OC Register: Report on Angels' economic impact flawed

A report to the city of Anaheim on the economic effects of Angels baseball at the “Big A” is so replete with unsubstantiated assumptions that it can't be used as a reliable indicator of the team's financial impact on the city, interviews and public records show.


The report, written by Texas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure, makes generalized assumptions on consumer behaviors based on studies in other major league cities and uses formulas disputed by other economists. The zip codes of ticket buyers were reviewed but no Angels-game attendees were interviewed.

The report does not include millions in team-related city costs, some of which most City Council members were unfamiliar with until being informed by the Register.

One sports economist dismissed the entire city-funded report, saying the Texas consultant that performed it is in the business of providing cities and teams with reports that show favorable financial outcomes.

“Based on everything else I've seen CSL do, this is a promotional study,” said Andrew Zimbalist, co-author of “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums.” “If CSL came out with a study that said Anaheim had no positive economic impact, they wouldn't get any more work.”

The Angels' economic impact on Anaheim is important because the city is renegotiating the Angels' lease, which runs through 2029, at the request of the team. Although the team has not publicly threatened to exercise its opt-out provision, at least three of the five City Council members have said they are concerned that the Angels might find more favorable circumstances and a new stadium elsewhere in the greater Los Angeles area.

“The economic impact is probably the No. 1 factor” in wanting to keep the team, Councilwoman Lucille Kring said.

Several economists and city officials interviewed said they believed that the team does provide civic and financial benefits for the city. But they also said that city officials should have accurate numbers before they negotiate a lease more favorable to the team. Questionable assumptions in the report leave uncertain how much Anaheim can give up in its renegotiations before the city starts subsidizing the team – if it isn't already.

CSL principal John Kaatz said that the city asked his firm to account for the money generated by having the Angels in town, but not associated city expenses. He acknowledged the speculative nature of such estimates but said the report made appropriate adjustments.

“Every economist will take a different approach to methods,” he said. “Our methods are based on extensive experience around the country. Our assumptions in the model are based on what we've seen in other cities. Anaheim is a particular place with unique characteristics, but we stand behind our model. There's no question that it's tough to make the determination, but CSL has been doing this for more than 20 years.”


The 12-page report credits the team with generating $204 million in new spending in the city and $4.7 million in annual revenue for the city treasury. The Register found that using the consultant's assumptions, net city revenue drops to about $2.3 million when the expenses are accounted for.

But some economists are skeptical of the consultant's numbers, taking issue with the report's methodology and data in determining the new spending and annual revenue figures. (Specific methodology and data used is not included in the study, though Kaatz reviewed numerous aspects of the methodology with the Register.)

Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi oversaw a 1996 economic impact report on the Angels that did not receive team or city funding. He offered a more charitable view of the Texas consultant's report than Zimbalist – but still identified key shortcomings that tend to bolster the estimates of revenue and jobs for the city.

“There's no question there's a positive economic impact,” Adibi said. “The question is what it is. And there's no question that there are firms that do this kind of work and maybe it would be better to go to academics.”

Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said it was inappropriate for the team to comment because the study was commissioned by the city, not the Angels.

The biggest source of Angels-related funding to city coffers – 58 percent – comes from hotel taxes, according to the report. This is one of numerous disputed estimates, with critics raising several challenges:

• The background assumption – not stated in the report – that 18 percent of all Angels ticket buyers spend the night in a local hotel has been challenged by Mayor Tom Tait, among others. “That would be nearly 7,000 people a game. That's unlikely.”

• Some hotel guests come to town for other reasons and then decide to attend a game, meaning their hotel occupancy would not be affected if the team wasn't in Anaheim, Zimbalist said.

• The premise that 90 percent of game-goers who rented rooms did so within the city limits – unstated in the report but explained to the Register by CSL's Kaatz – is impossible to ascertain without surveying attendees, Adibi said.

“Orange is five minutes from the stadium,” Adibi said. “It's going to take extensive research to determine how many people stay in hotels in the city of Anaheim. If you do samples of 200 or 300 people at three or four games, you get much better information.”

Adibi said he and 10 economics students spent roughly 400 manpower hours researching his 1996 economic report – and that they took the much simpler task of estimating the economic impact of the team countywide. Boring down on the single city of Anaheim would be considerably more challenging, he said.

Adibi's 1996 study found that total new spending countywide, thanks to the Angels, was $106 million – or $160 million in 2013 dollars. He said increases in ticket prices and other costs that have exceeded inflation could conceivably bring that amount to the Texas consultant's conclusion of $204 million – but for the entire county, not just for Anaheim as estimated in the $30,000 report by CSL.

“With the budget they had, they would have a hard time doing detailed surveys,” Adibi said.


Kring and other City Council members say it's not just about money – that civic pride and city image are also motivations to make sure the home field remains in Anaheim.

“I think the Angels are important to the people of Anaheim,” Councilwoman Gail Eastman said. “The Angels are our team. Also, people know the city because of all the amenities the city has to offer, and the Angels are one of those.”

But Eastman said the economic impact is also a reason to negotiate a new lease.

The starting point for negotiations is a document drawn up by city staff and city consultant Charles Black, former president of the San Diego Padres, in consultation with the Angels. Among other things, that proposal would reduce the team's payments to the city.

The team currently pays the city $2 on every ticket sold after the first 2.6 million. That threshold would increase to 3 million under the proposal, largely eliminating that revenue to the city because the team is drawing only slightly more than 3 million fans. This year, 3,019,505 tickets were sold.

The proposal also would allow the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to drop “Anaheim” entirely from its name. And it would grant the team a 66-year, $1-per-year lease on 150 undeveloped acres around the stadium, which the team could develop according to the existing high-density residential, commercial and retail zoning. All tax revenue generated by the development for the city would be rebated to the team, according to the team's proposal.

In return, the city would no longer have to make its $600,000 annual maintenance payment for the city-owned stadium. The Angels would pick up that tab, as well as the bill for an estimated $130 million to $150 million in needed renovations.

City officials emphasize that none of the proposal is set in stone. A majority of the council has expressed opposition to surrendering the sales, hotel and property taxes generated by the new development.

Mayor Tait, the sole dissenter in the 4-1 vote to renegotiate the lease based on the proposal, has far broader reservations, and objects to the virtually free lease of prime real estate for development. The land value has not been appraised, but estimates have ranged from a city staff-reported low end of $30 million to a high end of $380 million that Tait says he saw on a city document.


Several council members see the team as being roughly a break-even proposition for city coffers. They recite the city's annual costs of about $600,000 for maintenance and $400,000 for debt service as being offset by the team's payment of $2 per ticket over the 2.6 million threshold. Since the lease was signed in 1996, those numbers have left the city with a modest $52,132 subsidy to the team – basically a break-even situation.

But that calculation doesn't account for the $1.3 million in annual city administration, overhead and property insurance paid for out of convention center funds, according to budget documents and internal emails.

When asked by the Register about that expense, four of five council members – all but Jordan Brandman – said they were unfamiliar with it.

On the revenue side, the commonly used “break-even” calculation doesn't account for city taxes generated by Angels games and related activities.

That's where the economic impact study comes in. To assess the impact to city coffers, an accurate accounting of tax revenues is necessary. But economists differ on many aspects of the Texas firm's study in addition to the hotel issue. And each of those aspects dramatically affects the estimate of what ends up in city hands.

Three of the disputed assumptions:

• The $14.25 per game out-of-stadium spending by non-Anaheim ticket buyers who do not stay in hotels. When asked about that amount at a City Council meeting, Kaatz offered an alternative calculation removing this assumption.

