Tonight, negotiations with the Angels of the stadium lease are on the Anaheim City Council agenda.
Naturally, the usual suspects are going ape and screaming “giveaway!” and alleging this is an attempt to ram through a deal while the populace slumbers through the holiday weekend.
This is, of course, nonsense – the stuff of the dark, conspiratorial fantasies upon which las pulgitas of the local blogosphere feed.
It is important to note that this is not a final vote. Nor is what is being considered a final agreement with the Angels regarding the stadium. The public is going to have plenty of time to weigh in on what kind of agreement the city should arrive at with the Angels.
In 1996, the City of Anaheim entered into an Amended and Restated Lease Agreement (“Current Lease”)that was ultimately assumed by Angels Baseball, L.P. Although the term of the Current Lease runs to December 31, 2029, the agreement grants the Angels the sole right to terminate the Current Lease, for any reason and without cause, no earlier than October 15, 2016 and no later than February 15, 2017 upon providing the City at least twelve months’ written notice (“2016 Termination Right”). In practical terms this termination right has the effect of creating a shorter lease term that can be viewed as ending as early as 2016.
The 2016 Termination Right has led to preliminary discussions between the Angels and City staff about whether, and under what conditions, the Team would remain in Anaheim well into the future. For those preliminary discussions to develop into meaningful negotiations that may, but will not necessarily, lead to definitive agreements being presented to the City Council, City staff requests direction from the City Council on a nonbinding, conceptual framework for such negotiations, as well as approval of an amendment to the Current Lease.
Two resolutions are being submitted for recommended approval. First, a resolution is provided to approve two MOUs. These MOUs are intended to provide a framework to negotiate (1) a potential extension of the Angels’ tenancy in the stadium and (2) a potential development of the surrounding Stadium site. Second, a resolution to approve a lease amendment that extends the Angels’ 2016 Termination Right and is intended to provide the parties with time to negotiate the long-term arrangements.
The nonbinding framework proposed in the MOUs provides a basis and general terms for the parties to negotiate diligently and in good faith on matters addressed in the MOUs, and on such other matters related to the framework as the parties may deem appropriate. As reflected in the MOUs, these agreements are expressly made to be nonbinding except for those limited and specific provisions that are identified as being expressly binding.
The proposed MOUs authorize negotiating along the terms set forth in the MOUs, but do not restrict the parties from negotiating outcomes inconsistent with the MOUs and negotiation on other issues not referenced in the MOUs, such as the City’s obtaining other revenue and/or other economic and non-economic benefits from the Angels’ use of the Baseball Stadium, Stadium Site, Stadium District or other rights relating to the use and occupancy of the Baseball Stadium, Stadium Site and Stadium District.
The MOUs allow the City to explore opportunities for obtaining revenue and/or other economic and non-economic benefits in connection with entering the potential Extended Lease and Implementing Agreements. The City has received verbal confirmation that the Angels and Pacific Coast Investors intend that such opportunities will be discussed as part of the negotiation. Further, the MOUs do not commit or obligate the parties to enter an Extended Lease, Implementing Agreements, or any other definitive agreements. Such agreements, if ultimately prepared pursuant to negotiations, would require City Council action to adopt them in the exercise of the City Council’s discretion. Finally, the MOU process will provide the City and the Angels more time to negotiate these complex issues, while at the same time outlining the general parameters for those discussions to the public and providing for public input as the process moves forward. The use of the MOUs as vehicles to guide negotiations is consistent with the City’s past practice in 1995-96 and with how other cities have approached negotiations with major league sports teams.