Save Anaheim would like to wish Mayor Tom Tait a very Happy Birthday today. Thank you for all that you do for our community.
Watch the video below:
Watch the roundtable discussion of Kris Murray's attempts to smear Mayor Tom Tait in response to the reprehensible remarks by William Fitzgerald.
Two words come to mind: gutter politics. You know, there are serious differences in the city of Anaheim, real, substantive arguments are going on in that community, and have divided the council and the rest of the city, whether to subsidize resort area development, whether to change the way that council members are elected to give Latinos a bigger voice, how much to give the Angels to keep them in town – these are all those kinds of issues.
To try to link Tom Tait, who whether you agree with him or disagree with him, I don’t know a human being who would say Tom Tait is not a decent human being, to try to suggest that because…frankly, if you look at a video of what happened, he was floored by these comments, and its notable that nobody else on the council, as strongly as they feel now, said anything at that time, at that moment, and Tait, he condemned those remarks, he said “You’re over the line,” he did say you have free speech and all that but this is over the line. And what more is the guy reasonably supposed to do?
Now, there are people who are saying he should shut off the microphone, and you should do all that, and then you get sued and you lose. And this guy who made these remarks, has sued the county in the past, and took the supervisors for a whole long thing. And so to try to link this thing — you know, i can almost see now…it’s interesting you pointed out how the council, how Tait’s enemies seem to have back off a little, but you know, I can just wait for the campaign flyers to go out that Tait is anti-Semitic, he’s endorsing anti-Semitic behavior, and you know what this guy said is disgusting, there are kooks out there, we do have a First Amendment, people have a right to speak to speak at a council meeting and you know, I just think it is reprehensible that those who are against Tait are trying to tie him to these regrettable disgusting remarks.
Rabbi Joel Berman
Mr. Mayor, members of the Council it’s nice to see you guys behaving and getting along well together. (applause)
I am Joel Berman and I am the Rabbi of the only Jewish synagogue in Anaheim and I have seen the video of Mr. Fitzgerald's anti-Semitic rant online. Know that whatever Mr. Fitzgerald sees in his broken tortured world will not be fixed by whatever I say here today. But the idea that Mayor Tait is blameworthy for not stopping Mr. Fitzgerald is spurious at best and the idea that he didn’t stop him because Mr. Fitzgerald is a supporter or that the Mayor himself is anti-Semitic would be laughable if this whole thing wasn’t so sad.
I want to thank attorney Houston for your comments earlier, you set a lot of things straight. I want to thank the Council for your acts of cooperation after the Mayor’s statement. You see, I am a Rabbi, some of you would put it I am a Jewish rabbi, like there were some other kind of rabbi...I don’t know….(laughter) and I have sat in the Mayor’s office at the Mayor’s invitation and we have discussed many subjects. He has explained to me the sacrosanct nature of these 3 minutes as you have yourself (gestures to Houston) and the limitations on anything including hate speech. Tom Tait came to my synagogue for my installation. He sent my son an official city notice congratulating him on his bar mitzvah. If Tom Tait’s an anti semite he does not know how to do it very well.
This whole business that they are talking about is designed to distract people from paying attention to the goings on that some people do not want the public to see. The same goes to taking away the Mayor’s agendizing power. There are those who do not want what they do to be exposed to light. There are creatures on God’s earth that gravitate towards light, toward truth and towards justice, there are others of God’s creatures that recoil from light, and hide in the dark. The Talmud says that in a place where there are no upright people, strive to be upright.
Your choice, your call, and God bless.
(Council Chambers explodes in applause and cheering.)
From The Voice of OC:
In the latest development of what has become a zero-sum political battle on the Anaheim City Council, the council majority — with help from powerbroker Curt Pringle — has apparently launched a coordinated attack against Mayor Tom Tait for his handling of an anti-Semitic and homophobic rant by a council gadfly at the body’s most recent public meeting.
During the public comment period of last week's meeting, William Denis Fitzgerald shocked the council chamber by declaring that “evil Jews” like Councilman Jordan Brandman were to blame for hatred of the Jewish people and the genocidal crimes of the Holocaust. Fitzgerald ended his rant with a homophobic slur.
Fitzgerald, a well-known City Hall gadfly and provocateur, for years has pushed the limits of free speech with offensive language at council meetings. He has often called the women on the council “Disney whores” for their support of the megaresort and corporate subsidies.
During Fitzgerald's tirade against “scheming Jews like Jordan Brandman,” Tait interrupted him and asked him not to be so “mean.” After Fitzgerald ended the speech with a homosexual slur, Tait rebuked him, saying that Fitzgerald has free speech rights, but that Fitzgerald's comments “crossed the line.”
No other council member said a word for the record.
Fitzgerald's remarks came during a special meeting set by Brandman to strip Tait of his power to schedule council agenda items between meetings. According to Councilwoman Lucille Kring, the council majority removed that power so Tait couldn't repeatedly place the controversial proposed lease terms for Angel Stadium on the council agenda.
A spokeswoman for the Anti-Defamation League said Tait and his council colleagues could have done a better job of condemning Fitzgerald's comments but allowed that they reacted like most people do when stunned by such hate speech.
However, Pringle's camp and Councilwoman Kris Murray, the acknowledged leader of the council majority, immediately began publicly lashing out at Tait.
The night of the council meeting, Todd Priest of Curt Pringle & Associates, a lobbying firm owned by the former mayor and whose clients include influential business interests the mayor has opposed, sent a text message to Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom, who is Jewish, notifying her of the incident.
The next day, he contacted the Orange County Human Relations Commission and blamed Tait for allowing hate to be spewed at the council meeting.
Murray, in a debate aired Oct. 4 on Rick Reiff's SoCal Insider, said Tait should have used his gavel power to stop Fitzgerald's tirade and referred to Fitzgerald as one of Tait's supporters.
Tait was flabbergasted by Murray's accusation, noting that Fitzgerald is hardly a supporter. In fact, Tait has previously sued Fitzgerald for filing misleading ballot statements essentially accusing Tait's firm, Tait & Associates, of corruption.
Murray also wrote an Oct. 2 letter to Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission, urging him to have the commission “review the matter and provide guidance on this very important issue.”
“While I would be the first to defend freedom of speech," Murray wrote, "I also believe that the Mayor's inaction was shameful, and, frankly, untruthful. He could have taken proactive action as the presiding officer to gavel the statements disrespectful and out of order, use the dais mute button, or request access to stop this hate speech.”
