Let me begin this paranoid diatribe by saying that I’m not a lawyer, government worker, union member, journalist or anything other than a working stiff who wants to see his hockey team stay in town. Anything I write or have written is PURE speculation, some of it supported by facts. The people involved, none of which I have heard a word from, know what the truth is. Maybe it’s all as innocent as the Spring rain and things have just fallen into place very convenently (and effectively) for Goldwater and crew, simply pure coincidence. Without the real resources to pursue any of this, you the reader will have to decide for yourselves what your opinion is.
By now, after more than three years of ridiculousness brought on by the antics of former Goldwater Institute honcho and string puller Jerry Moyes, anybody who has remained a Coyotes fan in the face of the niggling and constant negativism by local, national and particularly Canadian press is like part of a family. Yeah, it’s that important to a lot of us, I know it is to my family.
One theory I have states Goldwater and friends are trying to delay the final sale of the Coyotes to the Jamison group just long enough to kill it. I believe that there is a “hard deadline” for completing the sale and further believe that said deadline is relatively imminent, in real time not geological time. I also believe that Goldwater has some knowledge of WHEN this actual deadline is and the intent of their current suit is not to win, but only to delay.
I heard an implied deadline in NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s time at the podium during the June 8 City of Glendale (CoG) meeting. Watch the video (link here), Gary hits the mic at around 1:28:34 and again at 2:19:25, listen to his words and the tone of his voice and see if you agree. Gary mentions during his first appearance that the NHL is willing to work with CoG on the $25M debt owed the NHL, the tone of the second seems more ominous.
Deadline aside, I firmly believe that Greg Jamison (also on the above video just before Bettman the second time, listen to him to be impressed) and the NHL will consummate their deal regardless of any distractions of court cases, bringing us one step closer to the end of this mess.
Goldwater Institute Sues
Goldwater lawyer Carrie Ann Sitren steps to the mic (in the meeting video above) at 2:54:33, watch that and again pay attention to the tone as much as the words. My summation is smug. She says in no uncertain terms, and with a little laugh, that Goldwater will bring the matter back to court. The matter she spoke of regards purported missing documents in the CoG decription of the Jamison deal before the emergency meeting, the subject of their request for a temporary restraining order the morning of June 8 which was tossed out by the judge. More on this later, remember “missing documents”. Meanwhile, Carrie also reads into the record a letter written by her boss Darcy to the CoG people (link here). Ms. Sitren mentions three points from that letter which is currently featured on the home page of their web site. One of the, I say conveniently, left out points is (italics mine):
We understand that the Tohono O’odham Nation has offered once again to partner with the City to relieve some of the financial obligations related to the arena.
The day before the June 8 meeting, there was a workshop held to discuss and debate the proposed deal with Jamison that would be approved the next day. CM Norma Alvarez and Mayor Elaine Scruggs did NOT attend this meeting. During that meeting, Craig Tindall, Glendale City Attorney, was asked if the CoG had EVER been approached by the Tohono O’odham Nation as stated by Darcy Olsen of the Goldwater Institute in her featured letter. It’s on the video (link here) at 1:09:08-ish, CM Knaack asks Mr. Tindall about it and he says:
“I’ve been intimately involved in the ‘TO’ (Tohono O’odham ed.) matter I will tell you I have not heard any communication whatsoever along those lines…. I have no idea what they’re referring to.”
Mr. Tindall didn’t call Ms. Olsen a name in so many words, but you and I can use our imaginations and come up with a few words. I have asked the person running the @Goldwaterinst Twitter feed about that… Do they care to offer a denial? What is the interest of Goldwater in the Tohono O’odham and their casino? That sort of thing. I never received any answer whatsoever.
To recap, while the Coyotes cognescenti thought that Goldwater would sue on Monday, June 11, 2012 as they threatened after their loss in court against CoG on Friday, June 8, they didn’t file their lawsuit “on the behalf of” Ken Jones and Joe Cobb until Wednesday, June 13. The MOST interesting thing about their eventual suit is that the threats they had made earlier, they would be suing about “missing documents” and Ms. Sitren smugly wanted “sunshine”, were bogus! So, one would assume that Goldwater felt certain they would lose their suit (link here) if brought for the missing documents or they felt they had no standing to bring such a suit under the auspices of Ken Jones and Joe Cobb. Regardless, their arrogance and smugness from Friday about their “sure win” had nothing to do with the eventual lawsuit.
