Ted Simons: Glendale will play host to both super bowl and the pro bowl next year. Is the city ready for the big event action and is Glendale ready for the possibility of an Indian gaming casino on land adjacent to the city? Glendale councilman Samuel Chavira is here to provide us some answers. Thanks for being here.
Samuel Chavira: Thank you for having me.
Ted Simons: Your thoughts on the pro bowl announcement recently.
Samuel Chavira: I'm very happy that our city fought really hard. It was a competitive bid process. Now we're hosting not only the super bowl but a week before hosting the pro bowl. It's a very unique distinction. There's only been two other cities that have hosted a super bowl and pro bowl. That was Los Angeles in 1967 and Miami in 2010.
Ted Simons: Now, is Glendale ready for both of these event? This is a lot of stuff. I know there are concerns regarding public safety costs and reimbursement, these sorts of things. Where do we stand?
Samuel Chavira: I’ll tell you what. Let me tackle the part about being ready first. We helped expedite not only with mag, Mdot, Arizona Department of Transportation, we just completed a third point of access, Maryland on-ramp to the HOV lane which gives us three points of access to bring people to the sports entertainment district in West Gate. Not only that it also provides ingress, a third point of ingress and egress for public safety. We expedited that just for these big events.
Ted Simons: I know there was a request for $2 million for public safety costs. Where does that sound?
Samuel Chavira: That's our Mega events bill. It's in the state legislature. In fact it's right now in the Senate rules committee. So when it passes there it will go to the Senate, go back to the House of Representatives. Right now that's going to help offset quite a bit of costs for public safety. Because I'm going all the way back to 9/11 and back to the Boston bombing. Ever since then we have had to be ever cognizant of the safety we provide for these events.
Ted Simons: $2 million for both -- is that enough?
Samuel Chavira: Well, this certainly doesn't cover all the costs, but since the state, the valley, benefits from these big events it helps offset the costs. It's a $2 million cap, but it helps us offset our costs quite a bit.
Ted Simons: I have heard rumbling, some from Glendale, some not in Glendale, that the city seems to be left out, especially of the super bowl festivities. That not too happy about that how do you feel?
Samuel Chavira: I tell you what, I think we made it up by bringing in the pro bowl. You're talking about one game that features the best players in all the NFL. The super bowl you have of course the two top teams in the super bowl, but what's really unique about the pro bowl, if you have ever seen it in Hawaii it's a beautiful place to be and I would love to be in Hawaii, but the stands are rarely full. Now we have an opportunity because the current NFL champions are the Seattle Seahawks, so now we have the ability because of proximity to bring people from all the West Coast. They will come here and the really beautiful part is it's a very affordable game.
Ted Simons: But is there anything being done in Glendale to get folks to stay in Glendale or Phoenix or Scottsdale?
Samuel Chavira: Absolutely. You have to look at it from two points of view. One of course you want them to stay in Glendale, but at the end of the day this benefits the whole valley, the entire state. The thing is when people can find out if they want to find out what to do in Glendale they can visit our website, visitglendale.com.
Ted Simons: Last question, how do you quantify the benefit of a super bowl, of a pro bowl? How do you know that this is worth it?
Samuel Chavira: I'll tell you this. One way you know it's worth it is how can you put a price tag? You're going to have the pro bowl which is seen internationally. Super bowl seen internationally. From a marketing standpoint when they show our city hosting those events how can you put a price tag on affording something like that? Now the whole world knows where Glendale is at, where Arizona is at.
Ted Simons: Is everyone on that page or is there a little rumbling going on?
Samuel Chavira: No, absolutely. I think we're all on the same page. The more people we get to come to our city and spend money we all benefit.
Ted Simons: I know not everyone is on the same page regarding the Indian casino. What's happening with the idea of 95th avenue and northern, this turning into an Indian gaming casino.
Samuel Chavira: Well, I want to thank you for that beautiful transition. That beautiful segue.
Ted Simons: Thank you very much.
Samuel Chavira: This is where for four and a half years, five years, it was a nonissue. The city of Glendale is still currently in a lawsuit. But what has changed since then is that we have given formal direction to dialogue. Now we're sitting down, talking for the first time in five years. You know just as anyone else whenever you have dialogue, you find out there may be a person that you have never known, heard about them, when you talk you find out you have the same needs and wants. That's where we're at now.
