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[Editor's note: First, for those of you who haev already read Part 2 of the "Angels' Hell" series, please go back to it and look at the updates. Here are the main ones, which will lead into Cynthia Ward's article, beneath the photo. Remember, you can keep track of what article in this series you're reading by counting the number of Arte Morenos in the photo. -- GAD]
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!”)
[And now we turn it over to Cynthia.]
It is worse than that, Greg.
We are not just giving Arte Moreno a parking lot. We are giving him “Sportstown” which is a chunk of the most prime real estate in the nation, already fully entitled and ready for a developer. (Hence their claim that it is CEQA exempt.) In theory, as long as the developer builds what was planned for that area (at taxpayer expense for all those consultants to entitle it) they save millions of dollars in studies and years of delay. Arte not only gets the land for a buck a year, but there is a provision in the deal to even let him keep the taxes.
No, that is not all: it gets worse.
How can it get worse? Arte is not a developer, he is a marketing guy. But he can take the deal, resell the development rights to a developer who DOES develop real estate, for many millions of dollars that should belong to the public, and STILL leave Anaheim, because the gift to Mr. Los Angeles is not tied to the Angels staying in Anaheim! Indeed, by tying it only to the ability to keep negotiating for a longer period, it offers Arte more wiggle room.
Right now, Arte Moreno has a lease that forces him to pull the trigger by 2016-17 or he is stuck here.
NOBODY is offering Arte a free stadium between now and 2016. The freebies cited in the staff report were built through Redevelopment, a program as dead as enterprise zones are about to be. And because we now have enough studies out there to show these sports teams are complete economic losers for the communities that host them, NOBODY in this economy is going to bond for a new stadium. Also, Arte’s MLB licensing restricts him to a territory, and the big bad Dodgers are not going to let him get any closer to Los Angeles than his falsified team name!
Arte is in such a bad place right now that the best thing for Anaheim to do is sit tight, call his bluff, and actually threaten to lock his team OUT of the stadium unless he gives back some of the concessions we made in exchange for the naming rights we didn’t get. So why would we want to extend the contract that has us in the strongest position we have been in as a city, headed into negotiations with the team. Why would we give up that advantage unnecessarily? Once we put ink on the deal even for the purpose of non-binding negotiation, we would be found to be acting in bad faith to pull that offer off of the table. The time to rethink this is NOW and the City Council’s timing has not left us the time for anything more than a cursory examination of the deal points before ONCE AGAIN railroading a bad deal through as quickly as possible.
The attitude from staff,which I am sure is driven by the Council majority, is that without the Angels the land is worthless. Think about all of the uses for that real estate, lovingly nestled in the arms of 3 major freeways.
Broadcom is looking for a new campus site in Irvine. Do you think that they would like some free land in exchange for creating GOOD jobs and not minimum wage drags on our economy?
How about a University?
Even if we did nothing but rock concerts without a professional sports team of any kind, the people of Anaheim would at least keep the money coming in. Today we pay for the roads visitors use to come into the stadium — and Mr. Moreno keeps every nickel of income that those visitors generate!
The staff report says that it is a matter of civic pride to have a pro team. Well they seem to have forgotten that the Angels refuse to identify with Anaheim, so how much pride can they really generate? They are no longer “our Angels,” are they? Today they are nothing more than the punchline on a late night talk show hosts’ monologue.
How about seeking some civic pride by taking the money we are spending on the losing ball team we host, and putting it into curbs and sidewalks, parks and libraries, maybe some Police training and extra bodies in uniform?
Anaheim City staff, and the leaders who order them into these suicide deals, no longer represent the people of Anaheim. The question that we MUST ask ourselves is: who do they represent? Show up Tuesday night and find out for yourself.