In January, Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu and Angels owner Arte Moreno agreed to discuss a deal that would keep the team in town for decades to come. Seven months later, on Tuesday, Sidhu held a news conference to spell out what he would like the city to get out of any deal.
The goals are impressive: the sale or lease of city land at market rates, revenue from Angel Stadium and any surrounding development, good jobs at good wages, and a real estate project that includes not just retail, dining and entertainment, but also parks, affordable housing and a neighborhood grocery store.
Jose Moreno, the city councilman who has agitated some city officials with his public warnings about the risks of a bad deal, praised Sidhu for outlining the objectives in pursuing a good deal.
“I 100% support those principles,” Jose Moreno, who is not related to the Angels owner, said during a council meeting Tuesday night. “110%.”
With the city and the Angels expected to start formal negotiations in October, the question now becomes what the city might be willing to give in order to get what it wants. The Angels have described their goal as a “public-private partnership,” and Sidhu said that defining the city contribution to that partnership would be best left for negotiations.
Should residents be concerned that their tax money might be going into this deal?
“Let me be very clear,” Sidhu said. “The actual value of the land, when we sell that, is going to be a benefit for the residents, whether we have a partnership with [the Angels] to build, whether it’s apartment complexes, whether it’s commercial, whether it’s an entertainment center. … It’s the future revenue we are looking at.”
In January, after the Angels had opted out of their Angel Stadium lease, the council reinstated the lease and extended the opt-out window. The reinstatement means the Angels can stay until 2029 even without a new deal, and the Angels’ ability to control that land until then could cost the city at least $100 million in market value, Moreno said.
“The giveaway already happened,” Moreno the councilman said.
Council members debated the value of the Anaheim name to the team, even though the Angels have said they would not consider removing Los Angeles from the team’s full name and Sidhu has said he would not insist upon the return of the Anaheim name.
Moreno said the Los Angeles name has value to the Angels and the city should be compensated for letting the team keep it. But council members Lucille Kring and Trevor O’Neil said the team won the legal right to call itself by the Los Angeles name and said the city could have to compensate the Angels to give up that name.
“That would be a subsidy,” O’Neil said.
Moreno got no support among his fellow council members when he proposed that the city promise at least 30 days of public review before a council vote on a final deal. In 2013, a proposed Angels deal collapsed in part because then-mayor Tom Tait objected to the four-day review period.
“I will not put any timeline,” Sidhu said, “whether it’s 30 days, 45 days, 10 days, 5 days.”
In addition to whatever economic impact the Angels might make in Anaheim, Kring said, their charitable foundation also makes an impact.
“We also want to make sure the Angels stay here,” she said, “and maybe have a winning team.”