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This came over the transom yesterday from Councilwoman Lucille Kring, responding to Mayor Tom Tait’s October 2 op-ed in the OC Register:

It’s About Leadership

By Councilwoman Lucille Kring

City of Anaheim

Leadership – that is what you expect from a mayor of a major city. But Tom Tait, in his opinion column of Oct. 2, 2014, “We need to keep Angels, but deal shouldn’t ding taxpayers” shows that he is not capable of anything but rhetoric meant to shift blame and obscure the facts.

Read again Tait’s words from his own opinion column. You will see some odd things:

• He takes no responsibility for the Angels looking to relocate outside of Anaheim, he blames others;
• He never outlines a plan to keep the Angels in Anaheim, but instead implies that he is the only one on the City Council looking out for the taxpayers’ interests;
• He never suggests that he will build consensus with his colleagues, rather he suggests that the council majority should have done a deal with the Angels without him; and
• He uses this op-ed as a way to insulate himself from criticism that will come in the election.

These are not words from a leader, but words from a politician looking to avoid blame.

Here are some REAL facts:

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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.

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This mailer from the Lucille Kring for Mayor campaign began landing in voters mailboxes yesterday: 

King Angels hit on Tait 10-7-14_Page_1

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Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

Anaheim Councilwoman Lucille Kring

Anaheim Insider here.

The gloves are really off now.

Lucille Kring unleashed a broadside on Friday against Tom Tait after the Angels informed the City they were terminating negotiations on the MOU. She told the LA Times:

“Mayor Tait seems bent on driving the Angels out in order to demolish the stadium and make a quick buck on more generic development. I wonder if the residents of Brooklyn are glad that they have high-density apartments instead of Ebbets Field and the Dodgers.”

She followed up by blasting out an e-mail blasting Tait for alienating the Angels:

Enough is Enough!

A Failure of Leadership

Dear ___,

Yesterday the City of Anaheim received a letter from the American League Division Champion Angels Baseball organization saying that they were electing to terminate the Stadium Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as well as negotiations with the City of Anaheim. (View Letter)
l am at a loss to express my disappointment other than to say that this represents a total lack of leadership on the part of our current Mayor, Tom Tait.

As the Angels’ letter points out, the MOU was meant to be a starting point in the negotiations process. And yet, time and time again I have listened to the Mayor tell the media and our residents misleading information.

Mayor Tait has characterized the MOU as everything from a nefarious plot to bilk the City out of money to a sneaky attempt to giveaway the City’s biggest asset. Is it any wonder the Angels no longer want to continue this process?

For shame Mr. Mayor, for shame.

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ward conspiracy alertIt’s been a year since the Anaheim City Council voted 4-1 (Mayor Tait in opposition) to approve a non-binding MOU establishing the framework of an agreement between the city and the Angels that would have financed the renovation of the stadium at no cost to taxpayers, and generated economic activity on idle city-owned land in the stadium district. This framework was all upside for the city, with the Angels shouldering the risk.

Not wanting such a good deal for Anaheim to go unchallenged, gadflies Cynthia Ward and Brian Chuchua subsequently formed a non-profit called CATER for the express purpose of filing lawsuits against the City of Anaheim. Their first was against the Angels MOU, alleging Brown Act violations.

Prominent among their raft of allegations of shadowy dealings has been a much bally-hooed claim that an report by Convention, Sports and Leisure on the Angels’; economic impact was furtively altered to mislead the public.

Earlier this year, CATER leader Ward wrote:

When released, the report was City stamped to indicate it was distributed to the Council majority prior to the Council meeting of September 3. Yet the version of the report released for public review was an altered version, edited after the Council meeting and purged of a glaring mistake with the potential to discredit the “experts” findings, upon which the Council based their approvals. The City Attorney’s response to CATER’s letter to Cure and Correct the Brown Act violation confirmed the two versions, as Michael Houston included both copies (one stamped, one not) in his response.

Can you imagine the repercussions should the government begin approving expenditures based on one set of documents — and then alter those records to make them more palatable to the public prior to their release?!

To ensure no one missed the import of these revelations, Ward liberally used bold-type and text  coloration emphasize this was really, truly an important point!

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keep the angels_logoLos Angeles Times sports columnist published a great column this Sunday, opining that helping secure an agreement to keep the Angels in Anaheim would be a fitting legacy as Bud Selig’s term as baseball commissioner comes to an end:

We are 10 days shy of the one-year anniversary of what appeared to be the resolution, a tentative agreement in which Moreno would pay for the estimated $150 million in Angel Stadium renovations and would get the right to try to make his money back from developing the surrounding parking lot, at no cost to the city of Anaheim.

