Is the Bloom Off the (Jason) Rose? PR Stuntman Lost More Petals in May

The post-election dust has settled, and we would be remiss not to take a look at the scorecard for one of our favorite public-relations stuntmen -- famous (some would say infamous) spin-master Jason Rose.

We see that he lost a few more petals in May, but Rose tells New Times that business is good.

Rose represented Michael Monti in his failed bid for Tempe mayor against Mark Mitchell.

Monti lost, yet Rose says the Monti campaign represented his "proudest" work, and, indeed he boasts about closing the gap in a race that "no one thought was winnable."

Yeah, it was a close race.

A mere 139 votes gave the win to Mitchell, the "son of a statue," as Rose refers to the son of former Tempe mayor Harry Mitchell.

But his proudest?

The same race in which many politicos believe Rose masterminded one of the worst political attacks in recent history -- an accusation that Monti's opponent, Mitchell, molested a girl nearly 30 years earlier when they were both kids. No charges will be filed in the decades-old case.

Rose denies that he was a part of smearing Mitchell.

Also, Rose was part of the team behind Areas USA's failed attempt to win a more than half- billion-dollar concessions contract at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Areas had already lost the first part of the concessions contract, and was fighting to snag the second part.

Although Areas appealed its rejected bid, on May 16 the City Council awarded the contract to Areas' competitor.

Rose, who was just one member of a consulting team that also included one-time high-powered lobbyist Billy Shields, tells us that it is more than a tad unfair to assign blame to him.

"It wasn't my job to work the bureaucracy at the city," Rose says, adding that he was doing the public-relations work and pulling restaurants into the bid.

Rose concedes that the final-bid concessions winners -- HMSHost and SSP America -- had fantastic proposals and some exceptional restaurant brands behind them.

But, the process was flawed, he says.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton took exception to that assessment during the City Council discussion over the airport-concessions contract.

Stanton said the "participants involved in this contracting process have been a little too loose when it comes to challenging ethics of both the people [city staff] and the process and that has been something very, very disappointing to me."

He didn't stop there.

"I would say publicly that whoever advised these entities that that was the right approach, I think if you have learned one thing through this process, [it is] that that this is a professional process."

To anyone who believes that his rose is wilting, Rose says Rose, Moser, Allyn PR's revenues are up year after year, and they've had some successful campaigns. He points to a recent win when he took on political-action committee as a client and successfully fought to keep a QuikTrip gas station out of an east-Phoenix neighborhood.

What's more, he says, his firm has launched -- and is even financing-- a polo event in Scottsdale, among about 40 other projects it's working on.

Perhaps, but these lesser-known feats are overshadowed by the goings-on with some high-profile and very public campaigns/clients -- like getting fired by the Special Olympics Arizona, losing the Tempe mayor's race, and losing the Phoenix mayor's race.

In the latter, Rose represented Claude Mattox while the longtime councilman mulled a run for mayor, but Mattox didn't make it past the primary election even though he had been on the City Council for more than a decade, entered the campaign with the largest campaign war chest, and didn't have strong political enemies.

In late 2010, the Arizona Guardian ticked off a few more of those well-known losses.

At the end of the day, Rose says that he will continue to take on the "tough issues, and tough challenges."

And we'll keep collecting the fallen petals.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo