“As we look to the future, we need the ability to continue to deliver a high-quality fan experience beyond what the original lease allows,” Angels president John Carpino said in a statement. “It is important that we look at all our options and how we can best serve our fans now and in the future.”
An Angels spokesperson noted that under the terms of the lease, the opt-out clause had to be exercised by today, or else the team would locked into the current lease until 2028.
Negotiations between the team and the Angels broke down in 2014 after Mayor Tom Tait in the wake of an acrimonious public campaign the mayor mounted attacking a council-approved negotiation framework memorandum of understanding as a “taxpayer giveaway.” Tait also engineered the firing of the city’s chief negotiator Charles Black and his replacement with the Wylie Aitken of Aitken, Aitken and Cohn.
Aitken’s daughter Ashleigh, who also works for Aitken, Aitken and Cohn, is currently running for mayor of Anaheim.
Another mayoral candidate, gadfly Cynthia Ward, contributed to the breakdown in negotiations by suing the city in 2013 over the Angels MOU.
What does the Angels’ decision mean? Practically speaking, they have one more season at Angel Stadium. After, they’ll have no more rights to use the stadium.
Owner Arte Moreno could have asked the city for an extension, but did not. It speaks volumes about how the city has come to be seen as an adversarial and faithless bargaining partner that he would rather take his chances finding a different venue for his team for the 2020 season.
Given the treatment being meted out to Disney and Resort hoteliers by the Tait-Moreno majority, is Moreno’s decision really that surprising?
After Disney had the rug pulled out from under its 4-Diamond hotel project by the Tait-Moreno majority, the mantra was “Disney will build the hotel anyway.”
The same people said the Angels would never opt out of their lease. And now they have.
UPDATED: Mayoral candidate Harry Sidhu released this statement regarding the Angels’ decision:
As Mayor, I will fight to keep the Angels in Anaheim. The Angels are an important asset to Anaheim. I will change the political environment and keep the Angels in Anaheim where they belong.
I am disappointed that they felt the need to opt out of the lease and explore their options, but it is not surprising in light of the hostile political environment in Anaheim. It is time for new leadership at City Hall that will work hard to keep our top business partners, jobs, and revenue in Anaheim.