• The calculation that new direct and indirect spending is 1.7 times the amount of new direct spending alone. Zimbalist said 1.2 times would be more accurate.

• The estimate that 90 percent of game-going hotel guests stay in the city. The Register recalculated findings based on a 75 percent figure.

Changing these three items to the lower assumptions would reduce city tax revenues from the report's estimate of $3.6 million to $2.6 million. That's before accounting for $1.3 million in administrative costs and without considering economists' other objections to the study.

Tait estimates tax revenues are closer to $1.3 million.

“What we make in tax revenue is pretty much a wash,” Tait said. “The big subsidy is the city-owned stadium and parking that the team basically gets for free.”

However, at a time when some cities are burdened with millions in new stadium debt payments, Anaheim is in relatively good shape, according to Stanford economist Roger Noll, co-author of “Sports, Jobs and Taxes.”

“The net operating cost to the city is in the same range as other cities,” Noll said. “Some gain a little, some lose a little. The main financial cost of a stadium is its original construction cost.”

That cost is in the rear-view mirror for Anaheim, which completed the stadium in 1966 and gave it a massive renovation in 1996.


Another criticism of the consultant's report is that it inaccurately calculates the “substitution effect” – Angel-related spending that would be spent in the city on other entertainment options if there were no baseball games to attend. While Kaatz said that has been accounted for, others were skeptical that it was addressed proportionately.

“(There are) people who live in neighboring towns but would travel into Anaheim for entertainment anyway,” said Neil deMause, co-author of “Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit.” “I hear there's a theme park of some kind there.”

Zimbalist's attack on the report as “boilerplate” echoes a similar complaint by Tait, who points out that the first copies of the report distributed to city officials referred to research done at “similar minor league sporting events.” The Angels, of course, are not minor league.

City Council members' reaction to the commissioned report – and to the critiques by other economists interviewed by the Register – range from outright rejection of the document to complete embrace of it. Tait is the council's harshest critic, calling the study's assumptions “absurdity upon absurdity.”

Eastman was not critical of the report but said she was interested in other views as well.

“I'm open to considering new information,” she said. “A lot of work is going into casting a critical eye on a new lease. None of us are willing to do some of the things other cities have done to keep teams, including direct subsidies.”

Brandman, however, said he was fully convinced of the Texas consultant's findings.

“I absolutely believe the report,” he said. “It's a reputable company.”

When read Adibi's comments about the study, Brandman said he respected the Chapman economist – but it didn't change his view.

“Everyone has the right to disagree,” Brandman said. “Economists do it all the time. There may come a time when we get another study, but this study is solid and I believe it.”


Gustavo's Latest "Orange County Line" for KCRW: On Anaheim, the Angels, Arte Moreno, and Tom Tait

From The OC Weekly: 

Man, what a mess of a city Anaheim has become, from trigger-happy cops to race-baiting (and censorious) Latino yaktivists to a bunch of dopes on the Anaheim City Council save for Mayor Tom Tait, who's supposed to be the conservative among the bunch and is increasingly being ostracized to the crappy Anaheim Angels of Anaheim to greedy owner Arte Moreno--AHHHH!!!

Arte Moreno

Arte Moreno

Yes: Anaheim has become an even bigger banana republic than SanTana, a point I made on my latest "Orange County Line" commentary for KCRW-FM 89.9

The piece ostensibly focused on the negotiations between the Halos and Anaheim to keep the team in town, but--as it's increasingly becoming apparent--anything in Anaheim involves pettiness and pendejos. Enjoy!


Stadium's bills more the Angels pay

From the OC Register (Save Anaheim comments in bold): 

ANAHEIM – Over the past 16 fiscal years, Anaheim paid out slightly more for Angel Stadium than it received from the Angels, who use the city's ball park and the expansive parking lot that comes with it, city figures show.

For nine of the years, the city made money, and for seven, it paid more than it took in.


Angel Stadium and the city of Anaheim are in the midst of negotiating a contract extension.

Overall, the city of Anaheim has had a loss of $52,132 since a 1996 lease agreement took effect in fiscal year 1997-98 with the Angels, who not only play their games there but run the venue.

“So, basically, it's free rent,” said Mayor Tom Tait, who voted against the lease during his previous tenure on the City Council.

When that deal was struck with the Walt Disney Co., which owned the baseball team at the time, Disney agreed to pump $80 million into stadium renovations that in part were to reduce what would be paid during the lease. The city kicked in $20 million.

A recent Register article disclosed that city records show that the Angels have averaged paying the city about $1 million a year for Angel Stadium. But then it surfaced that the city actually has slightly higher stadium expenses than revenues.

The city, under the lease, must make payments – about $600,000 a year – to the Angels for building needs. The city also continues to pay off debt on a 1988 expansion, roughly $400,000 a year, for an exhibit hall in the stadium.

The expenditure figures were disclosed at the mayor's request before the Sept. 3 meeting when part of the Angels' contract was revised.

Along with Disney's $80 million, the 1996 lease called for the Angels to take over the day-to-day costs of stadium operations, relieving the city of that financial burden. Arte Moreno, when he bought the Angels from Disney in 2003, inherited the lease.

Councilwoman Kris Murray pointed out that the stadium does help the city's coffers.

A recent Economic Impact Study (the study was flawed as it did not study Anaheim but based it's findings on other cities), completed for the city, estimates that Anaheim reaped $3.6 million in tax revenues in 2012 from guests and visiting teams staying in hotels, eating hot dogs and buying Angels gear.

“It's a win for the city,” said Murray, who wasn't on the council when the 1996 lease was approved.

Former Mayor Tom Daly, now a state assemblyman, led the charge to approve that lease. He declined to comment for this story through a spokesman. So did Tim Mead, an Angels spokesman.

David Carter, a sports-business expert at USC, sees the $52,000 as an “irrelevant loss.” He said the city has received benefits from the lease with the upfront lease money and the elimination of stadium operating costs.

“The city has only lost a little bit of money, relative to what could have happened,” Carter said.

City-team stadium deals are wide-ranging in regard to ownership and the flow of cash. In San Diego, for example, the city owns 70 percent of 9-year-old Petco Park while the Padres, who play there, own 30 percent. They share costs.

Petco cost $474 million to build, not including interest and bond-financing expenses. An estimated $301 million in public money, much of it from the city, paid for the ball park.

In Anaheim, city officials hope to get more money out of Angel Stadium in the future.

Under a proposal the city and the Angels are eyeing, the city would get rid of the annual $600,000 to care for the stadium. In exchange, the city would receive less from game tickets. Anaheim's revenue comes from tickets, non-baseball events and parking when certain figures are reached.

Further, in 2021, that $400,000 the city pays for the stadium exhibition hall is set to end.

By then, based on 2012 attendance and the proposed new deal, the city would be in the black with the stadium for hundreds of thousands of dollars, said Tom Morton, Anaheim's executive director of conventions, sports and entertainment.

“The potential is that the city will be better off than it is currently,” Morton said.

Earlier this month, the City Council voted 4-1 to move forward on a lease proposal that could end up allowing the Angels to lease the stadium's parking lot for $1 a year. Tentatively, the Angels could develop part of the lot and use profits to cover upgrades to Angel Stadium that could come with a price tag of up to $150 million.

Tait, who dissented, said the city would lose out more if it leases the city-owned land for development.

“That (1996) deal was a bad financial deal,” Tait said. “This new one is even much worse.”

