It has been 17 years and 162 days since the city’s pledge to build the West Branch Library.

Unless you have been comatose by now you know that on June 10, 2015 the Glendale City Council voted 5 -2 to cancel its Lease Management Agreement with IceArizona for the city owned arena. Two days later, June 12, 2015 Ice Arizona successfully secured a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

Just think about it. The council vote was 5 -2 with Councilmember Jamie Aldama breaking ranks with Councilmembers Sherwood and Chavira. In his remarks he said that while he is pro business he felt compelled to uphold the integrity of the process.

Just think about it. The five councilmembers who voted to void the contract have divergent backgrounds in terms of educational levels, incomes, ethnicity, time served on city council yet collectively they found the facts available to them (and not to the public to date) compelling enough to move forward with voiding the contract.

Just think about it. This council has been characterized as being idiots, fools and all manner of the devil. They knew there would be an extraordinarily violent reaction yet they held fast and voted their consciences. Only senior management and the council know the facts relating to state statute § 38-511. They knew that IceArizona would sue; they knew there would be legal fees; they knew the fan base would come unglued; they knew the media, in its search for fresh red meat, would berate them. They knew…yet they still voted to cancel the contract. Didn’t any of these groups pause for just a nanosecond to consider that the city’s allegations could be quite legitimate?

Just think about it. The 5 members of city council that voted to cancel the contract must stay the course. They took an oath to uphold the law. They have a fiduciary responsibility to every Glendale taxpayer. If an opportunity for further dialogue with the Coyotes presents itself they should take advantage of that opportunity. If it brings no resolution then they must follow through on cancellation of the contract.

Just think about it. Many question why now? Quite frankly, it is irrelevant. The makeup of the city council changed with this past election. The original 4 councilmembers that approved the contract dwindled to 2 creating an environment that allowed the facts as known to the city to be considered and acted upon.

Just think about it. The greater question is what has happened to civil society?  America is great because one of its bedrock values is freedom of speech. Everyone, on either side of this issue, has the freedom to express an opinion but it should be tempered speech based on the facts. It is acknowledged that the Coyotes fans are stunned and angered by the recent city action. In their anger some have allowed emotion to override common decency.

Just think about it. One action that is stark in its viciousness was that of Ms. Rhonda Pierson on the night of the special voting meeting. Ms. Pierson expressed the beliefs of some Coyotes fans and she had the right to do so but the vindictiveness of her speech was out of bounds. Social media has turned her into a heroine of some sort despite the ugliness of her delivery. I didn’t catch it if she announced it but did she acknowledge that she was (or may still be) an employee of the Coyotes organization?

Just think about it. Then today, June 13, 2015, Mayor Weiers who had announced that he was willing to be tazed to raise money for the 100 Club (mission: support of law enforcement families) was tazed by Ms. Pierson. The event was intended to be a great gesture in support of law enforcement recently vilified nationwide. By choosing Ms. Pierson as the designated person to taze the mayor it turned into a distasteful event that made many people uncomfortable. It wasn’t done in the spirit in which it was originally intended but rather turned into a symbolic expression of vindictiveness for the city’s recent vote to void the contract. Those behind the choosing of Ms. Pierson to perform the act have sunk to a new low and are no better than those within the city they currently choose to hate. It was petty and mean spirited.

Just think about it. Social media is a platform that creates a herd mentality and its anoninimity emboldens some to exceed the bounds of common civility. It encourages an atmosphere that causes mass salivation of others’ perceived misfortunes or misdeeds and often reactions are based on raw emotion in the absence of any fact. The level of vituprativeness and ugliness of some folks’ speech has risen to an unprecented level not just locally but on issues throughout the country.

Just think about it. There are probably about 100 local fans that use social media on a regular basis. They have been whipped into frenzy, in part, by the comments made by Anthony LeBlanc as he recently made the media rounds. Did anyone bother to take note that he had to walk back some of his misstatements? Such as, they were never asked by the city to consider renegotiation or Tindall was the only former Glendale employee ever connected to the Coyotes.

Just think about it. There are about 239,000 residents of Glendale. The arena holds slightly north of 17,000. If everyone of the 17,000 was a Glendale resident that would be one twelfth of Glendale right now. In a survey done by one of the TV stations it was reported that 59% of the Glendale residents surveyed supported the cancelling of the IceArizona contract.

Just think about it. If some wish to boycott Glendale’s businesses in protest, that is their right. If some wish to mount recall petitions against every Glendale councilmember, that is their right but ugly expressions of anger directed to the city are not right if one respects the bounds of common decency.

Just think about it. The media has reported that in the next few days IceArizona and city personnel will meet. Let us hope that a long and costly court battle can be avoided. Let us hope that they can work out their differences regarding the contract. I really would like to see the Coyotes stay in Glendale but not at the current rate of taxpayer subsidization.

Just think about it. If nothing comes of their meeting I wish the Coyotes well, perhaps playing in Phoenix. The only nagging question that comes to mind is who is going to pay the Coyotes $15 million a year to play in their facility? The City of Phoenix? Or Robert Sarver?

© Joyce Clark, 2015


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