Ted Simons: Why the change? Why the dialogue, why now?
Samuel Chavira: At the end of the day, this is a great opportunity. Not only will it benefit the city of Glendale it will benefit the whole west valley. We have an opportunity to have dialogue and enter into that dialogue where we can see economic benefit for everyone.
Ted Simons: The Congress has a bill retroactively to April 2103, expires in 2027, representative Franks is sponsoring this bill, specifically blocking Indian casinos in the Phoenix area. Sounds to me what was once a bill Glendale city officials would support, they are not as supportive. What happened here?
Samuel Chavira: Let's be more specific. HR 1410. It was a bill that would prohibit any casinos being built for the next years during the current compact. The reason why myself and my pierce opted to pass a resolution to formally oppose HR 1410 is with current dialogue now if it turns out to be fruitful and we pen a deal, it's the best deal we can pen, if this legislation were to happen to take place it would block that. We would at the end of the day have an empty lot for years.
Ted Simons: Yeah. I know there's concern regarding land use. Again we're talking public safety concerns. Everything from P.D. and fire to sewer lines. Are these parts of the negotiations that you're talking about like how do you get that infrastructure done?
Samuel Chavira: Well, you have to remember, the west valley reserve casino will be in the middle of two entertainment districts, Peoria from the sport complex down to camelback ranch. Right now where they are going to be is the infrastructure is already in place. As far as public safety, as far as tapping into that infrastructure, the nation would pay for any costs incurred. From the first moment they put the shovel blade in the ground to turn the soil they are investing half a billion dollars into that property.
Ted Simons: Water and sewer issues are not much of an issue.
Samuel Chavira: Anything can be settled at the table. That can be settled with an intergovernmental agreement. Hopefully that's what will come out of having dialogue.
Ted Simons: I know the Supreme Court is looking at a Michigan case regarding sovereign Di, but still there are those that say this Gill goes against -- I can't believe I'm asking someone from the city of Glendale to defend the casino. They say this goes against the compact, that this is just not right.
Samuel Chavira: What makes this unique, you have to remember, the nation lost countless acres of land when the pina rock dam was flooded. Because of now having the ability to land swap they can purchase unincorporated land. That's the thing of this issue. They are not buying land inside Glendale proper. It's unincorporated, never annexed by us. They can appeal to the Department of Interior to have it put into trust. Then it becomes reservation.
Ted Simons: Again, we'll see how much that sovereignty applies here. For those in the area, businesses who are not happy about this idea, say they are going to lose business because of a casino being there. You say?
Samuel Chavira: I say that I did what any person in office should do. Talk to the people that are going to be affected by this, and I have. I have spoken to everyone at West Gate, in proximity to the west valley river and my constituents. Overwhelmingly they welcome the casino with open arms.
Ted Simons: Were these folks that were originally skeptical?
Samuel Chavira: I can't say if they were originally skeptical, but I can tell you now with more light shed on the subject, all the court cases won, they are certainly more inclined to lend a listening ear.
Ted Simons: They are more inclined and sounds as though the council, most of the council, seems to be softening its stance. Where do we go from here?
Samuel Chavira: This is where we go. First of all, let's look at the economic impact and the impact on jobs. 6,000 construction jobs the first year. 3,500 permanent jobs thereafter, not only at the casino but from the services, food and beverage industry, linen, the beef they need. This will be incredible for bringing jobs to the west valley.
Ted Simons: Your gut feeling. Will there be a casino on that land?
Samuel Chavira: Well, my gut feeling is -- I'm not willing to roll the dice because I don't gamble. But at the end of the day if you do this is a sure thing.
Ted Simons: All right. If you're going to gamble you may as well go there. Councilman, thank you for being here.
Samuel Chavira: Thanks for having me.
Ted Simons: Tomorrow the state legislative session is in its hectic final days. We'll hear from democratic leaders in the House and Senate. That's Tuesday evening at 5:30 and 10 right here on "Arizona Horizon." That is it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.