The upcoming negotiations will be over more than money.

During the 1996 negotiations, the council majority partly gave concessions so the team would be named the Anaheim Angels.

But Moreno, in 2005, changed that to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, adhering to a lease clause requiring “Anaheim” in the name. The city lost a lawsuit over the name change.

Now, Moreno wants the lease to let him remove “Anaheim” from the name.

Councilman Jordan Brandman, elected in 2010 (wrong date), is focused on a new deal that benefits the city and keeps the team in town – a team that to him would always have a local ring.

“They believed they were making the best deal in the interest of the city and getting the team renamed Anaheim,” the councilman said of his predecessors. “And that's not on the table anymore. They will be the Angels of Anaheim as long as they are in the city of Anaheim.”


Angels threaten to leave Anaheim, Anaheim responds by giving team three more years to do so

From Field of Schemes: 

The mayor of Anaheim came away from Tuesday night’s city council meeting convinced that Angels owner Arte Moreno is looking to leave the city the team has called home since 1966.

But Angels President John Carpino said the team would use a three-year extension on the opt-out of its current stadium lease to explore ways to remain in Anaheim, not bolt.

“Based on the city council’s actions, we’re hopeful a deal can be made and we can stay in Anaheim for many years to come,” Carpino said before the Angels’ 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night. “We want to be part of a community and deliver a high-quality fan experience.”

Count me among those who didn’t see this coming at all, but it certainly makes sense from Moreno’s perspective: He has a stadium that’s about to turn 50 years old, and though it got extensive renovations in 1998, that’s still the kind of thing that gets all the other kids laughing and pointing at the owners’ meetings. So, sure, threaten to leave Anaheim, if you think it’ll get you either a new stadium or more publicly funded renovations to your old one.

What doesn’t make sense is why on earth Anaheim is going along with this. A city consultant apparently told the city council that Moreno “has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium” and could move to Irvine, Irwindale, or several sites in Los Angeles. That seems dubious — a new stadium in the L.A. area could cost $700 million, plus land costs. And given how much of baseball revenue is tied up in cable rights fees — something Moreno has been pretty good at grabbing already, and can’t renegotiate for another 18 years anyway — you have to wonder if he’d really be up for spending close to $1 billion just to get a snazzier place down the freeway.

More to the point, though, even if Anaheim thinks that Moreno wants to move, why the hell are they giving him three more years to look around? The current Angels opt-out was for 2016, and there was no way that Moreno was going to get a stadium planned and built by then anywhere else. By pushing things back to 2019, though, Moreno’s leverage is suddenly restored, since the possibility of getting a stadium elsewhere by then is at least conceivable, if not necessarily likely. (To his credit, Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait seemed to get this part, saying, “If they do leave in three years, you can trace it right back to the action of this council tonight.”)

Carpino told the L.A. Times that the team is exploring whether it would rather have another upgrade of Angel Stadium (estimated cost: $130-150 million) or a brand new stadium next to it (estimated cost: $600-700 million). No word yet on what Anaheim would be expected to kick in, though there’s apparently been talk about giving the team development rights to the parking lots around the stadium.

In any event, toss out the window any hopes that the Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays battles would be the last baseball stadium controversies for a while. Anyone want to wager on who’ll be next? Toronto Blue Jays? Chicago White Sox? I can get you good odds on the Baltimore Orioles


Community Editorial: How Best to Keep the Angels in Anaheim

From The Voice of OC: 


That was the among first words mentioned by Anaheim’s stadium consultant Charles Black about how city officials want to handle the Angel’s desire for a new stadium, as he sat down last week with the Voice of OC Community Editorial Board.

Watch the the cities representative, Charles Black, lie to the public once again in the video below: 

“This process, and this discussion this morning is indicative of the benefits of the process that the council majority adopted, to put these issues out before the public and discussion them as we begin the negotiation process,” Black said.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who openly clashed with Black at the editorial board gathering on the future of the stadium, said the process unveiled publicly for the first time for taxpayers on the Friday before Labor Day is anything but transparent.

In a 4-1 vote earlier this month, the City Council approved a framework for negotiations that grants Angels owner Arte Moreno 155 acres of land around the stadium for 66 years at $1 per year. The council majority also gave Moreno nearly three more years to decide whether to quit the stadium and move to another city.

The idea is that Moreno could use revenue from development of the property — which is entitled for more than 5,100 residential units, 3 million square feet for office space and 3 million square feet for commercial space — to finance up to $150 million in improvements for the stadium. And Moreno would be allowed to drop "Anaheim" from the team's current name, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

“I think the public is skeptical because if you are interested in transparency, that’s something you would not do," said Tait referring to the Labor Day weekend debut of the stadium deal. "You would give weeks of notice,” he added.

Tait goes as far as calling the current approach “reckless.”

He is openly critical of the ensuing lease deal approved earlier this month arguing that it gave away key leverage.

Black, Anaheim Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Ament and Tom Morton, who heads the Anaheim Convention Center, all clashed with Tait at the editorial meeting with Black accusing Tait himself of being reckless by describing the council’s recent action as a giveaway.

Black argues that by taking those a dicey issues off the table (extending the outclause trigger), city leaders helped themselves in their negotiation with billionaire team owner Artie Moreno, noting that the city essentially bought itself Moreno’s focus for the next six months on crafting a deal with Anaheim and nothing else.

And that’s important, Black said, because Moreno could move the team.

Tait – who is already at odds with the council majority over their staunch support for hotel developer tax subsidies – said such concessions lay the groundwork for an uneven lease agreement.

He argues the Angels don’t have a credible threat to move to another city within the next two years so taxpayers should have stayed firm and not allowed the team to extend their outclause.

Noting that there is significant “community pride” in sponsoring a sports franchise, Tait also severely criticized dropping the requirement that the Angels acknowledge Anaheim in their name.

Tait notes that under their current lease, the Angels would either have to explore leaving altogether immediately or stay for the duration of the contract – with the obligation that they fund up to $150 million in future stadium upkeep.

It’s against that backdrop that Anaheim should have been negotiating a future arrangement, Tait argues. Not the other way around.

Tait openly worries that this latest stadium proposal – championed by the Anaheim city council majority and the chamber of commerce - will cheat Anaheim taxpayers worse than the last 1996 Disney deal – which allowed the team to keep virtually all stadium revenues, kept their net rent at zero and put off key maintenance upgrades until after a key outclause – one that is now under negotiation.

At the editorial board meeting, Black countered Moreno could easily move his team to a number of alternatives across the Southern California area – including a return as a co-tenant with the Dodgers at Chavez ravine while a new stadium was built elsewhere.

He bristles when Tait describes the changes to the Memorandum of Understanding and general deal points – such as a $1 a year land lease with the team – as a final point instead of the starting point that he stresses they are.

Black, who played an influential role in the drive to establish San Diego’s largely successful downtown ballpark development consortium, said he expects many more public meetings and strong discussions, arguing that’s what the city’s negotiating team needs to hear to craft an effective deal.

“It’s a laudable process.,” Black said talking about the process that was associated with the creation of Petco Park. “This panel discussion this morning, this roundtable is further evidence that its going to be an open and transparent process. Having said that, I don’t want to go over the negotiation points. I think there does need to be a private negotiation with the Angels. At some point, and sooner rather than later, those points need to be fully vetted before the public.”

There’s already a Facebook page up called “Keep the Angels in Anaheim. And today, Anaheim residents will get a chance to head to city hall continuing a critical discussion about the condition of Angels’ stadium and what kind of lease terms city leaders should consider crafting that would entice team leaders to stay long term.

