Students, Tempe residents rally against proposal tempe entertainment district In downtown Tempe on Monday.
Moderators represent local advocacy groups including ASU Arizona Student Association, Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Rights in Arizona and Arizona Poor Movement. They oppose the proposed project, which will be put to a citywide vote in May, with varying content but similar goals.
In the Rio Salado neighborhood, protesters held signs that read “No handouts to corrupt billionaires.”
The event was held to raise awareness about Propositions 301, 302 and 303. If all proposals pass, the Tempe Entertainment District will be approved and the Arizona Coyotes will have a new home.
Andrea Soto, ASA president at Arizona State University and a second-year student studying judicial studies and sociology, said the program and Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo didn’t fit the bill. Tempe student values.
Soto at the event.
Soto said the project “ignores community needs,” especially housing insecurity.
May Tiwamangkala, director of Defenders of Democracy in AANPHI, Arizona, said the arena could become a force for gentrification in the city. They said it could particularly affect ASU students.
“We know how gentrification is harming communities, and we’re very concerned about the well-being of our students as housing prices and the cost of living are going to skyrocket,” Tiwamangkala said. “The entertainment district doesn’t take into account the budgets of ASU students…”
If approved, hockey rinks and music venues would receive a 30-year excise tax break for government property rentals. GPLET is an Arizona statute that incentivizes development by allowing developers to pay excise taxes within a set period instead of property taxes.
Other speakers addressed the potential environmental impact of the area, which would be built on the northeast corner of Priest Drive and Rio Salado Parkway, just off the shoreline of Tempe Town Lake. However, Lauren Kuby, a former Tempe city councilman and senior global futures scientist at Arizona State University, said the project could pose a threat to local water infrastructure.
“I’m here to sound the alarm about the negative environmental impact of taxpayer-funded stadium districts,” Cuby said. “This ill-advised development increases our water use at a time when we have been reducing it.”
Riverside Homeowners Association president Philip Yeates, who hosted the event on his lawn, said it would be “the worst decision of his life” if the deal goes through. The increased traffic in Tempe will create a more dangerous environment for families, he said.
“They’re little kids sometimes playing in the street because this is a family neighborhood, not the Strip,” Yates said at the event.
At the end of the event, the organized duo, dressed as cartoon billionaires with top hats, gold dollar sign necklaces and “champagne” glasses, quipped, “You’re welcome, plebs!” Answering questions about their projects issues of legality and purpose. They were booed loudly by the host.
Special elections for the three proposals will be held on May 16, and mail-in ballots will be mailed to residents on April 19.
Edited by Reagan Priest, Jasmine Kabiri and Anusha Natarajan.
Sean Brennanpolitical reporter
Shane Brennan is a political reporter for The National Press. He also works for Cronkite News and Blaze Radio.
Continue to support student journalism and donate Give National Press today.