On the same day, Priest emailed the Human Relations Commission to make the same point.
“As I watched, I assumed the Mayor would gavel the comments out of order, but citing free speech rights he was permitted to continue,” Priest wrote in an email to the commission.
Murray and Priest did not return phone calls seeking comment.
One prominent observer said the council majority and Pringle's camp have hijacked Fitzgerald's rant for their own political agenda and to divert attention away from the mayor's concerns regarding the stadium.
“They're using Fitzgerald as the diversion, because they don't want to see light on what they're doing. … As Jews, we've seen this before,” said Rabbi Joel Berman of Anaheim-based Temple Beth Emet, which means “house of truth” in Hebrew. “That's how it would seem to any rational person.”
Tait argued that he did what he could, given Fitzgerald's First Amendment rights. He said that the city attorney has advised Tait that it would be illegal to stop Fitzgerald's rants.
Tait's colleagues made some offhand remarks with their microphones off, such as Councilwoman Lucille Kring suggesting that Brandman sue Fitzgerald. Only Tait said for the record that Fitzgerald's comments went too far.
“My council colleagues and I sat stunned during his rant, because we recognize that the courts have found that censoring such comments would violate First Amendment rights to free speech,” Tait wrote in a Facebook post, “... but I can call it what it is, morally reprehensible.”
So far, only the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay conservative group, has urged only Tait to take more action. The group has called for a protest before the Oct. 8 council meeting. “We urge all Republicans to contact the Mayor and ask him to immediately provide decorum at meetings and put an end to the attacks on the Jewish and Gay Communities,” the group's statement reads.
Other Jewish leaders have roundly condemned Fitzgerald's speech, but their criticism of Tait has been tepid at best. None advocated shutting down Ftizgerald's free speech rights.
“There are always going to be people out there who for one reason or another, whether its illness or pure bigotry, are going to say stuff like that,” said Aaron Breitbart, who works in the research wing of the New York-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“There's only so much I can suppose [Tait] can do. … The question is, legally, what can he do about it? I really don't know. … I can understand that he may feel that his hands are tied.”
Melissa Carr, regional director of the Orange County wing of the Anti-Defamation League, said that while the council need not stop Fitzgerald, council members should have been united in condemning such vitriol though she conceded in such moments, people are stunned and “frozen in time.”
“Could [Tait] have done better? Sure. Could the City Council have gotten behind him and done better? Sure, they all could have,” Carr said.
Irvine Councilwoman Beth Krom, who is Jewish, acknowledged the text message from Priest, criticized Fitzgerald's comments and said that generally she finds it also terrible when someone uses hate incidents for their own political agenda. She cautioned, however, that she is unaware of the specifics of Anaheim's situation.
“I think it's bad when people engage in hateful and inappropriate speech. It's not any better when people use that politically to create wedges in the community,” Krom said.
Some even praised Tait's handling of the situation.
Republican Irvine Councilman Jeffrey Lalloway, who also is Jewish, said that Tait did all he could do, given the right to free speech accorded to Fitzgerald. Tait immediately admonished Fitzgerald after the remarks, saying that First Amendment rights shouldn't be a license to spread hate.
For someone “to turn it around and make it seem like Tom should have done more … clearly doesn't understand the First Amendment of the Constitution and is placing blame at the feet of someone who tried to defend the honor of Jewish Americans,” Lalloway said.
From The Liberal OC:
There is zero doubt in my mind that the rant delivered by Anaheim gadfly William Fitzgerald at last Monday’s Special Meeting of the Anaheim City Council was anti-Semitic and anti-gay. It was a bigoted rant that deserves to be condemned by all who witness it. My colleague, Dan Chmielewski, took Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait and his Republican colleagues to task for failing to immediately condemn Fitzgerald’s comments. I have to disagree with Dan on his characterization of Mayor Tait’s response to Mr. Fitzgerald both during and after his comments.
Dan failed to recognize that Mayor Tait did interrupt Fitzgerald during his comments and requested that his commentary be modified to be “not so mean.” Mayor Tait was a bit tame in his criticism of Fitzgerald’s commentary up to that point. By the time Tait interrupted him, the comments had already crossed a line of civility and into the realm of anti-Semitic. I believe that he should have been more forceful in condemning the Fitzgerald’s comments. But Tait is limited by law, and the U.S. Constitution in what he could do about it, and it was clear from Fitzgerald’s response to Tait, that Fitzgerald was quite aware of those limitations.
But the public criticism of Tait by Councilwoman Kris Murray during her appearance on the SoCal Insider program with Rick Reiff, demonstrated her willingness to use Fitzgerald’s outrageous actions to distract from the discussion of the criticisms that Mayor Tait and his supporters have surrounding the decision by the Council majority to limit his ability to place items on the council agenda between meetings. Specifically, his desire to agendize and discuss the negotiations between the City and Angels owner Arte Moreno over the future of Anaheim Stadium and the land surrounding it.
Read the full story here:
From The OC Weekly:
A week ago, longtime Anaheim crank William Denis Fitzgerald made waves during a special Anaheim city council meeting by lambasting councilman Jordan Brandman as representative of a small cabal of "evil" and "scheming" Jews, and topped it off by calling him "one very sick faggot."
Fitzgerald's homophobic slur at the end elicited immediate disapproval and disgust from the dais and the assembled public. Condemnations of Fitzgerald--Anaheim's version of Archie Bunker, who has also trashed Muslims and Vietnamese in the past--rightfully came swiftly from all corners, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Log Cabin Republicans and the Orange County Human Relations Commission issuing press releases decrying him. And, Anaheim politics being what they are today, Councilwoman Kris Murray and her lackeys at the blog headed by hack Matt Cunningham (who outed sex-abuse victims) are blaming Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait for Fitzgerald's rant. Murray appeared alongside Tait on PBS' SoCal Insider saying, "I think what's hardball is when we have the chambers filled with hate speech...That really is what should be the story, the presiding officer not taking action to stop what was some very clear, horrific things that were anti-Semitic."
What a pendeja--especially considering last year, one of Cunningham's frequent commentators was as racist toward Mexicans...yet nary a peep.
James Robert Reade has long launched his racist screeds--and only we have complained. His berating of bereaved Anaheim mothers who lost their sons in fatal officer-involved shootings landed him a spot on the Weekly's 'Scariest People' issue last year. He remains the only loser ever banned from commenting on our blogs--and you know how damn lenient we are.
