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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

A disclaimer: I have not made a decision on the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment bid to manage the city’s arena. It is not possible until I have read the document. To date it is not available to the public.

I don’t usually post 3 blogs in one day but this appears to be one of those days that demands it.

On June 25, 2013, Paul Giblin, a reporter for the Arizona Republic issued the following story online, Glendale still unsure about Phoenix Coyotes deal. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/community/glendale/articles/20130625glendale-unsure-phoenix-coyotes-deal.html . Several aspects of his story are troubling. One issue is that a vote is still scheduled for hidden agendaTuesday, July 2, 2013. It is my understanding that the council has requested another Executive Session for Thursday, June 27, 2013. The city had better made sure that notice of another Esession on June 27th is properly posted 24 hours in advance. Which means that the meeting notice has to be posted on Wednesday, June 26th…today. However, even more worrisome is that with an Esession scheduled for June 27 the very earliest the deal points could be posted publicly would be on Friday, June 28th or even as late as on Monday, July 1st. Could the city post as late as 24 hours before a scheduled vote? Yes, they could but would they? I hope not as suspicions will shoot through the roof if the public is given one day to review and understand any deal between Renaissance Sports and Entertainment (RSE) and the city.

city hall 2

Glendale City Hall Complex

Now, about that second $25M the NHL has offered (at the 11th hour) to take payments on of $5M over each of the next 5 years. Great…too little, too late and it doesn’t solve the city’s problems. The $30M leaseback of City Hall was designed to replenish the city’s Enterprise Funds, Vehicle Replacement Fund and Technology Replacement Fund.  Glendale staff crafted a brilliant strategy. Now that strategy has been tabled by council until after the scheduled Coyotes vote on July 2nd… Hmmmm…The $20M the city has held in an escrow account for the NHL payment simply isn’t enough to cover all of the city’s needs. It will pay back some of the loans leaving $5M still outstanding.  While a generous offer on the part of the NHL, it could have been done a long time ago and in fact, I and several former councilmembers called for just such an arrangement. Why now? I suspect it is in reaction to what they perceive as a very negative story about the city planning to enter a leaseback of City Hall to pay back loans directly related to the $50M partially paid and partially still owed to the NHL.

To discover that councilmembers are not on top of the revenues derived from either the Westgate area (remember those revenues are already being used to pay off the original construction debt on the arena and are NOT new found money) or the arena is disturbing to say the least. At least one of them has touted himself as an expert on the entire RSE deal.

Norma Alvarez

Norma Alvarez

Lastly, good old Councilmember Alvarez and her statements have got to have you snapping your heads in double-take mode. Alvarez said, “I called them knuckleheads, because they don’t get it. They don’t get it. They don’t get it. They’re going to continue discussions. Discussions of what? We’re selling City Hall because of paying $50 million. C’mon. C’mon.” Factually she is incorrect. The city is proposing a leaseback arrangement not an outright sale of City Hall with visions of employees moving out after a sale. As for continuing discussions, they should continue but they don’t have to result in acceptance of the deal…not if RSE cannot or will not guarantee “enhanced revenue streams” for the city.


circus 1 A

I suspect by now everyone has learned of Mayor Weiers’ idea of splittingcircus 1 B the lease management agreement for Jobing.com Arena into 4 separate management agreements. One would be for “entertainment”. I assume it means non-hockey events. The second would be hockey. The third would be “education”. Your guess is as good as mine as to exactly what that means. The fourth would be “cleaning”.

circus 1 CSo now the arena would have 4 managers…er, czars. Lots of generals and very few, if any, soldiers. Picture this. Hockey plays on a defined schedule. The entertainment czar has a dispute with the hockey czar or education czar because there is a conflict as to who gets what night. Or there’s acircus 1 D conflict between the entertainment czar and the cleaning czar because the floors are sticky from soda residue or the restrooms are not spiffy. Does the NHL reschedule the Detroit Red Wings or others until the 3 other czars have reached resolution of the disputed issue?

What to do? Call in a mediator? My goodness it could take weeks, possibly even months to settle disputes. In the meantime, the place gets dingier and nights go unused by anyone. Is this any way to run a business? And of course, the larger question is – to what purpose?

circus 2This situation calls for a czar over all the czars and the creation of yet another layer as a manager to manage the four managers would then be needed. So now Glendale would have 5 contracts to award rather than just one. Spreading the largess in a greater…well…arena, so to speak. Remember what Anthony LeBlanc said to the media not too long ago? He said the deal to be attractive to a potential buyer would have to be very similar to the deal that has been on the table. Sounds to me as if he’s referring to the Jamison deal.

Why 4 separate management contracts? The speculation abounds. One theory is that it is a means of courting more councilmember support for a deal. The award of an education contract may satisfy Councilmember Chavira who is big on education. So big he ran on improving education not realizing the City of Glendale is separate from Glendale school districts and has no control over them. Remember his campaign pledge to work to “fully fund Head Start,” a federal program? Having educational opportunities at Jobing.com arena might assuage that embarrassment and do the trick. Although Glendale taxpayers are probably not in the mood to fund yet another city fiscal responsibility not specified in the City Charter.

Then there’s the entertainment contract award. Remember the Phoenix Monarch Group (PMG)? Councilwoman Alvarez brokered a meeting between them and the former Mayor Scruggs and Former Councilmember Lieberman. Opening the door for them to bid may cause Alvarez to move away from her staunchly negative position on any deal for the arena.

There may be a certain appeal to the idea of offering 4 arena management contracts for the Mayor. For during his election campaign just a short 3 months ago his position was that the only way the team could stay was if it didn’t cost the taxpayers of Glendale. He’s made it quite clear that he thinks the Jamison deal was bad for Glendale taxpayers and the only good deal is one that doesn’t hurt them. He’s put himself in a position making it difficult for him to support Mr. LeBlanc’s assertion that any new deal that works would have to be very similar to the Jamison deal. Or by way of another theory, perhaps it’s his way of signaling to all that he is, indeed, in charge. After all, he needs to place his imprint on some issue to demonstrate that he is king…er…president…er…chief. Well, at the very least that he is the boss.

This entire scheme appears to be unorthodox… in fact, quite bizarre…but who knows? Stranger things have happened in Glendale.