Tonight the Glendale City Council met to decide on the deal that the future of the Phoenix Coyotes hinges on. As of late, a majority of the council has supported the deal. However, Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Councilwoman Alvarez oppose the deal. Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete has also stated his opinion on the subject as well, he does not support this deal. Those that oppose the deal state that by agreeing with the deal the city would have to lay off employees in order to cut $17 million within five years.
Skeete has stated that the city would lose money with whatever deal they decide tonight. If the deal goes through the city is going to owe Greg Jamison about $15 million a year, this will ultimately hurt the city. If the deal does not go through however, the city will lose the foot-traffic that the Coyotes provide.
The floor was opened for residents, and non-residents alike, to comment on the lease deal. What interested me about this was the number of non-residents that took the floor to provide their opinions on the deal. The majority of these non-residents were Coyotes fans, obviously these fans want the deal. What occurred to me was that these fans were from all over the Valley of the Sun, from Surprise to Tempe. These fans trek to games, these fans spend money in Glendale solely based on how far they have to travel to get to games.
Councilwoman Joyce Clark made a great statement tonight that “this issue has been talked to death”. She held on to a newspaper article of the business section of the newspaper from December 2003. She’s had that article in her office for almost nine years. She did not outright state her opinion on this deal, though it seemed like she was in favor of the deal.
Councilman Manny Martinez went next to talk about the agreement. He has supported keeping the Coyotes. He has stated that this is best for Glendale in the long run.
Councilwoman Alvarez went next. She noted that the city cannot afford this deal. She further stated that with the city being 1.3 billion dollars in debt it was not a smart deal. Alvarez was not present for the meeting, however she was on the phone. She openly stated that she does not support this deal, and stated that she cannot believe the city got into the position they are in.
The next council member to speak was Yvonne Knaack. Knaack stated that the issue was not a “sports issue” it was an “anchor tenant issue”. Councilwoman Knaack made point that not only were city jobs important, but Westgate jobs were equally as important. She thinks that the deal with Jamison is the best one that Glendale will receive. She stated that she will vote in favor of the agreement.
Finally, Mayor Elaine Scruggs talked next. Once the first words left her mouth, it was obvious of her decision. She stated that her opinion was to side with the small businesses against the deal. She said that she supported people “in other uniforms than Coyotes’ uniforms.”
The deal was a 4-2 in favor of Greg Jamison’s deal with the City of Glendale.
Needless to say, fans rejoiced. I might have squealed as well. As a native Phoenician, and hockey fan in a non-traditional hockey market this vote excited me. The Coyotes’ future has been undecided for over a year, and it is finally being brought to a rest.