MEDIA ADVISORY: GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOT SHOT’S WIDOW TO ADDRESS MEDIA ON BENEFITS DISPUTE, TREATMENT BY CITY

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 7TH MEDIA AVAILABILITY BY JULIANN ASHCRAFT; FIRE FIGHTER’S  WIDOW TO DISCUSS BENEFITS DENIAL BY CITY OF PRESCOTT

PRESCOTT – Barely a month after the Yarnell Hill Fire claimed the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hot Shots, the City of Prescott has denied full-time fire fighter’s benefits to the wife and four children of Andrew Ashcraft. Andrew, a Granite Mountain Hot Shot who worked year-round full-timer’s hours for the City and who reportedly had been classified by the city at various times as a full-time hot shot fire fighter, died at the age of 29.

On Wednesday at 8 am, Juliann Ashcraft will speak out about her treatment by the City and City staff and about the dispute over benefits – ongoing support that would include health insurance for Ashcraft’s four children and a yearly pension payment that would equal the fire fighter’s annual salary.

WHO: JULIANN ASHCRAFT, WIDOW OF GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOT ANDREW ASHCRAFT

WHEN: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 7th at 8AM

WHERE: YAVAPAI COUNTY COURTHOUSE STEPS, 120 South Cortez Street Prescott, AZ 86303

For questions or additional information please contact David Leibowitz at (602) 317-1414.

 

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RENAISSANCE, GLOBAL SPECTRUM INK ARENA PARTNERSHIP;
AS KEY VOTE LOOMS, ARENA GIANT JOINS COYOTES BIDDER
TO ENSURE GLENDALE VENUE’S FINANCIAL SUCCESS

GLENDALE, Ariz. – With a critical City Council vote approaching on the Renaissance Sports & Entertainment (RSE) proposal to manage Jobing.com Arena, RSE today announced a significant addition to its team. Global Spectrum, a worldwide leader in managing and operating sports arenas and stadiums, has agreed to partner with RSE to ensure the financial and promotional success of the Glendale arena.

RSE’s 15-year, annual $15 million arena management proposal – which projects to return an estimated $8.5 million to $11 million in yearly revenues to Glendale – is set to be voted on by the Glendale City Council Tuesday, July 2 at 7 p.m. RSE is the managing partner of IceArizona Acquisition Co., the entity that will purchase the Phoenix Coyotes.

Global Spectrum is a subsidiary of the internationally recognized sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns, among many other businesses, the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League. Global Spectrum manages the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers, and the University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals. The company manages 113 facilities around the world.

Anthony LeBlanc, a partner with RSE, called the agreement with Global Spectrum the perfect addition to an already world-class team.

“As owners of an NHL franchise and operators of the arena in which they play, we are confident that they will do amazing things for us in Glendale,” said LeBlanc. “It’s difficult to imagine a better partner than Global Spectrum.”

“Combining Global Spectrum’s management of the stadium next door with the efforts at the arena creates unique operating efficiencies that will be financially beneficial to both venues,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “With opportunities to combine our efforts, we can maximize opportunities for our teams, our customers and guests while significantly reducing expenses.”

Added Luukko: “For any arena or stadium in a major market to be successful, it needs to have a major league sports team.

“At the University of Phoenix Stadium, the Arizona Cardinals and the Fiesta Bowl are the anchor tenants. We have been extremely successful attracting events such as international sporting events, trade shows, concerts, and large-size events to the stadium’s schedule, making that venue one of the most heavily booked and successful stadiums in the world. By booking around the Coyotes schedule at Jobing.com Arena, we are certain we will see similar success.

“Based on our expertise of booking similar-size venues around the world, we are confident we can do great things together at Jobing.com Arena,” added Luukko. “We are thrilled to be added to this great partnership and to be working with RSE on their commitment to keeping the National Hockey League in Glendale. We believe NHL hockey is an integral part of the success of Jobbing.com Arena and the surrounding development.”

