PHOENIX (July 24, 2012) – Leah Campos Schandlbauer today announced that former Arizona State University Quarterback Andrew Walter has endorsed her campaign for Arizona’s 9th District. Walter also played in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots.
He released the following statement:
“I am endorsing Leah because she’s a proven leader who has served our country with honor and distinction in the CIA. She has shown the capacity to remain calm and think clearly in high-pressure situations. Plus, her roots are grounded in the same community she seeks to represent,” Walter said. “It’s clear Leah possesses an unparalleled understanding of both the foreign policy and economic challenges facing our country today – as well as their solutions.
“Most importantly, Leah embodies the phrase ‘public servant,’ a quality so desperately needed in Congress, where far too many of our elected officials otherwise embrace the phrase ‘self-servant.’”
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About The Campaign
In Congress, Leah will defend our free enterprise system and work to balance the budget. She has been endorsed by Citizens United Conservative Victory Fund, U.S. Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), and U.S. Representative Sean Duffy (R-WI). Congressional District 9 is a new seat that includes all of Tempe and Awhatukee along with parts of Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale and Chandler.
Leah served for more than a decade around the world as an operations officer for the CIA’s National Clandestine Service. Leah is a graduate of Arizona State University and attended Rhodes Junior High School in Mesa and Chandler Seton Catholic High School. Leah and her husband, Alfred, a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State, have four children. A lifelong conservative and strong believer in the principles of economic liberty and limited government, Leah will be a voice and vote for freedom in Congress. For more information, visit: www.leahforcongress.com.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2012
GLENDALE, ARIZ (January 24, 2012) – City of Glendale mayoral candidate Walt Opaska calls on Mayor Scruggs and the City Council to plan for the possibility that if the Coyotes leave Glendale. Major Scruggs and City Council must start a process to find a company to manage Jobing.com arena if the Coyotes leave Glendale.
“While Glendale should try to keep the Coyotes in Glendale in a way that does not bankrupt the City, Glendale needs to plan for all eventualities. Mayor Scruggs and the City Council are neglecting their duties to the citizens of Glendale by not planning for possibility that the Coyotes leave Glendale,” stated Walt Opaska.
In September, the City Manager told Mayor Scruggs and the City Council that it would take at least three or four months to find an arena management company. “It is inconceivable that we are less than three months from the end of the hockey season and Glendale has no plans for arena management in mid-April if the Coyotes leave. Immediately, Glendale needs to begin a public process to find potential arena managers if the Coyotes leave Glendale,” says Walt Opaska. “If the City does not have a back-up arena management company in place, and a deal is not reached by the end of the Coyotes season, Jobing.com arena will sit empty. What a waste! Glendale needs needs new leadership that will plan for the future.”
To learn more about Walt Opaska, please visit www.opaskaformayor.com. Walt Opaska is the only mayoral candidate consistently opposed to taxpayer subsidies for the Coyotes.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 1, 2011
CONTACT: Paul Boyer
Representative Michelle Ugenti is sponsoring the Pat Tillman legacy bill that creates a license plate honoring Pat Tillman. She has secured bill number HB2042 to honor Tillman, who wore #42 as a linebacker for Arizona State. Proceeds of the sales of the plates will benefit military service members and their families
“This piece of legislation is personally important to me because of my family’s close relationship with the Tillman family,” Representative Michelle Ugenti said. “My husband, Frank, grew up with the Tillman family in San Jose and is cousins with Marie Tillman, Pat’s widow.”
HB2042 has an emergency clause. If two thirds of the Legislature in both the House and the Senate support the bill and the Governor signs it, the bill will go into effect immediately and in time for the next annual Pat’s Run on April 21, 2012.
“Together with the Pat Tillman Foundation I am proud to introduce the Pat Tillman Legacy Plate,” Ugenti said. “This bill will allow for the sale of a ‘Pat Tillman Foundation’ Arizona license plate. Proceeds from the sales of the plates will benefit military service members and their families.”
“Having known Pat was a great honor and I will always remember his passion for conversation and how he would engage you in debate as often as possible,” Ugenti said. “We would talk politics, religion, social issues, sports…the topics were endless. And when we ran out of topics there was always Trivial Pursuit, his favorite game.”
