The political winds in Glendale could change directions in when four new elected leaders are seated on the city council. It will be the first major change in years for the West Valley city that has been run by a familiar cast for quite a few years.
The Arizona Republic says a new majority is expected to take a more skeptical stance on a Phoenix Coyotes deal and ease, although not give up, opposition to a proposed tribal casino.
“Glendale is not your cash register,” said Mayor-Elect Jerry Weiers in his victory speech to send a message to sports teams, specifically the Coyotes:
Voters booted Councilwoman Joyce Clark, who has become the most outspoken supporter of the Coyotes, and by a 2-to-1 ratio opted to keep a sales-tax hike that provides the city room to move forward on a hockey deal.
Opponents, including Mayor Elaine Scruggs, say the hockey deal is too expensive. Scruggs of late has repeatedly said the city should put the contract out to bid to see if the city could get a cheaper arena manager.
How Clark’s defeat enters the equation is debatable, The Republic says.
“For someone who is that far out in front with the Coyotes, (she) could very well have been reaping the wrath of the voters on that issue,” said Bob Grossfeld, president of Media Guys, a political consulting firm in the Valley.
Jason Rose, a political consultant who worked with Weiers, suggested her defeat could have been anti-incumbent sentiment in general. “To residents, she was the face of everything that’s gone wrong in Glendale — of the tax, of the Coyotes, of Camelback Ranch (the city’s spring-training ballpark),” he said.
Rose touted Clark’s challenger, Phoenix Firefighter Sam Chavira, as representing a new path.. “He represents tomorrow, not yesterday.”
Chavira favors the casino, in contrast to Clark, but that would shift the opposition to a four-member majority instead of five.
Weiers said he is optimistic about the city’s future, but acknowledged the rough patch. “We need to get our financial house in order.”
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