In addition to managing the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Global Spectrum (global-spectrum.com) manages more than 110 other public assembly facilities around the world. Nearly 20-million people attended more than 11,000 events in Global Spectrum venues last year. Based in Philadelphia, PA, Global Spectrum is part of Comcast-Spectacor, one of the world’s largest sports and entertainment companies. Comcast-Spectacor also owns the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League, Ovations Food Services, a food and beverage services provider, New Era Tickets, a full-service ticketing and marketing product for public assembly facilities, Paciolan, the leading provider of venue establishment ticketing, fundraising and marketing technology solutions, Front Row Marketing Services, a commercial rights sales company, and Flyers SkateZone, a series of community ice skating rinks.

One thing folks in public relations and the media thrive on is giving fancy names to simple stuff. The Amy’sAmy Baking Company fiasco is a case in point. Having been humiliated by chef Gordon Ramsey on the reality show “Kitchen Nightmares,” the owners of Amy’s took to Facebook to respond to their critics. There, they flipped out, doubling down on nastiness and causing the online hatred to spin wildly out of control.

Now, we are told, Amy’s owners must immediately engage expert help to handle “crisis communications.”

As a guy who earns a living in PR and the management of such crises, I’m here to let you in on a secret: We experienced pros who help CEOs, politicians and celebrities recover from blatant, usually self-inflicted stupidity, don’t know much more about “crisis communications” than the average kindergarten teacher. In fact, a stern mother of two probably could handle your next “reputation management” issue with the same deftness as a spokesman-for-hire.

Why? Because successful kindergarten teachers, moms and PR wizards apply the same basic rules to solving festering conflicts. The only difference between a 6-year-old who steals his sister’s Wii controller and Amy and Samy Bouzaglo is audience size – and maybe spelling ability, but let’s not get bogged down in the details.

On the off chance you draw national ire for your stupidity, allow me to save you the hassle and expense of hiring professional help. Here’s what you do, a prescription that will sound familiar to teachers and parents everywhere.

Step one, admit you were wrong. As in, “That wasn’t nice to take your Skittles, Brianna.” Or, “It was wrong to call 6,000 Yelp reviewers ‘little punks,’ then let loose with a string of profanity worthy of a Tarantino film.”

Step two, take responsibility for your behavior. “We should not have lied, claiming our Facebook was hacked. We should not have threatened legal action against all residents of the Milky Way. Our behavior was unacceptable.”

Step three, apologize. And mean it. “We’re sorry for the ill will we’ve created and for the people we’ve offended. As a gesture meant to demonstrate our sincerity, free pizza for all Arizonans tomorrow!”

Okay, maybe I like pizza too much, but you get the idea. The tricky part, however, is what comes next. The bad actor must understand that not everyone will accept this apology – think of this penance as a “time out” for adults – and he or she must handle the ongoing criticism with true grace. This is the lather-rinse-repeat phase of crisis management, one that will last in proportion to the seriousness of the offense committed. The Bouzaglos surely have a tough year ahead. For Jodi Arias, well, there aren’t enough eons in the universe.

The final step is the toguhest of all. Once your crisis ends, you actually have to be nice to people. For most of us, re-reading the Golden Rule should suffice. For the folks at Amy’s Baking Company I’d suggest a few years of psychotherapy.

Either way, it’s less expensive and a whole lot easier than hiring a crisis communications pro like me.

MEDIA ADVISORY

CONTACT: DAVID LEIBOWITZ, 602-317-1414

RETIRED COP’S KIDNEY TRANSPLANT A SUCCESS; ‘ANGEL’ DONOR ALSO RECOVERING WELL;
TWO TOGETHER AT MAYO FOR 10/ 24 PRESS EVENT

BULLHEAD CITY SGT. MIKE NEWMAN NEEDED A MIRACLE;
VOLUNTEER KELLIE BOFF SAVED HIS LIFE

WHO: KIDNEY RECIPIENT MIKE NEWMAN; KIDNEY DONOR KELLIE BOFF; MAYO CLINIC TRANSPLANT SURGEON

WHEN: 11 AM, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24, 2012

WHERE: MAYO CLINIC HOSPITAL, 5777 E. MAYO BLVD., PHOENIX, 85054

Intersection of 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, near the 101. Enter through main doors of Mayo Clinic Hospital and you will be directed to the Mayo Clinic Education Center.