Mayor Tom Tait objected, saying the parking lot was too valuable to lease to Moreno at $1 per year. A subsequent appraisal commissioned by the city valued that land at $225 million.

But the appraisal also valued the land at up to $325 million if the stadium were demolished, and Moreno was agitated that the city would assess that option if it were intent on keeping the team.

There have been no negotiations since the appraisal was released in May, and the Angels have considered sites in Tustin and Irvine, with the Tustin site currently considered the most feasible alternative.

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The Ministry of Truth was one of four government bureaucracies that rule fictional Oceania in George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 – the propaganda arm of Ingsoc; its job to twist stated reality to suit the extant needs of the Party.

The full-page political advertisement purchased by CATER in yesterday’s Anaheim Bulletin ad embodies the spirit of the Ministry of Truth, from the “Stop Lying” headline down through the catalog of straw man arguments rolled out by these gadflies:

Ignorance is Strength

Ignorance is Strength

The “Stop Lying” logo is, ironically, more accurately directed at the authors of this ad. Let’s start with the headline:

“The Truth About The Angel Stadium Deal”

The truth is there is no Angel Stadium deal. There is only a non-binding MOU that establishes a framework for the negotiations between the city and the Angels. CATER’s claim that there is an “Angel Stadium Deal” is an untruth.

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The “Keep the Angels” campaign has taken out a series of full-page ads in the Anaheim Bulletin, making the case for the city and the Angels to conclude a deal that keeps the team in Anaheim, rebuilds the city-owned stadium at no cost to taxpayers and generates economic activity on dormant city-owned stadium land.

Last week’s ad was a trip down memory lane to the 1990s, when the Los Angeles Rams left Anaheim for St. Louis:

Keep the Angels rams ad

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“Keep the Angels” has been running a series of full-sized ads on the back page of the Anaheim Bulletin. The first two were open letters to Angels owner Arte Moreno spelling out their appreciation for everything the team does for the community — economic activity, charitable support and involvement, civic pride — and the third focused on the indelible role Angels baseball has played in Anaheim’s history.

The fourth ad lays out to very different futures for the stadium and the community, depending on whether or not the city is successful in negotiating an agreement to keep the team in town:

Keep The Angels Ad 2 paths


A great ad that cleanly and simply delineates the choice facing the Anaheim.

john phillipsAM790 conservative talk radio host and OC Register opinion columnist penned a column for the editorial pages today calling on the Anaheim City Council to approve a deal with the Angels along the lines of the negotiation framework approved last September. Here’s an excerpt from his column:

Fast forward to today, the stadium is 18 years older and is estimated to need up to $150 million in additional capital improvements. The Angels and Anaheim have been negotiating a new lease for three years. During this time frame, under the current mayor and city council, the city has had four different city managers. So far the city has spent more than $325,000 on various studies and appraisals.

As part of this process we’ve learned that the Angels have pledged to assume 100 percent of the responsibility for needed capital improvements in exchange for the ball club garnering the rights to develop a portion of the parking lot for commercial purposes. But the city would potentially be giving up ticket revenue and parking revenue, among other considerations.

In my opinion, even with trade-offs, this is a huge win for taxpayers. The honest truth is the city doesn’t have $150 million laying around to fix the stadium on its own. But if this proposal is adopted, the stadium gets fixed and the city doesn’t have to touch a dime from the general fund. Plus, if the development turns out to be a bust, taxpayers won’t take a bath because all of the risk would be assumed by the Angels.

It’s a good column that puts the issue in perspective, and you can read the whole thing here.

I’ve been out of town and returned to read this article in the Voice of OC: “Conflict Questions Cloud Report on Angels’ Impact.”

The “conflict questions” pertain to the fact that Conventions, Sports & Leisure, the consulting firm that prepared a report for the city on the positive economic benefits of having the Angels in Anaheim, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legends Hospitality, which Angels Baseball recently hired to replace Aramark as its food service contractor.

Few terms are bandied about with more frequency and less understanding than “conflict of interest.” More often than not, it is used just to muddy the water by partisans who want to suggest a policy or person they oppose isn’t on the up-and-up.

The usual claque of Angels negotiations critics are seizing on this to make the claim the CSL study concluded that the Angels are a net benefit to Anaheim so that Legends would get the food service contract.