As the debate moves forward, two key questions will dominate the debate.

There are questions about the current condition of the stadium as well as the investments required to keep it as a competitive venue for a major league sports team and other events. City leaders say the Angels are on the hook for up to $150 million in upgrades. A city-commissioned study is expected to be released soon.

The central challenge facing the public is can city leaders craft a deal that could potentially develop the 150 acres around the stadium allowing the ensuing economic buzz to pay for it’s upgrades over the next few decades as well as spur overall economic development?


URGENT call to action from Lorri Galloway


Now is the time for all of us to be ever vigilant and ever present!  At the last council meeting, the city council majority approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Anaheim Angels that would give Arte Moreno complete control and use of 155 acres of prime stadium and surrounding property for $1 per year for 66 years.  This is absolute robbery of the people’s money and future revenue for decades to come.   Just the land and development rights are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  This does not include future income of TOT and sales tax that Arte Moreno will receive, and the people get nothing! 

Lorri Galloway

Lorri Galloway

Today the Angels and the Chamber of Commerce are rallying at city hall to further lie to the people about what a great deal this is for the residents of our city and how we cannot afford to lose the baseball team.  PLEASE show up at city hall tonight and tell them NO!!

Thank you,

Lorri Galloway


Field of Schemes - Angels vs. Anaheim

Below are series of slides from a Power Point presentation that Mayor Tom Tait presented to Anaheim residents. It details the benefits to Arte Moreno (Pacific Coast Investors + Angel's Baseball) and the City of Anaheim.


In it's current state, this deal will be the biggest giveaway on record to any individual in Anaheim's history. Yes, even worse then the $158 million GardenWalk Hotel giveaway to Bill O'Connell.

Please take the time to reach out to the council majority and voice your opposition to this deal:


In addition, please post your comments on the new Facebook page that is spinning the truth regarding the Angel's deal:




Angel's Propaganda Machine

A new website has popped up online at www.KeepTheAngels.com (screenshot below):


This is clear and concise propaganda.  Let's take apart their deal points.

The current deal being discussed would: 

a. Allow the Angels to drop the name Anaheim thus becoming simply the Los Angeles Angels. Funny since I thought they resided deep within Orange County. 

b. Allow Angel's owner Arte Moreno’s umbrella company to receive a 66-year hold on 155 acres around the stadium, a colossal value, to develop as it wishes. In return, Anaheim would receive $66, without commas. And that would be weighed against tax rebates to the Angels.

c. Allow the same franchise that gave Anaheim $4 million per year in rent, in Gene Autry’s day, would only fork over $2 per ticket above and beyond 3 million in attendance. Under the current lease, the threshold is 2.6 million. That saves Moreno $800,000 right there. This year’s top-heavy club would have to average nearly 37,000 in its six remaining home dates to get to 3 million. Under the terms of the MOU, any sub-3 million season means the Angels are getting a rent-free ballpark.

Please go to their Facebook page and comment on their misinformation campaign:


Realtor Paul Kott's son Joel Kott has already called them out:

joel kott.jpg

The OC Register lays out the FACTS on bad Angel Stadium deal

At its current trajectory, the city where the Angels play will be known as “Arteheim.”

Such is the dominant position from which the Angels begin their stadium negotiations. Angels owner Arte Moreno, right, is in a strong position in negotiations with Anaheim.

The Anaheim City Council allowed the Angels to push back their escape clause to 2019, which means owner Arte Moreno has three more years to line up a new stadium site, somewhere else in Southern California, if he wishes.

And the outline of the coming talks, in a memorandum of understanding, reflects Anaheim’s abject terror at the possibility Moreno will move the baseball franchise that the city saved in 1965.

Anaheim officials say the terms of the document are only preliminary, that talks have yet to begin, that other, contradictory issues can be introduced.

But, realistically, Moreno begins with a framework of goodies, very specific ones, that he will be loath to surrender.

Arte Moreno

Arte Moreno

Moreno’s umbrella company would get a 66-year hold on 155 acres around the stadium, a colossal value, to develop as it wishes. In return, Anaheim would receive $66, without commas. And that would be weighed against tax rebates to the Angels.

From the stadium, the Angels would continue to ingest all the concessions, advertising and signage, all but $100,000 of parking revenue, and almost all the ticket revenue.

The same franchise that gave Anaheim $4 million per year in rent, in Gene Autry’s day, would only fork over $2 per ticket above and beyond 3 million in attendance. Under the current lease, the threshold is 2.6 million.

That saves Moreno $800,000 right there.

This year’s top-heavy club would have to average nearly 37,000 in its six remaining home dates to get to 3 million. Under the terms of the MOU, any sub-3 million season means the Angels are getting a rent-free ballpark.

To some, the whole thing sounds like an open marriage for one party and a chastity belt for the other.

The Angels’ only real concession is the burden of renovating the ballpark, which they keep calling the fourth-oldest stadium in baseball.

Technically, that’s true. Functionally, it’s not. The old, enclosed Big A was transformed into a baseball park in 1997. Besides, the Angels are obligated to pay for the maintenance in the current lease, too.





So the question, as it always does for municipalities, comes down to this: How much should we bleed for a baseball team?

Stadium proponents roll out the ancillary-income argument, that a baseball team enriches a city because fans spend so much money at surrounding restaurants, etc. They use attendance figures to support this, but those figures are merely a reflection of tickets sold, not actual fans.

It also does not apply as strongly in Anaheim. For many Angels fans, here’s the drill: Hustle home, change clothes, gather the kids and go straight to the park, paying for concessionaire food with money that goes directly to the Halos. Hotels, on weekends, are not filled with Angels fans the way St. Louis hotels bulge with Cardinals fans.

Mayor Tom Tait is the only skeptic on the city council.

At the Sept. 3 meeting he wondered why the Angels couldn’t have partnered with Moreno to share the development costs and also the profits.

He said the city gave up its leverage when it allowed the lease to be extended – a binding action, effective immediately. Had the 2016 opt-out been preserved, he argued, the Angels wouldn’t have had time to arrange a move.

Not even the prospect of “Los Angeles Angels,” without the “of Anaheim,” has pushed the council’s buttons. The MOU suggests the Angels will have that right.

Fans in other cities wonder why this is so offensive to Anaheim. After all, the Washington Redskins play in Landover, Md.

But Anaheim is not a suburb of L.A. It is not a derivative of L.A. It competes with L.A. for convention business. Moreover, the city provided a safe harbor for the Angels when they were destitute, camping out in Dodger Stadium.

Other than the Lakers, the Clippers, the Dodgers and the 6 o’clock news, how often does L.A. intersect with Anaheim? It would make almost as much sense to call them the Las Vegas Angels.

If the Angels move? Well, they will not move beyond driving distance, because Moreno needs the Fox Sports West contract.

There is talk of Irvine, but code enforcement might be a problem. Who knows, the city might ban Garrett Richards from throwing a baseball past 85 mph.

There are dusty, sweltering lots in the City of Industry, and there is the fantasy of moving to downtown L.A.

But if the memorandum of understanding bears any resemblance to the eventual deal, Moreno will probably bathe in the public trough and stay right here.

Unlike his baseball team, he knows when to declare victory.


Value of Angel Stadium Subsidy is Unclear

From the Voice of OC: 

As the City of Anaheim and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim sit down to negotiate a new stadium lease, there’s a fundamentally difficult question to answer at the outset:

How does the city place a hard-dollar figure on what the public could be giving up, or getting in return?

