Espo: Simple math proves Goldwater Institute is wrong on Phoenix Coyotes


I know this is going to come as a huge surprise to many of you, but I never went to law school. The closest I've ever come to it was watching numerous incarnations of Law and Order and reading a few pages of a John Grisham novel once when I was in seventh grade. With that said, you don't need a law degree to understand when something just doesn't add up.

Part of the reason I never went to law school was because I wasn't very good with math (sports has been my life so if it didn't involve multiplying by sevens or adding by twos and threes I wasn't great at it). Fortunately for the last two years I've been lucky enough to be married to Mrs. Espo, who is a 2nd grade teacher. She's taught me the finer points of simple math like adding, subtracting and comparing sums to determine if they are greater than or less than each other. Basically she's turned me into one of her students. Luckily she hasn't made me sit in one of the tiny chairs behind one of the even smaller desks.

Armed with that knowledge I decided to apply it to an issue that's been bothering me as of late: the Goldwater Institute's pursuit to disrupt the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Over the last week I've been called an uneducated, illiterate, underachieving, ‘Yotestard' who is a liar and only has a GED because of my support of the City of Glendale's plan to give potential Coyotes owner Matthew Hulsizer $100 million in exchange for parking rights. The issue for me is, it doesn't take intelligence to see how this is the right deal for the city, taxpayers and the team. It takes common sense.

If you believe the estimate that Glendale mayor Elaine Scruggs presented, the city stands to lose up to $500 million over the next 30 years if the Coyotes were to relocate. That's a huge number when you consider the $180 million investment the city made in building Jobing.com Arena to begin with.

Detractors will argue that number has been grossly inflated by politicians trying to justify another risky move. Well, here are a few numbers that can't be argued with no matter how much some people may try.

If the team packs up the trucks and moves north, there are 860 people who stand to lose their jobs (500 employed at the Jobing.com Arena, 250 Aramark employees (concession) and 110 who work directly for the team). That doesn't even include the other stores and restaurants at Westgate that may close due to their departure. These people are tax payers and spend money in the city. Who's watching out for them and their needs? Where's their watchdog group?

Not enough for you? How about the $350,000 a year the Coyotes Charities donate each year to those in need around the state? They've donated $2.2 million to charities around the Valley since 2001. Will any of the bond detractors pick up the tab and help those in need if the team heads back the Great White North? I highly doubt it.

There's also the impact on youth hockey that the team leaving would have. Can you put a value on the joy of a young kid finding a passion for a sport?

Oh, and that doesn't mention that Hulsizer has guaranteed the city will receive at least $75 million back on the deal no matter what happens with the team and he will pay the difference of any shortfall in revenue projections.

Applying the simple math Mrs. Espo taught me you can see that this deal is right for everyone involved. Especially the fans and those who stand to lose their jobs.

Jobs + $500 million + $350,000 per year in charitable contributions + Youth Hockey > $100 million - $75 million

The Goldwater Institute can argue constitutionality all they want, but it's time they put their money where their mouth is. (Or is it other people's money?) If they believe in their cause then they should sue the city, block the deal and end it all. That is, if they are actually about protecting the state's constitution and the taxpayers. Either they aren't, or they don't believe they could win in a court of law. Regardless, it's not looking out for the best interest of anyone but themselves (especially when they use dirty tactics like calling up potential bond investors and scaring them away).

It doesn't take a legal degree to see that there is a lot more than political agendas at stake in this dispute. There are jobs, those in need, kids and the hearts of hockey fans around the state hanging in the balance. Even those of us underachieving, uneducated, illiterate ‘Yotestards' with the slightest understanding of simple math can figure that out. Too bad some of the educated lawyers can't (or won't) see it.

13 Comments   |   Join the conversation »
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  • Abuse
    matlowercase wrote...
    Yotestards
    The hypocrasy (my spelling accumen rivals ur math skills) lol Goldwater is why govt needs 2 stay out of our athletic passions... one with any reasonable IQ whether hockey fan or not can clearly see the damage this would do 2 a growing city. Balderdash Goldwater! Plz sue, an if i had any expendable income i'd gladly join Hulsizer in a counter suit... geez we got a contender and a spender.. the Goldwater is a rear-ender.. gr8 piece Greg! matlowercase
  • Abuse
    Louie C. wrote...
    Espo Knows
    I have nothing to say other than, "I completely agree." Great column, Espo.
  • Abuse
    Loubo wrote...
    Goldwater is not government
    they are a bunch of (well-to-do) individuals who claim to be a watchdog agency for taxpayers. Ms. Olsen has shown herself to be power hungry, narrow minded, and anything but a watchdog for the taxpayers. Do the taxpayers a favor, and take a hike. Go find out what it's like to actually have to work for a living.
  • Abuse
    jrvictorian wrote...
    Thanks for the info.
    2 questions: 1. Where can I get a copy of the report that Mayor Scruggs sites ($500M)? 2. Is the $75M Hulsizer grantees interest free? If not, what rate is he being charged for the loan? Thanks, JRV
  • Abuse
    jrvictorian wrote...
    Uno mas
    One more question; is Hulsizer $75M a personal guarantee or is it from his hockey holdings business. In other words can he file bankruptcy (for biz) and then just walk away from the debt if the Coyotes continue their long history of financial inviability? Thanks for the help! JRV
  • Abuse
    mandysalone wrote...
    Put aside your bias.
    I guess you guys don't understand what Goldwater is trying to do here. They're just making sure that the deal is LEGAL. I have family in Glendale and they don't even know that the Coyotes exist and they sure don't want to have to pay for the team through taxes. The Coyotes ONLY play 41 home games. And I doubt any kid that loves playing hockey will stop playing just because the Coyotes leave. So don't even try to play that emotional card. What you said may be true, but it doesn't change anything. The law is still the law and it needs to be followed.
  • Abuse
    mandysalone wrote...
    Put aside your bias.
    I guess you guys don't understand what Goldwater is trying to do here. They're just making sure that the deal is LEGAL. I have family in Glendale and they don't even know that the Coyotes exist and they sure don't want to have to pay for the team through taxes. The Coyotes ONLY play 41 home games. And I doubt any kid that loves playing hockey will stop playing just because the Coyotes leave. So don't even try to play that emotional card. What you said may be true, but it doesn't change anything. The law is still the law and it needs to be followed.
  • Abuse
    mandysalone wrote...
    Put aside your bias.
    I guess you guys don't understand what Goldwater is trying to do here. They're just making sure that the deal is LEGAL. I have family in Glendale and they don't even know that the Coyotes exist and they sure don't want to have to pay for the team through taxes. The Coyotes ONLY play 41 home games. And I doubt any kid that loves playing hockey will stop playing just because the Coyotes leave. So don't even try to play that emotional card. What you said may be true, but it doesn't change anything. The law is still the law and it needs to be followed.
  • Abuse
    Mgoblu62 wrote...
    NO GOOD BEING HERE
    THE COYOTES ARE NOT WORTH KEEPING HERE THEY ARE A MONEY LOSING FRANSHISE SINCE THEY HAVE BEEN HERE SEE YA YOTES
  • Abuse
    enforcer wrote...
    What about taxes
    Something I've not heard talked about either is that the state of AZ will lose 30-40 million of their state income tax base. Which, at the 4.54% rate for persons earning over $150k, which all the Coyotes are, comes to $1,589,000 in lost state income tax revenue, based on the Coyotes having a payroll of $35 million. Bottom line, the goldwater people care nothing about this state. Their only concern is the publicity they are getting for this.
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