In addition to stadium referendums, Tuesday’s elections brought new mayors in cities facing sports facility battles. And two newly elected officials immediately made tough statements about their plans to deal with their local sports teams.
First, in Glendale, Arizona, home of the Phoenix Coyotes:
Glendale voters on Tuesday decisively selected Republican Jerry Weiers to succeed their outgoing mayor, Elaine Scruggs, and in doing so further complicated their relationship with the Coyotes. Weiers ran on a platform of reining in spending and was highly critical of the City Council’s pending financial deal with Jamison for managing Glendale’s city-owned Jobing.com Arena…
“Glendale is not your cash register,” Weiers said in his acceptance speech Tuesday evening, referring directly to the Coyotes and the spring training baseball teams that use the city’s ballpark. “We all love the Coyotes and Cactus League, but we cannot sacrifice our way of life so they can maintain theirs.”
That’s from SeattlePI, which is reporting on this, naturally, because it thinks that if the Coyotes’ stupefyingly generous lease deal falls apart, maybe the team will move to Seattle. Get in line, pal.
It’s also actually not clear whether Weiers can block the deal, since prospective owner Greg Jamison is reportedly angling for final approval of the lease by early December. Though given that this is the Coyotes, it’s always possible he meant some other December.
Meanwhile, over in San Diego, it’s a Democrat who’s talking tough toward the Chargers on their stadium demands:
The San Diego Chargers’ decade-long quest for a new stadium almost certainly won’t be submitted to voters until at least 2014.
But even that possibility appeared less likely this week with the election of new mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat who has vowed to be “the toughest negotiator the Chargers have ever faced.”…
Filner, a Congressman, states on his campaign website that “our city has been held ransom by our sports teams, a fact we cannot forget.” He states “the only deal” he would make “is one that will give something back to the city and its taxpayers.” He states that could include “partial ownership of the team” and “greater involvement and support of our public schools.”
Of course, nobody ever got elected by promising to be a weak negotiator, so the usual caveats apply. Chargers stadium czar Mark Fabiani (hi, Mark!) immediately issued a statement noting that Filner was elected with the support of labor unions, and a stadium would create jobs, and labor unions like jobs, and can’t we all just get along? Because a stadium plan without a site or funding or an amenable mayor really isn’t a stadium plan at all.