Rose Peddles

People are talking about a young political consultant named Jason Rose. But it's probably not the message he'd like to get across.

Rose has brought his PR jujitsu to the aid of a number of other clients as well.

Earlier in 1998, Rose represented Michael LaMelza, a developer of a luxury campus for the elderly in Scottsdale facing opposition from neighbors. A report surfaced that the federal government had barred LaMelza from using HUD funds because he had misused almost $2 million at a nursing home in New Jersey.

Rose said it shouldn't matter what happened "3,000 miles away." And the neighbors "just don't want elderly folks in need in their neighborhood."

In late 1997, the board of the Glendale Elementary School District was badly in need of an image boost after it was accused of violating the Open Meetings Law. Some board members were videotaped meeting at one member's house and later settled with the attorney general's office.

Rose was paid more than $3,000 a month to shore up the district's reputation and conduct outreach programs.

But the one board member who turned the others in, Gail Poe, thinks Rose didn't do what he was supposed to do. She says Rose was brought in by the superintendent to "educate the public." What he did, she says, was spin control.

In the press at the time, Rose blasted a former Glendale principal for "running some kind of Keystone Kops operation, secretly filming board members during a social event."

"My own opinion is that the purpose of his appointment was political, and not the purpose that was presented to us in public, that there was a lot more going on behind the scenes," Poe says. Poe says Rose's work included writing letters to the editor that defended the board members accused of wrongdoing.

Around the same time in 1997, the Scottsdale Waterfront South Associates (SWSA), another of Rose's clients, won the city council's approval to convert 23 acres in the heart of Scottsdale into a theme park. SWSA's competitors in the bid process cried foul when they learned that city officials held private meetings with SWSA. Campana voted, along with the majority of the city council, in favor of SWSA. Rose had helped get Campana elected a year earlier, and had worked on Bielli's campaign before that.

Rose told New Times then that the complaints were "a joke" and the competitors had only themselves to blame for their loss. "They didn't do their job, and that's why city staff didn't recommend them," he said.

When the Phoenix Coyotes sought to build a practice ice rink in Scottsdale in 1997, opponents contended that the supporters of the rink harassed them. They even filed for protective orders in Scottsdale city court.

In response to the protective orders, Rose shot back in the media: "This is so extremely frivolous as to be comical. I'd be embarrassed to put my name in something like this." The rink's boosters also filed their own complaint with the attorney general's office, alleging dirty tricks by the other side. The practice rink was built over the objections of the rink's foes.

Rose has tasted defeat. Canyon Forest Village is inching forward despite his best efforts. The Scottsdale campaign for the transit tax went down to a solid defeat. The Cine Capri is a parking lot now. And Tom McGovern lost the attorney-general race.

But Rose got his clients good press each time. Nothing, so far in his career, has left him with much damage, personally or professionally.

If anything, Rose has gotten cockier, his friends say.
"The thing that's ramped up is his self-confidence," Bundgaard says. "As he gains success after each project, his confidence level increased, and that seemed to light a fire under his creativity. The more success he gets, the more he wants to do."

The clash over the Coyotes' practice rink turned out to be a warm-up for Rose's latest project, the Los Arcos Mall redevelopment. Rose is going up against some of the same players, and arguing some of the same points.

But this time around, the stakes are much higher: Rose's clients have a development on the line worth more than half a billion dollars. And Rose himself has become an issue as the conflict over the hockey rink heats up.

Alan Kaufman, the attorney representing NO PUCKS, is the anti-Jason Rose. As hard as Rose works for developers in Scottsdale, Kaufman works just as hard against them. The attorney, who once represented NBC Sports, says most of the Scottsdale City Council "never met a development--or a developer--they didn't like." Kaufman is a key member of the Coalition of Pinnacle Peak (COPP), which has opposed growth in the city on a number of issues, including the construction of the Coyotes' practice rink.

Kaufman and Rose squared off on Los Arcos after the Scottsdale City Council voted 4 to 3 to approve a stadium district for the limping mall in December.

The Coyotes' arena is the keystone to the $624 million redevelopment of Los Arcos planned by the Ellman Companies. It also includes a convention center, shops and a restaurant.

But neighbors and activists object to the plan. Many fear an increase in noise and crime. The intersection of Scottsdale and McDowell roads is already one of the most congested in the city. Perhaps most important, there are a number of people who simply don't want to leave their homes, which will be torn down by the development.

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