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by Carrie Ann Sitren
Mesa pitched a softball to the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and the Cubs hit it out of the park – but taxpayers should cry foul. Under a new contract, the city will shell out $84 million to build a sparkling new stadium for Cubs spring training. The city promised an additional $15 million for parking, power lines, and other infrastructure, on top of costs for maintenance and capital improvements for 30 years.
The Cubs, on the other hand, will pay around $130,000 annually to the city in rent ($4 million over 30 years). At that rate, it will take literally hundreds of years for the city to break even on its investment. The city must demand more from the Cubs.
Framers of the Arizona Constitution wisely adopted a Gift Clause to ban governments from subsidizing private businesses at the taxpayer’s expense. Mesa’s new stadium deal appears to violate that clause by building a multi-million dollar stadium for the Cubs without requiring the team to return a roughly equal benefit.
When voters authorized public spending for Major League Baseball in Mesa, they didn’t vote away the Constitution. City officials were required to secure a guarantee of direct public benefits from the Cubs in exchange for the city’s $100+ million investment – but $4 million rent doesn’t cut it. There are no guarantees of jobs or tax revenues, and the Cubs can leave with few penalties.
Early in the process, the Goldwater Institute met with city officials, recommending ways to keep the Cubs without violating the constitution. Regrettably, the city adopted none of our suggestions.
Cubbie spring training in Arizona, with all its rich history and tradition, may be intrinsically priceless to some (including yours truly). But the constitution requires a commitment to provide direct, quantifiable value to the public. If the Cubs are confident that they can make the city’s $100 million stadium worth it, then the city should demand that the team step up to the plate and promise performance.
Carrie Ann Sitren is an attorney with the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
Goldwater Institute: Regifting the Gift Clause: How the Arizona Constitution Can End Corporate Subsidies
Goldwater Institute: Proposals to fund new Cubs stadium risk constitutional violations
New York Times: As stadiums vanish, their debt lives on
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 11, 2011
CONTACT: Matthew Benson
“I was thrilled to learn that NFL owners today awarded the 49th Super Bowl to the great State of Arizona – marking the third time the Phoenix area has hosted the championship game and the second time it will be played in Glendale’s beautiful University of Phoenix Stadium. I want to thank the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee for all of its fine work and, of course, NFL owners who’ve given the state this honor.
“The Super Bowl is indisputably one of the world’s premier sporting events – and an economic boon to any state fortunate enough to play host. In 2008, the last time the Super Bowl was played in Glendale, football fans generated upwards of $500 million in economic impact for Arizona.
“Beyond the economic impact, the Super Bowl will once again shine a bright light on all that our wonderful state has to offer. I know that football fans across Arizona share my enthusiasm in knowing that the Super Bowl is coming back to the Grand Canyon State!”
by Carrie Ann Sitren
Months after cries of “emergency,” the City of Glendale will be given another season to try to keep the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team playing in the desert.
Last year, the Glendale City Council approved a contract with Chicago millionaire Matthew Hulsizer to buy the team with the help of $116 million in municipal bonds backed by taxpayer dollars. The council declared that the bonds were an “emergency,” which took away the taxpayers’ right to petition for a public vote on the deal.
Four months later, the bonds still haven’t sold and the deal hasn’t closed. The council members themselves said they were rushed and misinformed when they voted last year. One city economic analysis showing that the taxpayers could lose on the deal wasn’t released until after the emergency vote. The deal committed the city’s hockey arena (previously funded by $180 million in taxpayer bonds) to the Coyotes for another 30 years, and required the city to pay a $97 million management fee over the first five years, on top of the $116 million in new bonds. This certainly was not the kind of decision to be made quickly.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane has written that he is glad his city isn’t in Glendale’s shoes, after having lost the bidding war a decade ago to lure the hockey team. The New York Times reported in September 2010, “With more than four decades of evidence to back them up, economists almost uniformly agree that publicly financed stadiums rarely pay for themselves.” Glendale has already racked up more than $3,000 per person in sports-related debt—not including what might be required to keep the Coyotes.