During an April 2012 meeting of the Anaheim city council, Reade gave nasty comments comparing Mexicans to apes. "Bonobos in captivity have learned to use human language unlike Latino gang bangers and graffiti vandals who flunk out of Anaheim High School and use gang bang gibberish," he said. "Bonobo females migrate to other groups when they reach puberty eliminating the chance for incest and this increases genetic diversity whereas incest is prevalent among females and their Latino uncles."
He capped off the particularly rant that I described then as an "uninterrupted display that would make an early 20th century eugenicist blush," by likening council candidate John Leos to an "intellectually defunct" Latino.
Where was the chorus of condemnation then? Or ever, as Reade's screeds continue complete with mocking stereotypical accents? Oh, that's right. He lambasts Mexis and in OC that will only get you a chorus of crickets.
It is a well known FACT that Kris Murray can't stand dissent of any kind online or in print as Jason Young found out.
Murray has blocked Anaheim activists from posting on her council Facebook page, on the Keep the Angels Facebook page, and now on a popular Anaheim Hills Facebook group called The Anaheim Hills Buzz.
For someone who regularly voices her love of democracy, transparency, and citizen involvement, it seems odd that she is he first person to hit the BLOCK button. What are you afraid of councilwoman Murray? What are you trying to hide from the public?
It is also interesting to note that she hasn't posted the PBS SoCal Insider debate she engaged in with Mayor Tom Tait last week. Does she fear that people will realize what a liar she is? Even the host Rick Reiff could see right through her.
By Mayor Tom Tait
(comments by Save Anaheim in bold)
This past Monday, a special meeting of the Anaheim City Council was held, and an Anaheim resident, who regularly attends council meetings and regularly makes offensive comments, came forward and made statements that were particularly egregious as they were both anti-Semitic and bigoted, and directed toward my council colleague, Jordan Brandman.
I’ve had some time to stew on this terrible experience and I want to make it clear to anyone who was in City Hall Monday morning, and to all of the people who live, work, shop or play here in the City of Anaheim that we believe that all people are created equal, and that we soundly reject hate-mongering, anti-Semitism, and bigotry wherever it should rear its ugly head.
For years this individual has repeatedly attacked the council and me in a vicious and untruthful manner.
My council colleagues and I sat stunned during his rant, because we recognize that the courts have found that censoring such comments would violate First Amendment rights to free speech.
However, his comments on Monday set a new low even for him. I used the limited powers that are allowed to me as Mayor to attempt to bring forth some sense of civility from his comments. I have been told by our city attorney that I cannot legally stop him from saying such hateful things, but I can call it what it is, morally reprehensible.
Mayor Tait's opposition has tried to paint Dennis Fitzgerald as a supporter when he in fact is NOT. Kris Murray even went on PBS and tried to deflect the conversation away from the awful Angel Stadium deal and pin this lunatics actions on Mayor Tait. Shameful.
This is a public service announcement from Save Anaheim regarding AnaheimBlog.net and KeepTheAngels.com. Both of these sites are paid for by the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and run by Matt Cunningham.
There is nothing grassroots about either website. The sole intent of these sites is to spin the truth for the ethically challenged Anaheim City Council majority. A council majority that has voted for some of the biggest taxpayer giveaways in Anaheim's history.
Here are some of their greatest hits:
1. $319 million Disney streetcar system
2. $158 million GardenWalk Hotel giveaway
3. $1 per ear lease agreement with Arte Moreno to develop the Angel Stadium parking lot (negotiations pending)
4. $184 million ARTIC train station
Please keep this in mind when you read either site. These people are not on the side of Angel fans or the residents of Anaheim. The only thing on their mind is how can they rip off the taxpayers and enrich their friends.
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!!!
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!
See video below from The Voice of OC:
Not one person spoke in favor of Jordan Brandman's motion to silence Mayor Tait. Watch the video highlights below:
From The OC Register:
ANAHEIM – Mayor Tom Tait on Monday morning was stripped of the ability to place items onto City Council meeting agendas whenever he wants – one of the few powers, beyond those of regular council members, he wielded as the elected head of Orange County’s largest city.
The move came during an unusually early special meeting called for 8 a.m. by the City Council majority, which voted 4-1 to change the policy on how items are added to the agenda. Now, all City Council members must place items onto future agendas during the “council communications” held at the close of a meeting.
The policy change is less restrictive than the idea suggested last week by Councilman Jordan Brandman, who wanted agenda items to be called by two members of the City Council.
Before the vote, each of the council members in the majority repeatedly characterized the move as an “administrative clean-up.”
“I think it was a mean-spirited act. It was bullying by the council and it hurts the office of the mayor and the way the city operates,” said Tait, who cast the dissenting vote. “I don’t know how the city will operate if the mayor or members of the council can’t place items on the agenda in between meetings.”
Brandman requested the policy change last week, when the City Council held a 90-minute debate that essentially rehashed the same set of arguments made Sept. 3 about the ongoing lease re-negotiations for Angel Stadium.
At the start of Monday’s meeting, Tait said the stadium lease should be discussed during every third City Council meeting until the negotiations are completed.
“If you’re going to be asking things (be added to the agenda), it should be done in a public venue at the dais,” Councilwoman Kris Murray said. “There’s nothing harmful here. You’ll still be able to add things whenever you want.”
A couple of dozen people spoke during the meeting in opposition to the council’s move to limit the mayor. None supported the plan.
“(Brandman) wants to stifle the mayor (concerning) things that need public debate,” said Amin David of the community group Los Amigos.
Kandis Richardson, head of the Renew West Anaheim Committee, said she is considering moving from the city because of how the council majority consistently votes against the mayor’s will.
“I’m working toward cleaning up the city on the west side, and you guys want to take the mayor and beat him into the ground,” Richardson said. “I thought you guys were all on the city’s side and my side, but I don’t think you are.”
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.”
From the LA Times:
When Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait was elected nearly three years ago, he was the easy favorite. The Republican had the support of the city's longtime outgoing mayor and its business community. He ran on a ticket alongside two winning council candidates. Tait was well poised to wield power.
Three years later, Tait's positions on controversial issues have so angered former allies that he has become a lone wolf, constantly at odds with the rest of the City Council.
Last year, the council voted to slash his staff budget.
Now — with negotiations at full boil to keep the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team in the resort city — the council is considering stripping him of one of his only significant powers: the ability to put items on council agendas.
Councilman Jordan Brandman, who made the proposal at a Tuesday council meeting, said he is simply trying to streamline the way the council operates.
"I know the mayor has said many times that he values protocol and proper procedure and that is exactly my goal with this proposal," he said.