Mike Newman, a longtime Bullhead City police sergeant, and Kellie Boff, the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce operations director, once were no better than strangers. Not anymore. Now, through Kellie’s selflessness, they’ve become friends for the rest of Mike’s life.

Boff, 43, donated a kidney to Newman, a 57-year-old police retiree suffering from end stage renal failure. Now, just days after the successful transplant surgery, both recipient and donor have agreed to sit down for follow-up interviews with the Arizona media outlets who covered the story of this “angel” donation.

“I’m still in pain, but I’m doing great,” said Newman. “Kellie’s doing great, too. And I couldn’t be more grateful. She’s literally given me the gift of life.”

Also scheduled to be available for interviews are a surgeon from Mayo, which handled the transplant, and the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, which has conducted ongoing fundraising to help cover Mike and Kellie’s out-of-pocket expenses.

Interviews will begin promptly at 11 am. Please contact David Leibowitz at 602.317.1414 or david@leibowitzsolo.com with questions or to RSVP.

    RETIRED POLICE OFFICER IN DIRE NEED OF KIDNEY, VOLUNTEER DONOR TOGETHER FOR PRESS EVENT

BULLHEAD CITY SGT. MIKE NEWMAN NEEDS A MIRACLE;
VOLUNTEER KELLIE BOFF STEPS UP TO SAVE HIS LIFE

WHO: KIDNEY TRANSPLANT CANDIDATE MIKE NEWMAN; DONOR KELLIE BOFF; MIKE’S DOCTOR; ARIZONA FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE MEMBERS; NATIONAL KIDNEY FOUNDATION OF ARIZONA

WHEN: 3:45 PM, FRIDAY, AUGUST 10, 2012

WHERE: MAYO CLINIC HOSPITAL, 5777 E. MAYO BLVD., PHOENIX, 85054 (Intersection of 56th Street and Mayo Boulevard, near the 101. Enter through main doors of Mayo Clinic Hospital and you will be directed to the Mayo Clinic Education Center).

Mike Newman, a longtime Bullhead City police sergeant, and Kellie Boff, the Bullhead City Chamber of Commerce operations director, once were no better than strangers. Not anymore. Now, through Kellie’s selflessness, they’re about to become friends for the rest of Mike’s life.

Boff, 43, will be at the Mayo Clinic Friday to complete medical compatibility testing and to discuss her decision to donate a kidney to Newman, a 57-year-old police retiree suffering from end stage renal failure.

“I couldn’t be more grateful, especially to someone who’s a stranger willing to make such a supreme sacrifice,” says Newman. “Kellie is literally giving me the gift of life.”

Also present and available for interviews will be a medical professional from Mayo, which will handle the transplant; Dr. James Ivie of the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, to discuss the rarity of Kellie’s donation; and the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police, which is conducting ongoing fundraising to help cover Mike and Kellie’s out-of-pocket expenses.

Interviews will begin promptly at 3:45 Friday, August 10th, 2012. Please contact David Leibowitz at 602.317.1414 or david@leibowitzsolo.com with questions or to RSVP.

Sheriff Paul Babeu isn’t going to be a member of Congress. Not now, not ever.Babeu

This may seem obvious to you in the wake of the revelations of the past week or so, but I write it because it seems to have escaped at least a handful of folks. Like Babeu and the people running his flat-lining political campaign.

My certainty that Babeu won’t win election to Congress has little to do with his being dragged from the closet, and not much at all to do with the allegation that Babeu supposedly threatened his ex-boyfriend, Jose Orozco, with deportation if Orozco went public with their relationship. Frankly, at this point I question Orozco and the New Times’ tale as much as I question Babeu’s judgement, which is saying something.

