Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Coalition Update

I'm sure by now you've all heard the latest in our on-going ownership drama. If you happened to miss it - you can read both the letter Mr. Hulsizer wrote to the Goldwater Institute as well as their official response to it here. I'm not going to rehash it here for you, but it does raise issues that we need to address.

I am in awe at the audacity of the Goldwater Institute and their complete unwillingness to negotiate with anyone in person regarding this matter. They refuse to meet with Mr. Hulsizer. They refuse to meet with Gary Bettman. They even refuse to sit down and speak with the Mayor of Glendale face to face. If you believe that you have valid points - why hide behind press releases? If Ms. Olsen is truly out for the good of the taxpayers she proclaims to be protecting - she would be willing to meet and discuss this matter like normal business people do. No press releases, no letters on websites, no pre-coached interviews in various media outlets where she has successfully danced around direct questions regarding the validity of her claims.

This whole situation has become ridiculous - to put it simply. I - for one - have had my fill of it all. I am outraged at this point with the Goldwater Institute. A private group who claims to be looking out for the "public interest" of the citizens of Arizona is clearly using their influence to to push their own agendas. It's time we let Goldwater know how we feel about it. The Coyotes have suffered enough. The Coyotes fans have suffered enough. The citizens of Glendale face millions of wasted tax dollars if this continues.

I would like to direct your attention to an editorial that came out in the Arizona Republic this morning. It's an excellent article - and when our local media goes out on a limb for us we need to take advantage of the situation. They put this editorial out this morning - and I'd like to share with you a snippet of it:

Olsen has conducted "negotiations" by press release, including yet another late-day statement on Monday, this one expressing Goldwater's disdain for a much-improved offer from Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer. The Goldwater statement even included contemptuous grammatical corrections of Hulsizer's personal letter to the group. Olsen needs to get off Mount Olympus and participate, and stop baiting the people who are trying to salvage something meaningful for this community. 
The offer from Hulsizer appears largely to address her stated concerns about taxpayer exposure to risk. In her late-Monday response to that offer, Olsen looks to be raising some reasonable questions about bond-debt liability. But her chosen method of negotiating - by snotty press release - makes it appear she is rejecting Hulsizer out of hand. Is this what it means to be a community "player"?
Being a "player" means getting involved in negotiations. It means getting involved, in good faith, as a member of the community, not as some ideologically pure priesthood. As it appears now, Goldwater has one real interest: blowing up the negotiated efforts of others. Its efforts are destructive, not constructive. And its unwillingness to respond to the overtures of others is getting tiresome.
The institute should not be so sure there are no consequences to such haughty obstructionism.

What I'm asking you to do at this point, is to send the Arizona Republic your comments and voice your support for the City of Glendale, Mr. Hulsizer and the NHL in their attempts to keep the Coyotes in Arizona. The best way to do this is via the Letters to the Editor section - here's a link to their online form. We need to get as many letters published as possible. 

Cite the above referenced article in your letters and tell them that as Arizona taxpayers, we whole-heartedly agree with what was said in the editorial. Tell them your stories. Tell them how much money you spend in Glendale because the Coyotes are there. Tell them how much of an economic travesty it will be if the Coyotes are allowed to flee Glendale.

If you live out of state - or country - you can write them as well and tell them how wrong it is that they are not willing to act in an appropriate manner and hear the concerns of those who oppose their actions.

We have every right to demand that Darcy Olsen meet with the appropriate parties to discuss this in private and not make a media spectacle of the whole thing. We have every right to demand that an organization who claims to be looking out for us at least listen to us and respond with something more than a form letter stating how "our concerns are important to them..."

No, they obviously are not - as they are not being addressed to even the slightest degree. In fact, prominent members of the Goldwater Organization at one point had joined a "Support Goldwater, bring home the Jets" group on Facebook. This isn't only maddening as an Arizona taxpayer, it is downright wrong and completely unacceptable!

Whom exactly are they looking out for if they join a group that supports the loss of thousands of Arizona jobs and an anchor tenant for a taxpayer built arena? Whom exactly are they looking out for if they aren't willing to discuss this matter with the appropriate parties?

You've been called for interference Goldwater Institute - and I think you're about to get a game misconduct.

We the people of Arizona are throwing you OUT of this game. 

I need your help Coyotes supporters - let's show them just how loud we can howl!
Heather McWhorter
President, The Coyotes Coalition

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Mike said...

Excellent blog! I wrote to GWI and all COG members last week. GWI sent me a terse reply Monday night, right after they made their announcement rejecting MH and his proposal. I have replied to them and wrote to the Republic. Did not get published. Will keep trying. How about organizing a rally for Coyote supporters in front of GWI offices? A river of Coyote red marching on the corner of Coronado and 7th St. I bet that would get some attention!

Knapper said...

I've asked this question to numerous Coyote supporters yet no one seems to want to answer me. Why doesn't Matt pay for the team without any taxpayer money? If he were to do that Goldwater would go away and the team would stay in Arizona. Goldwater's only beef is that the CoG is giving money to Hulsizer, if he pays for the team or at least finances it without any public money Goldwater would walk away.

Isn't this a fair question and isn't this the question you should be asking Hulsizer?

Just Sam said...

Wow, I only know you from Blogger, but I have been joining fb pages, and you're all over them too!! and i must say. "Great job missy!" You are totally getting awareness out there!

Anonymous said...

