Phoenix taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the Suns’ arena

By Boaz Witbeck 

The Phoenix City Council is considering whether to spend $150 million in taxpayer money on a plan to renovate the Phoenix Suns’ Talking Stick Resort arena.

At a recent public meeting, supporters of the plan argued that it’s worth $150 million to keep the team downtown.

Wanting to keep our beloved Suns in Phoenix is understandable, especially with the owner at one point threatening to move the team out of the city. But a taxpayer handout isn’t the way to do it. We would all do well to listen to Phoenix resident Greta Rogers, who told the City Council last December, “We [Phoenix residents] are not in the business of paying taxes to support private enterprise.”

Ms. Rogers is right. Government should not be picking and choosing winners in the private sector. In her words, “They can support themselves or fail on their own lack of diligence.” In that spirit, we urge the City Council to reject the plan when they vote Jan. 23.

Since 2006, politicians across North America have spent $11 billion in taxpayer funds on 54 ballparks, arenas, and stadiums.

Taxpayers forked over $430 million for the Orlando Magic’s Amway Center. They paid $305 million for the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center. And they’re on the hook for $250 million for the Milwaukee Bucks’ new arena. The list goes on.

Most of this spending – $9.3 billion worth – occurred without any taxpayer approval.  The people footing the bill had the opportunity to vote on funding for just 15 facilities. Only eight won voter approval.

Politicians like to claim that using taxpayer funds to build or renovate arenas will stimulate the local economy. The facts, however, say otherwise. 

One study unambiguously concluded, “there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development.”

On the contrary, economics professors from the College of Holy Cross note that teams and stadiums propped up by taxpayer funding can actually choke off local economic activity. People spending money to go to games might have less money to spend at the local theater or might be deterred to go to eat out because of all the traffic from a sporting event.

Funding for stadiums can also crowd out expenditures for important public services and bust municipal budgets. Sometimes that money is wasted on arenas that sit empty. Houston’s Astrodome, which was built with $31 million in public funds and left the county millions of dollars in debt after being condemned for code violations. Despite all of this, last year Harris County approved another $105 million in taxpayer funds for renovations. The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis sits empty, leaving the taxpayers of Missouri paying $144 million in debt and upkeep costs until 2021 – in part because Los Angeles is subsidizing a new stadium for the NFL’s Rams, the team that left St. Louis.

In an ideal world, owners wouldn’t threaten to leave cities unless they get a taxpayer handout and politicians wouldn’t cave to their demands. Local officials need to always remember they’re supposed to look out for our interests.

Spending our hard-earned money on bad investments is not in our interest.

We Americans love our sports teams. But we shouldn’t allow politicians to use those attachments to benefit the well-connected at our expense.    

Boaz Witbeck is deputy state director of Americans for Prosperity-Arizona

Michael Lafferty Political Contributions Question Candidacy

 

Michael Lafferty

Michael Lafferty

Friday, a new candidate announced his entry into the Phoenix mayoral race drawing questions about his political motivations among the politically astute.

Michael Lafferty, a Phoenix businessman and developer, entered the race asserting his affiliation as an independent candidate although he is currently registered as a Republican according to Maricopa County voter records.

The Arizona Republic noted that Lafferty’s company owns a 1,500 unit apartment complex near 12th Street and the light rail station. The Republic also stated that Lafferty has been involved in Phoenix business for 34 years.

In his statement, Lafferty said, “I don’t believe that the mayor’s office is a Democratic or Republican office.”

Sonoran Alliance researched his political contributions specifically related to Phoenix candidates and what we found draws into question his motive for seeking the top seat at the City of Phoenix.

As a Republican, Lafferty gave to Democrat candidates and to 2015’s Proposition 104 – a massive tax hike of $31.5 Billion on Phoenix voters over the next 27 years. According to the City of Phoenix Clerk’s office Lafferty gave the following donations:

  • $1,000 on June 30, 2017 to Kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $2,000 on June 23, 2015 to MovePHX in Support of Prop 104
  • $700 on May 8, 2014 to Greg Stanton in his mayoral race
  • $250 on March 9, 2014 to kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $500 on November 12, 2013 to Greg Stanton in his mayoral race
  • $225 on September 3, 2013 to Kate Gallego in her city council race
  • $450 on August 7, 2013 to Warren Stewart in his city council race

Michael Lafferty Phoenix Donations

At no time over the last few years has Lafferty contributed to the campaigns of Republicans Sal DiCiccio, Jim Waring, Bill Gates (when he was on council) or Thelda Williams.