How are we supposed to take this sort of half-baked thinking seriously? We’re supposed to seriously consider the crack-pot idea that the Angels awarded their food service contract not because Legends would do a better job than Aramark of providing a positive experience for Angels fans – but in order secure a report that, in essence, arrived at the uncontroversial conclusion that the Angels are good for the city.

Even the critics of the Angels negotiations takes pains to say they want the Angels to say – a stance they presumably would not take if they believed the team to be a drain on the city.

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anaheim_angelsThe OC Register reports on the presentation made to the Anaheim City Council last night by sports consultant Daniel Barrett of Barrett Sports Group. Some excerpts:

A consultant on Tuesday told the City Council that it could cost $600 million to $700 million to relocate the Angels baseball team to another city within Southern California, likely financed with help from an outside investor.

“There have been discussions about Tustin. I don’t know if that’s real or not, but there are potential relocation areas,” said Daniel Barrett, founder of Barrett Sports Group, who is assisting Anaheim city officials with the stadium lease talks.

Barrett speculated that the Angels could also potentially move to Irvine or Industry. He also noted that Los Angeles city officials could change their mind about building a football stadium adjacent to Staples Center and opt instead to build a baseball stadium.

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The Orange County Register published an interesting opinion article on Sunday by Chapman University President James Doti and economist Esmael Adibi, a “running the numbers” economic impact analysis based on the Angels-Anaheim negotiation framework. It won’t be surprising if some of the usual suspects who assail the Angels negotiations during public comments try to use the Doti/Adibi article as ammunition to lambaste the council majority.

The trouble is the flawed nature of the analysis.  For example, it refers to “proposed lease terms,” when they are instead simply framework within which to negotiate proposed lease terms for the council’s consideration.

Or take this statement, for example:

“In addition, the city would rebate to the Angels sales and property taxes it would otherwise receive from the property and any future development.”

The problem with this statement is it is untrue. Nothing in the negotiation framework requires the city to surrender tax revenue from development on the stadium site. The framework is non-binding, for one thing. And that isn’t what it is, for another. This is the pertinent section:

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The second of the city’s community forums on the Angels negotiations is tonight from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 W. Katella Avenue. It will be in the arena, just as before.

Parking is free. And here is a link to the Power Point presentation given at the January 16 forum by Tom Morton, the city’s Director of Convention Center, Sports and Entertainment.

Although it is officially a two hour forum, the last one wrapped up at 7:00 p.m., so if you’re planning to go, don’t dawdle.


keep the angels_logoThe first of the city’s community workshops on negotiations with the Angels (the result of a proposal by Mayor Pro Tem Kris Murray and adopted by the City Council) will take place tonight at the Anaheim Convention Center, 800 West Katella Avenue (parking is free).

The workshop will be in the Convention Center’s arena (the original domed building) and runs from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

From the city’s press release:

The community meetings will include a presentation on the following topics –

  • An outline of why negotiations are taking place
  • A discussion on the mutual goals of the City and Angels Baseball
  • A discussion on the Major League Baseball marketplace
  • Angels Baseball benefits to the City and community
  • A discussion on the current lease agreement
  • An outline of the negotiation framework and process
  • Development opportunities available within the stadium district
  • Read the rest of this entry »

keep the angels_logoThis came over the transom from the City of Anaheim:


ANAHEIM, CA – (January 7, 2014)  The City of Anaheim invites the public to attend community-wide workshops addressing the ongoing Angels Baseball negotiations.  The meetings will be held on January 14 and 30 starting at 6 p.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, located at 800 West Katella Ave., Anaheim, CA 92802.  Complimentary parking at the Katella Ave. entrance will be offered for anyone attending the meetings. Each meeting will offer information as well as an opportunity for the community to present their questions and input. 

The community meetings will include a presentation on the following topics – 

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Anaheim Insider here.

Conservative talk radio host John Phillips was on his AM790 colleague Doug Mcintyre’s this morning discussing the Angels negotiations framework (Mayor Tait and his backers have misled the public the impression this is the deal, and not negotiation starting points):

John Phillips is a conservative, small government, free-market guy, and he can’t exactly be tagged as standing to benefit from the outcome of the negotiations. He sees is the big picture: this is the framework for a deal that can keep the Angels in town (much more important than Tait & Co. seem to realize), have them pay for the huge stadium improvement tab, and put fallow city owned land to economic use that will create jobs and tax revenue for the city.

