Off the Ice: Choosing the lesser of two evils

Jun 8, 2012, 1:44 AM | Updated: 4:34 am


Here we go again for Round 2 between the Goldwater Institute and the city of Glendale. The conservative think tank is again turning to the courts to stifle the deal, this time literally hours before a vote was expected.

GWI said, and possibly rightfully so, that the city did not post the deal for at least 24 hours to allow for public inspection before a vote. The city has had a draft posted for a while, so it will remain up to the courts to decide if the draft will be acceptable or the ownership saga will continue to drag on.

However, I found myself questioning exactly why GWI is pushing so hard, yet again, to block this deal from getting done. If a new study is correct, the city’s taxpayers would be better off keeping the Coyotes as the anchor tenant in Arena, rather than letting them leave for Canadian shores. While I’m not a math expert, I have to say that, after looking at the numbers, the new deal looks better than the alternative.

Essentially, the study said that they Coyotes staying will put a slightly smaller burden on taxpayers than if they left. If GWI is so interested in protecting the taxpayer — and not their own reputation — shouldn’t they back what is best for the city?

Now, I’m not a fan of the deal. An owner should buy the team outright, but the city-owned Arena is causing complications. Potential owner Greg Jamison would receive $325 million of taxpayer money over a period of 20 years to run the facility, something that shouldn’t sit well with anyone who lives in a city facing a $35 million deficit.

But given the fact that even more money could be lost without a team, isn’t it time to opt for the lesser of two evils?

Glendale’s problem originated long ago, when they offered to use bonds to help build two huge stadiums in the middle of cow pastures. Real estate speculation was running rampant and the West Valley was due to explode. Then the financial collapse happened. People started cutting their spending, Glendale stopped expanding and two teams were hung out to dry.

Where was GWI when all this was happening?

I’ve heard arguments mads that the Cardinals do just fine and it’s not surprising. If a fan can’t manage eight measly home games — not including preseason or playoffs — on a Sunday afternoon in one year, then that team has major issues. However, hockey fans Valleywide have to face rush-hour traffic up to three times a week to see their team, get home late and go back to work the next day. It’s not an easy trip and I make it quite often from my place in Mesa. Frankly, the Coyotes’ location sucks.

Despite a bad location, the Coyotes are the majority occupant of the Job. According to the aforementioned study, the team is responsible for 59 percent of the arena’s use, with the other 41 percent made up of other events, including concerts and expos.

Glendale is going to lose money no matter what it chooses to do, but why not keep the team? At least that way ushers could make more money, the businesses in Westgate would have a fighting chance to survive and the city has a chance to make some tax revenue. Without the team there, the building will likely stand empty about 325 days out of the year; a monument to fail just off the 101.

The time has come for Glendale to suck it up and GWI to move in favor of the deal. A mistake was made long ago and dues need to be paid. The only way to do that is to choose the lesser of two evils: voting for the Coyotes deal on Friday.

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Off the Ice: Choosing the lesser of two evils