Councilman Jose F. Moreno has been re-posting this September 29, 2020 op-ed by Wylie Aitken, an Orange County super-attorney, Democratic fundraiser and Chair of the Board of the Voice of OC. He served as Anaheim’s lead negotiator with the Angels from 2015 until (presumably) the end of 2018.
In the op-ed, Aitken outlines his reasons for opposing the recently approved agreements with the Angels. He made some interesting statements:
“As the former chief negotiator for Anaheim, working with the ex-city attorney and ex-city manager and his chief assistant, we were progressing toward a fair and amicable resolution for the continuation of the Angels in Anaheim, beneficial to both the Angels owner, Arte Moreno and the city.”
Suddenly the ownership, without cause, walked away from the negotiations. Why? The meetings had been fruitful. The “why” soon became abundantly clear. With an election looming, if ownership could buy and elect a majority under their thumb, they could control the whole negotiation.”
Ownership then manipulated a one-year extension of his option to stay so Mayor Sidhu and the Angels could proceed outside of any public scrutiny. An uncompensated gift from the city to Moreno. This is all public knowledge and unchallenged. The report we were working on to give to the full council and the public was sidetracked and buried.”
Let’s leave aside the salacious and baseless allegations and focus on the highlighted statements.
Aitken states that not only were negotiations were taking place, but they were “progressing toward a far and amicable resolution.” This was when Mayor Tom Tait and Councilman Jose F. Moreno controlled the city council.
If negotiations were taking place, why weren’t there regular briefings agendized during the 2017-2108 council meetings? Tait and Moreno have been attacking the council majority for “lack of transparency” and secret negotiations. Since appointing Aitken was Tait’s idea, we can assume he was aware negotiations were taking place. As Tait’s close ally and political right hand on the council, we can assume Moreno also knew negotiations were going on.
So why the secrecy? Why the lack of transparency? Moreno has lectured and postured for months and months demanding reports on negotiations, council votes on negotiating points, etc. Why was he silent while Aitken was allegedly engaged in substantive negotiations, when Moreno was in a position to act on the demands he later made on the present council majority?
Why didn’t Tait and Moreno make public the report that Aitken and the negotiating team were supposedly preparing?
According to our sources, there was little negotiating taking place.
But taking Wiley Aitken’s assertions at face value, the obvious question is why Tait and Moreno has no appetite or enthusiasm for the transparency they now exuberantly demand in others? Why are “secret” negotiations OK for them?