This blog has to ask the question why would a candidate who acknowledges his political registration as Republican and transitioning to Independent, jump into the mayoral race when he has a history of supporting Phoenix Democrats? Why not run as a Democrat? And, as a Republican, why didn’t Lafferty support any of the Republican candidates running for city council?

Political speculators are already arguing that Lafferty is strategically running to eliminate the only Republican, Moses Sanchez, from winning the seat or a slot in a primary runoff contest. In our opinion, Michael Lafferty should re-register as a Democrat.

We’d like to hear your take on this important race for Phoenix Mayor.

Sal DiCiccio: $16 Million Wasted In Just One Day By City Of Phoenix

Sal DiCiccio

Last week, I wrote about the structural deficit our city is facing. Our deficit problems will continue until we make public safety our priority and cut spending in non-essential areas. On Tuesday, city staff gave a presentation regarding the budget deficit forecast. The forecast, which did not come as a surprise to me, shows our deficit continuing to grow out of control, even while we collect increased revenue.

The day after the budget deficit presentation, I voted NO on the following expenses, all of which the Phoenix City Council ultimately approved:

  • $3,668,564 to Downtown Phoenix Inc – a group that already taxes private businesses against their will to spend money on the Downtown area
  • $16,000 to National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials – annual membership fee
  • $60,000 to Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 777 to buy promotional and training material for themselves
  • $108,000 to Ballard Spahr LLP- lobbyists (this is on top of the hundreds of thousands of dollars they already spent on lobbyists at the last council meeting)
  • $12,170,000 to change just 4 bus routes
  • $750,000 to join the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability

TOTAL: $16,772,564

Just during a single city council meeting, we could have cut $16 million of unnecessary spending. But instead, we continued to add to the structural deficit problems we face.

As long as we continue to spend in this manner, we will continue to see your taxpayer monies wasted. And city officials will continue to have their hand out, telling you they need to increase your taxes because they are short on revenues. They’re not. They just have a spending problem.

You have my commitment to continue to protect you, your family and your hard earned tax dollars.

My best to you,

Sal DiCiccio
Phoenix City Council
District 6

Chris DeRose Announces Endorsements for Phoenix City Council

Chris DeRose

Republican Leaders Endorse Chris DeRose for Phoenix City Council DiCiccio, Waring, Schweikert, Stump, Forese, Montenegro, Montgomery throw support behind DeRose’s campaign

PHOENIX (JUNE 7) – Seven Arizona elected officials today announced their support for Chris DeRose’s campaign for Phoenix City Council, District Three. DeRose is running to replace Councilman Bill Gates, who is running for Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

Endorsements announced today include: Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring; Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio; Congressman David Schweikert; Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump; Corporation Commissioner Tom Forese; House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro; and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

“I’ve known Chris for many years,” Councilman Jim Waring said. “As a felony prosecutor, school board member, and on the village planning committee, he’s demonstrated his commitment to making Phoenix a stronger and safer community and I look forward to serving with him on the City Council.”

“I’m honored to start my campaign with the support of so many leaders who have aggressively watched out for taxpayers and worked to ensure public safety,” Chris DeRose said. “I am committed to these principles and look forward to sharing my enthusiasm and dedication to this community on the City Council.”
City of Phoenix, District 3 includes the neighborhoods of Sunnyslope, Moon Valley, and northeast Phoenix. In 2012, it was carried by Mitt Romney by 53-44 percent and in 2014 by Governor Doug Ducey 50-43 percent.

