Bill Shaikin penned a new column on the Angels-Anaheim drama, comparing and contrasting the reactions of Mayor Tom Tait and Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray:
Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray, one of the City Council members who voted to approve the framework, agreed that the land had value but said the city should not opt for the “short-term economic gain” of a sale at maximum value over a long-term relationship with the Angels.
“We have the framework in front of us that keeps the team in Anaheim, renovates an old stadium, and doesn’t impact our taxpayers,” she said. “It’s time to get a deal done that’s real, with real benefits.”
Murray became the first City Council member to call for finalizing an agreement since Tait started campaigning against the proposed deal seven months ago.
The Angels say they want to stay in Anaheim, but they have held exploratory talks about the feasibility of building a new ballpark in Tustin or Irvine. They could opt out of their Angel Stadium lease as soon as 2016.
“There are acres of land all around the stadium sitting fallow,” Murray said. “Why would we drive out the Angels in the hope, a very slim hope, that the exact same thing won’t happen to this property? I’m not interested in adding another empty lot in Anaheim.”
Good for Kris Murray. The council majority has sat on sidelines too long (presumably out of a sense of propriety and respect for the negotiation process) while the others have spent the last several months rolling grenades into the room. The mayor has not been shy about vocally, actively trying to shape the negotiation process according to his design, so keeping mum is pointless and tantamount to unilateral disarmament.
Tait said he does not believe the Angels are going anywhere. If the city and the team do not reach agreement on a new lease, and if the Angels decide against opting out, the current lease would extend through 2029. The Angels would probably have to pay to build a new ballpark somewhere else.
“I believe the Angels will stay whether there’s a deal or not,” Tait said.
That’s a pretty big bet to lay on the table, and losing it means flushing 50 years of strategic planning by generations of civic leaders down the drain.
You can read the entire Shaikin column here.
UPDATE: Here’s the full public statement on the appraisal released by Murray:
“The appraisal confirms the land has value, something we always knew. But the real question is do we want a short term economic gain that may or may not materialize or do we want a long term relationship with a great community partner who’s already put a deal on the table for us to consider? We have the framework in front of us that keeps the team in Anaheim, renovates an old stadium, and doesn’t impact our taxpayers. Its time to get a deal done that’s real, with real benefits.
There are acres of land all around the stadium sitting fallow. Why would we drive out the Angels in the hopes, a very slim hope, that the exact same thing won’t happen to this property? I’m not interested in adding another empty lot in Anaheim, I’m interested in working with the Angels to do something extraordinary for the City of Anaheim.”