Facts of the Matter
I went through most of my reasons for believing why Goldwater will lose their suit on Tuesday, June 19 in an earlier post (link here), but there is one other thing somebody told me about after I was done writing, so I went and took a brief look. Insert my normal disclaimer that I am not a lawyer here. There was an Arizona Supreme Court case decided in 1923, Orme v. Salt River Valley Water Users’ Association that is frequently cited in cases exactly like this. Goldwater’s count II, based on purported abuse of the “emergency clause”, should take a beating when confronted by the above case and whatever other case law the CoG attorneys will cite. As I understand it, Glendale City Charter states that a missing council member will be considered to have made an affirmative vote. At the end of the meeting, Mayor Scruggs and Tindall discuss “excusing” CM Alvarez, but they decide to do it at the next meeting on Tuesday, NOT during the June 8 meeting. Article II, Section 17 of the Glendale municipal code:
No member of the council shall be excused from voting, except upon matters involving the consideration of his own official conduct or if a conflict of interest exists as defined by the laws of this state pertaining to conflict of interest of officials and employees. In all other cases a failure to vote shall be entered on the minutes as an affirmative vote.
Now for the cynical paranoid conspiracy theory part. Stick with me and see if this has any validity in your mind.
Suppose CM Alvarez was absent from the June 8 meeting in order to throw a monkey wrench into the works that could later be exploited by the Goldwater group? Suppose the Goldwater people knew she would be unavailable for the vote which, according to their claim, would negate the vote? I couldn’t find in the municipal code whether CM Alvarez could have given her proxy to another council member to vote, everybody knew it would probably be a negative vote anyway. I am not questioning the health reasons for CM Alvarez to be absent from the June 8 meeting. I do have to wonder, though, if one felt so strongly about the Coyotes matters and the most important vote on those matters was scheduled to occur, why wouldn’t one make extraordinary efforts to make one’s voice heard? Did she consider or request special measures such as videoconferincing or the like?
I am told by a person in Glendale city government that CM Alvarez COULD have participated in the June 8 meeting and votes telephonically. I have personally made a call from the northern end of Yellowstone National Park, part of which is recognized as “the most remote” place in the continental United States. I’m sure Ms. Alvarez could have managed some way to make the most important phone call of her career in the city council. Yet, she refused to. Why?
I can’t speak for CM Alvarez as to “why”, but I can surmise why Goldwater would prefer that the ordinance and resolution passed on June 8 were NOT passed as “emergency measures”. It’s because, once the vote is done, the measures cannot be reviewed by ballot. Goldwater explains that in their complaint. So, if the council happened to be missing a member for whatever reason, even if that member wasn’t able to or couldn’t be bothered to pick up a telephone, Goldwater would be able to parade Ken and Joe into court with a complaint just as they did. Not only that, but they wouldn’t have to bother with the “missing documents” thing anymore. Neat package.
Now that we see the details of the Goldwater suit, the absence (excused or not) of CM Alvarez and the mathematical gyrations that are now put into play by Goldwater to negate the vote of the rest of the council, doesn’t that seem very convenient? We’ve discussed earlier how there may or may not be connections to be made between CM Alvarez and Goldwater, perhaps as innocent as endorsing the same PMG group as potential arena managers. I’m not even really suggesting that the two parties had talked about these things beforehand and come up with a way to negate the vote simply by ignoring it.
To me, the ONLY chance of success for ANY of the matters brought forth by Goldwater in their case against CoG is that there may be a difference in what is considered a “quorum” for an emergency measure AND the above Article II, Section 17 is somehow a invalid regulation.
None of that would have been possible if Norma Alvarez showed up for the City Council meeting on June 8 and voted her conscience.
Made me wonder, don’t know about anyone else.
Keep the faith, Coyotes brothers and sisters! Happy Father’s day too, especially to those dads who take their kids to hockey games and even moreso to the ones that slog back and forth to rinks everywhere so their kids can play.