There seems to be little agreement on the value of the land and the stadium.

There are no publicly available studies to show how much tax revenue the city would reap under the proposed deal that would allow owner Artie Moreno to develop the 155-acres around the stadium. In contrast, there’s no estimate of how long the land would lie fallow under alternative scenarios.

“This is a very complicated deal. We don't know enough right now, we don't have enough to make a valid statement,” said Mark Rosentraub, an economics professor at the University of Michigan who specializes in sports stadiums.

The City Council in a 4-1 vote earlier this month approved a framework for negotiations that grants Moreno the land around the stadium for 66 years at $1 per-year.

The idea is that Moreno could use revenue from development of the property – which is entitled for more than 5,100 residential units, 3 million sq. ft. for office space and 3 million sq. ft. for commercial – to finance up to $150 million in improvements for the stadium.

Moreno under the framework can drop Anaheim from the current team name, “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.”

The city council majority that day also gave Moreno nearly three more years to quit the stadium and move to another city.

With Moreno was facing a tight window on whether to seek another location, the council majority worried publicly that he could panic and act irrationally during negotiations on a long-term lease.

However, Mayor Tom Tait – the only vote against the council's decision – along with academics who study stadium deals, say that by allowing Moreno more time to organize a credible threat of moving, the city gave away key negotiating leverage.

Tait argues that the proposed deal framework is lopsided.

He says Moreno is already required to make the renovations under the current lease, so the city isn't getting anything more than it already has, yet is still giving away land and a stadium that has a combined replacement value approaching $1 billion.

If anything, the city loses not only land but also community pride because Moreno can keep the team named after Los Angeles, and drop Anaheim.

“A reasonable compromise would be if the Angels drop Los Angeles, and we drop Anaheim, and change it to something that includes Anaheim, like California Angels, or Southern California Angels, or Orange County Angels,” Tait said. “The other part would be a joint venture where we put up the land, and the we split the profits, fifty-fifty, or some sort of reasonable split, where the taxpayers get something out of it... something commensurate with putting up real estate worth hundreds of millions of dollars.... that's what a reasonable deal would be. It could be a win for us, and a win for them.”

Other council members didn't return phone calls seeking comment. The only official the city would make available for an interview spoke on condition of anonymity.

That official took issue with Tait's arguments, saying the stadium has a direct economic impact to the city of over $100 million – along with indirect impacts that add up to $206 million.

The official also said the redevelopment of the land around the stadium could result in an economic boom, pointing to AT&T Park in San Francisco – home of the Giants -- as an example where the area around AT&T Park blossomed with development after the stadium was built.

While voters in San Francisco refused to pay for a stadium, the city contributed some infrastructure improvements.

The official also said that parking encumbrances around the stadium also pose a challenge to other developers. They would have to construct expensive, multi-level parking structures to support other buildings.

The official said that estimates on the amount of tax revenue that could be generated by Moreno developing the land wouldn’t come in until there are proposed developments. The city is contemplating rebating some – if not all – of the tax revenue back to Moreno.

Here's what else is known about the stadium and surrounding land:

The value of the land Moreno would lease ranges anywhere from $30 million to $240 million, or $150 million to $380 million, depending on which of two city studies you're looking at.

The lower end of the range is the value of the land in a bulk sale, while the higher numbers would come if the city carved up the land and sold it by individual parcels and also factors improving economic conditions, according to the city official and documents provided by the city.

Then there's the value of the stadium and, parking lot improvements, and the city venue known as the City National Grove of Anaheim, all of which Tait says must be added to the total figure in order to know the full value of the subsidy.

Tait says the stadium is worth what it costs to build a new stadium. For example, San Diego's Petco Park was built for $457 million.

A city official refuted that claim, saying that the value of the stadium to the city is approximately $80 million and is lower because its uses are limited. But Tait argues that the city has to look at what it would cost for Moreno to replace the stadium.

Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of The Holy Cross in Massachusetts who specializes in sports, says that Tait has a good point.

He said Moreno would have to find upwards of $800 million to build another stadium somewhere else, placing the city “in the driver's seat” on the negotiations.

“There is no doubt that the mayor is correct, that whatever is being offered by the city of Anaheim is going to be a good deal for the Angels... they will probably have a hard time finding a better deal elsewhere. That is absolutely right,” Matheson said. “Given the fact that its so expensive to build a stadium elsewhere form the ground up, it's unclear why the city of Anaheim thinks it needs to sweeten the pot for the Angels given the fact they have a stadium up and ready to go.”


Activists Blast Anaheim Stadium Lease Negotiations

From The Voice of OC: 

Former Anaheim Councilwoman Lorri Galloway and a group of activists Thursday morning criticized a pending agreement to lease Angels baseball team owner Arte Moreno 155 acres of land for $1 a year, calling the negotiations lopsided in favor of Moreno and a potential giveaway that will impact residents for generations to come.

The Anaheim City Council earlier this month approved a preliminary framework outlining the terms of a lease that could keep the Angels in Anaheim, but also grant Moreno a large swath of land surrounding the stadium. Moreno could develop the area and use the revenue to finance up to $150 million in stadium renovations. He could also keep a yet-to-be-determined amount of tax revenue from the development.

Lorri Galloway

Lorri Galloway

Negotiations started because of a trigger clause in the current lease that allows the Angels to terminate the lease during a four-month window beginning in late 2016, or be locked in until 2029. The 4-1 council vote this month – with Mayor Tom Tait dissenting -- extended the trigger clause until 2019, which gives Moreno another three years to negotiate a potential move of the team to another city.

City officials, such as Assistant City Manager Paul Emery, argue that the Angels provide an economic engine that would leave with them.

Critics say extending the trigger clause gave away city leverage in negotiations over the long-term deal by allowing Moreno more time to organize a credible threat of finding a new location for the team. A city consultant argued that this threat already existed, and the extension was necessary to relieve pressure on Moreno that could lead him to make "irrational" decisions.

Activists say that machinations to benefit Moreno show that nobody at the city is negotiating on behalf of the public.

“Who is representing the people's interest? Who is representing us?” Galloway said. “Why give [the land] away for nothing? It makes no sense.”

The coalition of activists – known as Take Back Anaheim – formed in response to a controversial $158 million tax subsidy for a hotel developer. They say that the preliminary deal points in the stadium lease are another outrageous giveaway by a four-member council majority controlled by elite business interests.

City Hall blogger Cynthia Ward announced the incorporation of entity that will raise funds to take action – legal or otherwise -- against the council majority's corporate subsidies.

Wally Courtney, a Real Estate broker with Paul Kott Realtors, said he ran into City Manager Marcie Edwards and asked her what would have happened had the council postponed the vote to extend the trigger clause for three weeks, as Tait had requested.

Edwards replied, “probably nothing,” according to Courtney.

“So the question is, what's the rush?” Courtney said.


Take Back Anaheim NEWS CONFERENCE regarding Angels

View the video below featuring former Mayor Pro Tem Lorri Galloway, Cynthia Ward, Donna Acevedo, former Mayor Pro Tem Richard Chavez, Theresa Smith, Wally Courtney, Mark Daniels, Victoria De Guzman, and William Grisolia. 

Take the Halos and Run: An open letter to Angels owner Arte Moreno begging him to move the team out of Anaheim

By Gustavo Arrelano: 

Dear Arte: Congratulations! It has been a decade since you donned a sombrero during a press conference announcing you were buying the Anaheim Angels, thereby becoming the first Latino majority owner of a professional-sports franchise. That was the last time you emphasized your Hispanic roots, insisting ever since that people treat you as a sports owner, period.

