Anaheim Cronies’ Coordinated October Surprise: Three Easy Responses


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Sidhu, Moreno. And oh how they laughed. But who will laugh last?

I like the fact that everyone is about to have as clear an idea of what Anaheim’s crony class is really about as those of us who have been fighting to keep it responsible have had for years now.

Here’s what has happened: in politics — which this is largely about — it’s called an October surprise.

Anaheim has notified the City that it will break its lease with for what we can now again start calling “Anaheim Stadium.”  In a remarkable coincidence, at least three major parts of the city’s Crony Class came out with coordinated statements in perfect harmony: (1) blame the Mayor and his allies for supposedly refusing to negotiate in good faith (huh?), and (2) give the Resort District zillionaires whatever they want — give, give, giveaway! — so that they’ll want to stick around the city.  I’ll put the actual press releases from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Harry Sidhu, and Kris Murray below, but first take a moment to appreciate that this is being done intentionally and in concert and out of the blue, three weeks before an election.  Arte Moreno will not be made to spend his own money to discharge his duties for Stadium Repairs under the existing lease — “ANAHEIM WILL PAY FOR THOSE REPAIRS!”

Yeah … no.  And any Council member that won’t say that now and immediately — don’t vote for them.  Here are three alternatives for Anaheimers out there other than panicking and handing over your and your kids and grandkids’ money.

(1) WAIT FOR ANOTHER TEAM WITH A SMARTER, SANER OWNER TO MOVE HERE

Seriously — have people forgot what happened in the NFL over the past couple of years?

THREE NFL TEAMS MOVED INTO GREATER LOS ANGELES!

The Angels are notoriously beneficiaries of the most generous lease in baseball — the DISNEY LEASE, which benefited from having bought doofuses like Harry Sidhu and Kris Murray (and Daly and Brandman and …) for pennies on the thousands of dollars of profit they could arrange — and that’s still not enough for Arte Moreno because the Latino Trump CAN’T STAND being expected to live up to bargains that he agreed to when he took on the previous lease.  I had to read up on this quite a bit when I was working (as both lawyer and rabble rouser) against the Angels when they essentially tried to blackjack the city and steal its resources: other owners DO NOT LIKE HIM and they will CELEBRATE when he ends up eating turf over this maneuver.  It only works in no one else can move here.  But someone will!  Maybe more than one will!  As someone who really likes Baltimore, Toronto, and Pittsburgh, and I’m not all that thrilled about their teams leaving those awesome cities — but their owners will probably like the idea — and if not them it will be someone else.  The Commissioner of Baseball is not going to protect Arte Moreno even if he moves to another site in Greater Los Angeles — WHICH HE ALREADY TRIED TO DO AND FAILED!  Let him try.  Bring us a better owner.

But you really can’t bear the Angels moving because is means so much to the fans?  OK, if you can’t stare down evil in the eye, then

(2) MAKE THE REST OF ORANGE COUNTY AND THE INLAND EMPIRE KICK IN!

The most obscene thing about the previous round of Angels Stadium dealings — which would have DEEPLY drained Anaheim of its savings and future income — is that ANAHEIM WAS LEFT TO FIGHT ARTE MORENO ALONE WHILE THE REST OF OC (AND BEYOND) EXPECTED THEM TO SWIRL TOWARDS BANKRUPTCY SO THAT THEY COULD HAVE THE BENEFIT OF A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL TEAM NEARBY!

No more of that!  Let’s see Mayor and Council candidates stand up for their city.  If Fullerton and Yorba Linda and Garden Grove and Irvine and Huntington and Mission Viejo want to see baseball stay in Anaheim and to give Arte Moreno as much gold as he wants to agree to let them stay here, then LET THEM HAVE THEIR OWN TAXPAYERS SUBSIDIZE ANY DEAL!

Look — I understand what unprincipled and ambitious empathy vacuums like Harry Sidhu and Kris Murray get out of this: political gain and, as Kris Murray once purred to her friends in an unguarded moment, to be among the “Masters of the Universe.”  (Seriously.  It’s in our archives.)  But for the average fan within the City of Anaheim, it’s simply not WORTH shoveling money from the general fund into the great Artemoreno’s gaping maw — because his appetite for succor is ENDLESS!  People like Artemoreno are not normal — again, look to Trump as a model here — and what they want is domination and (in the grand conservative quotation tradition) to do the Conan the Barbarian thing about laying waste the enemy for its own enjoyment.  If Harry and Kris and whoever else want to do this, let them raise money from more people rather than looting the City to fund their own ambition!

If YOU are within a two hour drive of OC (or whatever people will do), go talk to YOUR city government and ask them to help Anaheim feed mammon to the Beast.  If you don’t do it and the Angels leave (at least until they’re replaced; see point #1) then it’s YOUR fault for not pulling your weight!  You can’t put all the load onto Anaheim taxpayers and expect them not to break!

