Misleading and unbelievable attack ad strikes again

Another false attack ad from Revitalize Arizona hit airwaves in an attempt to mislead Phoenix voters. The same group aligned with Kate Gallego is doubling down, spending well over $600,000 in an attempt to buy the election for their complicit candidate.

 Yet again, the misleading ad claims Daniel Valenzuela “…has a long history of giving away your tax dollars.” The negative attack ad is yet again proven to be false.

 CLAIM 1:  “…Voted to use taxpayer dollars for a stadium for the Milwaukee Brewers…”

 FACT CHECK:  The city-owned, 20-year-old stadium, required repair and infrastructure updates to ensure public safety. The agreement, approved by a 6-2 Council vote in November 2017, means the city approved $2 million annually over five years from the Sports Facilities Fund, a dedicated revenue source funded by tourists, through rental car and hotel fees, to renovate the nearly 20-year old facility. The renovations were not paid by Phoenix taxpayers.

 CLAIM 2:  “…He supports spending taxpayer dollars on the Phoenix Suns Arena…”

 FACT CHECK:  Similar ads have already been deemed false and misleading by various news outlets. The Talking Stick Resort Arena agreement, approved 6-2 by the Phoenix City Council, funds necessary renovations and safety upgrades to the arena, another city-owned asset. The ad was so misleading, the Arizona Republic deemed the ad “…Unbelievable. No really, it is not to be believed” and azfamily stated the “Phoenix Mayoral ad is misleading.”

Additionally, revenue from the arena is dedicated to hiring more first responders and investing in early education programs, a deal Kate Gallego opposed. The same group that is attacking Daniel Valenzuela for his support of the arena deal is spending heavily to promote Councilwoman Vania Guevara’s support for the arena deal.

 CLAIM 3:  “…He even voted to increase your property taxes, costing all of us, including seniors…”

 FACT CHECK:  Then Councilman Daniel Valenzuela voted in favor of a recommended budget item to add an additional  145 police officers and 36 firefighters. However, his opponent opposed funding for additional first responders, suggesting the public safety investment should rest on the backs of other Phoenix residents. According to the Phoenix City Manager, residents would pay less property tax than they did in 2009 [May 17, 2016 Council Meeting Minutes].

 Daniel Valenzuela is endorsed by police and firefighters and is the only candidate with a proven record of supporting public safety and Phoenix first responders. The ad is a false smear campaign and another attempt to distract voters from critical issues like investment in Phoenix first responders, early education programs, and public safety.

 Read more about the facts:

 Claim #1:  The misleading claim that Daniel Valenzuela supports giving tax dollars to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Analysis:  The attack ad claims that Daniel Valenzuela supported giving Phoenix taxpayer dollars to the Milwaukee Brewers, in reference to a November 2017 vote approved 6 – 2 by the Phoenix City Council to approve renovations to the city-owned Spring Training Facility operated by the Milwaukee Brewers. Daniel Valenzuela’s supported the deal in which the city would invest $2 million a year for five years from the Sports Facilities Fund, a fund that is derived from tourism-related fees for rental cars and hotel stays. The Milwaukee Brewers in turn agreed to more than $60 million in renovations, and agreed to stay in the facility for an additional 25 years. In addition, the Brewers agreed to multiple community programs, including $50,000 a year to youth programs, and free tutoring.

 The reality is that with the terms of the deal, the Milwaukee Brewers agreed to take over all operating costs, which the city of Phoenix had been spending roughly $2 million a year on, and the team will assume all future maintenance costs. 

The spring training facility is part of the MLB Cactus League Spring Training, which is a major driver of tourism and economic impact. A 2018 report from the L. William Seidman Research Institute at ASU, the economic impact from the 2018 season was $644.2m million dollars, up 18 percent from the 2017 season. Additionally, the Cactus League created 6,439 annual jobs and generated $31.9 million in taxes for state and local governments.

Claim 2: The misleading claim 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 arena is owned by the City of Phoenix, not owned by the Phoenix Suns, or a billionaire sports team owner. Whether or not the Suns contributed money to the upgrades, the City of Phoenix would solely be required to make arena upgrades for the nearly 100+ annual events.

The Arena deal uses revenue from the Sports Facilities Fund, a dedicated account to provide upgrades to the City-owned arena from fees collected from car and hotel rentals.

 Claim 3: A misleading claim that Daniel Valenzuela voted to increase property taxes, impacting seniors.

Analysis: The vote being referenced is a July 2016 vote that followed a May 2016 policy discussion leading up to the approval of the City of Phoenix 2016-2017 budget. During the May 2016 policy discussion, the city manager laid out the specifics of the proposed budget, including the $0.35 increase to the secondary property tax as a means to increase revenue by $37 million. The increased revenue would be directed to the General Fund and be used to address “critical public safety enhancements” and the hiring of 145 police officers and 36 fire fighters.

City manager Ed Zuercher stated, as reflected in the minutes, that the property tax increase would still keep taxpayers property tax rates below the 2009 levels. Daniel Valenzuela’s yes vote was in support of a balanced budget that added necessary funding to pay down debt service and add resources for increased public safety. His opponent voted no, against the hiring of 145 more police officers and 36 more firefighters.