This demise isn’t about gayness and it isn’t about the Republican mindset. Instead, the end of Sheriff Paul becoming Representative Paul is actually a lesson in political storytelling.

Namely, your story always needs to feel authentic … or you’re dead.

Let me explain.

Over the past two years, Paul Babeu authored for himself a tale perfectly scripted for an Arizona Republican: A cop who operated with full respect for the law, a man determined to defend the border from a few million illegal comers. He portrayed himself as an Arpaio minus the baggage and bluster. And, even without expressly saying it aloud, Babeu managed to cultivate an image of honesty, courage and sound law enforcement judgement — at least in the eyes of the Republicans likely to vote for him in the 2012 election.

That story went to hell the minute pictures of Babeu in his Jockey shorts hit the Internet.

At his mea culpa press conference last week, Babeu tried to “build a danged fence” between his public life and private life, missing the point of the past 10 years of gotcha journalism, blogging and TMZ-style reporting. Nothing’s off limits in the 21st century, especially if you’re a politician fond of phrases like “transparency” and “leadership.” The days of the media covering for pols like Jack Kennedy have long since died

The tale of Babeu, the leader, and Babeu, the law enforcement icon, crumbled the minute a new, more interesting version of Babeu saw the light of day: Babeu, the libertine, working as cop by day and trolling the Web for sex by night.

Could Babeu have survived the revelation that he was gay? Perhaps, but only had he morphed the story on his own terms, a bit at a time, each moment underscored by dignity and grace and a heaping dose of courage. But there’s no way his political career will survive the bait and switch he’s pulled on his party’s voters.

The moral to the Babeu story? That story is everything in politics. Destroy yours at your own peril.

Oh yeah … and don’t post pictures of yourself in your Jockey shorts if you expect to have a career on Capitol Hill.

Official Statement from the Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police

The following statement was issued on February 17, 2012, by Ryan McKinnon, Vice President of the Scottsdale FOP:

The night of February 14, 2012, was deeply tragic, as is any encounter that results in the loss of a life. Just as every police-involved shooting is investigated thoroughly and objectively, so will the events of February 14th be investigated. The more than 325 members of the Scottsdale Fraternal Order of Police hope that, as we await the results of that investigation, calm will prevail in our City and no one will rush to judgement about what happened that night or about our colleague, Officer James Peters.

We remind all concerned that justice has at its core facts, not emotions, and that every Scottsdale police officer considers the use of force the most critical decision any law enforcement member can make.

No officer begins a shift knowing how the night will end. But tonight, as they have since Tuesday, our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone touched by the night in question, from Jim Peters and his family to the Loxas family to the neighbors impacted by what happened before their eyes.

This post requires a preface. As a writer, I’ve never been especially long on diplomacy, but today I’m choosing my words with care. This absolutely must be the case when the subject of these words is Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who is now (as you no doubt are well aware) in the second year of her recovery from a horrific bullet to the brain.

The Safeway in Tucson: The scene of the crime

I have nothing negative to say about Giffords or about her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. I believe both of them have displayed strength beyond measure in the face of tragedy and a grace so uncommon, I deeply doubt that 99 percent of us could have summoned it. I’m glad for Gabby’s triumphs since that awful 8th of January morning a year ago, and I’m heartened to see that Tucson, too, is well on its way to recovery from Jared Loughner’s evil onslaught.

But, with all that said, I doubt I’m alone in suffering from a degree of “Gabby fatigue.”

Simply put, of late I’ve found myself tired of the endless reportage of minutiae surrounding Giffords’ recovery and wondering (while worrying about my degree of cynicism) about the motives of those who indulge in such hype.

Is this a sort of politics at work, I find myself wondering, hero worship designed to create political advantage? Or is this deification nothing more than the usual selective ignorance we practice constantly in the American media?

Consider the plight of veterans, the severely wounded from Afghanistan and Iraq and a half dozen wars besides. Though their grievous injuries didn’t occur in such a public setting, these men and women are no less courageous, no less determined, no less inspirational than Giffords. All across the country, in medical centers and VA hospitals, we have stories every bit the equal of Giffords’ – and yet they almost never get a single column inch of space, nor a bite of sound on a newscast. The letters of support don’t pile up. The rounds of applause never seem to arrive.