Knapper-you are asking a question that no one wants to answer. The only thing that keeps getting repeated is that this is a fixer upper team and not worth the NHL's asking price and no smart business man would ever pay it. So, instead of trying to get the NHL to lower the price, Hulizer, the White Knight, is saying I am will only put in so much, and if you want me to own the team here, you have to cough up the rest. GOLDWATER IS NOT THE PROBLEM. Your prospective owner is only willing to own the team with help from Glendale. If he was trully interested in this team, he would buy the team himself or with Private Investors. This coalitions anger is misdirected. Get mad at the NHL for over-valueing the team. Get mad at Hulsizer for not negotiating with the NHL. But don't be mad at Goldwater because they think that Glendale should not be on the hook for $116 Million in bonds to provide cash to finalize the sale. The only involvement from Glendale should be with regards to the lease to the Jobing.com arena. Goldwater is only doing the job that you should of been doing yourself. The NHL wants to be in Phoenix-so they should be the ones moving on the asking price so it can happen. Period.

Ryan said...

With all due respect to the Anonymous posting, Goldwater is the current problem, just not the only problem. It is disingenuous to ignore the history of this fiasco, and misguided to blame the NHL or Hulsizer. The problem still goes back to the Balsillie/Moyes scheme to smear and devalue the team in their concocted bankruptcy to go around relocation rules. But for their actions, a buyer for good value might have been found a year ago.

As for the NHL, how can you blame them for wanting to keep a team in the Phoenix market? A simple demographic analysis shows why the market is attractive. It is one of the largest metropolitan areas, home to millions of people and countless major businesses. I know those wanting to move the team have and will continue to characterize hockey as unsupported in Arizona, but that is all predicated on the events of the past. I would suggest that the same argument could be made for most sports franchises if they had to endure the same events that the Coyotes have endured. Furthermore, why should the NHL accept a lower price and potentially lose money when they have stepped up to save the Coyotes and have found willing parties to the transaction? They should not.

As for Hulsizer, how can anyone rational person or entity cast blame on him. Is he the "White Knight" the team and fans have hoped for? Maybe or maybe not. From all accounts he is a hockey fan, committed to keeping the team in Phoenix but he is also a businessman and financier. Meaning, I doubt he would be involved in this if he did not see the potential to make money. So it is legitimate to ask why Hulsizer does not use his own money to purchase the team, but the answer is simple, because he can use somebody else's money instead. Which, come to think of it, is how most buildings, houses, cars and other major purchases are made.

Turning to the Goldwater Institute, it is still unclear as to what they really want to accomplish. I understand the "watchdog" and "champion of the taxpayer" banners they have been waving around, and as someone involved in politics, they are generally effective messages, but even the most elementary of inquisitive minds can look at Goldwater's actions and go "huh". Aside the from their meddling actions, which they should face legal consequences for, and the conspiracy theories that their actions are for the benefit of other sports franchises in town, the "looking out for the taxpayer" rationale does not hold water simply because there will be harm to the taxpayers if the team relocates and the harm that would occur if the team leaves cannot be recouped from the teams ongoing operations. So it comes back to what is Goldwater trying to accomplish and it looks more and more like Goldwater is simply using the Coyotes as a pawn in their attempt to gain power and relevancy in political circles and government.

So, until Goldwater can honestly point to the rationale behind their actions, they are another problem in this equation, and one that seems very unwilling to help in coming up with a solution.

Anonymous said...

Ryan-thank you for response.

First off-I agree with many of your points. This has been a debacle for sometime, with Glendale caught in the middle. I trully do feel for the fans there.

However, saying that the NHL should not lose money on the transaction is...interesting. Let's say you buy a house and put money into it for repairs. Something happens in the area and the value of your house drops. Can you really expect to sell the house above the market price AND recoup your money you made on repairs? This is exactly what the NHL is doing. The team is not worth the asking price and the only one who can change that is the NHL. They want to be in Phoenix for the market-good for them. But there is a price. It is wrong to expect that the tax payers of Glendale should help pay for something that NHL wants to be in. They took the risk. They should be the ones who should be moving on the price.

Your analogy about how things are bought with other peoples money is a very good point. But you missed something. When I borrow money to buy my car, I am the one that pays it back. Who is Hulsizer paying back? He is supposedly selling parking rights that may not be his to sell. Glendale may not be buying it at a price that is market value or a good return. If Hulsizer wants to finance his deal to the NHL, he should use his assets as collateral. If he trully does have the parking rights, is that not an asset he could use as collateral and charge for parking himself to pay off the debt he incured? I am sure that there is a finacial institution that could work with him on this.

So-let's get to Goldwater. They have already provided a solution, but everyone is ignoring it. If Hulsizer financed this deal himself, does Goldwater not go away? If the NHl lowers its price and Hulsizer pays the full amount, does Goldwater not go away? If Glendale doesn't pay a cent to the transaction, does Goldwater not go away? Goldwater feels that they are enforcing a law (whether it is really being broken or not). I have no doubt that the noteriety that they have received from this is helping fuel their zealotry. However, if the NHL AND Hulsizer negotiate a deal without Glendale (except for the lease to Jobing.com), Goldwater would have no arguements (or so they say).

I will also say that the excuse of a loss of $500 million and thousands of jobs is specious at best. Has an impartial analysis been done? I seem to recall that this are Scruggs numbers. I can tell you that you should actually look to cities that lost their teams in the past to examine the actual financial impact is. You have to determine what is new money being brought into Glendale as opposed to existing money that is spent on the Coyotes. People who spend money on Coyotes games will find other ways to spend their money in the area. It is not lost revenue, it is just spent on other things. As are the jobs. When you actually look into this, you will see what I have said is true. The facts are out there.

I certaily appreciate your passion for the team, and I seriously hope that the team stays. I just hope that Glendale doesn't put themselves into a position where in 5 years time they could be in the exact same situation. The fans deserve better.

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