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There’s going to be a big talking-to
tomorrow night tonight at the Anaheim City Council meeting. Here’s why.
When Anaheim’s Council majority decided to agendize an item for
tomorrow’s tonight’s (Tuesday’s) meeting that would give away to Arte Moreno the rights to the baseball stadium parking lot for 66 years at a price of $1 per year …
UPDATE! UPDATE! WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! UPDATE! UPDATE!
The above sentence (and ones also limiting this giveaway to the parking lot) were based on a misreading of the Memorandum of Understanding due to the difficulty in believing JUST HOW HORRIFICALLY BAD IT REALLY IS.
The truth is that except for the land underneath the stadium itself, which is already to be leased to the Angels, Arte Moreno gets EVERYTHING. He, personally, gets EVERYTHING. The whole 155 or so acre Stadium District.
The City gives up the rights to SPORTS TOWN, the area in which it had already invested millions in planning. Moreno gets to sell the rights to develop it. When the City put $30 million into improving the Stadium, residents were told that it would recoup the money with money from Sportstown. That ends here.
The City gives up the Grove. The City gives up the tax revenues to everything The money comes into the general fund — and then goes out to Arte Moreno, a right that he can keep even if he sells the right to the land! (Talk about “inflated pensions!”)
We now return you to the original, apparently not scandalous enough, story.
You may not have fully absorbed that, so let’s try it again: when the Council majority decided to vote tomorrow to give Angels’ owner Arte Moreno the rights to the the parking lot at the ballpark for 66 years at a price of $66 …
… rights that Moreno can transfer …
… right to eliminate the parking lot if he wants to and build whatever he wants to build on that land …
… or more to the point the right allowing whoever purchases those rights from him — most likely a client of Curt Pringle — to build whatever THEY want to build on what would be prime real estate WITH OR WITHOUT the existence of a baseball stadium next to it …
… for a term of 66 years …
… in exchange for which the city gets a grand total of $66 …
… to be VOTED ON TOMORROW WITHOUT A BROADER PUBLIC DEBATE …
… having only released the agenda item ON THE FRIDAY NIGHT BEFORE A HOLIDAY WEEKEND! …
… well …
… one might say that they have not kept faith with the people whom they represent.
tomorrow tonight the people are going to have a long talk with them.
Sorry, that got a little jumbled. I’d better start over.
We’ve known for a while that the City Council majority — everyone on Council, that is, except for Mayor Tom Tait — has been negotiating a new lease agreement with Arte Moreno, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels “of Anaheim.” We didn’t know how bad it would be, but we figured that it would probably be bad.
It isn’t bad. It’s worse. You can’t even see mere “bad” from where this contract landed.
So, in preparing to pass a really rotten deal for the city, the Council Majority did the only prudent thing: it refused to announce that this action item would be on the agenda until the Friday night before a holiday weekend to make it harder for anyone to organize against it.
This is what the Council Majority did with the absurd Gardenwalk subsidy. It worked once — well, almost worked, but for that unpleasantness in court — so now it’s trying it again.
Sometimes, though, democracy can be a little harder to kill than other times. This time, people are on to them.
One local activist — a Republican gentleman, if that makes a difference to anyone — has sent out this e-mail:
Please invite your friends and neighbors to come and speak at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting. We would like to get a couple of hundred speakers speaking against this horrible giveaway to the Los Angeles Angels. We will continue this meeting until the early morning hours of the 4th, so that every one will be heard. Then maybe the Council will wake up, stay awake, and listen to us — the residents of Anaheim — instead of Big Business and Special interests, whose only interests are money, lots more money, and screwing Anaheim and its Residents!A $1.00 a year lease of the Anaheim Stadium 19 acre parking lot [SEE UPDATE -- NOT JUST THAT!] for 66 years is an outright theft from us residents of Anaheim. The fact that they can build anything they want on the parking lot with out any environmental studies or approval, and sublease to any one they want to, is an insult to all of us.If there is to be this kind of giveaway, bring it to the people, let the people vote! The Council is elected by the people of Anaheim to represent the best interest of the residents of Anaheim — not of special interests or their cronies.See you tomorrow night.
So there you have it.
Residents of Anaheim — and even non-residents like me, who sympathize with them for their having such a corrupt and crackpot Council — are going to show up tomorrow and tell their stories — and tell them why this deal stinks too much to tolerate.
HOW MUCH MONEY could this 19 acres [UPDATE: NO, MORE LIKE 155 ACRES!] adjacent to a multi-purpose stadium bring in to the city’s coffers?
HOW MANY IMPORTANT THINGS could that money pay for?
HOW MUCH LEGITIMATE NEED IS THERE in Anaheim for such income?
The Council doesn’t seem to know. So a long train of speakers tomorrow night will tell them — in their own words — what this giveaway of the city’s birthright means to them.
Each person’s story is different. Each needs to be understood. None of them can be ignored.
None of them, especially, can be ignored because the Council tried to prevent advance notice of the vote!
So, if this item remains on the Council agenda, then we will have our say — three minutes a pop. It may be an all-night party. Students will want to talk about how this giveaway to Arte Moreno — who can then turn around and re-gift it to some client of Curt Pringle — hurts THEIR interests.
Homeless people will have someplace air-conditioned, next to a particularly fine bathroom, to wait tomorrow night until it’s time to have their say.
And if people are still talking when the sun comes up on Wednesday morning, then we may just continue on for another full day. Because there are that many stories out there explaining why this shouldn’t be done …
… and if it should be done, if should be done only after a citizen vote …
… and if it send to a citizen vote at all, if should happen after people have had more than seven business hours of notice that the vote was coming up.
We’re going to need to have a long talk with the Anaheim Council majority. Come out and be a part of it!