Anaheim Insider here.
A new “OC Register” story reports that talks between the Angels and the City of Tustin are getting more serious:
On Monday, City Manager Jeff Parker met with Angels President John Carpino to discuss where a stadium could be built on the sprawling, shuttered base. While there are no formal negotiations, Parker said that Tustin residents would not be taxed to build a stadium.
The city is “cautiously optimistic,” Mayor Al Murray said.
Keep in mind that when news broke in February of the Angels approaching Tustin, the reaction of very skeptical:
– “Tustin Officials Meet Moreno’s Overture With Skepticism” (Voice of OC)
– “But Tustin officials, wary of public dollars going toward a stadium, aren’t exactly preparing a welcome wagon for Moreno.” (Voice of OC)
– ‘Tait says it’s a preposterous idea. When “pigs fly,” Tait said. “It’s a crazy assumption.”’ (Voice of OC)
Apparently not so crazy. The upshot: talks between Tustin and the Angels are drawing closer together, while Anaheim and the Angels are drifting farther apart, meaning the chances of the Angels staying have diminished while the chances of them moving to Tustin have grown.
Now the city wants to conduct a study on how much it would cost Arte Moreno to build a new stadium somewhere else. Why? We know from a variety of experts it would be a lot of money: in the $500-700 million range (Tait’s guess of $1 billion is ludicrous). Does the city to pay for another study to tell them the same thing? What does this accomplish except to further delay reaching an agreement with the Angels, while Tustin officials are working toward striking a deal (Tustin must surely appreciate the assist). Also, why is Anaheim paying to find out how much it would cost to build a stadium somewhere else? That’s a study that a stadium-less city in talks with the Angels should commission.
Getting Some Things Straight
For months, Tait and other critics have been blasting the term of the negotiation MOU, painting the Angels as greedy and trying to rip-off Anaheim taxpayers.
The truth is the MOU framework was the city’s idea, dating back to City Manager Tom Wood. The city pitched it to the Angels, not the other way around. It is a good idea. You wouldn’t know it from the campaign he has been waging, but the mayor has long been aware that this is the city’s strategy for keeping the Angels.
So to blame and attack the Angels for the MOU terms is unfair and dishonest.
The “giveaway” claim is also a crock. If the deal is struck and Moreno develops the property, the revenues stay in the stadium district to pay for rehabilitating the city-owned stadium. Land that the city has failed tat developing will generate jobs, business activity and tax revenue for the city. Plus, the team stays here, which is what everyone, Angels supporters and critics alike, say they want.
The city is gaining, not giving away. What Tait and the critics want is for Moreno to provide all the capital and take on all the risk associated with developing the city’s property for it, and then give up 50% of the profits to a partner (the city) whose leader has been publicly giving him black eyes.
Tait said last week that he thinks the Angels are staying even if there isn’t a deal. If that’s true, the Angels would have to spend $150 million to fix the stadium anyway and there is no reason for the city to negotiate at all.
Bu the mayor does favor negotiating, which implicitly repudiates his assertion that the Angels are staying, deal or no deal.