The Glendale, Arizona city council emerged from a four-hour closed-door session Tuesday without voting on a proposed lease deal that would keep the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes playing at Jobing.com Arena. Council members—who are being asked to subsidize the team by as much as $15 million a year—are reportedly asking for more assurances that hockey operations would be a money making venture.
Glendale city council member Norma Alvarez, who is on the record as opposing a lease subsidy, was far less charitable toward the possibility of a deal, referring to her colleagues as (gasp) "knuckleheads" for even continuing negotiations:
“I called them knuckleheads, because they don’t get it. They don’t get it. They don’t get it. They’re going to continue discussions. Discussions of what? We’re selling City Hall because of paying $50 million. C’mon. C’mon.”
That's right, the council is preparing to sell city hall (actually, a lease-purchase agreement) for $30 million in order to pay back money borrowed from other city accounts in order to pay the $50 million it promised the NHL to cover the Coyotes losses over the past two seasons. Ouch.
Four new members were elected to Glendale's seven-member council last year, promising fiscal responsibility in the wake of the arena debacle. So yeah, it wouldn't be surprising at all if the council failed to agree to a new arena subsidy by the July 2 deadline the NHL has imposed. In which case we'll all soon find out whether a move to Seattle was anything more than an idle threat.