Anaheim Insider here.
Last night, Mayor Tom Tait held up the latest of the ads that the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce-led “Keep the Angels” coalition has been running. He complained these ads are causing Anaheim voters to blame him for the distinct possibility the Angels will leave Anaheim:
Incredible. Month after month, since the City Council approved the Angels MOU in September of last year, at any forum or gathering that would have him, Mayor Tait has assailed his colleagues for “giving away” the land around the stadium, and attacked the Angels for trying to take advantage of Anaheim taxpayers. His allies among the gadflies and at the Voice of OC echoed and amplified his attacks. Tait and his surrogates have spent the better part of year giving Anaheim residents the impression that the council majority is hell-bent on “giving away” the stadium district to Art Moreno with his connivance. The fruit of Tait’s PR offensive is the Angels have one foot out the door. Voters are making the connection and now Tait is blaming that on a few newspaper ads instead of his own words and actions for the past year.
Considering the very rough treatment Tait, his aide Mishal Montgomery, allies such as Cynthia Ward, Jason Young and the Voice of OC have been according to Tait’s colleagues, to the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce and to anyone else tagged as an enemy for disagreeing with the Tait line, it’s farcical for Tait to complain about being hit in a few newspaper ads.
Tait’s campaign to blow up the Angels MOU has had a political purpose from the start. He’s deliberately politicized the Angels negotiations as part of calculated campaign to weaken and ultimately defeat Kris Murray and Gail Eastman, replace them with councilmembers he could control. It’s naive to think otherwise.
Last night, Tait protested that it was absurd to suppose that he, as Anaheim’s mayor, would want the Angels to leave. But two years ago, Tait organized an independent expenditure campaign to convince voters that Jordan Brandman was probably a criminal. Did Tait really believe that? Or was that an example of the “politics” that Tait objects to now that he’s on the receiving end?
A year ago, Tom Tait could have said, “There are some aspects of the MOU I don’t like, but it’s a good basis for my colleagues and I to pursue an agreement with the Angels even as we seek to get the best deal possible for the city.” He no doubt could have deep-sixed the $1 a year proviso and secured some kind of development profit-sharing. Instead, he preferred trying to embarrass and out-maneuver his colleagues, instead seizing the opportunity to lead them. That would require compromise and give-and-take and trust.
Tait purposefully set out to blow up the Angels MOU. He succeeded. But in the process, his words and actions alienated Arte Moreno and deepened his alienation from his council colleagues. Now the Angels have one foot out of Anaheim and his political gamesmanship is coming back to bite him, and Tait refuses to accept any responsibility.
In the video, Tait says he wants to make a deal with the Angels and “I look forward to working with this entire council as we do that.” Would that be the same council that Tait is right now, in mailers going city-wide, urging voters to oust because he’s attacking them as being in the pocket of special interests? That’s a strange way of trying to work with your colleagues.