But others see less earnest motives.
"This is not about the agenda," said Fred Smoller, associate professor of political science at Chapman University, who teaches a class on Orange County politics. "They're giving him a little slap. They're sending a signal."
Last year, Tait surprised many people when he vocally lent his support to a proposal by Latino activists to change the city's at-large voting system to elections by district to reflect the sweeping ethnic and economic changes in Orange County's largest city. Tait's effort to allow city residents to vote on the change was defeated.
Tait also fought a $158-million tax incentive given to the developer of two luxury hotels near Disneyland. The subsidy was approved 4 to 1, with Tait the lone dissenter. This month, he has been loudly critical about the parameters of a deal to keep the Angels in Anaheim. Again, Tait cast the lone dissenting vote earlier this month against the deal.
Since last year, City Council meetings have become increasingly tense, with Tait, who has the power to run the meetings, frequently involved in tiffs with his fellow council members.
"He has proved to be much more independent than anybody would have guessed," said Eric Altman, executive director of Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development, an advocacy organization that backs district elections.
The suggestion to strip the mayor of the agenda-setting power came after Tait put the Angels deal on the council's agenda this week. Though the parameters for negotiations were approved weeks ago, Tait said he felt the public had not had an adequate opportunity to examine the proposal, which was announced just before the Labor Day weekend. So he put it on Tuesday's agenda.
After a heated meeting, Brandman said he wanted to change the city's procedures. Brandman, who sided with the mayor on the district election issue, said he isn't making a political move.
"I think we need to have full equanimity and equality," he said. "Let's all operate under the same rules."
Brandman said the council needs to address the issue because Tait has used his agenda-setting power multiple times this year.
His proposal would erode the mayor's powers, forcing him to get the support of at least one additional council member to put an item on the agenda. Any item that had the support of two council members would also be placed on the agenda.
Such a move, Tait said, "muzzles dissent and muzzles public discourse."
"The bottom line is that if the board doesn't agree with something, it won't get on the agenda to air to the public," he said.
Mark Petracca, associate professor of political science at UC Irvine, said California mayors almost always have the authority to set a city council's agenda.
"It's one of the very few explicit powers that they have, normally specified in city code. It would be highly, highly unusual to take that authority away from a mayor," he said in an email.
A special meeting to discuss the proposal is set for 8 a.m. Monday at Anaheim City Hall.
Kevin Hogan Good for Mayor Tait. He's got my support. A sports team threatening to move in order to extract more concessions from its host city is the oldest trick in the book, and he's the only one who's not falling for it hook, line, and sinker.
Keep the Angels Kevin - We welcome debate and discussion and your point of view is welcome. But the Mayor needs to provide facts. He has called the Angels deal the largest subsidy for a sports team in the history of the country and that is clearly not correct. There are tons of cities that have raised taxes and built teams new stadiums. None of that is happening here. He is opposed to everything and hasn't offered a plan to keep the Angels, just running around stirring everything up. That's not the leadership that Angels fans are looking for to keep the team here. The negotiating framework is clear. The Angels stay until 2057, they agree to pay $150 million to upgrade the stadium instead of the taxpayers, and they agree to help develop the parking lot like the City has always wanted.
Kevin Hogan This deal may not be raising my taxes *directly*, but it is unquestionably diverting money to Arte Moreno that would otherwise go into city coffers. For example, currently the city doesn't get a share of Angels ticket money until 2.6 million tickets have been sold in a season; the proposed deal would raise that threshhold even further, to 3 million tickets. And for that $150 million in improvements, the city is giving Moreno -- whether the Angels stay or not! -- unrestricted use of 155 acres of prime land, located in the middle of Orange County near the intersection of three major freeways, for SIXTY-SIX YEARS. Please don't disrespect the intelligence of the people of Anaheim by pretending that Moreno doesn't come out *way* ahead on that trade. I don't know if this is "the largest subsidy for a sports team in the history of the country", but it *IS* a huge subsidy, even if it doesn't come from raised taxes. Mayor Tait is right to question it, and I only wish that the other four would do the same.
Keep the Angels Kevin - Please don't disrespect the intelligence of the people of Anaheim by saying that you and the Mayor wish there was development in the stadium parking lot, and therefore, if the Angels make it finally make it happen, it is a subsidy. The City has been trying to get someone to develop the dining/entertainment/shopping district outside the stadium for almost 20 years and it hasn't happened. Now the Angels are saying they will do it, plow a portion of money they make off of that back into the city owned stadium to upgrade it so the taxpayers don;t have to, and the residents would get to enjoy those businesses and the City would benefit from the jobs and taxes on those new businesses. The Mayor somehow thinks that is a bad thing.
Kevin Hogan "Keep the Angels": If we are giving Arte Moreno something of great value (155 acres of well-situated, essentially vacant land) so that he can kick a pittance back to us in the form of stadium upkeep, then yes, he is getting a subsidy. We are giving him something more valuable than he is giving us in return. And you realize that the stadium lease MOU and the "Stadium District" ground lease MOU aren't linked, right? As things are currently written, the Angels could bug out of Anaheim as early as 2019, but Arte Moreno's investment group would *still* hold the lease to the land around the stadium for a minimum of sixty-six years. (2079!) It's the worst of all possible worlds -- the Angels are gone and the stadium is empty (thanks to the Council majority pushing the Angels opt-out date back from 2016 to 2019), but we don't have any money to pay for stadium renovations, because (thanks to the Council majority) we gave away the development rights to all of the land around the stadium for a dollar a year!
Keep the Angels Kevin, all you can do is offer wild speculation and contrived doom and gloom scenarios which ignore one simple fact that the land is valuable in large part because the stadium and baseball team. How else do you and your friend the mayor come up with these scenarios where the angels develop the parking lot and then take the team. Why would anyone do that? A chunk of the moon could also break off and hit the stadium too, so we better charge the angels for asteroid insurance. It's because of this irresponsible rhetoric that we wonder why the Mayor wants the negotiations to keep the angels to fail? The current deal protects the taxpayers, brings jobs and economic development to the city and keeps the angels. The Mayor needs to explain why he opposes that.
Kevin Hogan Spare me. You're the guys who are trying to whip up the "OMG THE ANGELS ARE LEAVING!!!1!" hysteria in order to up the pressure on the Council to accept this lousy deal. Pointing out that the MOUs are so poorly structured that they allow Arte to keep the money and run isn't "doom and gloom", it's responsible concern for the city I live in. I'm sure that *Moreno* hasn't overlooked this scenario; you don't get to be a billionaire by being stupid. I can hardly wait for the "Keep the Angels" rallies we'll be having in 2018; I wonder what we'll be promising them then, seeing as we will have already given the store away on this round.