(3) BUILD SOMETHING DIFFERENT AND BETTER

There are too many options for that site to list.  Here’s just a few:

  • I know people think I hate Disney.  I don’t; I just hate Disney not giving Anaheim and its neighbors a decent deal and share of the rewards.  One of the things that could happen there at the junction of the 5, 57, and 22 is for Disney to build an additional gate that would be devoted entirely to VERY HIGH AND VERY FAST rollercoasters and such — the sort of thing where it loses out to Knott’s Berry Farm and Six Flags.  It would be so … freaking … VISIBLE!  If done well — and of course it would be — t would become an immediate MUST GO part of the Disney experience — enough so that they could even afford to deploy Disney themes shuttled all over the resort district without asking the taxpayers to fund it.
  • Ricardo would kill me if I didn’t mention that Anaheim Stadium would be a GREAT place to convert into a soccer stadium.  (Or even a futbol stadium, if need be.)  There’s a lot of money in the multi-ethnic soccer-loving community and OC could embrace its Latino heritage and make this work.
  • How does UC ANAHEIM sound to you?  (Or do we want to save this idea for when Disney moves to Tustin?)  The higher ed system is impacted as it is; we could certainly use another CSU or UC — but in THIS grand location it would pretty much have to be a UC.  UCI would learn to live with it, it would help to have a nearby rival.
  • The last one I’ll mention is that Anaheim could treat it like any other lot.  That land is worth a hell of a lot just due to its location.  It could be developed as an additional downtown area, as high density housing and with ample parkland — whatever smart planners could come up with.  Or it could even be sold — so long as it becomes written in marble that Anaheim will never, ever, give up the property taxes to it, no matter how much a future Council might be paid in campaign donations to make that happen.

For now, the main thing is: when people like Ament, Murray, and Sidhu are trying to get you to panic and cast blame, DO NEITHER.  Despite Arte Moreno’s drive to convince you otherwise, Anaheim is the one holding the cards here because IT is the place where people want to be — as Arte Moreno, future hermit owner of the Oklahoma City Angels will find out soon enough, if Major League Baseball doesn’t ban him from the game for virulent stupidity.  At a minimum, for the good of the game, they should tell him that he is not allowed to be in Southern California anymore.

Does anyone even know what Moreno was asking for in the lease negotiations that the City didn’t deliver?  Was whatever it was reasonable?  Does that even matter to the hireling politicians who say that the only rational thing to do at this moment is to give him anything he wants?  Of course it doesn’t — that’s why, just like they hire Todd Ament to be the “Chamber of Commerce” spokesperson for the richest in Anaheim, they hire the likes of Murray and Sidhu to take over the government for them.  But they only way to GET the people to “hire them” by voting them into office is to bamboozle them, apply the old Shock Doctrine (the economic version of an October Surprise) and whip them into such a panic that they’ll desperately do whatever they’re told.  Even vote for Harry Sidhu.

And that, in the end, is what this unnecessary and ill-timed spasm of capital flight is all about: to get the public to be sorry that they ever stood up for their own interests.  To get them to elect people who will never, ever, ever have a backbone again.

This is all about electing a City government that will sell out City interests  — again, that’s why it’s happening just three weeks before an election.  Watch carefully who does what now — and like good Americans we will be prepared to take some names and kick some asses.  They really think that Anaheim residents are weak and timid and easily broken.  If cooler heads prevail, as they should, they are about to find out otherwise.

Statements of the cronies:

 



 

Curt Pringle supposedly left Anaheim for Orange not so long ago.  Now it is clear that he was merely marshaling his forces, waiting for his moment — this moment — to return.  “Some things are more important than profit,” Kris Murray writes.  Yeah, things like getting one’s cronies elected — because that leads to more profit.  But, for that, she has to make sure that you’re REALLY PANICKED first.


About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose worker's rights and government accountability attorney, residing in northwest Brea. General Counsel of CATER, the Coalition of Anaheim Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, a non-partisan group of people sick of local corruption. Deposed as Northern Vice Chair of DPOC in April 2014 when his anti-corruption and pro-consumer work in Anaheim infuriated the Building Trades and Teamsters in spring 2014, who then worked with the lawless and power-mad DPOC Chair to eliminate his internal oversight. Occasionally runs for office to challenge some nasty incumbent who would otherwise run unopposed. (Someday he might pick a fight with the intent to win rather than just dent someone. You'll know it when you see it.) He got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012 and in 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002. None of his pre-putsch writings ever spoke for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level, nor do they now. A family member co-owns a business offering campaign treasurer services to Democratic candidates and the odd independent. He is very proud of her. He doesn't directly profit from her work and it doesn't affect his coverage. (He does not always favor her clients, though she might hesitate to take one that he truly hated.) He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)