Tonight’s decision before the City Council would commit Glendale to spend another $25 million, for a second year in a row, to keep the Coyotes playing at Jobing.com Arena while a deal is made to sell the team to a new owner. If approved, Glendale will have another year for those negotiations. So there would be no reason to cut the time down to the wire. The city should take the time to study the economics and make all the information public, and it should not cut off any avenues for voter participation. This should not be another multi-million-dollar emergency.
Carrie Ann Sitren is an attorney with the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
Goldwater Institute: Consultant in Phoenix Coyotes arena deal named in fraud lawsuit
Goldwater Institute v. City of Glendale: A challenge for taxpayers to see public records
Arizona Republic: Phoenix Coyotes deal with Glendale raises concern
by Nick Dranias
The Goldwater Institute has repeatedly met and talked with Glendale officials, including Mayor Elaine Scruggs, to try to resolve the constitutional conundrum raised by the city’s effort to subsidize the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes. But the Goldwater Institute will not turn a blind eye to Glendale’s plan to spend hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to prop up the Coyotes in violation of the state constitution.
The deal hinges on two main components. First is that the city proposes borrowing up to $100 million to purchase arena parking rights from the future team owner. This is a charade meant to hide a $100 million handout to the new owner because the city already owns the parking rights. The second component is the $97 million arena management fee. That fee would directly subsidize the Coyotes by reimbursing its future owner for operating expenses that only benefit the team. However laudable the goal of keeping the Coyotes in Glendale, it does not merit back-room negotiations, abuse of taxpayer money, and violation of the law.
It is not too late for Glendale to keep the Coyotes in town legally. The city should pursue more private investment in the deal by having the NHL reduce its upfront sales price for the team and spread any balance out over the 30 year arena lease term. It should also demand that the NHL promise not to relocate the Coyotes over the term of the lease. The city should reduce the management fee so that it does not reimburse the future owner of the Coyotes for operating expenses that only benefit the team. And if the future owner of the Coyotes really believes he can turn the bankrupt team around, Glendale should demand a 100% asset-backed guarantee of all revenues that have been promised to the city.
There are legal ways to keep the Coyotes in town and protect taxpayers; Glendale should choose one.
Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.
Goldwater Institute: Frequently Asked Questions about Glendale/Phoenix Coyotes deal
Maricopa County Recorder’s Office: Glendale Parking Agreement (Jan. 25, 2011)
Washington Post: George Will: An Arizona city’s sports mania encounters a hard check
by Clint Bolick
The City of Glendale, Ariz. is planning to borrow $100 million so it can send a check for that amount to Chicago businessman Matthew Hulsizer to help him buy the Phoenix Coyotes. That type of transaction is exactly what the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution was designed to prevent: furnishing public debt or providing public funds to a private individual or corporation for personal gain.
The deal has the team selling parking rights to the City, which the dealmakers say will provide sufficient revenues to repay the bonds. But there are two problems with that. First, the City may already own some or all of the parking rights. Second, it’s quite clear the revenues will not come close to repaying the bonds.
So the City pledged sales and excise taxes as collateral for the loan. That means if the team goes bankrupt again, or if parking revenues fall short, taxpayers are on the hook for potentially hundreds of millions of dollars–on top of the $180 million the City borrowed to build the hockey arena in the first place.
The solution is simple: take the taxpayers off the hook, and place responsibility where it belongs: with the new owner.
The City and Hulsizer share two dubious beliefs. First, although the Coyotes have lost $25-$40 million every year and already have plunged into bankruptcy, they think Hulsizer can make the team profitable with “a few tweaks”. Second, they say parking revenues will suffice to repay the bonds.
If they truly believe those things, then there should be no problem with Hulsizer, rather than the taxpayers, borrowing the money. That way, if the shaky premises on which the deal depends prove faulty, Glendale taxpayers will not have to pay for another costly blunder by the City of Glendale.
If the City truly wants to keep the Coyotes, it should act within the law and stop playing Russian roulette with taxpayer money. If Hulsizer is willing to skate up to the puck, the Coyotes’ endearing mascot Howler need not be an endangered species.
Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.
Goldwater Institute: Glendale, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the Hulsizer Deal