Mayor Sidhu: On Anaheim Stadium Deal, The Truth Will Emerge

Sometimes the truth reveals itself in ways you would never expect.

Who would have thought that Angel Stadium sale critic and Anaheim City Council Member Jose F. Moreno would be the star witness in the city’s response to a lawsuit opposing the sale.

It is hard to believe, given the implications of Moreno’s declaration supporting the lawsuit against the city he represents. But he is indeed exhibit A for why Anaheim handled the sale right.

At a December 2019 City Council meeting to consider a sale, Moreno said before those in attendance and watching on TV and online that it was the first time the Council had ever discussed a sale and that the city followed California’s Brown Act.

“This is the first public discussion — the first discussion I should say — that the City Council has actually had on the actual deal points,” Moreno said on Dec. 20, 2019. “Because in closed session, the city attorney was very good in making sure we focused on the price and terms of payment per the Brown Act.”

In a span of two minutes, Moreno says “first” time or “first” discussion of a sale five times, at one point turning to myself and others and emphasizing, “We’ve not had that discussion, colleagues.”

Yet the contradiction is glaring in Moreno’s lawsuit declaration, where it is the main point of support for the false allegation that the City Council decided in private to sell the stadium before Dec. 20, 2019.

Both cannot be true. I know which is, and I thank Moreno for doing the right thing in that moment before our community in December 2019.

As Anaheim works to secure the future of Angels Baseball in our city, a small few opposed to a deal are doing whatever they can to stop it.

They have failed with Anaheim voters, who overwhelmingly supported candidates in favor of our stadium plan in the 2020 election.

Frustrated, they have turned to state regulators, the courts and outright misinformation.

There will always be opposition. I welcome that as part of the process. But misinformation is never acceptable.

It is sadly true: If you repeat a lie enough, people will start to believe it. And those opposing the stadium plan know it. Their goal is to undermine confidence, no matter what the truth is.

But what this really serves to do is to undermine their own credibility.

Mayor Harry Sidhu

For more than a decade, our city has fought over baseball. Current and former elected officials have staked out political positions opposing a new deal.

Their opposition stems from where they draw their political support and their inability to move past the fights of yesterday.

For me, it is simple and straightforward.

Those who came before us built the Anaheim we know and love. A city of theme parks, conventions, sports and entertainment that funds fundamental services for Anaheim’s neighborhoods.

Now it falls to a new generation of leaders to continue and build on Anaheim’s legacy. Cutting and running just isn’t an option. We can and must do better.

If you view Anaheim as I do, we are entrusted to ensure that land in our city is maximized for the benefit of our residents. Baseball is great and generates revenue for our community.

But the 1960s-era parking lots that surround the stadium could be put to better use to serve our community by expanding funding for police, fire, libraries and community centers.

Our plan for Angel Stadium of Anaheim does just that by securing the Angels for 30-plus years, getting the city out of stadium ownership and transforming the area around the Big A.

Our process not only has been done right, but it is also the right thing to do for Anaheim.

Harry Sidhu is mayor of Anaheim. This article originally appeared in the OC Register on February 5, 2022.

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