Arte Moreno

Arte Moreno

Well, you've succeeded. No one thinks of you as a Latino owner anymore; instead, we think of you as a pendejo owner. Oh, wait: That's too Mexi for you, so let's just call you a bad owner, m'kay?

Your Halos stink, on pace for a losing record and a fourth straight year without a playoff berth. The dashing CEO who once roamed Angels Stadium asking people, Ed Koch-like, how he was doing, who knew what players to sign, who confidently manned a team to such heights that Forbesnamed him baseball's best boss as recently as 2009 is gone; in his place now is a recluse in charge of a franchise named this year by Forbesas baseball's worst team for the money—and that dishonor happened before this underachieving flop of a season weighed down by the bloated contracts of past-their-prime superstars Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton.

In a way, Orange County should be grateful to you; after all, that fans are upset at the Angels' play on the field is a stunning accomplishment, given the Halos' tenure in Anaheim before its improbable 2002 World Series championship was one long string of laughers broken up by occasional winning seasons that ended with epic collapses. But you're now at a crossroads that will inevitably involve usted—sorry, you—screwing us over even worse than when you affixed that ridiculous "Los Angeles" in front of your team's name. Last week, the Anaheim City Council approved a motion to extend your deadline from 2016 to 2019 to decide whether you're going to keep your franchise in that city or move it away. It's also exploring a deal that would make you foot the bill for a new baseball stadium (or renovate the current one, the second-oldest in the American League after Fenway Park); in exchange, you can make like Robert Moses and lease 150 empty acres surrounding the stadium for a buck per year, keeping all tax revenue from any future developments. Oh, and also? The council is proposing to allow you to drop any references to Anaheim in the team's name.

Now, I'm not sure if this gift of public funds is your idea or the council's (more on those pendejos—and they definitely are pendejos—in a bit). But that you're even considering this exposes you once and for all for what you really are: a carpetbagger with no care for Orange County whatsoever, with loyalty only to your pocketbook. And while that puts you in the heartless realm of your fellow OC billionaire Don Bren, we don't need another Georgia Frontiere. So I write to ask: Spare us the coming will-he-or-won't-he tango and get outta here. You don't deserve us, and we sure as hell don't want you.

No one knew you, Arte, when it was announced in 2003 you had bought the Angels. All that was known about you was that you were of Mexican heritage, you were born in Tucson but made your billions in the billboard business, you wanted to drop beer prices in your first official action as owner, and you wanted to win. We liked you, liked your signing of baseball's best free agents—Vladimir Guerrero, Bartolo Colón and Orlando Cabrera—in 2004, your first full year owning the team. And then, in the beginning of 2005, you blew away all that goodwill by insisting on renaming the team the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

That should've been our first clue of your true self, but you were able to skate through unscathed because the team on the field was a winner, logging only one losing season between 2005 and 2012 (with the only black mark a not-bad 80-82 record in 2010). Then the relish slowly started falling off the hot dog, exposing the grand sham you had constructed. It started with your insistence on signing even more free agents instead of developing a farm system—and the mercenaries you brought in were mostly laughers: Gary Matthews Jr., Hamilton and the disappointment that is Pujols, a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, sure, but one already on a downward trajectory and whose health has deteriorated so much that his season ended early this year. By acquiring Pujols, you alienated longtime center fielder Torii Hunter, whom you signed during your successful years and who left (he claims) because you suddenly became a penny-pincher; Hunter is having a career year in Detroit, by the way.

Want proof of your megalomania? Although you've stopped wandering the stadium, you emerged from your private box this year to talk to the press, insisting you're spending money because you want to win so badly. But a blistering CBS Sports piece last month blew away that charade, reporting that you had fired nearly 40 employees from across the team, have "one of the leanest game-day staffs in all of baseball" and "gouge hours" from underlings. Even worse? You make them wear those gawd-awful red polo shirts that resemble castaways from a Warehouse Shoe Sale store.

And now, you've got an opportunity to make untold riches by developing the land around Angels Stadium. Where you see a business opportunity, I see an open sore; this is land the current City Council, made up of sycophants of Orange County's Dark Lord, Curt Pringle, see as a piggy bank upon which their wholesale pillaging of city coffers can continue. You're walking into a trap; the council members want you to develop the land to make them look good, so they're making an offer you can refuse but most likely won't. By accepting it, you're going to incur the wrath of Anaheim's Latino yaktivists, who'll protest underneath those ridiculous mega-hats in front of the stadium for years to come. They already think you're a vendido because you don't make explicit overtures to them (signing a bunch of Dominicans doesn't count, in their mind) or didn't comment on your home state of Arizona's noxious Senate Bill 1070. That's fine. But to become a recipient of corporate welfare, in this day and age of a watchful public eye? Beware—beware.

Orange County doesn't need hucksters running its sports teams anymore. It wants stability from them—look across the 57 freeway, where fellow billionaire Henry Samueli has established a model NHL franchise in the Anaheim Ducks, allowing smarter minds to develop the team from within and sign free agents only when needed. So just go. Vamoose. 

Vaya con Dios. Anaheim will survive. Get out of the city, out of Orange County, and over to the Inland Empire or Las Vegas or some other yokel 'burb that won't mind your pendejo ass.


Mayor Tait lays out the FACTS regarding Angel's negotiations

While the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce's very own Baghdad Bob, Matt Cunningham tries to spin this outrageous deal with the Angels, Mayor Tom Tait took the time to give some perspective on this issue.

Matt Cunningham reporting from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce's Office of Misinformation

Matt Cunningham reporting from the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce's Office of Misinformation

Please watch Mayor Tait's presentation below to be enlightened on the true nature of this outrageous deal:

(For those of you unfamiliar with Baghdad Bob, he is best known for his grandiose and grossly unrealistic propaganda broadcasts before and during the war, extolling the invincibility of the Iraqi Army and the permanence of Saddam's rule.)



Angel's GIVEAWAY update

From the Orange Juice Blog: 

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.


Anaheim Council Plans Giant New ‘Sneak Attack’ Giveaway

From the Orange Juice Blog: 

When a new lease of Anaheim’s stadium to Angels’ owner Arte Moreno was being drafted over the past months, nobody appears to have been negotiating on behalf of the City.

(Read this Voice of OC story– and this OC Register story, if you can get past the paywall — for recent background about the deal.)

As Councilwoman Kris Murray, ever-loyal to Anaheim uber-lobbyist Curt Pringle, appears to have been in charge of negotiations, “no one negotiating on behalf of” the City of Anaheim may be literally true.  The game of Murray and her Council cohorts since at least January 2012 has been to give away as much of the city’s revenue stream as possible to private enterprise.  She’s negotiating, all right — but it’s only by the twisted logic that any amount of money taken from taxpayers to wealthy interests benefits the city can she be said to be negotiating on the city’s behalf. (Murray does this at the same time as she demonstrates her fiscally conservative bona fides by making a big show of squeezing every last penny out of small public interest non-profits who come to them hat in hand.  Because, without this juxtaposition of treatment of rich vs. poor, maybe these giveaways to the likes of Arte Moreno and Bill O’Connell and — most of all — middleman Curt Pringle just wouldn’t be obscene enough.)

