Many of my Facebook friends live in Orange County, California, so my Facebook feed occasionally has a reference to a group called "Keep the Angels." But when I look at the "Keep the Angels" material, my B.S. detector automatically goes on high alert.
Here are the facts about Keep the Angels, as they themselves state.
The Angels’ lease at Anaheim Stadium is up in the next two to three years and the team and the City of Anaheim are negotiating a lease extension.
The current deal being discussed would:
•Keep the Angels in Anaheim for another 50 years
•Upgrade the stadium with needed capital improvements at no taxpayer expense
•Allow for development of a shopping, restaurant and entertainment complex next to the stadium
•Generate tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in tax revenue for the community.
Some politicians and special interests want to blow up this deal, which could drive the Angels out of Anaheim. It’s time for Angels fans to say, “Stop the Politics! Keep our Angels in Anaheim where they belong!”
I searched the website to find out who these evil special interests are, but couldn't find any specific reference to them. So then I began to wonder who created this Keep the Angels website.
KeepTheAngels.com is a grassroots coalition of Angels fans, Anaheim residents, taxpayers, and businesses who all share a common goal, keeping the Angels in Anaheim! We’re dedicated to getting the politics out of the negotiations and making sure the voice of the fans is heard. Please join us!
Boy, that told me a lot. Whenever you hear the words "grassroots coalition," you know that some huge entity is behind the whole thing. But who? JP Morgan Chase? The AFL-CIO? The NSA?
I had another source - the WHOIS registry that says who registered a particular website. So I looked up keeptheangels.com on WHOIS and identified the actual owners of the site.
It's pretty bad when you spend money to advance a cause and you don't even want to put your name behind it. Let me think about a solution for a moment.
Meanwhile, my suspicions now fully aroused, I poked around a little bit more, and found one of those so-called evil politicians who wants "to blow up this deal." That politician is the Mayor of Anaheim, Tom Tait. He wrote the following:
Here’s a quick summary of this issue: Most people know that Arte Moreno owns the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. But the residents of Anaheim own the stadium and the land around it: 155 acres of prime entitled real estate and one of the largest potential revenue-generating assets in the city. There are different visions of how that land could be used to create jobs and new economic activity, but there is no disputing the economic potential of the land.
The Angel’s current lease, signed in 1996, gives the Angels the use of the stadium and most of the surrounding parking lot until 2029. It is the team’s, not the city’s, obligation to maintain the stadium as a first-class facility. The lease also gives the team an opt-out clause in 2016.
Let me stop right here. Remember when the anonymous author at keeptheangels.com (I'll call this author George Herbert Walker Texas Ranger) said that the Angels' lease "is up"? Technically, the lease isn't up for another 15 years - unless the Angels decide to opt out.
Returning to the mayor:
On Sept. 3, with very little public notice, the city council—in a 4-1 vote (I was the lone dissenter)—voted to amend the current lease and agreed to the framework of a new deal that: 1) extends Moreno’s opt-out clause through 2019; 2) allows the team to remove Anaheim from the team’s name; 3) approves a 20-year stadium lease with minimum rent; and 4) leases the 155-acre parking lot to a separate Arte Moreno business entity for one dollar per year for a minimum of 66 years. They gave that independent entity the unrestricted right to transfer or develop the property, with none of the profits going to the people of Anaheim.
Parking lot talk. That helped the OTHER Los Angeles baseball team a lot, didn't it?
If you compare George Herbert Walker Texas Ranger's third and fourth bullets with Mayor Tait's fourth point, you get the full picture. The proposed deal will allow for development of a shopping, restaurant and entertainment complex next to the stadium...with none of the profits going to the people of Anaheim (excluding tax revenues).
The funny part is that both sides in the issue are trying to appeal to civic pride. One side wants to "keep the Angels in Anaheim." Another side wants to "save Anaheim" (the name of the website that posted the Mayor's opinion piece).
But the truth of the matter is that the Angels left Anaheim a long, long time ago.
As I recently noted, Rita Moreno of Arte effectively moved the Angels to Los Angeles, because he had problems marketing a team named after Anaheim to people in Korea or wherever Rita markets the Angels.
So now, the two sides are fighting over the future of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Or, if the "Keep the Angels" forces get their way, the Los Angeles Angels.
That really gives you a ton of civic pride, doesn't it?
P.S. Meanwhile, the one Orange County baseball team that was actually proud to be an Orange County baseball team, namely the Fullerton Flyers, apparently no longer exists. So much for local pride.
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