With the complexion of the Glendale Council to change in the upcoming elections, Glendale residents have a variety of choices at the top of the ticket. The Mayor will set the tone for the board. And as it looks if you are a Coyote fan, you need to vote against candidates more than you are voting for someone. At the recent Glendale Mayoral debate, Walt Opaska provided this statement:
Do we pay another year extension of $25 million or let the Coyotes go,” he said. “That’s a decision we might have to make in January.” Opaska said he intends to make the Coyotes pay for themselves. “This year we raised fees at our pools and raised fees at senior centers,” he said. “Why don’t we do that at Jobing.com?”
With that, you get the problem with politics. Instead of making a decision in favor or against something, you make the decision between two separate and unrelated entities. The raising of fees on pools and senior centers have nothing to do with the Coyotes. If it costs more to staff and maintain a pool, then you raise the fees on those who use that item. Same with the senior center. Unless the seniors want to take over the cleaning and caretaking, upkeep and taxes on the building, the city of Glendale is liable for its costs. And those costs are passed onto the consumer. The underlying truth in both of those luxuries for the community is that they do not generate revenue. At best, they are revenue neutral. And those that use them can pay for them.
Mr. Opaska then went to the cops and kids arguement. “Glendale is paying the highest taxes of any city and basically using it as corporate welfare,” he said. “Meanwhile, we have taken 55 police officers off the street, closed libraries two days a week. That’s just not right.” If you have closed libraries two days a week, how are you measuring they needed to be open seven days a week? Is traffic flow in those five days substantially different (15% higher per day) than when they were open seven days a week? If not, they did not need to be open every day. Thanks to the internet, the need to go to a library to conduct research is diminished. So who was impacted by the reduction in hours? Schools have libraries. If school kids needed to use the library at night, there are ways to get to an open library.
As far as the police issue, you need to break it down by shifts/day and number of police officers actually on the street versus administrative duties. Three shifts per day, five shifts per week. What you get is not 55 officers off the streets at one time, but about 5 or 6 if all were on street duty. And if you did remove 55 from the street, you don’t need as many administrative personnel. Those should be rotated back to the street or they should have been removed to save the street presence. And if you are worried about resident safety, you have choices. Citizen posse, civilian patrols, even Maricopa County Sheriffs increased patrols. To just throw a number of officers off the street with no plan to provide safety should be considered reckless.
Now we get to where he would be dangerous for the Coyotes with the “They should pay for themselves” comment. All right. Glendale, you built it, you pay for it. Not one dime from the Coyotes outside of a fair market usage fee for the arena. They Coyotes organization keep every dollar from concessions, pay no parking fees to the city, and visiting player income tax will be diverted to the Youth and Amateur Sports Administration. Not one penny to Glendale.
And, since it is the Coyotes sales department who is going out and selling sponsorship and suites, they get to keep that money as well. None of it goes to Glendale. When fans come out to Westgate before the game and has dinner at Saddle Ranch Chop House, the tax money from the dinner and drinks goes to the Coyotes as well.
See, this is the slippery slope. “Pay for themselves” becomes keep what you earn.
I look forward to hearing a plan and not a slogan for dealing with the money pit known as Camelback Ranch.