – from soccer to football leagues. There is a major discrepancy between both contracts relative to utility costs. The $40K figure that Rojo cites, by assumption, does not seem to reflect the fields’ usage all year long. Is it their intent to only reflect utility costs incurred during training camp? Or was it a low-ball figure designed to make Rojo’s bid more attractive? I don’t know but these are questions that should have been asked. Rojo, by the way, is a Bidwell subsidiary.

“Another question not asked is, what was the revenue generated by Global Spectrum last fiscal year? The city receives 50% of it from Global. Should we not know what that figure is? Rojo is proposing revenue share of only 20% and that is after the first $150,000 is generated. I am sure staff in preparation for this presentation should have been able to supply an estimate of revenue it expected to receive under the Rojo contract. Council should have asked about revenue projections or staff should have provided this information to council.”

Sherwood

Gary Sherwood

Councilmember Sherwood’s comments in a Craig Morgan FoxSportsAZ article of June 10, 2013 (here is the link: http://www.foxsportsarizona.com/nfl/arizona-cardinals/story/Cardinals-Glendale-still-at-impasse-over?blockID=910423&feedID=11331 entitled Cardinals, Glendale still at impasse over camp has Sherwood saying, “It’s a worse deal than the one we have right now. We lose money. I have no idea why we would agree to it.” or “They still want to make money off of us, and we can’t do that.” One hopes that this is a majority sentiment of council.

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Did you ever wonder?

Posted by Joyce Clark on June 5, 2013
Posted in City of Glendale  | Tagged With: , , | No Comments yet, please leave one

nealy

Mike Nealy

Did you ever wonder who the real heroes of this whole Coyotes mess are? Everyone has an urban legend about the CEO and an administrative assistant who really ran the company. While everyone is running around trying to figure out who the new owner will be there has been a largely unnoticed cadre of people who have kept the team and arena functioning – and even thriving. Those are the people who run the arena and manage the team.

Maloney

Don Maloney

Ever since 2009 when Jerry Moyes declared bankruptcy there have been about 135 people (not counting the vendors and their employees) who have seamlessly kept the arena operating under extremely difficult conditions. Leading that list is Mike Nealy, President, Chief Operating Officer and Alternate Governor (of NHL Board of Governors). Add to Nealy, Don Maloney, Executive Vice President, General Manager and Alternate Governor; Brad Treliving, Vice President of Hockey Operations and Assistant General Manager; Jim Foss, Senior Vice President and General Manager; Rich Nairn, Senior Director of Communications; and Chris Wojcik, Senior Manager of Media Relations. The entire organization of over 100 people is to be commended but listing them all would simply take too much time and space.

Mike Nealy is a first rate COO. Without a bona fide owner other than the NHL, this man of integrity, honesty and little to no ego has skillfully managed to grow attendance last year-over-this year by 13% (social media has pegged attendance increases anywhere from 10% to 16%; 13% is an extremely reliable figure) and grown revenues substantially (double digit % increase). This occurred in a market where no one knows if and when the team will remain in Glendale, much less Arizona.

Any new owner, if even half-way intelligent, would keep this team intact recognizing that Nealy and his team have already proven themselves by fire. I’ve often wondered why anyone who is interested in buying the team has not enlisted Nealy as part of his negotiating team with the city. To date Nealy is an untapped asset.

Don Maloney adds to the success the arena and team have enjoyed. The man is a genius of a hockey general manager. His cobbling together of a competitive team on a shoestring budget is legendary. Add to these two extremely talented men the likes of Foss, Nairn and Wojcik. All of these men have added to the organization not knowing if any particular day would be their last day serving an organization that they not only work for, but love.

Then there are all of the other employees who genuinely love working for this organization and it shows. It includes maintenance to ticket sales and everything in between. Can you imagine going to work every day, giving 100% and not knowing if you have a job tomorrow? Did you ever wonder if you could do that?

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