By Alexander Lomax
The proposed move for the Arizona Coyotes from Glendale to Tempe was to be the truest definition of a win-win. It is much more central and near the light rail, making games much more accessible for the vast majority of the valley. Along with the proposed entertainment sector, there simply are far more options for pre- and post-game recreation than there is in Glendale. For the casual hockey fan in Phoenix or Scottsdale, heading to Tempe on a Tuesday night is much more palatable of an option than going to Glendale.
Plus, it is to be built on an effin landfill…a huge economic and environmental liability for Tempe currently.
But of course, as with any good idea there will be nay-sayers; idealogues who stand in opposition to the will of the masses, people who are desperate to make a name for themselves or stay in the limelight, or those who are bitter that they are not able to capitalize off of it themselves. And while we are not generally ones to presume the silent intentions of others, we have to believe that one or more of these motivations are coming into play here.
That is where opposition group Tempe 1st is at ; attempting to rally their community under the guise of the unfairness of tax breaks. Leaving aside the obvious gigantic economic injection that this project would be for years and years to come, the “BILLIONAIRES BAD!” street signage that the group uses screams of an ideology-first mindset. Going after a successful billionaire might play relatively well in Tempe, but it is not as though Tempe’s recent stratospheric growth was built from co-ops and socialism. Wealthy people and corporations have played a gigantic role in Tempe’s current growth and increase in jobs.
Then it’s worth looking into who is behind this effort. Dawn Penich-Thacker got a reasonable amount of attention (or notoriety, depending on who you ask) by being one of the leaders of Red for Ed, the educational movement from 2018. What education has to do with a hockey arena is tough to tell, although it certainly does give an opportunity to make a further name for herself and stay in the limelight. For someone who makes sure to sign every letter with “PhD”, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
Additionally there is former Tempe city councilwoman (and former Arizona Corporation Commission candidate) Lauren Kuby leading the charge. Kuby was known to have a sometimes contentious relationship with other members of the council, being an idealogue who would stand in opposition of growth if it did not perfectly worship at the altar of sustainability and lowering costs for the working class, consequences be damned. I suppose that the idea of putting 2,000 new apartments on the market and the obvious impact it would have on pushing rent prices down all around the area doesn’t fit into the ideological mold of “affordable housing”, as pragmatic as it is. After all, a billionaire boogeyman is to be blamed, and nothing good can come from that in the mind of an idealogue who desires to stay in the public eye.
Kuby apparently ignores the project’s commitment to creating union jobs as well the hypocrisy of voting for direct financial assistance for the Los Angeles Angels’ billionaire owner for his spring training stadium, along with a tax break for ASU while in its employ.
It’s unfortunate that good ideas can sometimes be derailed by people who are hypocritical and desperate to feed their own ego and have their names in the papers. We are confident that the people of Tempe will see through it and instead judge the project on its merits, merits that will be beneficial for the city.