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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.



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Monday, June 30, 2008
 
The Goldwater Legacy

If you don't think there is enough juvenile name calling and snarky commentary in the blogsphere, then perhaps you can send an e-mail to Jason Rose and tell him to start a blog.

Don't know Jason Rose?

Mr. Rose is the head of the Rose & Allyn PR firm here in the Valley and his name is associated with many local projects, personalities, and campaigns. He is also associated with the Decades Music Theme Park, that great idea to draw tourists to that summer-time paradise known as Eloy.

Well the other week, an analyst from the Goldwater Institute wrote a piece for the East Valley Tribune criticizing a bill in the Legislature that would grant Decades quasi-governmental status and allow the enterprise to issue tax-free bonds. The analyst, Byron Schlomach, while acknowledging that the responsibility for repayment would fall on Decades, was concerned that bond purchasers would be confused by the public-private nature of the venture and that Arizona would be left vulnerable to future law suits and perhaps a lowered bond rating.

Now I don't agree with that part of Mr. Schlomach analysis, I think those who purchase such bonds have a decent idea of the risk involved. However it is only 1/2 of the piece withe the remainder expressing concern about the Legislature conferring such benefits on a private business However Mr. Rose rises up to defend his client and takes a sledgehammer to Mr. Schlomach's work:

"Inevitably a few people slip into Harvard and Yale who shouldn’t be there, as it appears to be the case with Schlomach at the Goldwater Institute. As an admirer of the organization, I am willing to give the group a mulligan on his admission so long as it doesn’t allow his rhetorical rubbish to matriculate further...."

"Principled opposition to such legislation can be respected, notwithstanding the fact that no major theme park has been built in the United States without local or state assistance. But neither supporters nor opponents should be allowed to corrupt public opinion with falsehoods..."

"Schlomach has achieved the remarkable. He has single-handedly turned the Goldwater Institute into MoveOn.org, while at the same time doing an impression of Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High...."

"And for that achievement we should all encourage Decades Music Theme Park to recognize Schlomach at Decades. Indeed, I think we have found Fantasy Land’s mascot."

Why Mr. Rose's blog-worthy invective?

"Consider his (Schlomach's) two main criticisms. One involved the potential for state of Arizona liability if the theme park failed. The other regaled readers with concerns that taxpayers might have to bail out bondholders since they might have been somehow snookered into buying them into the first place....

Schlomach’s first concern could have been alleviated immediately if he had bothered to escape the rarefied air of his ivory tower and actually read the enabling legislation. It specifically prohibits liability to the state. Schlomach may share a Clintonian view of English that “is” may not mean actually mean “is,” but in this case no liability means just that."

I am not a lawyer, so please excuse some mangling of legal terms. I do believe "liable" is a term that has some legal standing within the judicial system and is simply not a creature of the Legislature. As Mr. Rose's has suggested, I came down from my ivory tower- or in this case put down my bourbon and got our of my pool- and read the enabling legislation. "Liable" and "liability" are mentioned 5 times in SB 1450: twice to state that members of the district board and executors of the bond are not personally liable for their repayment, twice to deal with insurance and personal liability issues resulting egress or ingress from property that the district may lease, and once as an accounting term dealing with an asset and liability statement.

I think what Mr. Rose is getting at is that the district itself is that the bonds "... Are obligations of the district. Are not general, special or other obligations of this state, or of the city or county in which the district is located." What Mr. Schlomach is getting at is not Arizona might be obligated to pay for the bonds, but rather Arizona may be liable for creating the district int he first place. Could it? I doubt it, but then again I don't have the training of a lawyer or the motivation of an angry bondholder.

To top it off, Mr. Rose proclaims himself "an admirer of the (Goldwater Institute)" and states that he imagines that Goldwater's statue in Paradise Valley is rolling its eyes about Mr. Schlomach's work. The fact is that Decades is against much of what Senator Goldwater stood for; by granting quasi-government status to a private enterprise, the Legislature not only allows that business to gain favored access to the bond market but also to avoid paying local and state taxes. I don't think Senator Goldwater was about government bestowing such favors; after all what is implicit in the legislation is that the theme park couldn't survive without the hand out.

So not only does Mr. Rose hijack and misconstrue the legacy of one the greatest of Arizonans in order to further the purpose of a client, but he deliberately misconstrues and smears both the institute that bears that great man's name and that of one of its employees. I am sure Mr. Rose put some time and effort into writing this piece, so I can only say that such cruel slanders and twisting of the truth were pre-meditated on his part.

While I am on the whole glad that the institution has now passed, at one time in our history such public slander would have led to pistols at 10 paces. With that option closed, perhaps there are other ways to rescue Mr. Schlomach's reputation