# # #

About Chris DeRose: Chris DeRose is a major felony prosecutor who has tried more than 40 cases on appeal and argued twice in the Arizona Supreme Court. DeRose has prosecuted homicides, crimes against children, and criminal street gangs. DeRose is also a New York Times bestselling author of three books and an American historian. A former Constitutional Law professor, DeRose was selected by his students as the 2014-2015 Professor of the Year. From 2010-2015, DeRose served as a board member of Phoenix Collegiate Academy, a 2nd-12th grade school creating “a seamless path to college” for a 90% Title I student body. Also from 2010-2015 DeRose served on the Village Planning Committee. From 2008-2009 he served on the Neighborhood Blockwatch Oversight Committee. In 2014, he was named a “Top 40 Under 40” leader in the valley by the Phoenix Business Journal.

Sonoran Alliance Endorses Justin Johnson for Phoenix City Council, District 4

Once in a rare moment, does this blog break ranks from the traditional conservative line and go public with an endorsement of someone who really needs to win an election. This happens when the alternative is so unacceptable to the greater good that it necessitates a break in the silence. This is the case in the race for Phoenix City Council, District 4.

JustinJohnsonOn this rare occasion, it is imperative that we break endorsement silence by asking that the voters of district 4 cast their vote for Justin Johnson.

There’s no other way to state it other than Johnson’s political opponent, Laura Pastor, would be devastating to the City of Phoenix.

Pastor opposes immediate repeal of the food tax – which impacts low and fixed income residents of Phoenix and exacerbates the cycle of poverty in a district that so desperately needs relief from government taxation.

Pastor also fails to understand the devastating long-term impact of pension spiking and the need to overhaul the system. Unlike Justin Johnson, Laura Pastor has refused to sign the pledge to end pension spiking.

We even question Pastor’s desire to serve on the council given her commitment to attend board and committee meetings to which she was appointed. Since her last run for office, Pastor has barely shown up 50% of the time. That speaks volumes to her commitment to district 4 residents.

That leaves a far more acceptable, committed and solution-driven candidate in Justin Johnson.

And while we disagree with him on several social policies, we believe he will best represent and look out for the best interest of the residents of Phoenix’s district 4.

Next Tuesday, when you head to the polls in Phoenix District 4, we ask that you adjust your focus to a long-term view for the future of Phoenix. The current council needs one additional critical vote to pass reforms that will benefit all residents of Phoenix and restore economic common sense to Phoenix government.

Please cast your vote for Justin Johnson.

Visit his website at: JohnsonforPhoenix.com

It All Comes Down to One Person – Greg Stanton

A special message from Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio:

Due to my efforts fighting for the elimination of the food tax, pension reform and other government reforms, a liberal group with a secret donor list, is attacking me and the accomplishments we’ve made over the past few years. Unfortunately, this group has chosen to attack me with mailers and emails full of half-truths and some outright lies. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the members of this liberal group tie directly to Mayor Greg Stanton. View the infographic below to learn more about their operation. It’s time to blow their cover!

One Person Stanton 1

One Person - Greg Stanton

 

Arizona Corporation Commission reference link: http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/corp-detail.p?name-id=18291457

Thoughts on the City of Phoenix LGBT Ordinance

A few thoughts on today’s culture war battle at the City of Phoenix.

I attended the meeting for the purpose of testifying against the tax on food. I signed a card for that specific agenda item having no intention of testifying on the LGBT ordinance.

My position on this has been very clear. I simply do not believe that the City of Phoenix should inject government policy into the personal and private lives of any Phoenicians except when a crime is committed. Some liberals and libertarians would say “keep government out of our bedrooms.” OK, so how about a little consistency by keeping government to a minimum in our private business matters? What the City of Phoenix did tonight was invite a huge conflict between Constitutional rights and individual sexual identity.

By now social conservatives should realize they have lost the culture war on issues related to sexual identity and behavior. The most reasonable position social conservatives can now take is to hold back any level of government from the power position of  picking winners and losers in the conflict between sexual identity and free speech, religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

Locally, social conservatives did not lose the culture battle in Phoenix tonight. Social conservatives lost the culture battle in November of 2011 when it failed to elect conservatives to the Phoenix city council.

We knew this was coming. The signs were there in 2011 when mayoral candidate Greg Stanton made wide overtures to the LGBT community and efforts to align Phoenix with San Francisco values. Anyone who dared to point it out was labeled a bigot. So goes the spirit of tolerance on the left.

(Too often, both sides fail to see this as a debate over public policy rather making it about personal attacks on individuals and their sexual identities.)

