From The OC Register:
I don’t think there is anything wrong with being clueless.
Let’s face it, there’s no way folks can know as much as a columnist.
Angels owner Arte Moreno, seen here at a fundraiser with his wife, Carole, is in the midst of negotiations with the city of Anaheim over a new stadium lease.
When I hear from those who think they do, and that’s usually every day, I remain very supportive of the ignorant by replying: “It’s always nice to hear from the clueless.”
But I have no such kind words today for the clueless folks charged with the task of working out a new lease for Angel Stadium with Arte Moreno.
They represent the taxpayers in Anaheim, and if this is an example of how they do business, thank heavens I live in Placentia.
“We’re pursuing a positive outcome to see if there is a way of keeping the Angels in Anaheim,” said Charles Black, hired by Anaheim to be its consultant and lawyer.
Hello, is anybody home?
Where are the Angels going?
“There are facilities around the country being built entirely by private funds,” Black said.
The Orange County Register reinforced the sky-is-falling scenario by coupling the Braves’ move to a new suburban stadium with the Angels recently on the front page, although the story itself showed why an Angels move is unlikely.
Atlanta has nothing to do with Southern California, and as the NFL will tell you, public money here is tighter than Moreno when talking contract with Mike Trout.
“When you say there is no place Arte can move,” Black said, and I do, “that’s where this conversation breaks down. That’s absolutely false.”
I liked the sound of that. That suggested Anaheim had done its homework and put together a list of potential landing spots for the Angels if Moreno pulled out of Anaheim.
It’s a no-brainer; beneficial to Anaheim’s cause if it identified the competition and understood what it might be up against.
But I’m told there is no such list.
“I don’t know where they would go,” Black admitted. “I don’t think knowing where they would go is important. It’s just important they could go.
“You’re a sportswriter, you must watch how Arte spends money on his payroll. That’s a significant amount of money, and so he could do the same in building a stadium.”
If he builds a stadium like he signs high-priced free agents, here’s hoping the building inspector makes sure the place doesn’t collapse on everyone.
“I built one of these facilities before,” said Black, who was a key figure in getting Petco Park operational in San Diego.
But Petco Park was a huge redevelopment play in San Diego, having more to do with the neighborhood than the stadium, although public money/redevelopment funds were used to construct the stadium.
“I don’t think Arte could do such a deal now what with those funds no longer available,” Black said. “But look at Sacramento, how it has cobbled together some funds to build a new arena; at least half public financing.”
Sacramento does not have a finalized deal for an arena yet, and while it’s close, the Kings were also close to moving elsewhere.
“I disagree with the conclusion that the Angels can’t go anywhere else,” Black said, “Particularly if the owner has the ability and willingness to spend money on building a facility.”
I have spent almost 20 years covering the Los Angeles effort to build an NFL stadium, and one thing I’ve learned: Rich folks work very hard to make sure someone else pays for whatever they want.
Moreno hasn’t even begun to huff and puff about what he wants, and he already has Anaheim jumping at shadows.
“If you’re right and there’s no place to go, we’ve got the upper leg,” said the consultant.
But Black doesn’t think I am right, and city officials are hearing from Angel fans fearful they will lose their team, presumably because they like to be miserable during the baseball season.
“I don’t know if we’re going to be successful in keeping the Angels in place,” Black said. “I have been told the Angels have been approached by other potential venues.
“You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out potential sites.”
I reminded Black he is not a brain surgeon, so figure it out.
“I expect the Angels have probably been approached by Irvine and probably approached by the City of Industry,” he said. “And they might have other places, too.”
The City of Industry has had a football stadium-ready site for years, and NFL teams free to move have not done so because they must finance stadium construction.
I wanted to know who told Black the team has been approached.
“My counterpart on the Angels (negotiating) team,’’ said Black in referring to the attorney hired by the team.
“They certainly don’t want to create the perception it’s a matter of working out a deal or leaving,” Black continued. “There wasn’t a threat, but realistically the city should understand there is the potential the Angels can relocate.”
Anaheim is so concerned; it has already said it would be willing to talk about giving Moreno development rights to the land around the stadium for $66 over the next 66 years.
“But there has to be real and substantial revenues to benefit the city as we proceed,” said Black, which sounds like tough talk until someone spots a moving van near the stadium.
“Moreno can move around quite a bit and hold on to his broadcasting contract,” Black said in continuing to sound the alarm. “He can’t go to Nevada, but he could probably go to Hawaii. I don’t think he would want to go to Arizona …”
Did you ever try to takes notes while laughing?
The Los Angeles Angels by way of Hawaii?
Yes, sir, it’s always nice to hear from the clueless.