The city’s proposed sale of Angel Stadium and the surrounding 153 acres to the Angels for $325 million has landed like a flash bang grenade among the usual circle of “experts,” gadflies and critics of Mayor Harry Sidhu and the city council majority – leaving them scrambling for arguments to oppose the deal.
They had convinced themselves that any agreement secured by Sidhu and the negotiating team would be a bad one that put Anaheim taxpayers on the hook for building a new stadium or renovating the existing one. The proposed agreement is the last thing they expected. They had been agreeing with each other for so long it never crossed their minds that Sidhu and the negotiating team would secure agreement to sell the stadium site for fair market value while keeping the team in town for decades and generating increased tax revenues and substantive community benefits.
The critics are now claiming $325 million is too low – that the “actual price” for the stadium site is $525 million for the stadium site.
This is a lie.
What they omit is that is the appraised value without a baseball team — just 153 acres of high-density housing without the parks, affordable housing and other community benefits the city has pledge to secure while negotiating the development agreement in early 2020.
The Mayor and council majority campaigned on keeping the Angels in Anaheim. There’s no doubt the majority of Anaheim residents want to keep the Angels in Anaheim.
The only way the city gets $525 million for the stadium site is by getting rid to the Angels. But don’t expect critics of this deal to admit that. They are too dishonest and frankly, too afraid of giving credit to Sidhu and the negotiating team for negotiating in good faith with the Angels to secure a deal that is good for Anaheim’s taxpayers and economy.
And so, they resort to half-truths.
Which alternative do Anaheim residents prefer:
A) A deal to sell the stadium site for $325 million that keeps the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050, results in a new or renovated stadium at no cost to taxpayers, as well as more park space, more housing (including affordable), development that generates jobs and millions in additional annual tax revenues, and other community benefits?
B) Selling it for $525 million by booting the Angels out of Anaheim and losing the guarantee of all of the above benefits?
It’s a safe bet Councilman Moreno and the critics know the answer.
For Councilman Jose F. Moreno and his cadre, the Angels negotiations are all about politics. Moreno wants to take control of the City Council in the 2020 election and has put together a slate of candidates. He wants to run against “taxpayer giveaways” and “corporate subsidies” and was counting in the Angels deal include both. Instead, Sidhu brings back an agreement that brings in huge new revenues, more affordable, housing, parks and jobs . They land is being sold at fair market value. And if the Angels want a new stadium, they – and not Anaheim taxpayers – will have to pay for it.
These are all things Councilman Moreno has said, over and over, that he wants. And now he’s got them – except he not only had nothing to do with it, but the credit will redound to the council majority he seeks to oust. No wonder this agreement is giving Councilman Moreno a political ulcer. No wonder he, along with his political allies, are trying to mislead the public with false numbers about the “actual” price of the stadium site.
Expect more misinformation, half-truths and lies from opponents of the agreement the vote in it draws nearer.