Tonight’s meeting was a reflection of the very intolerance those pushing for tolerance decry. Anyone who dared to oppose the ordinance was booed and jeered. No respect for human dignity and certainly no respect for the public policy process.

Social conservative did turn out at the meeting – certainly not in number. And those who did engage were speaking a different language to the huge LGBT majority who did turn out (probably with plenty of advance notice). Two different languages because there are two different worldviews – one based on faith, the other clearly sexual and secular in nature. There were translators in the testimonials – individuals who know the difference and can communicate between the two worldviews – Cathi Herrod from the Center for Arizona Policy, an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Rev. Jarrett Maupin spoke. These individuals are bilingual on issues that tangle logic and emotions.

And there was a tremendous amount of emotion – mostly from the LGBT – about living with a sexual identity that conflicts with traditional societal norms. Who was going to argue with the dozen of transgendered individuals who gave personal stories of rejection, anger and sympathy?

Which brings me to my personal feelings on the whole matter.

My pastor, my church, my Jesus preaches love. The Word commands us to love God first and to love our neighbor as ourselves second. There are two commandments in the New Testament. That’s it – pretty simple. My pastor (who happens to oversee five campuses in Phoenix Metro) reminds us to look past a person’s self-identity and love them no matter what. We are to love them like Christ would love them – regardless of their sin(s) (I’m not going to name them here. You can look them up.) But most important, we are to bring others into a real and living relationship with Christ allowing Christ to work in their lives toward God’s glory.

This is where I separate matters of faith from the role of the state (in this case the City of Phoenix).

If I were Mayor of Phoenix I would have rejected the idea of injecting my sliver of government into the personal and private lives of individuals. To do otherwise is asking for the wailing and gnashing of teeth. This seems to be the only position a reasonable community of people can hold without forcing a cultural conflagration to take place.

Entangling sex and politics is a messy business as we learned tonight. Hopefully our politicians will take note and keep social engineering to a minimal melodramatic level in the future. Political social conservatives lost tonight but true Christianity continues to love on.

Rev. Jarrett Maupin, Black Leaders Outraged Over Phoenix Councilman’s Endorsement

REV. JARRETT MAUPIN AND BLACK LEADERS OUTRAGED OVER PHOENIX CITY COUNCILMAN MICHAEL NOWAKOWSKI’S “BETRAYAL” OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN VOTERS. MAUPIN, WHO CAMPAIGNED WITH NOWAKOWSKI FOR HIS FIRST ELECTION IN THE CITY’S BLACK CHURCHES, NOW SAYS, “NOWAKOWSKI HAS GONE AGAINST HIS PROMISES TO SUPPORT BLACK LEADERSHIP AND PROMOTE DIVERSITY ON THE CITY COUNCIL BY ENDORSING A WHITE SHAM-CANDIDATE IN BROWN-FACE FOR DISTRICT 8. KATE WIDLAND-GALLEGO IS A WHITE POLITICAL PATSY, AN INTERLOPING POLITICAL PUPPET WITH NO CONNECTION TO THE AREA OR THE PEOPLE WHATSOEVER.” MAUPIN SAYS NOWAKOWSKI IS, “PRACTICING THE POLITICS OF RACIAL EXPLOITATION AND IS BEING INEXPLICABLY COMPELLED TO ATTEMPT A POLITICAL LYNCHING OF PHOENIX’S BLACK COMMUNITY AT THE URGING OF REP. RUBEN GALLEGO.” 

