Angels Negotiations: Anaheim Citizens Better Served By Reporting That Informs Rather Than Inflames

keep calmReading the media coverage of the MOUs regarding the Angels lease negotiations (not to mention the over-the-top reactions from certain gadflies), I am struck by the amount of misleading and false information.

The Name Change Scare
Take the Voice of OC, for example. It’s article initially bore the inflammatory headline, “Angels May Drop Anaheim from Team Name.” Where did that claim come from? Section 5 of the stadium lease MOU:

“Team Name: ABLP has absolute control and exclusive rights concerning its team name.”

It says nothing about what the Angels plan to do with that right if it is included in the final agreement, so a headline reading “Angels May Not Drop Anaheim From Team Name” would be just as accurate.

And since the Angels have already, in effect, dropped Anaheim from the team name and prevailed over the city’s legal challenges to hat action, granting that right to the Angels isn’t much of a concession.

The VOC of OC has since dialed back the inflammatory factor and changed the headline to “Angels Could Drop Anaheim Name In Proposed Lease.”

Angels Getting All Tax Revenue From Stadium District Development? Nope.
Then there is this misleadingly-worded paragraph from the same article:

The land lease outline being considered next week could allow team owners to keep all tax revenue, such as hotel room taxes and sales tax generated from developing the area.

Here’s what the MU actually says:

“Section 3. Economic Assistance: Developer and the City will identify all of the particular taxes and fees which would presently be assessed for the benefit of the City related to the development of the Stadium District, and consistent with applicable state law and local ordinances, and following completion of a feasibility gap analysis, negotiate in good faith with respect to providing Developer and General Fund-neutral economic assistance from those revenues generated from the ground Lease development pursuant to a mutually acceptable arrangement.”

In light of the actual MOU language, the paragraph excerpted from the VOC story is a real stretch. Yeah, the VOC’s characterization is theoretically possible, but not politically likely.

It would have been more accurate and reasonable to report the MOU states the  city and the Angels will negotiate a revenue-sharing agreement that is revenue-neutral vis-a-vis the general fund. Instead, the VOC chose the inflammatory, worst-case-scenario route of  writing it up to incite critics to scream “it’s another giveaway!”

And nowhere does the article does inform readers that the MOUs are non-binding and the only binding action up for a vote is moving the termination right date from 2016 to 2019. It glosses over the reality that these MOUs are a framework for negotiation rather than a “deal,” and the final agreements still must be negotiated.

False Claim of CEQA Exempt Development
Las pulgitas of the blogosphere are in full outrage mode, already casting this as a “giveaway.” Personally, I am not sure they really understand what they are screaming about.

For example, in a comment on the OC Register story, gadfly Cynthia Ward makes this claim regarding the development rights addressed in thr second MOU:

“One dollar for a 66 year lease, for some of the most valuable real estate in OC, with development exempted from CEQA (how do they do that?)”

The short answer is the city can’t, because it doesn’t (unless Cynthia believes cities have the power to nullify state law). If Cynthia had actually read the agenda documents, she’d have understood the resolution notes that the act of merely extending the Angels’ lease opt-out date to 2019 is exempt from CEQA – a finding which is not unusual.

While the fringe element claims this is an attempt to ram through a deal while the good people of Anaheim sleep through the holiday weekend, in fact, what is happening is the negotiation framework is being put out there for public consideration and input. Now the citizens of Anaheim have the opportunity to weigh in and make themselves heard, and nothing in the MOUs prevents the city from acting on that feedback as it negotiates with the Angels. This reality seems to have escaped the largely breathless coverage of this council vote.

This matter will be going on for some time to come. The citizens of Anaheim will be better served by coverage that seeks to inform rather than inflame.

UPDATE:  I’m watching video of the council meeting and wondering what part of “non-binding” is it that some of the hysterics speaking during public comments don’t understand?

Also, when did long-time Fullerton gadfly and Friend for Fullerton’s Future blogger David Zenger move to Anaheim? At least, I assume he did since I keep hearing him include himself among Anaheim taxpayers.

17 comments

  1. With some people, the city is in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position.
    I don’t hear the big mouths presenting a solution at all.

    Lets be calm – step back – and think this through with some facts:
    1. The Angels are in Anaheim and the community very much wants them to stay.
    2. The stadium and the surrounding property is owned by the city.
    3. The city studied and determined that the building will take $130-150 million to renovate (mainly to current structural, safety standards.)
    4. The city council doesn’t want to spend any general fund money to fix up the building.
    5. The city is looking to shift the responsibility to the Angels, to use their existing asset, the stadium and surrounding property, to see if the Angels could generate enough money through development, to pay for the necessary improvements.
    So what is wrong with that?

