False attack ad hits airwaves, misleads Phoenix voters

Phoenix, February 22, 2019 – A patently false ad has aired on local television, distorting Daniel Valenzuela’s record, and the facts on the approved project to renovate the Talking Stick Resort Arena, a city-owned asset in downtown Phoenix.

 The ad is completely false and intended to mislead voters, claiming Daniel Valenzuela supports giving “taxpayer dollars to billionaires” and calling the deal a “giveaway.” The agreement was passed by the Phoenix City Council on January 23, approving the much needed renovations to the city-owned arena that will enhance the structural integrity and safety of the arena.

 This misleading information is an attempt to distract voters from the real priorities for the city of Phoenix:  public safety and the economy. Part of the agreement is that revenue will fund public safety and early childhood programs. If the agreement had not passed, the city would be solely responsible for the full $230 million cost of repairs, and at risk of losing the anchor tenant.

 Local lobbyist Israel Torres, of Torres Consulting & Law Group, the firm that runs Revitalize Arizona – the group responsible for the ad – is spending more than $400,000 on the ad buy. It shows that Gallego’s allies are nervous and the race for Mayor is tight, attempting to buy this election with patently false advertisement.

Read the full fact check below:

Claim: A completely misleading attack ad created by a pro-Kate Gallego independent expenditure group claims that Daniel Valenzuela supported giving Phoenix taxpayer dollars to billionaires.

 Analysis: The attack ad claims that Daniel Valenzuela supported giving Phoenix taxpayer dollars to billionaires, which is in reference to the recent vote by the Phoenix City Council to upgrade the City of Phoenix-owned arena in Downtown Phoenix. The vote passed easily 6-2, and Daniel Valenzuela indicated his support for the decision, in which the City will invest $150 million into the City-owned arena. The Phoenix Suns,which are a tenant of the arena and not an owner, will contribute $80 million towards necessary upgrades to maintain the safety of guests at the arena and the surrounding area.

 The ad uses a clip from ESPN, which falsely describes the vote as a giveaway to a billionaire sports owner.

 The reality is that the downtown arena is owned by the City of Phoenix; it is an asset of Phoenix taxpayers and is not owned by the Phoenix Suns, or a billionaire. Whether or not the Suns contributed money to the upgrades, the City of Phoenix would still have needed to make an investment in upgrading the arena for the nearly 100+ annual events that take place outside of Suns games.

 The Arena deal uses revenue from the Sports Facilities Fund, which was specifically designed to raise funds for upgrades to the City-owned arena from fees overwhelmingly paid by out-of-state tourists. It is misleading to claim that Phoenix taxpayers are paying for this, let alone to claim it is a giveaway to a billionaire.

 The revenue dollars from the Sports Facilities Fund in the arena deal are going specifically to fund upgrades to a City-owned asset. The arena is as much a part of the City’s infrastructure as roads, water lines and sidewalks. The city’s investment is not going towards printing new Suns jerseys or towards signing a point guard; it is an investment in City-owned infrastructure, not a giveaway to a billionaire.