In what is turning out to be a highly contentious issue for a non-election year, the battle lines have been painted recently in the Coyotes desire to not just bring the team to Tempe, but also an entire entertainment ecosphere. You can get up to date on the topic here. Most recently, the city of Phoenix has joined the fray by threatening a lawsuit to stop the project.
The Arizona Coyotes will not be standing down now, and have recently announced that they intend to fight fire with fire. As a recent article spells out, the team is now threatening a lawsuit of their own for the exact amount of the size of the project: $2.3 billion.
The current concern of the city of Phoenix on the surface appears to be the proximity of some of the apartments as part of the proposed project being too close to Sky Harbor Airport, thus perhaps leading to noise or non-descript safety issues. Then again, the Tempe voters have the right to vote on that themselves, and potential tenants have the ability to not rent there, so any reasonable person would see that this is simply a red herring, not the true reason for the issue. Because of course, there are absolutely no residential units or sports facilities near Sky Harbor in Phoenix…ohhhh, the hypocrisy.
The leader of the Coyotes speculates that the issue is much deeper than that though; that it’s a fear of entertainment dollars (and as such, tax revenue) leaking away from Phoenix and towards Tempe. And it makes a heck of a lot more sense than Phoenix caring about the noise in Tempe apartments.
“Phoenix City Hall’s bad behavior seems intended to preserve its downtown sports venue monopoly and has nothing to do with safety or soundness of the airport,” according to President/CEO of the Coyotes Xavier Gutierrez. “While Phoenix bureaucrats have allowed developers to build a basketball arena, a ballpark, and apartments in flight paths, when Tempe attempts to do the same a manufactured crisis arrives.”
We cannot comment on the strength of the lawsuit, but we do know insincere politics when we see it, and Phoenix suing apparently on behalf of Tempe residents has about the same level of sincerity as an American politician caring deeply about sound concerns for citizens of Paris or Cairo.
It’s unequivocally positive that the team is fighting back and not allowing Phoenix to be an undemocratic bully. Tempeans deserve better than their big brother next door exerting its own will on them instead of allowing them to choose their own future.