I’ve been out of town and returned to read this article in the Voice of OC: “Conflict Questions Cloud Report on Angels’ Impact.”
The “conflict questions” pertain to the fact that Conventions, Sports & Leisure, the consulting firm that prepared a report for the city on the positive economic benefits of having the Angels in Anaheim, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legends Hospitality, which Angels Baseball recently hired to replace Aramark as its food service contractor.
Few terms are bandied about with more frequency and less understanding than “conflict of interest.” More often than not, it is used just to muddy the water by partisans who want to suggest a policy or person they oppose isn’t on the up-and-up.
The usual claque of Angels negotiations critics are seizing on this to make the claim the CSL study concluded that the Angels are a net benefit to Anaheim so that Legends would get the food service contract.
How are we supposed to take this sort of half-baked thinking seriously? We’re supposed to seriously consider the crack-pot idea that the Angels awarded their food service contract not because Legends would do a better job than Aramark of providing a positive experience for Angels fans – but in order secure a report that, in essence, arrived at the uncontroversial conclusion that the Angels are good for the city.
Even the critics of the Angels negotiations takes pains to say they want the Angels to say – a stance they presumably would not take if they believed the team to be a drain on the city.
Predictably, this small but vocal claque are now calling for another study to be done. I say predictably because their MO throughout the negotiations has been confusion and delay, and to mau-mau anyone who disagrees with them. Notwithstanding claims they, too, want to keep the Angels in town and are only seeking a better deal, their net effect of their antics is to increase the likelihood of the Angels washing their hands of this mess and going elsewhere. The Tustin move isn’t the negotiating feint the critics like to think it is.
What the city ought to do is move quickly to arrive at an agreement with the Angels approximating the MOU negotiating points — because it is a deal that makes sense for the city, the hysterics of a few notwithstanding. Idle city-owned property is put to productive economic use, and the revenue generated goes to rehabilitate the stadium. The Angels stay in town, the city gets a renovated stadium with a professional baseball team instead of an aging stadium with no team, and its accomplished on the dime of the Angels, not the taxpayers.
Continuing to the delay-and-confuse tactics being employed by opponents of the negotiations works to the detriment of Anaheim. They increase the likelihood of the Angels leaving – and if that happens, very few voters are going to be thankful the city was “saved” from the terms of the MOU.