From Lisa Halverstadt’s story in today’s Arizona Republic on the Glendale Mayoral election.
Camelback Ranch Glendale, the spring-training ballpark, is another sports-related investment poised to hit Glendale’s pocketbook. The city has nearly exhausted the reserve fund it used to make payments in recent years and could soon have to use operating funds to cover millions in additional debt. Earlier this year, Scruggs said her only regret was voting for the baseball park. The city did business with developers who lacked a track record and promised projects that didn’t pan out, she said.
Why have the Coyotes been the centerpoint of the economic lamentations coming from the Glendale council? Could it be the Chicago White Sox, whose spring training facility is Camelback Ranch, are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf? Reinsdorf was lurking in the background a couple of times in the past three years. When Ice Edge was trying to buy the team, there was Reinsdorf sending in his surrogate to try and stay relevant. Ice Edge is promising to not move the team, Reinsdorf’s group would only do the deal if he had an out clause to move after five years. This clearly was not in the best interest of the residents of Glendale, but there was Phil Lieberman voting for it. One of Reinsdorf employed lawyers is lobbyist John Kaites, who worked closely with former City Manager Ed Beasely.
So we go back to our original question. Why blame the Coyotes? Glendale entered into a contract with developers who promised to built world class shopping and resorts next to the baseball park. To this day, 3 years later, that promise has not been kept. Why not go to the Dodgers and White Sox and ask for their help in either financing the stadium or financing the dead in the water development? The Dodgers just sold for 2 billion dollars. Reinsdorf has a net worth of at least $350 million. Glendale built replicas of each of their iconic fields, separating the field by a fish pond.
It is easier to blame a project like Jobing.com that has been second guessed since its inception and the Coyotes than to go after baseball. It is intellectually lazy and dishonest to lay the economic downturn experienced by Glendale at the feet of the Coyotes.
Fact 1: Glendale voted to build Jobing.com. It was constructed and is one of the best facilities in the NHL. It serves as an anchor to Westgate plaza. The Coyotes have had success the past three years that included playoff runs and sell outs. Westgate is busy 41 times a year thanks to the Coyotes.
Fact 2: Glendale voted to build Camelback Ranch. It was constructed and is used for spring training baseball and the occasional concert. The promised resorts and shopping have not been built and is costing Glendale. The money that would be spent before and after baseball games in Glendale cannot be calculated as there is no avenue for those funds to be used.
Fact 3: Glendale is now using reserve funds to pay off Camelback Ranch principal and interest on construction loans. It was sales tax and income tax from all the jobs that was going to not only finance the stadium but also provide Glendale with an additional revenue stream.
Fact 4: Economic studies recently presented in the Arizona Republic showed it is cheaper to transfer Jobing.com and management rights to Greg Jamison than it would be to let the Coyotes leave and the arena go dark.
When the political candidates who are vying for the Glendale mayoral race and state representatives openings answer these questions, we know whom we are to vote for.
And by the way, calls to Governor Jan Brewer asking if she is in support of the Coyotes staying are met with “Governor Brewer has not taken a position.”