It’s too bad the mayor and his small faction of critics can’t see the forest because of a couple of trees (which may not even be in the final deal).


Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Over at, Dan Chmielewski posted this interview with Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray. Dan and I see eye-to-eye on very little in terms of politics, but we’ve become friends over the years and are able to debate issues with mutual respect – unlike the Orcs of the OC blogosphere who view disagreement as a call to destroy.

In any case, I’ll a portion of the interview, the rest of which you can read on LOC:

Surrogates arranged for me to speak with Anaheim council member Kris Murray about a week and a half ago.  We had a long discussion — at least 90 minutes — off the record.  And then she agreed to an on the record interview which you’ll find posted below.

From a policy standpoint, we agreed to disagree on matters pertaining to the Light Rail project near Disneyland and on council redistricting.  I found her to be smart, pleasant, and knowledgeable on the issues we discussed.  I didn’t find her to be evil incarnate, “Maleficent” the evil Disney queen, or a litany of other phrases used to describe her that you wouldn’t want your wife, daughter or mother to ever be called.  I’ll go out on a limb and say now she’ll likely never get the support from this blog for any elected office moving forward but there’s no reason not to engage her in a detailed discussion on policy. And publishing heranswers doesn’t mean we agree with her on policy issues.  Dialogue is important.

Now that Ms. Murray is putting these statements on the record, readers are free to address them specifically.

Q. Before we get started, would you like to make any statements or address any specific misperceptions?

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Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray

From the OC Register:

Councilwoman Calls for Citizen Oversight on Stadium Negotiations

ANAHEIM – Councilwoman Kris Murray said she will call Tuesday for the creation of a citizen task force to help renegotiate a stadium lease aimed at keeping the Angels in Anaheim through 2057.

Murray and three other City Council members voted last month to delay the baseball team’s option to leave Anaheim to 2019 from 2016 while publicly outlining a series of negotiating points. Mayor Tom Tait, who voted against the deal, said that creating a citizen oversight panel at this point is “too little, too late.”

“It could not be more relevant to have full transparency so our residents know the benefits of the stadium as we enter negotiations with the Angels,” Murray said. “This will allow them to weigh the benefits of any agreement before it’s brought back to the City Council for approval.”

An Angels spokesman declined to comment.

It’s unclear how many people Murray would have serve on her Anaheim Citizens Task Force on Community Benefits, which would review plans that could allow the Angels to lease the city-owned parking lot surrounding the stadium for $1 annually over 66 years. In turn, team owner Arte Moreno would have the right to develop the property and ask the city for tax subsidies to help fund construction. Any profits could go toward stadium improvements.

You can read the rest of the story here.

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Recommended to our readers: this column by Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Shaikin on the negotiation framework agreed to by the City of Anaheim and the Angels. Shaikin is able to see the big picture and how a deal based on this framework will keep the Angels in Anaheim for decades to come, take the taxpayers off the hook for $130-150 million in stadium renovations (or even lead to a new, privately-funded and built stadium), and the development and economic activation of a city-owned property that has languished under city ownership.

Here’s Shaikin’s column:

As the Anaheim City Council voted Tuesday to enter formal lease negotiations with the Angels, a consultant representing the city said owner Arte Moreno has emphasized he has the means to move the team elsewhere.

By a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Tom Tait in opposition, the City Council voted to allow the Angels to opt out of their current stadium lease as late as 2019, rather than the current date of 2016.

“The owner of the Angels has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium,” said city consultant Charles Black, president of CB Urban Development in San Diego.

Black also told the council the Angels could move to Irvine, Irwindale or “at least half a dozen potential sites” in downtown Los Angeles.

After the meeting, Black said Moreno had not mentioned specific alternative sites in the talks with Anaheim.

Angels President John Carpino declined to comment when asked whether team officials had held discussions with other cities.

The council vote authorizes negotiations based on deal points that include the team calling itself the Los Angeles Angels and dropping the “of Anaheim” suffix.

The Angels also would extend their lease through 2036 — and possibly as long as 2057 — in exchange for development rights to the parking lots around the stadium.

The stadium needs $130 million to $150 million in capital improvements over the next 20 years, according to a city report. That estimate accounts solely for infrastructure — electrical maintenance and upgrades, concrete repairs, waterproofing and such—– at the stadium.

The Angels would pay all of that cost and would pay above and beyond for any improvements that would generate additional revenue for the team, for example, more luxury seating.

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