From the Orange Juice Blog:
1. Tom Tait’s Intuition
Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has long had this feeling that something deeply wrong about the study submitted showing the economic impact of Angels Baseball on the City of Anaheim — the one claiming to show how much each adult and child spends in Anaheim outside the stadium while attending a game.
(We specify “outside the stadium” to see how much money is injected into the City’s economy; money spent inside the stadium, with some relatively small exceptions that don’t depend on spending beyond admission tickets and parking, belongs entirely to the baseball team — and doesn’t circulate through Anaheim’s economy. The profit primarily enhances the economy of where Arte Moreno lives, in Arizona.)
Tait hasn’t been shy about expressing this intuition from the dais. It doesn’t make sense to him that the average fan living in Anaheim spends about $11.50 outside the stadium but within Anaheim each time they attend a game. It doesn’t make sense to him that the average person coming to the stadium from outside of Anaheim spends about $14.25, nor that the rare average person coming from far enough away to make an overnight trip of it is spending about $103 outside the stadium but within Anaheim. But the results of the study are the results — and one has to respect them, right?
Not quite. It’s legitimate to explore and test those assumptions. People doing studies often can’t measure things directly; they have to do the best they can and argue that those assumptions make sense. And so, during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Tait tried to get at exactly what sort of survey had been done to establish that fans were spending that much money outside of Angels Stadium but inside the city. And he finally got a cogent answer.
None. The researchers did no study of Anaheim itself before reaching this critical conclusion. It was based on studies of fans attending games in other cities.
That matters because Anaheim is not like other cities. I don’t mean that in some global and fuzzy “Anaheim has the bestest fans in the world” sense. I mean that, literally, it is not like other cities.
It’s a matter of simple geography! Just look at a map!
2. Anaheim is Long and Skinny and Its Stadium is on the Very Edge of Town
That section heading sort of gives away the game, but let’s literally look at a map anyway. Here — let’s use the one posted inside the City Council chamber itself.
Let’s take a closer look at the “baseball stadium” portion of the map.
For the benefit of anyone who may be unfamiliar with Anaheim — such as, perhaps, the people paid big bucks out of the public treasury to do an economic study of the impact of Angels baseball on the city’s economy – that big diagonal freeway west of the stadium is I-5 and the vertical freeway just to the left is SR-57. Where they come together just outside the photo, you’d find a third freeway, SR-22, which is not in Anaheim.
Why does “not in Anaheim” matter? Because the sales tax, hotel (TOT) tax, etc. from that big white areadoes not go to Anaheim. It goes to someone in Orange County, sure — but not Anaheim. That’s important because Anaheim is the place being asked to foot the bill.
Let’s take a bird’s eye look at the whole region:
So now you can ask yourself: how likely are those attending an Angels game to eat outside of the stadium but still in Anaheim? If they’re looking to eat within a five-mile radius of the stadium, not very likely. If they’re looking to eat within a ten-mile radius, far less so. And, of course, some people will eat further away than that. (Yes, there are potential expenses beyond eating, but except for street parking a similar analysis will apply.)
A scrupulous analysis would look at the range of restaurants, how many cars usually use each exit at this time of day, how many cars use the Gene Autry Way exist from which one passes pretty much nothing edible on the way into the stadium, etc. Or there’s another sneaky way to find out what people do: ASK THEM DIRECTLY. Create a questionnaire, publish a draft, post it to get feedback, and then assign a survey company blind to the desired result to interview maybe 50 people per game. Then you’d have a reasonably good idea of how much visiting fans stimulate the local economy.
But that’s not what our pricey consultants did! (More on what they did do below!)
The Angels Stadium deal may be very good for the people of Orange or Garden Grove or Placentia or my beloved Brea, where people might stop to buy gas en route to the game. (City motto: “come check out our Mall!”) It may be nice for the cities of Fullerton or Huntington Beach or Irvine or Brea — come check out our Mall! — where we may eat before we go to the game. But except for people driving to the stadium on surface streets from the north or northwest, there’s not much reason to expect that they’re going to stop and spend in Anaheim itself on the way to or from the game — especially because that area is crowded on game gays — unless they have a particular hankering to go to a particular restaurant.
This is very much unlike other cities — Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco, etc. — hosting stadiums. If you were compared Angels Stadium to, say, Minute Maid Stadium in Houston, it would probably be fair to compare how much extra money is generated in Orange County overall to how much is generated in the City of Houston. But if you’re sitting on the Anaheim City Council — and if you’re trying to represent the people of Anaheim — then comparing Anaheim to Houston in terms of tax revenue generated for the City is puzzling.
Or — it’s not “puzzling” so much as absurd. Why?
The money spent outside of Anaheim does not go into Anaheim’s General Fund. Is that clear enough? IT DOES NOT BENEFIT ANAHEIM.
So what did the researchers do instead of the sort of survey of fans that I suggest?
If I understood correctly, they did not study Anaheim directly at all – but simply created a model for Anaheim based on data for a few places like Houston. (“Close enough for government work!”)
This is bad! What economic benefit baseball brings to the City of Houston is not a good guide of what will come to the City of Anaheim. Why is that? Take a look at this map — with the “A” pin representing Minute Maid Stadium, home of the Astros, and with the boundaries of the City of Houston superimposed:
Do I need to spell this out? If you are going to a Houston Astros game and want to have dinner, you are pretty much going to have that dinner within the boundaries of the City of Houston! And that isnot true Angels fans and dining in Anaheim. And when the promised economic benefits from an Angels deal don’t materialize – this will be one big reason why! (That’s OK from the Council’s perspective — the argument’s purpose is just to give the Council political cover, not to accurately predict the future.)
Of course, as stated above, there is an exception: maybe people just really want to go to a restaurant in Anaheim. And it’s true that there are some restaurants that people absolutely do target as their dining destination. Of course, if you want to predict how well Anaheim businesses will do overall from just one such restaurant, you should know that there is a catch!
3. There is Only One Catch …
One restaurant in particular that does do really well on game days is actually on the grounds of the stadium parking lot area itself — you know, the 155-acre parcel potentially being leased to Arte Moreno personally for $1/year – although as I read the proposed MOU all of the revenue from this restaurant would go to Arte Moreno rather than to the City!
