Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

Today a friend sent me a link to an Arizona Republic Opinion column published on September 9th and written by State Representative Athena Salman. Representative Salman represents State Legislative District 26 which encompasses north Tempe and includes the area of the proposed Coyotes’ arena. Here is the link: https://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2022/09/09/arizona-coyotes-entertainment-district-raw-deal-tempe/8017122001/ . The title of the opinion column is, Arizona Coyotes gave Glendale a raw deal. And Tempe wants to repeat it?

In her column Representative Salman reiterates much of what I have already said about the proposed Coyotes deal. Here are some excerpts from her opinion piece:

  • “What they don’t share so openly is that they’re also requesting either a 30-year and an 8-year government property lease excise tax (GPLET), to the tune of more than $649 million in tax abatements, or a 65-year and an 8-year GPLET that would total over $1.1 billion in tax abatements.”

What this means to the Tempe taxpayers is that the Coyotes are seeking a handout valued at $649M to $1.1B in tax forgiveness. In other words, this represents a loss of money earned for Tempe taxpayers that could be used for all kinds of projects and programs for citizens. This belies their repeated mantra that they are financing the project totally.

Representative Salman goes on to say,

  • “And then there’s the Coyotes’ dishonorable fiscal track record under current owner Alex Meruelo, who took over the franchise in July 2019.”
  • “Is this really the kind of corporate behavior the city of Tempe wants to be rewarding for the next 30 to 65 years?”

This is a fair question.

Another issue Representative Salman did not mention is the intensity and height of construction, especially the apartment buildings and their effect on Sky Harbor’s operations. There is a 1994 agreement between Tempe and Phoenix designed to ensure both cities mutually protect the integrity of Sky Harbor. Phoenix has publicly stated that the Coyotes’ proposed project is in violation of the 1994 agreement which could result in court action.

I agree with Representative Salman’s take on the proposed Coyotes deal. She is merely saying what many others have said. There’s the adage, those that do not study history are doomed to repeat it. I suspect the Coyotes deal appears to be irresistible to some on Tempe’s city council. Are there enough councilmembers to approve the deal? I have no idea, but I hope they take the time to learn valuable lessons from Glendale’s experience.

There are a few avid fans who regularly feel compelled to berate me because I dare to write about the Coyotes. I guess it’s easy for them to forget that I was involved with the Coyotes in Glendale from the very beginning. I was at one time, heavily invested in the team and fought hard to keep them in Glendale through some very trying and turbulent years. After some time, it gets old when there are musical chairs regarding ownership, each successive owner with his own agenda that often did not coincide with that of Glendale. Why shouldn’t I blog about them?

I ‘ve earned the right to do so.

© Joyce Clark, 2022      


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