The Angels were officially granted another year on their Angel Stadium lease late Tuesday night, but not before two members of the Anaheim City Council and a lineup of residents wondered why.
By a 5-2 vote, the council approved a one-year lease extension, assuring the Angels of a home field through the 2020 season.
The city and team are expected to start talks on a new deal soon, with the goal of securing the Angels in Anaheim for decades to come, either in a new or renovated stadium.
The council members casting the dissenting votes — Denise Barnes and Jose Moreno — said the city should not be surrendering leverage to Angels owner Arte Moreno (no relation to the councilman).
When the Angels opted out of their stadium lease in October, they left themselves with no place to play beyond the 2019 season.
The council on Tuesday guaranteed the Angels a home for 2020, with the city receiving nothing in return beyond goodwill — no financial consideration from the team, not even a promise to negotiate exclusively with Anaheim.
“I just think we’re cowering here,” Barnes said.
Mayor Harry Sidhu said the city could use the additional year to negotiate a deal that integrates the Angels into a blossoming stadium district of shops, restaurants, homes and offices.
Councilwoman Lucille Kring said the city should not worry that the extra year would make it more likely that Arte Moreno would move the team. She noted Moreno had talked with several other Southern California cities in recent years, negotiating extensively with nearby Tustin.
“If they wanted to go to Tustin, they would have,” said Kring, who voted with the majority. “They’re not going to Tustin.”
Councilman Jordan Brandman, who also voted with the majority, said he hoped the cushion of the extra year would allow Anaheim to negotiate a community benefits agreement as part of a new lease. When Staples Center was built, such an agreement affected housing, jobs, recreation and parking in the neighborhood.
Moreno agreed to the framework of a new deal in 2013 — as proposed by city negotiators — in which Anaheim would have provided him with land in the stadium parking lot. Moreno would have paid $150 million to refurbish the city-owned stadium and developed the surrounding land, at no cost to the city.
He could have recouped his investment by developing the land. Tom Tait, then the Anaheim mayor, and one of his council allies objected to the city leasing the land to Moreno for $1 per year, and to the city not sharing in the profits from development.
When Barnes asked why the Angels had not made any proposals since then, Kring said Moreno had walked away from talks after Tait and a council ally essentially torpedoed a deal the owner understood to be done.
“Arte said, ‘Until they're gone, I will not talk to the city,’ ” Kring said.