Giffords, meanwhile, fascinates us merely by saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

All of us love a hero, but I also have to wonder when a political hero begins to unravel the process of making laws and governing. Politics, after all, is a business premised on healthy (and sometimes unhealthy) disagreement. In Giffords, we’ve anointed a representative with whom disagreement comes across as uncharitable, mean-spirited or, as in the case of George Morris, himself shot that day in Tucson, something far worse.

“Every time I see them on TV,” Morris told the Republic’s Richard Ruelas about Giffords and Kelly, “it makes me want to vomit.”

Me, I’ll save my nausea for the tawdry and the truly evil, like that mugshot of Loughner’s hideous smirk. My fatigue at Giffords’ press clippings doesn’t mitigate my hope that she has a happy ending. I wish her the very best in her recovery, a return to normal so every day, so regular, that no one sees fit to report it as news.

For more than 10 months since the night of February 25th, I’ve wanted nothing more than to put this unfortunate assault in the past and to get on with my life. Hopefully now, with the ethics investigation complete, that long-awaited next step can finally happen.

I want to thank the Phoenix Police Department, the city Prosecutor’s Office, the members of the Arizona Senate Ethics Committee, all the witnesses and the independent counsel for their diligence and their compassion. Together with my family and friends, I believe now it’s truly possible to move forward in a positive direction.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 5, 2011

Contact:
David Leibowitz
(602) 317-1414
david@leibowitzsolo.com


12,500 REASONS TO VOTE NO: ANTI-BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN AMASSES 12,500 SIGNATURES BEFORE WEDS. COUNCIL VOTE
BALLOT CAMPAIGN GATHERS STEAM AS CITY HALL SEEKS TO EXPAND BILLBOARDS; PRESS BRIEFING AS 12/7 COUNCIL VOTE LOOMS

PHOENIX, AZ – Just two days before a crucial Wednesday vote of Phoenix City Council – a vote that could drastically expand enormous billboards all over the City – the campaign to let voters ban new billboards in Phoenix will brief the Valley media about a significant milestone: Already, only three weeks into the campaign, Save Phoenix Views has collected more than 12,500 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot.

“We want to make sure the Phoenix City Council hears us loud and clear before they vote Wednesday: Residents don’t want new billboards near their homes or spoiling our mountain preserves and beautiful views,” said Jim Mapstead, volunteer chairman of Save Phoenix Views. “We don’t need more 70-foot-tall TVs on a stick to distract drivers or more eyesores to ruin the beauty that makes Phoenix special.”

The Save Phoenix Views initiative – which needs about 25,000 signatures to get on the ballot – bans the construction of new billboards in the City as well as the modification or conversion of existing conventional billboards into digital billboards. The ballot measure will have zero impact on on-premise business signage.

The Phoenix City Council is currently scheduled to vote on a new, more liberal set of billboard regulations at its December 7, 2011 meeting. That proposal, which would open up new freeways to billboards and which includes loopholes that could vastly increase the number of billboards in the City, prompted the initiative.

“This new law is exactly the opposite of what the City should do. Instead of potentially adding hundreds more billboards, Council should restrict new billboard construction,” said Mapstead. “The unfortunate thing is, their failure will force voters to hold a special election to do their job.”

Mapstead, the campaign chairman, will be available to discuss the vote and the initiative at a signature gathering station in Phoenix.

WHAT: MEDIA AVAILABLITY AND BRIEFING ON ANTI-BILLBOARD CAMPAIGN
WHO: Chairman Jim Mapstead and Save Phoenix Views signature gatherers
WHERE: Mesquite Library, 4525 E Paradise Village Parkway N, Phoenix 85032
WHEN: Monday, December 5, 2011 from 10 am to 11 am.

For more information, please contact David Leibowitz at 602.317.1414.

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