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The Surprising Dishonesty Of Arizona Republic Columnist Bob Robb

We’d like to think he was merely forgetful.

But that would be generous considering how intellectually dishonest Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb was today (Arizona Republic Dec. 20, 2013: When Glendale Was Boring)  in lampooning Glendale and basically any city striving for something more. It was the kind of audacity that doesn’t invoke anger but more of that chuckle and shake of the head because rarely is anyone quite that audacious.

Look, we can all agree local governments have made some good and bad decisions when it’s come to tax breaks, developments, shopping centers and sports facilities.

But to indict them all, as Robb did, without acknowledging that he once was the pied piper of the public trough is breathtakingly dishonest.

For example, Robb criticized developer Steve Ellman for proposing a hockey arena and retail development on the old Los Arcos Mall site, a vision that eventually landed in Glendale.

Robb failed to mention that on the same day in 1999 Ellman’s project was approved by Scottsdale voters by the largest margin in American history for a sports facility election (63%-37%), Robb was the chief flack for the biggest tax increase in Mesa history. For what you may ask? A boondoggle plan for the Arizona Cardinals new football stadium, a convention center and a few partridges in a pear tree. It was shellacked at the polls.

Yet Robb now peppers all others with criticism?

But his hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. And while his list of subsidy sucking shilling while a public affairs consultant would be too long to list here, his consultancy on the tax increase for what is now Chase Field, as well as another tax hike for Scottsdale Stadium, reinforce the inconsistency with which he stroked his pen today.

Undoubtedly some of the instances Robb wrote about were wayward, most notably Glendale’s spring training facility that even the most naïve real estate aspirant cold have recognized for folly.

But WestWorld of Scottsdale? When it’s not hosting the biggest car auction and Arabian horse shows in the world it operates as an impressive special events and equestrian center. And when it is not doing those things it basically acts as a city park.

And that Town Lake in Tempe has been a failure?

And of course he didn’t write about other city involved successes like Tempe Marketplace, Scottsdale Fashion Square, CityScape in downtown Phoenix, U.S. Airways Center or the Tournament Player’s Club in Scottsdale which has allowed that PGA stop to grow from a small gathering at Phoenix Country Club to one of the largest sporting events in the world.

We remain hopeful Robb can continue to be an asset to a media property whose success is vital to the integrity and direction of this state. We remain so if Robb’s remarkable combination of dishonesty and clueless was an aberration. If.

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