    The fundamental questions are:
    Should the Angels leave?
    Should the taxpayers foot the bill to fix up this city building?
    Should the Angels play in a building that is not to current, city-identified standards?

    If your answer is no to all of these questions, then the deal being considered by the council tonight is a good deal.

  2. Thank you Matt, just THANK YOU.

    The “gadflys”, alarmist and hack bloggers (VOC is not journalism its an activist blog with a hatchet agenda) should be exhausted from previous attempts to SAVE ANAHEIM from itself.

    Once again, according to this peanut gallery, we are now evidently faced with a new, improved version of the (Oh My God!!!) BIGGEST TAX GIVEAWAY EVER.

    And who is leading this ridiculous charge? Mayor Tait. UGH – when will they censure him?!

  3. Negotiations should include to revert name to Anaheim Angels and drop
    Los Angeles forever.

  4. Most of Cynthia Ward’s little buddies are from out of town.

    Greg Diamond is from Brea. Jason Young lives in Fullerton. Joanna Sosa doesn’t live in Anaheim. David Zenger must have just moved into town after living in Fullerton for eons (maybe he moved because the air wet out of the Bushala balloon and he got canned from the county). Vern Nelson rents a room in Huntington Beach.

    What does that tell you?

    • You are a liar. I have lived in Anaheim since 2005. That’s eight and a half years. I pay taxes and vote here giving away millions for no reason is theft. I take it Cunningham approves of this or made this comment himself.

  5. I’m with Reade on this one.

  6. The team’s name was the California Angels for most of its history. The name issue was fought and lost in the courts. It’s not worth losing the team in Anaheim – no one calls our local theme park Disneyland of Anaheim but the entire world knows where it is located. I don’t like that the city lost the court case – Anaheim Angels would be ideal but I’m a big enough fan to get over it and most people including management of the team just refer to them as Angels Baseball.

    • The name Anaheim Angels can be recovered for a price and negotiators should propose a settlement. The Club needs incentives to spend on refurbishing the Stadium and pay salaries for world class ball players to stay competitive.

      • Agreed!!!

        • It is in Anaheim’s best interest to not give up control of the name rights.

          • Anaheim’s name rights were decided by the courts – the city lost. Arte Moreno went to huge expense to win that battle several years ago. If the name is a deal breaker for him I would rather have the team than the name. I agree with Anaheim First – wish we could have the name but its not a sword I want the city to fall on especially since other communities would take the team in a heartbeat.

            • The case was decided based in the contract we had in place. WE failed to properly protect it. Arte hasn’t threatened moving. AND moving a MLB team is no easy task. It would take him a lot of money to do so. I do not think the proposal is a bad one, but I do believe that we can do better. And the naming rights should be a starting point. (In my opinion).

  7. I take umbrage with VOC activism referred to as “reports” and “media coverage”… VOC is an activist blog. No more, no less. It has no journalistic integrity of any kind.

  8. Is anyone else here concerned that the mayor seems to hate the Angels? It was pretty clear to everyone what “non-binding” means and it was spelled out as clear as day that terms inconsistent with the MOU were fine as the negotiations occur. Why was Mayor Tait so dead set on making the Angels looks like bad guys and throw them under the bus? Why does he want to harm the city like that?

  9. Has it escaped anyone’s attention that the only stakeholders consistently standing with the Mayor are liberal interest groups – ACLU, OCCORD, UNITE HERE, and he’s heralded on the pages of the LA Times and esteemed daily on the liberal blogs – Liberal OC, OCWeekly and Voice of OC(EA)? Shouldn’t that tell us enough about the people he considers his constituents and his evolving political beliefs?

  10. and let’s not forget the mothers of Anaheim gang members he hosts as special guests and attend council meetings every time to sing his praises!

  11. Seems like Tait has become….Trait -er.

    When he took the oath of office to serve as Mayor, I am sure it didn’t include:

    1. Trashing the city that elected him, over and over

    2. Putting us in danger by siding with street gangs

    3. Yelling at people who disagree with him, while hiding behind the “Hi Neighbor” program- which he forced taxpayers to pay for without a vote. He just wanted it.

    4. Voting to stop development projects and jobs in Anaheim, and then getting $100,000’s from private developers in Garden Grove.

    5. Paying his secretary at Cit Hall a six-figure salary.

    It goes on and on. But I am not worried about Anaheim’s future. He doesn’t seem to be in control of anything. Thankfully our City Council isn’t afraid of a bully.

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