Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Transcript to be made available from Goldwater/Glendale meeting

Transparency comes to table in Glendale

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Not too long ago, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs could barely spit out the words Goldwater Institute, so mad was she with the libertarian think-tank and its obstructionist ways.

Times change and Scruggs has asked the folks at Goldwater to have a sit-down and discuss the snagged sale of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Statement released today

Statement By Starlee Rhoades, Vice President of External Affairs, Goldwater Institute On An Upcoming Meeting with the City of Glendale

As you may have heard, Glendale Mayor Scruggs has invited the Goldwater Institute to meet to discuss our concerns with the city of Glendale's plan to issue bonds to help a businessman buy the Phoenix Coyotes.

The meeting will be held this Thursday, April 21, at 3:00 p.m.

You may remember that the Goldwater Institute has argued for conversations with the city to be open and transparent. As Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute, said on March 7, 2011, "Because so much of this deal has been conducted behind closed doors and out of public view, we believe any future meetings or phone conferences should be conducted openly and transparently."

One way to ensure transparency is to have journalists present, which is an option the city declined.

However, to ensure transparency, we have agreed to have a neutral third-party transcript of the conversation made available to the public and members of the press.

We are pleased to be meeting with Glendale in this open manner and look forward to sharing the results of the meeting with you.

Goldwater has been inviting the NHL, potential buyer Matthew Hulsizer and Glendale city council to get together and discuss the plight of the franchise for some time, but always with the unsettling caveat of having any meetings done in a public forum.

Glendale, feeling the heat of the NHL's internal franchise clock ticking, has now agreed to meet this concession. Reporters, with TV cameras, notepads and recorders, will be present, as well as members of the public in a meeting that will take place sometime Thursday, according to Goldwater representatives.

Where and when has yet to be released, but for Scruggs, who in March was threatening to sue Goldwater for $500 million over this issue, to ask for a sit-down, the situation must be dire.

Well, duh.

Glendale has been trying to facilitate a sale of the Coyotes to Hulsizer for some time, but the deal they have constructed has been deemed illegal by Goldwater. The institute opposes Glendale's role in the proposed arrangement, saying it violates the gift clause in the State of Arizona's constitution, which prohibits government from giving corporations gifts, loans, grants or subsidies.

Glendale has proposed to subsidize Matthew Hulsizer's purchase of the Coyotes from the NHL with a $100-million purchase of parking rights at Jobing.com Arena.

Goldwater says those rights are already owned by Glendale and worth far less than $100 million, therefore making the deal illegal.

Don't expect Goldwater's position to change. Time and again, Goldwater's message has been misread and its will underestimated. The right-wing taxpayer lobby isn't interested in making deals. It is comprised of ideologues who oppose corporate welfare.

Goldwater has repeatedly said the way for the Coyotes to remain in Arizona is for Hulsizer, or some other buyer, to purchase the team with their own money.

Unless that's what Scruggs is coming to put on the table, expect this meeting to be over before the TV cameras get rolling.

 

-- Wheel of confusion: NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell has a tough job, but the league's seemingly inconsistent approach to punishment puts him rightly in the line of fire. Campbell gave Canucks winger Raffi Torres a free pass for his high hit on Brent Seabrooke, then a day later handed out one-game bans to Tampa's Steve Downie and Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz for head-shot offences.

The NHL needs to decide what it wants to be. If it's Rollerball, fine, let the carnage continue. But if it's a responsible league with concern for the safety of its players, then start acting like it. Torres deserved a game at the very least, while Downie and Kunitz should be out for a minimum of four games.

And this notion that a playoff game counts more than a regular-season game is ridiculous. A concussion doesn't feel any different to a victim whether its October or April.

Clean it up, NHL, or prepare to sink to the depths of dogfighting, MMA and other blood sports.

-- Bottom six: It's fairly easy to discern the Hamilton Bulldogs possess the AHL's top trio in Nigel Dawes, Dustin Boyd and Aaron Palushaj. But an argument can be made that the Moose have the league's best group of bottom-six forwards.

What's better to have at this time of year is open to interpretation, but Manitoba's third line of Alex Bolduc, Guillaume Desbiens and Shawn Weller, followed by the fourth line of Rick Rypien, Garth Murray and Aaron Volpatti make for good grit.

Give this group a lead and watch them grind away the minutes. As a group, there's lots of defensive savvy, physical presence and role acceptance.

There's no question Manitoba has the complementary players, but whether its top-liners can do enough to hand games over to the slugs to close out remains to be seen.

gary.lawless@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 20, 2011 C1

History

Updated on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 at 3:09 PM CDT: A statement released today says a transcript will be made available from the meeting.

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About Gary Lawless

Gary Lawless is the Free Press sports columnist and co-host of the Hustler and Lawless show on TSN 1290 Winnipeg and www.winnipegfreepress.com
Lawless began covering sports as a rookie reporter at The Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay after graduating from journalism school at Durham College in Ontario.
After a Grey Cup winning stint with the Toronto Argonauts in the communications department, Lawless returned to Thunder Bay as sports editor.
In 1999 he joined the Free Press and after working on the night sports desk moved back into the field where he covered pro hockey, baseball and football beats prior to being named columnist.

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