That restaurant is called “The Catch” — sometimes known as “Curt Pringle’s second office,” he dines and does business there so often. And in fact, at the September 3 Council meeting — and at the September 24 Council meeting and at the tiny “Keep the Angels” rally at City Hall prior to the Sept. 24 Council meeting — the manager of this restaurant was trotted out to give speeches about how important the Angels were to his business. And, the example of The Catch was cited by members of the City Council Majority repeatedly to justify why keeping the Angels was so important to Anaheim’s business community.
There is only one catch to this argument: There Is Only One “Catch.”
OF COURSE the Angels baseball games are a great boon for The Catch – THEY ARE LOCATED INSIDE THE FREAKING PARKING LOT ITSELF! How many other restaurants have valet parking in a blocked off area within the Stadium Parking Lot? I think that it’s roughly “none.” There is only one “Catch” — and you can’t reasonably generalize from its experience to that of other restaurants!
If trying to estimate how much income baseball spending will bring to Anaheim restaurants based on what happens in Houston is a 7.5 on a scale of ten point scale of absurdity, trying to estimate that benefit based on the economic effect on The Catch itself has to be at least a 9.8. But look at the video, friends — that’s really what the Council Majority — everyone but Mayor Tait — was doing.
And, of course, the irony is that what money we get from The Catch won’t benefit the City either, just as if it were a restaurant located in Westminster. Here’s a proposal that I’d like to see written into the lease: the City gets to own all restaurants within the 155-acre parcel, paying Arte Moreno rent of $1 per year for the lot of them. THEN Anaheim taxpayers would at least be profiting from the deal. We can even keep the same restaurant manager — he seems like a nice guy — and the same employees. And the current owners can set up a new storefront around Magnolia and La Palma – freeway close — and presumably still benefit from the great boon Angels baseball offers to the City overall. (That’s the theory, right?)
By the way — Kris Murray said from the dais on Tuesday that Arte Moreno’s character was being assassinated in the local blogs. While the Murrbot doesn’t seem to have the sort of crush on me that Lucille Kring has apparently developed, I have a feeling that she may have been referring in part to the work of your humble author. So let me make this clear: I cast no aspersions on Arte Moreno or on the owner of the Catch. Each of them, so far as I know, are just good businessmen taking advantage of a Council that seems intent on serving the interests of Curt Pringle, Todd Ament, SOAR and a few others to the exclusion of everyone else.
I’d love it if Arte Moreno responded to the overture by Charlie Black by saying that the deal was too generous to him and would smear his reputation if he accepted it, so it should be scaled back — but that would be too much to expect of most businessmen, especially when they don’t even live in the state and can tune their critics out. He’s one of the people who will profit — although probably not nearly as much as the entity (commonly suspected to involve Curt Pringle or others in the Pringle Ring as agents or part-owners) — and if he has made a deal with someone to sell the rights to them, then he is doing something bad. (So don’t do that Arte, not even tacitly.) But that doesn’t make him a bad person.
The bad people are the people making it easy for him to do it. Four of them are sitting on the Anaheim City Council — and a bunch of others are paid City staff, like City Attorney Michael Houston and his former mentor (can you BELIEVE that?) former San Diego Padres President Charlie Black.
I’m besmirching Murray’s reputation, nor Moreno’s — but I’m doing so only by writing honestly about what she’s doing.
4. Responses to the Big Reveal from the Podium
I truly thought that Tom Tait might fall over sideways when he learned that the study on which a major argument for the proposed MOUs were based — the beneficial economic income for the City of Anaheim’s General Fund — was derived from studying very dissimilar cities like Houston rather than Anaheim. Whether he’d fall over laughing or crying or both, I can’t say.
But the Mayor kept his composure. He pointed out that this pretty much bolstered his intuition that the judgment about how much money fans brought into Anaheim’s coffers was deeply flawed. The Murrbot had been attacking him relentlessly for raising his concerns about the proposed MOU in part by talking about the great economic benefits of the stadium proven by this solid scientific study — why, just consider the example of THE CATCH! – and for a moment I thought that she actually understood that her contention that this was a sound study of economic impact had a direct hit from a powerful truth missile.
I haven’t reviewed the video — I don’t really have time — but from my second-row venue it looked to me as if the Murrbot faltered for a moment. Did her programmer Pringle himself not know that the study was a bunch of bullflop? Did he know and for some reason just not prepare her for this sort of challenge? What we she supposed to do? THEY HADN’T EVEN STUDIED ANAHEIM AT ALL! HOW CAN THIS STILL BE CONSIDERED A STRONG AND RELIABLE SCIENTIFIC STUDY???
I thought that I saw the Murrbot wobble for a moment. It looked like the Murrbot couldn’t remember all of her programming — an even greater problem than her never having understood it in the first place. But then, during the course of a long and unpunctuated sentence, the programming finally kicked in. If Pringle had just neglected to tell her this little tidbit, it was obviously the right call. She had nothing to rely on other than the direct script that she had been given. And so — she recited from it.
The Murrbot assured us that this was an excellent study, very reliable, top-drawer, undeniable in its conclusions — soup sort of stew along those lines, the details of which I could not recall because I was inwardly weeping for Kris Murray’s robot essence. (Repairs to a CPU can be expensive.) She knows “good” and this study was “good” and shut up. The end.
Now, though, Murray’s going to have to explain — over and over again during the next 400 or so days before the next election — why she thinks that a study of Angels’ baseball’s economic benefit to Anaheim that is based on a model from cities like Los Angeles and Houston without reference to Anaheim itself makes any kind of sense.
And of course there’s the follow-up question — I’ll be sporting and put it right out front so that her programmers can get started on it — which is this: when she tells us other things about economic benefit to Anaheim, are they also based on nothing more than the ability to parrot Curt Pringle’s bullshit as directed? In other words, is this disaster for her credibility an aberration — or is really just business as usual?
Oddly, I’m starting to think that the woman among the majority who may be the first to figure this out is Gail Eastman — the one who stands the least to gain personally from being part of the Pringle Ring. If Eastman turns, what will Jordan Brandman do? He’s so rarely without the cover provided him.
And let’s just internalize one final lesson from last night. We only learned this incredibly important factabout the model being used to predict the economic benefits to Anaheim for one reason: because Tom Tait asked City Staff the right question. And that makes Jordan’s proposal to keep Tait from putting these sorts of concerns onto the agenda really, really, REALLY bad.
