One Spirited Adversary
Jerry Colangelo and his partners may want to consider voodoo economics. Remember Beatrice Villareal, the frail, elderly woman who lived in a meager home on the future site of Bank One Ballpark parking garage? Who can forget?
She had lived on the site for more than 80 years, and didn't want to relocate. When news that she was being forced out hit the press last year, Colangelo calmed the media frenzy by promising to see that she was taken care of for the rest of her life.
But Beatrice didn't want to be taken care of. She wanted to die where she'd lived. She was moved anyway, and the rest of her life didn't amount to much. She died May 29, six weeks after her deracination. Some of her kin believe the trauma of her uprooting contributed to her demise.
And one survivor tells The Flash that not long before she passed away, Beatrice put a curse on two Colangelo enterprises--the Phoenix Suns and the Arizona Diamondbanks. The Suns were promptly eliminated from the playoffs. Hmmm. Wonder if Jer can get the stadium district to spring for an exorcism?
What's 500 Parking Spaces?
With the budget-busting Bank One Ballpark forcing Arizona Diamondbank partners to dig deeply into their pockets for an extra $54 million, the team is looking for ways to cut costs.
The team is trying to save $2.4 million by cutting the size of the Beatrice Villareal Memorial Parking Garage by one third, to 1,000 spaces. But officials at the Maricopa County Stadium District, which owns the stadium, say the district will stand firm on the 1,500-space garage, which is expected to generate significant revenue for the district.
Diamondbank officials also are asking the stadium district to relax a requirement that the team post letters of credit to cover the full cost of construction overruns.
The team already has posted about $80 million in letters of credit to cover its share of construction expenses above the public outlay of $253 million.
The Diamondbanks want to reduce the letter of credit to $26 million, which would save the team about $500,000 a year in interest expenses, says team lawyer Dean Short.
Reducing the letter of credit will not have an impact on the team's obligation to cover all construction costs above $253 million, team and stadium district officials say.
In exchange for these and other concessions, the Diamondbanks are offering to waive a requirement that the stadium district provide a $15 million construction loan. If the district agreed with that provision, the public obligation would be reduced to $238 million, which is being raised by a quarter-cent sales tax.
"The team would like to get tradeoffs to reduce cost overruns," says stadium district attorney Shawn Nau.
Another Impressive Joe Show
Cable network Court TV aired a lengthy segment about Sheriff Joe Arpaio's famous gulag on June 17. But besides the usual blather about green bologna and no coffee or cigarettes, the network presented evidence that Arpaio runs a shoddy jail system which allows abuse of inmates. An in-studio commentator summed things up nicely by noting that Arpaio's policies were plainly intended to increase his publicity, not deter crime.
Arpaio outed himself by telling Court TV (we are not making this up): "If I want to put pink underwear on, I'll put pink underwear on."
Upcoming from Court TV: an in-depth piece about the sheriff's posse, including excerpts from a New Times article which documented the high cost, and low effectiveness, of Arpaio's beer-belly brigade.