Header image alt text

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.”


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?