Would Jordan prefer that we didn’t know about this travesty? Because if he had already gotten his way and passed his Pringle-crafted proposal a month ago — we wouldn’t! WE WOULD NOT KNOW.
How’s a court going to feel about that?
From the Orange Juice Blog:
BREAKING NEWS: Arte Moreno’s Demand for Keeping Angels in Anaheim Includes Curt Pringle’s First Born Child
OK, so that didn’t happen. But based on the current MoUs, one can’t but wonder — if Arte did make such a demand, would it be met?
The Anaheim City Council has worked diligently over the past few weeks knitting a rather large wool blanket. The latest attempt at hoodwinking comes in a new Facebook Page: Keep the Angels
This is a VERY interesting page. It makes gratuitous use of trademarked Angel logos and proprietary photos, is apparently well staffed at 8:30 on a Monday night (I made two rather benign replies, which were both removed inside of five minutes along with banning my user ID,) and the posts reveal insider access to negotiations surrounding the MOU.
Of course, this naturally begs the question, who’s running this page? The Angels? The council majority? The Chamber of Commerce? Think about that while reading this post. The page claims to be “grassroots”. Anyone else smell the horrible stench of astroturf? Someone got paid to do this. Someone should be getting a refund, too. I’ve seen plenty of bad turf jobs, but this is just sad.
A quick review on the current state of affairs: During the last city council meeting, the City of Anaheim approved two Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) outlining the terms of future negotiations for Anaheim Stadium and separately for the surrounding land. While not all of the terms are explicitly immediately binding, the city did make a commitment to negotiate in good faith — which for the sake of brevity means that Anaheim can’t just say “no” to any of the individual terms. The Council will discuss the recently approved MoU Tuesday night; both sides have mobilized their propaganda machines to pack the council chambers with their supporters.
“Keep the Angels” apparently seeks to make use of general ignorance related to the MoUs. Just take a quick look at a few comments attached to posts:
“I thought they were just changing the name?”
“What the hell, Anaheim. What are you thinking?”
“PLEASE DON’T TAKE AWAY THE ANGELS.”
How does one capitalize on ignorance exactly? Well, it’s actually not that hard. The formula is about 4000 years old:
1) Yell “FIRE!, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES OR YOU WILL ALL DIE!”
2) Get 10 of your friends to get up, scream, and run away.
3) Relentlessly mock the intelligence of those who question if there actually is a fire or the need to run away.
Let’s take a closer look at this in action. Keep the Angels was very busy today.
Post #1: “Special interests and politicians want to drive our Angels from their home in Anaheim. Don’t let them! Like us and stay tuned for updates on how you can help Keep the Angels!”
I’m sorry, who are these “Special interests”? Dodger fans? No one is trying to drive the Angels away. No. One. No one has made a motion calling for the Angels to leave; no one has circulated a petition calling Arte Moreno a douche bag; no one is organizing a villainous scheme to deprive greater Orange County of professional baseball as part of their secret plan to take over the world.
Post #2: “In case you think it can’t happen, remember, Anaheim and Orange County used to have an NFL team too. Other cities will give the Angels hundreds of millions to move. Don’t let this happen!”
Really? Hundreds of millions? Do we have an offer from another city? If so, let’s see it, because I’m pretty sure that breaks about 50 rules in both MLB’s anti-trust waiver and the MLB operating agreement. We’re talking big time fines.
No one is going to give the Angels hundreds of millions to move. No. One. Why? The Angels have one of the best television contracts in the business. They can’t move outside of LA. If they stay within their designated marketing zone (southern California, north of San Diego), any stadium that they want to build has to go through the CEQA permitting process. For something that big, we’re looking at a decade for an approval. This statement by Keep the Angels is a lie. It’s the functional equivalent of yelling FIRE in a crowded theater. Step one complete.
Post #3: “Wow, already almost 900 likes. Thank you Angels fans! Let’s spread the word and help us keep our Angels! Please share this page with your friends and ask them to like it too. More news soon including how you can help Keep The Angels!”
And there we go. There are their 10 friends screaming and running out of the theater. Next up, mockery.
Post #4 “Here are some key facts on what is going on with the City of Anaheim and Angels Baseball. #1 – The Angels have the right to opt out of Angels Stadium in 2016, with one year notice. The negotiations underway would extend the lease to 2057. That’s 45 more years on Angels baseball in Anaheim!”
Well geez, who wouldn’t want to do that? <– Begin mockery.
But wait a minute . . .45 more years? That doesn’t sound right . . .
That’s because it isn’t right. The Angels have the unilateral right to abandon the contract, without penalty, in 2019, 2037, 2043, and 2051. So . . . that’s not 45 more years of Angel baseball in Anaheim. It’s 7. Since the existing contract expires in 2016, it’s really only 3.
3 vs. 45. Big difference.
Post #5: ”Fact #2 – Angels Stadium needs almost $150 million in upgrades. It is one of the oldest stadiums in Major League Baseball. In the current lease, it is not clear who is responsible for paying that $150 million, but if the Angels leave, then Anaheim is left with an empty stadium that needs $150 million in upgrades. We all know no team would come here unless the taxpayers paid the $150 million. In the last two decades, the average public subsidy for a baseball stadium has been 60%. Under the terms being negotiated with the City and the Angels, the Angels would agree to take on this $150 million. That is a good deal for taxpayers!”
Oh, no! If they leave . . . then what will we do with an empty stadium? I mean, jeez, all that vacant land in Southern California . . what could we possibly build? Oh, right . . . ANYTHING. That’s a separate discussion for another blog post.
For now, let’s look at this rotten egg from Facebook. Let’s assume they’re right. If Anaheim is to be consistent with other MLB hosts, Anaheim should pony up 60% of $150MM, or $90MM. Remember that number. $90MM. That’s what they claim is fair.
Anyway, they’ll leave if we don’t give them something! Give them something! Anything! THIS IS A GOOD DEAL! If you don’t approve, you’ll burn us all alive! Mock mock mock!
Post #6: “Fact #3 – the City has been trying to get someone to develop part of the parking lot around the stadium for almost 20 years. No one has been willing to do so, in part because the lease with the baseball team has required any developer to pay for a parking structure to replace any surface parking taken by the development. That would cost $100 million or more, maybe as much as $150 million. But if it is the Angels developing the entertainment and restaurant district around the Stadium, it starts to make sense. At stadiums around the country, there are really cool shopping and entertainment and dining districts right next to the Stadium. We can finally have that in Anaheim under the deal being negotiated. This would also bring thousands of jobs and tens or hundreds of millions of economic activity to Orange County, generating a lot of tax revenue to pay for city services.”