The proposed stadium lease (which you can read here – PDF warning) is so bad, surpassing even the previous monstrosity, that it is doubtful that Moreno even asked for all of what he got.  In fact, let’s make that a challenge: let’s have Kris Murray and her crack negotiation team publicly identify anything and everything that Moreno asked for that he did not get.  My bet is that, unless he wanted the City to provide him dancing girls to rock him to sleep every night, this lease gives Moreno far more than he asked for.  (And if he did ask for all of this, it may only be because he was first assured that it was his for the asking.)

And why not, from Murray’s perspective?

This isn’t her money she’s forking over — and her bet is that enough of it will come back to her in campaign contributions (and more importantly “uncoordinated” independent expenditures) to keep her on Council and beyond.  And if by some chance she loses — well, a lot of wealthy people owe her a lot for her service, and it’s good form (in recruiting future people like her) for such debts to be paid.   Murray has already gotten some nice private sector positions to supplement her income; maybe Arte Moreno will show his thanks on down the line.  (Not that there’s an actual arrangement of such a sort, of course; that would be wrong.  Worse than wrong, it might be provable.)

So, once again, Anaheim’s Council acts as if they were using public money to bribing wealthy private interests for their personal and political gain — whether or not they are technically doing so.

How can you tell that the Council is trying to slip one over on an unsuspecting public?  The secret, as in all farce, is timing.  Get ready for this:

They released news of what may be a final vote on this massive giveaway on a Friday night — a Friday night that began a three-day weekend — with the Council meeting beginning on the afternoon of the next working day.

This, for the benefit of our less-attentive readers, is Sunday morning of Labor Day weekend.  Lots of high-level movers and shakers — as well as lower level moved and shaked — are out of town.  (Sole voice of reason on council Mayor Tom Tait is apparently among them — and I wonder whether he even knew that this was coming before he left.)  So by releasing new of the vote on Friday night, the Council Murrjority made sure that even if a gutty ragtag band of activists could get together to oppose this massive giveaway of public funds, few people would be listening to us until Tuesday — when they’re going to be pretty busy.

“Stacking the deck” doesn’t even begin to describe what they’re doing.  People don’t pay Curt Pringle the big bucks to play fair!  They don’t want a public debate over this; they want to do the equivalent of slipping the public a sedative and having it wake up in an icy bathtub missing a kidney.

“Surprise!  We just leased PRIME REAL ESTATE to a developed to DO WHATEVER HE WANTS WITH for a term of 66 YEARS!  Here’s the number of the emergency room; you’ll need dialysis.”

The only real question is whether the public will be outraged over this.

It should be.  I’ll review the lease arrangement later today or tomorrow.  For now, let me just provide you with a short snippet from the Voice of OC story on this sorry development:

Beyond full naming rights over the team, franchise owners under a proposed framework for negotiating a separate land lease would also get a 66-year lease of the stadium land, including a 50-acre parcel called the “Stadium District,” for free.

Under that arrangement, the city would be freed from spending about $600,000 annually for stadium upkeep, according to a staff report.

The land lease outline being considered next week could allow team owners to keep all tax revenue, such as hotel room taxes and sales tax generated from developing the area.

The land around Angel Stadium is estimated to be worth $300 million.

With the land lease, the owners could develop a range of tax revenue generating businesses, including hotels and shops.

The focus of coverage thus far has been focused on the fact that the lease agreement will finally allow Arte Moreno to remove the name “Anaheim” from the name of the Angels altogether.

That’s just the insult, folks.  There will be lots of time to focus on the insult.

For now, pay attention to the injury.  Very little will be coming into city coffers for the rest of this century from this prime real estate — and the prime real estate surrounding it.  The City needs money — and it will not get it this way.

If the City of Anaheim owned a bunch of solid gold bars, like those in Fort Knox,  and decided to just give them away to a developer while claiming that the City would eventually profit from the deal — wouldn’t that piss you off?

Wouldn’t you at least have wanted to see a full debate about it?

Well, that is in essence what’s happening on Tuesday.

Focus on the injury.  Focus on preventing the injury.


Angels May Drop Anaheim From Team Name

From The Voice of OC:

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may soon drop hometown Anaheim from its brand altogether.

Just as most of Orange County winds down for the Labor Day holiday weekend, Anaheim city council members are gearing up to approve Tuesday night a proposed stadium lease framework that would give the Angels full authority over the team name.

(Click here to read the proposed lease framework.)

Curt Pringle and Arte Moreno

Curt Pringle and Arte Moreno

The deal will likely bring back sour memories for Orange County residents who felt duped when Arte Moreno, who purchased the team in 2003, added Los Angeles to the moniker.

Stadium lease terms now require the team brand to contain the word “Anaheim.” But the lease doesn't specifically bar adding another city, and Moreno won a 2006 court battle when the city alleged in a lawsuit that the name change violated the “spirit” of the lease.

Beyond full naming rights over the team, franchise owners under a proposed framework for negotiating a separate land lease would also get a 66-year lease over the stadium land -- including a 50-acre parcel called the "Stadium District" -- for free.

The city, in that arrangement, would be freed from spending about $600,000 annually for stadium upkeep, according to a staff report.

Under the land lease outline being considered next week, team owners could keep all tax revenue – such as hotel room-taxes and sales tax – generated from developing the area, which includes surplus parking space.

The land around Angel's stadium is estimated to be valued at around $300 million.

With the land lease, the owners could develop a range of tax revenue generating businesses, including hotels and shops.

Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait said that having Anaheim in the team's name was the major benefit for the city in the current lease. He laments that it could now be lost.

“The deal in 1996, which I voted against, the big benefit of that deal was getting the name,” said Tait. “The city lost much of that in the lawsuit, and the rest of it in this deal. And again, what do we get in return? Where's the benefit to the Anaheim taxpayer?”

A staff report claims otherwise, citing up to $213 million in “economic impact” to the city that could be lost if the Angels move.

Council members have been negotiating new stadium lease terms in theory because the Angels' current lease allow the team to leave in 2016. Unless the team quits at that time, it is locked into staying until 2029.

However, Tuesday's proposed extension expands that time frame in the out clause to 2019, which offers the team more time to relocate if it chooses. It also gives up city leverage in negotiations.

If council approves it on Tuesday, the lease extension would be effective that night.

Other deal points, such as the land lease and naming rights, are still subject to negotiations and have to come back for a final council vote.

Tait says that the deal so far is one-sided and, coming on the heels of Labor Day weekend, doesn't give the taxpayers a fair chance to evaluate the deal and participate.

“This makes no sense financially for the city or the taxpayer,” Tait said. “At the very least, it shouldn't be voted on, and we should give the Anaheim residents and taxpayers a chance to weigh in.”

Other council members could not be immediately reached for comment. The Angels' ownership could also not be reached.

Tait's stance on the deal almost certainly means another pitched battle between the isolated mayor and the council majority, which is supported by Disneyland and other elite business interests, including the Angels, over the diversion of city assets and tax revenue to the politically connected.

Earlier this year, the council majority approved a $158 million tax subsidy for the developer of two high-end hotels near the GardenWalk outdoor mall. And in a legal settlement, the council also granted the mall's owners 30 percent of its sales tax revenue the first fiscal year, and up to 50 percent for 25 years.

The council majority argues that such deals would create businesses like the planned four-star hotels, securing revenue in the long term and generating economic activity, along with thousands of jobs, during what has been a slow recovery.

Yet others, including the mayor, hotel market analysts, and Latino activists, have argued that the deals are unnecessary giveaways. Hotel investment experts say that subsidies of the GardenWalk hotels won't be necessary in one-to-two years, and the city could keep the massive tax revenue streams if it simply waited.

