Scandal, Bad Precedent Brewing In Peoria, Arizona?
So the City of Peoria wants neighboring Glendale to allow a new Indian gaming casino within its boundaries because it will create a lot of new jobs for the area. But it doesn’t want to allow an aspiring business park, also in Glendale to put up outdoor billboards along the 101, to help do the same?
This isn’t an opinion about the proposed casino, a subject we are agnostic about, until we are not.
It is one about a potentially shameful act by Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett, aspiring mayoral replacements on the Peoria City Council and others there utilizing public resources to stymie private development in another city.
For years competing cities engaged in competition for desirable businesses with tax breaks, offering huge subsidies to car dealers, shopping malls and big retailers. Whoever gave away the most usually won.
But thanks to the Goldwater Institute, former Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane and others like Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio the giveaway game is largely gone.
Enter Peoria, Arizona.
They say the city’s opposition to the billboard project in Glendale has nothing to do with anything other than protecting Peoria residents. Of course there is hardly any impact on said residents and Peoria conspicuously feigns concern for these residents but not the others devastated, just devastated, by blasted billboards in other parts of the city? Judging from a recent azcentral.com survey on the matter they seem to be in the decided minority on the subject with only 23% of respondents sharing their opinion.
Conspicuous indeed is what Peoria seems to be doing. But thanks to sources within the City of Peoria itself embarrassed by the city’s audacity and the city’s own plans for billboards ACROSS THE STREET from the Glendale ones all becomes clearer.
You see, the City of Peoria is planning to use revenues from new billboards it wants to put along the Loop 101 to pay for new parking garages in its entertainment district. And they believe Glendale’s boards could stymie those efforts. The plot thickened at a recent Glendale Planning Commission when the West Valley’s Doctor of Dirt, Phil Hubbard, the City of Peoria’s former lobbyist, showed up organizing Peoria residents.
So rather than city’s using tax subsidies – which only kick in after a project lands in the city – we have the City of Peoria, Arizona overtly using public resources to stop a private sector development in another city for the sole purpose of squashing competition.
Peoria is wrongfully opposing the Glendale proposal. And the things being done by the representatives of the usually up-standing community are the most troubling signs of all, not what’s happening with its neighbor.