Commentary by Robert Zumoff
The entertainment district that would be created by Prop. 303 is completely wrong for Tempe. Tempe’s diverse residents want a livable city with facilities and services that serve all of us. We are a caring city that looks after our most vulnerable residents. And we are a generous city, willing to pay fairly levied taxes to support those goals. Prop. 303 will require the city to impose hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to finance a private business venture of a Las Vegas billionaire.
The Coyotes arena, luxury hotels and residences, and high-end shops will do nothing to meet Tempe’s needs. Instead they will create traffic congestion and will place expensive burdens on city services that have to deal with the crowds that the district is expected to draw. The congested, noisy entertainment district will detract from the healthful and serene ambience of Tempe Town Lake, the Tempe Center for the Arts, and the bike and pedestrian paths along the lakefront. While the rest of us pay our fair share of taxes, billionaire Meruelo will get a free pass on his obligations. We’re told that the entertainment district could have a net positive economic impact on Tempe. But these rosy projections are belied by the sad experience of Glendale and other cities that have been seduced by the siren call of publicly financed sports facilities. This is not who we are. This is not who we want to be. Please vote NO on Prop. 303 as well as the accompanying propositions, 301 and 302.