Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

From the OC Register:

Councilwoman Calls for Citizen Oversight on Stadium Negotiations

ANAHEIM – Councilwoman Kris Murray said she will call Tuesday for the creation of a citizen task force to help renegotiate a stadium lease aimed at keeping the Angels in Anaheim through 2057.

Murray and three other City Council members voted last month to delay the baseball team’s option to leave Anaheim to 2019 from 2016 while publicly outlining a series of negotiating points. Mayor Tom Tait, who voted against the deal, said that creating a citizen oversight panel at this point is “too little, too late.”

“It could not be more relevant to have full transparency so our residents know the benefits of the stadium as we enter negotiations with the Angels,” Murray said. “This will allow them to weigh the benefits of any agreement before it’s brought back to the City Council for approval.”

An Angels spokesman declined to comment.

It’s unclear how many people Murray would have serve on her Anaheim Citizens Task Force on Community Benefits, which would review plans that could allow the Angels to lease the city-owned parking lot surrounding the stadium for $1 annually over 66 years. In turn, team owner Arte Moreno would have the right to develop the property and ask the city for tax subsidies to help fund construction. Any profits could go toward stadium improvements.

You can read the rest of the story here.

I am generally skeptical of over-reliance on citizen commissions. I think its wise to withhold judgment until this proposal (if approved) takes final form, but confess to skepticism about what role it will fill that is not already performed by the council in conjunction with the negotiating team. I presume each council member will appoint one or more individuals to the committee, which causes me to wonder if the mayor’s appointments would carry his effort to blow-up the current negotiations over to this citizens committee. The devil is always in the details, so we shall see.

On the other hand, it’s hard to understand Mayor Tom Tait’s opposition to this proposal. During his continuing push for an civilian police oversight board, I don’t know how many times he has said that you can never have too much oversight or that more oversight is always a good thing – and that’s for an agency where multiple levels of oversight already exist. After furiously waving the banner of citizen oversight for more than a year, how does he toss it aside in this instance?

Looking back, I think it would have been beneficial if the council had gone through with forming an ad hoc committee of Councilmembers Murray and Gail Eastman. The negotiations would be that much farther ahead.