In defense of Arte Moreno

In defense of Arte Moreno

I feel sometimes that I might be Arte Moreno’s only defender. Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle seems to have recruited the entire Republican Party of Orange County in his effort to rebuff Moreno’s move to change the name of the Angels baseball franchise he paid millions for. What a waste. Moreno could have become a leading Latino Republican donor in Orange County. He was a contributor to the last Bush campaign. Instead we have a trial about to begin, and both sides seem ready to fight to the death.

I don’t know if Pringle tried to negotiate the matter with Moreno. For that matter I don’t know if Moreno ever felt properly welcomed by the O.C. elite. I don’t think Moreno considers our county to be his home. He came here from Arizona. That is his true home. This is just where he does business. At least for now.

If Pringle wins, does anyone really think that the Angels will stay in Anaheim when their lease expires? I think not. Moreno is a proud man, and rightfully so. He will bide his time, but eventually he will have his way. Believe it. He didn’t make a fortune in billboard advertising by being a wallflower. He is aggressive and he is used to getting his way, Pringle notwithstanding.

I can’t believe that so many Republicans are buying into the spiel emanating from the Anaheim City Hall. The claim is that the city lost millions because “Anaheim” was not prominent enough in the revised Angels moniker. “What about the lost marketing impressions?” wail the Anaheim city leaders. What about them? Since when is it part of a city council’s mission to create or in any way foster marketing impressions? Are there no Libertarians left in the O.C. to decry this ridiculous lament? Leave the tourist marketing to the business community – it is their problem, not Pringle’s.

And since when is Pringle such a paragon of Republican virtue? A few years ago he wrote a letter to then-Assemblyman Ken Maddox, imploring him to support the Orange County PLA. I can only imagine that Pringle, then a political consultant and lobbyist, not unlike Jack Abramoff, was working on behalf of the forces that wanted to build an international airport in El Toro. As such the PLA was in their interest, as it was a bone tossed to the union bosses in Orange County, in return for their support for the airport concept. That PLA brought down Cynthia Coad and Ken Maddox. Why did its stigma not befoul Pringle too? Why indeed. You have to admit, the man is a political survivor.

Pringle’s soulmate, Antonio Villaraigosa, got to be his pal when they were both serving in the California Assembly. How ironic that they are both now serving as mayors of big cities. Or is it? I wonder how many times they talked about their future mayoral plans while hitting the links in Sacramento? As it turned out, Villaraigosa is making more of an impact than Pringle; my God he is even taking on the unions in Los Angeles. I never would have believed that could come to pass. Villaraigosa was a union organizer…and now he is fighting them? Unreal.

In the meantime Pringle has set his sights on Moreno, and even a good conservative like O.C. Supervisor Chris Norby has become entangled in the wake of this storm. What a waste. Who will win this war? Who cares? In the end, no good will come of this.

It hit me today that Moreno could have just marketed his team in Los Angeles, in Spanish. “The Angels” translates to “Los Angeles.” Thus his signs could have read “Los Angeles of Anaheim,” and he would have done nothing save to express “Anaheim Angeles” in Spanish. No name change would have been necessary. Would this have helped Moreno with regard to marketing? Maybe. At least he would have avoided the Pringle pitfall. Now he is stuck to Pringle as in the tale of the tar baby, and he can’t get free. I suppose we will all be stuck along with him until this mess clears up.

My heart is with Moreno. I can’t help it – I will always admire those who pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps and find honest ways to enrich themselves. Good for them! Politicians, on the other hand, do not create wealth, nor should they, although it is amazing how often they seem to find ways to accrue it. They are a dime a dozen, and too often their legacy is anything but positive. Who knows, we may one day look back at this matter and curse Pringle under our breaths for chasing the Angels completely out of Anaheim altogether. What a waste.

About Art Pedroza