Whoa whoa whoa. No one wants to develop the land because of the terms and conditions in the existing lease, so we have to change the lease to giveaway the land to the Angels so they can develop it? What kind of crazy backwards world is this? If no one wants to develop the land, THEN CHANGE THE LEASE SO THEY CAN DEVELOP THE LAND.
Note the additional mockery. If Anaheim doesn’t agree, we aren’t as cool as other cities and we turn down thousands of mythical magical jobs that spontaneously appear as if from no where and millions, excuse me hundreds of millions of dollars, of economic activity (that’s A LOT of beer.) In other words, we’re stupid if we don’t agree.
Post #7: “So the basic framework which would keep the Angels in Anaheim seems pretty simple to us. Anaheim gets the Angels to extend their lease for almost 50 years, the Angels agree to pay the $150 million in needed upgrades to the Stadium instead of the taxpayers, and the Angels develop part of the parking lot into a really cool shopping/dining/entertainment district which brings jobs and vitality to the Stadium area. A lot of details remain to be worked out, but the start of the negotiations seem like a great deal.”
Again, if you don’t agree, you’re an idiot, because this is simple. Compelling.
The basic framework is exactly the opposite of how Keep the Angels describes. Anaheim gets the Angels for 3 years, not 50. The Angels absolutely do NOT agree to spend $150MM in needed upgrades. By leasing and not selling public land, the taxpayers give away their right to collect property tax on land. They also give up any sales tax generated from the site as well and fees generated from parking and whatever else. They agree to provide economic assistance to developers in exchange for mythical magical economic benefit.
What the MoU actually states is that the Angels will agree to maintain Angel Stadium “to a standard to be agreed upon during negotiations.” Well, that’s pretty darn open ended. Considering we’ve given away the cow, we can’t exactly dictate terms to Arte on what that standard should be. It could be $150MM, it could be $5MM. It certainly won’t be the $900MM some other bloggers are suggesting for a brand new stadium.
Let’s consider for a moment what Keep the Angels conceded earlier. If Anaheim is to mirror what other MLB hosts have done in recent years, they need to contribute roughly $90MM to renovate Anaheim stadium, with the team contributing $60MM. What exactly are we paying? Let’s take a look at the MoU.
Hmmm . . . wait a minute . . there’s nothing here that monetizes the giveaway! You mean to tell me the Anaheim City Council voted to enter into good faith negotiations without understanding the value of the terms to be negotiated, without providing a compelling and transparent value for consideration before the taxpayers? No. I don’t believe it. Surely, surely somewhere in Anaheim someone can tell me what Anaheim agreed to bargain for?
I know you’re as shocked as I am.
The problem with the 4000 year old model of yelling fire and mocking those who don’t listen to you is that the people who ask legitimate questions don’t die a horrible fiery death in the end. Eventually, the myth floats away with the hot air that blew it in and the truth comes out.
If this is really a fantastic deal for the taxpayer, the combined MoUs (which actually aren’t linked, but lets assume they are . . . which is a horrible benefit to grant, but I’m doing it anyway) ought to be worth less than $90MM. Any dollar above is a bad deal; any dollar below is a good deal.
What’s the value of the parking lot lease? Is it more or less than $90MM. Let’s take a look.
The city’s analysis calls out 50 specific acres for a development area formerly known as Sportstown. The actual proposed ground lease is substantially greater than 50 acres (of note, there’s nothing in the MoU that binds the Angels to not develop the entire parking lot, we’ll have to assume they won’t because they’re either prohibited elsewhere or that it’s just bad for business.) but we’ll stick with 50 for simplicity.
That’s 50 acres of prime commercial real estate for the grand total sum of $1 a year. How much is that worth? Well, working backwards, $90MM over the term of 66 years is $1.37MM per year. That’s about $2300 an acre per month or roughly $0.05/sq ft (FYI, going rates for vacant land in the area? $0.12 to 0.44 per square foot.)
Does anyone out there REALLY want to try to sell the idea that Anaheim taxpayers are getting a good deal? Other MLB hosts: 60% of costs. Anaheim: we give away free land for two generations.
Oh, but wait, it gets worse.
Not only do the Angels get the use of 50 acres, they get to develop it as they see fit. Here’s where it gets tricky. The city of Anaheim owns the land, which means it doesn’t pay property tax. This means the Angels get to develop the land, rent it to a tenant at market rates (making that value shoot way beyond the $0.05 they’re paying), all the while avoiding property tax payments that they rightfully owe to the county.
How much is that worth? I’m gonna throw a dart out there of a quarter billion dollars over the term of the lease. Anyone want to argue?
Oh, but wait again! It gets even worse!
The city is going to pay to develop the land for the Angels! We’re looking at “Gardenwalk Part Deux: Bend Over and Say Halo!” That’s right, the city agreed to provide economic assistance to develop the land. How much? Too be “negotiated” and “general fund neutral.” This means they uses fuzzy math, bad assumptions, and a ridiculous discount rate to extract as much as possible from the taxpayer before they get swatted. Kinda like a really big blood sucking mosquito that takes $150MM out of your wallet.
Here’s why the MoU doesn’t tell list how much it’s all worth. It’s too ridiculous to add up. Free land, free construction, no taxes . . . all for $1 a year over 66 years.
Average MLB host: $90 million. Anaheim: $850 million? $2 billion? Your guess is good as mine, but one thing is clear . . .
NOT A GOOD DEAL.
One more post from Keep the Angels:
Post #7: “On September 3, 2013, the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 to begin negotiations with the Angels around this general framework. City Council Members Gale Eastman, Jordan Brandman, Lucille Kring, and Kris Murray voted for this framework. Mayor Tom Tait voted against it and has been trying to stir up opposition to the Angels.”
There is no fire and you aren’t stupid. The Angels aren’t going anywhere. If they do, well, the sky won’t fall.
I’m sure there’s no shortage of developers chomping at the bit to get to what’s essentially greenfield space with direct access to rail and three major freeways, a publicly owned power and water utility, 20 minutes from an airport, and with potentially direct tram access to both Disneyland and the California High Speed Rail project.
But, I guess you can always believe the city’s analysis that the surrounding land value just evaporates without the Angels. Yeah, on second that, no one would want a piece of land like that. Definitely not Disney.
Tell Eastman, Brandman, Kring, and Murray that their manufactured crisis is a joke and Anaheim wants its billion bucks back.