The Glendale City Council held their executive session meeting yesterday afternoon to discuss how they would deal with their city owned arena. Despite factions of the public being worked up into believing yesterday’s session would result in an immediate decision or a dissemination of information, that was never to intended be the case. By law.
Executive Session Rules
Glendale City Council executive sessions are for the purposes of private discussion of business and personnel matters that would be negatively effected by immediate public exposure. While executive sessions can be abused with questionable interpretations of need, it’s my opinion that it is appropriate in this case.
Glendale city charter defers to state law for special meetings, including executive sessions. Arizona state law spells out the rules for executive sessions quite clearly (click here for ARS 38-431.03).
Purpose of executive sessions and privacy requirements (forgive formatting please):
7. Discussions or consultations with designated representatives of the public body in order to consider its position and instruct its representatives regarding negotiations for the purchase, sale or lease of real property.
B. Minutes of and discussions made at executive sessions shall be kept confidential except from:
1. Members of the public body which met in executive session.
2. Officers, appointees or employees who were the subject of discussion or consideration pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 of this section.
3. The auditor general on a request made in connection with an audit authorized as provided by law.
4. A county attorney or the attorney general when investigating alleged violations of this article.
Based on STATE LAW, expectations of anything other than generic comments from participants were misguided at best. Anything discussed in executive session must remain confidential.
If people knew the regulations and still gave the impression there would be more to discuss after the meetings, they were being disingenuous.
So, if the above is true, characterizing comments or reactions after the meeting as bland is misleading, right? The only true expectations should have been for very generic statements that wouldn’t really indicate anything about what transpired in the meeting.
There should have been no expectation for detailed information regarding either the Renaissance proposal or the Beacon proposals. There should have been no expectation of excitement or disappointment or ANY emotion being displayed after the session. The days of executive sessions leaking information are over, who wants to go to the crowbar hotel?
In other words, there should be nothing read into “no comment” or avoiding speaking with reporters.
Most people truly knowledgeable about the state of affairs in Glendale regarding the arena and the Coyotes would argue that Councilmember Gary Sherwood has taken up the leadership position. Fair warning, I consider Mr. Sherwood a friend and won’t pretend to be unbiased about either Mr. Sherwood or the Coyotes.
CM Sherwood has taken the arena task to heart and has expended a great deal of effort on making any new deal successful and positive for all parties involved. While he is NOT alone on the council or within city staff in this project, he has become the de facto spokesperson for the state of the negotiation.
Here are Gary’s comments to Craig Morgan (Craig’s story is here) last night after the executive session, passed on via Twitter:
“What I thought would happen, happened. When you go through some of the deal points, I thought there would be a hang up or 2 & there were.”
“I think they are easily overcome and I think there will be another meeting this week.”
“I’m optimistic because I think that what we need to do is pretty simplistic and it’s easily doable.”
“I’m optimistic we’ll get it done and hopefully it can be vetted by the public next week.”
“We have a place for a vote on (June) 28th or it may drop into the week after. A lot will depend on whenever the next meeting is called.”
“To come to a public vote by the 25th, we need to vet it in public for a week. That’s just the process, so that means we’d have to come out tomorrow with all of the deal points and they’re just not ready yet.”
Sounds resoundingly positive to me and it comes from the person who probably knows more about all aspects of the deal than anyone else in city government.
I’m calling the bids in response to the RFP the city contracted Beacon to work “Beacon bids” instead of the less roll off the tonguey “non-hockey” bids because I can.
What we know for sure about the bids is that only four firms were interested. Was that because Glendale has been making it known that the number they have in mind for a management agreement was $6M? It’s impossible to tell, but it makes sense.
Two of the firms I fully expected to bid (Global Spectrum and AEG) didn’t even submit a proposal. The lack of interest from the firm that runs the venue across the street (Global Spectrum) and the firm currently running Jobing.com for the NHL (AEG) should be telling to people watching closely
My assumption they would bid was based on meetings at least one of the groups had with city people and the fact both firms are THE most familiar with Jobing.com arena and Westgate. That fact can’t be argued. Why didn’t they bid?
Two of the firms didn’t make it past the city vetting process, a strong argument could be made they shouldn’t have made it past Beacon’s $400/hour vetting procedure. More on that later when we discuss the reaction of CM Alvarez as she left the executive session early yesterday evening.
The two firms that did submit proposals that made it past the vetting process (PAD and SMG) seem to have the chops to make a success of running Jobing.com arena for the city. The question is, what do they bring to the table and what do they expect to be paid? We still have no way of knowing those answers. We have requested both the successful and unsuccessful bids from the city, although it’s not likely to be provided until next week at the earliest.
PAD, through their relationship with US Airways Center, probably has the inside track with Live Nation. Live Nation is the firm that owns Ak-Chin Pavillion (formerly known as Desert Sky and about a hundred other names) and a stranglehold on most of the large events for the country. Because of that, they could have a chance at either sharing some shows with Jobing.com or choking off their supply entirely. We’ll have to wait and see.
Councilmember Alvarez Reaction
According to a report from Paul Giblin (click here), Councilmember Alavarez left the executive session early:
One council member left the closed-door briefing early, saying prospective Coyotes owner Renaissance Sports & Entertainment was getting preferential treatment by her colleagues.
“I couldn’t take it anymore,” Councilwoman Norma Alvarez said as she made an early departure from the executive session.
We can speculate about several things here.
The “preferential treatment” remark may or may not refer to the Beacon bids with their initial inclusion of the former Phoenix Monarch Group. The PMG bid was summarily ousted, I wrote about that last week here.
If that isn’t the case, then it would seem to mean that the remaining councilmembers were, as perceived by CM Alvarez, giving undue weight to the RSE bid to the detriment of one or both Beacon bids. If that’s true, then the next logical assumption is the RSE bid is close to being a done deal with some tweaks.
Is the RSE bid close enough to “done” to cause CM Alvarez to bail early? Only CM Alvarez knows for sure.
The bottom line is the NHL still has a “Plan B” and that plan is undoubtedly Seattle. Before the moving trucks are ordered, Glendale will be working with RSE to work their reported 15 year commitment into something that will work for both parties.
It seems extremely unlikely either of the remaining Bacon bids are workable for the city, even though it remains possible one of them would have to be instituted if somehow the RSE deal failed.
The June 25 date for a vote was always very optimistic. The process that started yesterday in executive session couldn’t start without the Beacon bids being delivered to City Hall.
The one week delay for the Beacon bids was potentially very damaging if the NHL can’t be convinced of a legitimate deal in Glendale. Should that happen, undoubtedly the requester of the delay and the reasons for that delay will come under close scrutiny.
The NHL Board of Governors meeting is certainly an important date and assurances a deal WILL get done to the satisfaction of NHL brass will have to be made prior to that date.
Let’s do this thing.