Phoenix, AZ – Local Civil Rights Leader, the Rev. Jarrett Maupin is challenging Councilman Michael Nowakowski to, “Do the right thing and withdraw his endorsement of Kate Widland-Gallego.” Maupin worked to elect Michael in 2007 to the council for his first term by organizing Black churches to turn out voters at the polls. Sunday after Sunday, throughout South Phoenix, Maupin says he and Michael were “joined at the hip” working the pews in an effort to elect a Latino to the council. There was no Latino serving at the time. Now, with the city’s only Black-held council seat up for grabs, the Reverend doesn’t understand how Nowakowksi could, “Attempt to politically lynch Phoenix’s Black Community by bending to the will of Rep. Ruben Gallego,” who is running his wife, Kate Widland-Gallego, a White political interloper, over against the Black candidate in the race for the city’s 8th council district seat. Michael had traveled extensively- speaking, praying, and asking for votes – in the city’s black churches, at Maupin’s invitation and direction. “He campaigned in our houses of worship on a unity platform. He would read a favorite prayer of Cesar Chavez, quote Dr. King, and now he has thrown all of those promises he made, promises made in God’s House, under the bus. He has turned Si Se Puede and We Shall Overcome into Si Yo Puedo and Me, Myself, and I,” said Maupin. The activist also says the councilman is “For some godforsaken reason, and at Ruben Gallego’s command, trying to ignite racial political fires by backing a White candidate with a Hispanic last-name to confuse voters.” Kate Widland-Gallego, who is not Latina, is also not openly campaigning as White. “Ruben must have convinced Michael that Latinos and Blacks who vote in South Phoenix are stupid. We know what a wolf in sheep’s clothing looks like. Why doesn’t Widland-Gallego run on who she is: a power-hungry, White, SRP booster who never lived in South Phoenix and has no relationship with the district’s minority voters? Can’t she be real about who she is? If she won’t tell her story, I know a preacher who will.” said Maupin.

###

NE Valley Pachyderm Coalition – October 12 Meeting

 

Our October 2011 meeting features Prop 13 Arizona Chairman, Lynne Weaver, explaining the Paradise Valley and Cave Creek School district ballots relating to overrides and issuing bonds.

 and

 Phoenix City Council District 1 Candidate Eric Frederick explaining the importance of the Phoenix City Council elections to Republicans in the entire Phoenix Metropolitan area and what you can do to help Republicans wrest control of the city government from labor unions and other big spenders.

 Eric Frederick is an up and coming conservative Republican who is both informative and inspiring. After listening to him, you will not only feel that the future of the Republican Party will be in good hands, you will want to help him make that happen.

We have a local government focus this meeting because that is what the November elections are about this year. Both speakers are solid conservatives who really know government at the school district and city levels, respectively. There will be plenty of time for questions and answers.

Location: Appaloosa Public Library
7377 E. Silverstone Drive, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
(Near intersection of N Scottsdale and E Pinnacle Peak)

Date: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011. (2nd Wed of Month)
Time: 6:45-7:00 pm meet & greet. Meeting from 7-8:15pm

Contact Information:
Howard Levine,
NE Valley Chapter Chairman
Howard_Levine@rocketmail.com , http://www.pachydermcoalition.com/
480-577-4168

 

Wes Gullett releases plan to cut red tape

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2011
CONTACT: Daniel Scarpinato

PHOENIX – Wes Gullett released his “Less Red Tape Means More Jobs” plan this morning, the centerpiece of which is a plan for same-day permitting.

Under Gullett’s plan (attached), a qualified customer can walk into the city and, meeting the requirements, walk away with a permit on the same day. The plan was unveiled at Copper Star Coffee, a local business that has faced significant challenges in obtaining permits in a timely fashion under the city’s current process.

The plan is supported by four current council members: City Councilmen Sal DiCiccio, Tom Simplot, Bill Gates and Jim Waring, who all appeared with Gullett at today’s press conference to support his plan.

“The City of Phoenix must be ready to move with agility to help our business and community partners get back to work – not stand in their way,” said Gullett. “Streamlining government, reforming the permitting process and updating city regulations and procedures to move plans through the pipeline will dramatically reduce the time and cost of doing business in Phoenix.”

In addition to same-day permitting, the Gullett plan calls for all city departments to engage in a top to bottom review of all regulations and delete those that are unnecessary; a comment period and sunset review on all regulations; consolidating the Planning and Development Services Departments with the Economic Development Department to allow for more direct and immediate support for small businesses; expanding online services for permitting and business services; establishing a single point of contact for major development projects; updating zoning ordinances; and reducing permitting fees.

“The importance of this plan and what it means for jobs, productivity and business could not be clearer,” Gullett said. “We must lead on these issues and build a foundation on rock – not sand. Otherwise, Phoenix will find itself continuously falling behind other cities that are making reforms to ensure economic development. We cannot afford the status quo.”

###