Meanwhile, Latino activists have said that business subsidies mean a lack of services for working-class neighborhoods.

Activists and the mayor have cited two Anaheims, one that is subsidized heavily for middle-class and affluent residents, and another that is largely Latino, underserved, and struggling with the social impacts of low-wage jobs in the city's giant tourism industry.

The current lease, signed in 1996, had Disney, the former owner, contribute $80 million toward stadium renovations. The city chipped in $20 million.

Under the proposed lease, the cost for about $150 million in renovations would remain with the Angels. But revenue from the ground lease -- including diverted tax revenue -- would be used to pay for the upgrades.

Other revenue sharing parts of the current lease remain largely intact under the proposal, with tweaks in favor of the team's owners.

For example, the city under the current lease can collect $2 for every ticket above 2.6 million sold. The proposed deal increases the threshold to 3 million tickets by no later than the baseball season beginning in Spring, 2021


More Anti-Anaheim blog baloney. . . .

Today, the Anti-Anaheim blog has new post out, written supposedly by an anonymous contributor named Anaheim Insider.

"At the November 13, 2012 Anaheim City Council meeting, the council wanted to form an ad hoc committee to oversee the city’s negotiations with the Angels regarding an extension on their lease. The council majority planned to name Councilmember Gail Eastman and Councilmember Kris Murray to the ad hoc committee as Mayor Tom Tait had previously claimed a potential conflict of interest because he owned property across from Angels Stadium and his engineering business operated out of a neighboring building.

This is where it gets interesting. In response to an inquiry about the Mayor’s conflict, the Anaheim City Council minutes report what happened next:

“At the request of the Mayor, the City Attorney reported that Mayor Tait had previously secured an advice letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission indicating … he would not have a conflict of interest under the Political Reform Act.”

It has been a couple of months since the city attorney made this interpretation of the FPPC conflict letter. The letter was never made available.

But just last week the FPPC letter was made public. The letter, addressed a question posed by the City Attorney, and this is what was asked:

“May Mayor Tait take part in decisions concerning the city-owned Angel Stadium property if he transfers his ownership interest in real property within 500 feet of the Angel Stadium property to his adult, non-dependent children and amends the lease relating to his leasehold interest in a portion of the same property to prohibit him from profiting from any sublease, assignment or transfer of that leasehold?”

So that was the question asked by the City Attorney about Mayor Tait’s conflicts. And here is the FPPC’s answer:

“By transferring his entire ownership interest in 2130 Orangewood LLC, Mayor Tait will no longer have a disqualifying economic interest in the two parcels of real property owned by that entity. However, Mayor Tait will still have an economic interest in the leasehold which will be directly involved in any governmental decisions involving Angel Stadium.”

“Mayor Tait may not make, participate in making, or influence the decisions unless he can (rebut 5 factors) and determine there is no reasonably foreseeable material financial effects on any other economic interest he may have.”

Apparently the city attorney felt she could interpret all of this as – “Mayor Tait has no conflict.”

(Read the FPPC conflict letter for yourself. You can get a copy of the advice letter from the FFPC. The file number of this advice letter is # A-12-063, dated May 22, 2012.)

It is clear that the city attorney did not to give accurate legal advice. But the real question is whether she should have been fired or allowed to resign for this breach?

The mayor and councilmembers rely on the City Attorney for expert legal advice. When he or she gives poor, unsound or incomplete advice, it is the mayor and councilmembers relying on it who bear the consequences, legal as well as to their reputations."

The problem is Anaheim Insider deliberately left out key segments of the FPPC e-mail response. Here is the whole response (the portion Anaheim Insider left out in bold):

By transferring his entire ownership interest in 2130 Orangewood LLC, Mayor Tait will no longer have a disqualifying economic interest in the two parcels of real property owned by that entity. However, Mayor Tait will still have an economic interest in the leasehold which will be directly involved in any governmental decisions involving Angel Stadium. His proposed amendment to the lease should provide sufficient proof that it is not reasonably foreseeable that governmental decisions affecting Angel Stadium will have any effect on the value of Mayor Tait's right to sublease the real property, either positively or negatively, as set forth in regulation 18705.2(2)(C). 

Then Anaheim Insider goes on to quote another portion of the letter with portions missing:

This notwithstanding, Mayor Tait may not make, participate in making, or influence the decisions unless he can (1) rebut the presumption of materiality by showing that it is not reasonably foreseeable the decisions will have any financial effect on any of the remaining factors enumerated in Regulation 18705.2(a)(2)(A)-(E) with respect to his leasehold interest, and (2) determine that there will be no reasonably foreseeable material financial effects on any other economic interests he may have. 

So if Mayor Tait did what Talley suggested:

1. transfer ownership

2. amends the leasehold

then Mayor Tait has no conflict and he can participate any negotiations related to Angel Stadium. Once again, the Anti-Anaheim blog insinuates wrong doing and maligns the character of our former City Attorney Cristina Talley with no merits.

Anti-Anaheim Blog 2

The latest blog post, on the not to be mentioned other Anaheim centric site, concerns the Anaheim Angels. Sadly the entire post is lacks any credibility, just like the man who runs the blog.


Here are some lines from the post that will give you the sense of why it is baloney:

"Word has been spreading in OC political circles about comments Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait made a couple of weeks ago at a meeting with the Orange County Business Council’s executive board. According to sources who were present, Tait let it be known he would be willing to let the Angels leave rather than spend even a dime of taxpayer money to keep the team in Anaheim. The mayor also said that in his opinion, the Angels didn’t bring a lot of value to Anaheim."

Who are your sources anonymous blog contributor? Do you have an audio/video recording to back up your claims? 

But what if these claims were to be true? Well thankfully a commentator named Biff (I have know idea who this person) has made some very intelligent remarks on this story:

"I’m a homeowner and a family man in his late 30s who grew up in Orange County and has been living in downtown Anaheim for the past nine years. And the more attention I’ve paid to our city government, the more frustrated and cynical I’ve become. The Pringle/Murray/OCBC/CoC bloc seems to believe that ‘a job is a job is a job’ — and that any action they take in the name of MORE JOBS NOW is the right thing to do. But to my mind, these subsidies have us paying top dollar for the very worst kind of low-wage, low-skill, zero-benefit jobs — and then have us paying AGAIN, because in focusing on these low-wage jobs, we’ve just filled our city with an underclass that’s dependent on social services to make ends meet. Declaring that there’s no price too high to keep the Angels around is yet another facet of this jobs-at-any-cost philosophy.

Any responsible city leader should say that while we don’t want the Angels to leave Anaheim, he or she is willing to let it happen. Moreno is going to try to play our city for as much as he possibly can — in response, our city needs to put any rah-rah sentimentality aside and let him know there’s a limit. And again, multiple studies have shown that sports teams don’t bring anywhere near the level of economic benefit that boosters claim they do. Two economists who studied how pro sports strikes and lockouts affected local economies found there was virtually no effect — in a ‘substitution effect’, people simply spent the money that they were spending at the stadium on other forms of entertainment. Municipalities saved money, as they didn’t have to provide their usual gameday public safety response.

(And it’s nice to know that Orange County would be upset if the Angels left, but I don’t recall ‘Orange County’ stepping up to replace the broken slide that sat for months in the park across the street from my house, or offering to replace laid-off librarians. Anyone outside of Anaheim who wants to complain that we’re not giving the Angels everything they want can hold a bake sale to make up the difference, or they can cram it. For a city with so many “economic engines” and “world-class” this and thats, why is it that we look so threadbare most of the time?)"