Another potential giveaway of hundreds of millions of dollars in city assets and future revenue was launched last night by the Chamber of Commerce controlled City Council majority of members Murray, Eastman, Kring and Brandman. The agenda item was slipped into the council agenda just prior to the long Labor Day weekend allowing little time for the public to notice or comment. The council took two actions last night. First they extended the time for the angels to leave until 2019. The second was an agreement setting the parameters of the negotiations for an extension of the lease for the next 60 years.
Anaheim Council critic Cynthia Ward provides a good outline of the potential impacts in a series of posts on the Orange Juice blog. You can check our her analysis at http://orangejuiceblog.com. But put simply, it looks like the city’s starting position is to give away the Stadium District land, all future tax and fee revenues, and the development rights to the Stadium District for the bargain basement price of $1 a year. The angels would also have full rights to the naming of the team, meaning the Angels could drop the inclusion of any reference to the city.
The responsibility of any city council is to protect the assets of the city, develop those assets in the public interest, and to not give away public funds without comparable public benefit. The proposed starting point for negotiations does not meet even the spirit of those baseline responsibilities. It appears that the council majority, led by Kris Murray and her other Chamber of Commerce and Orange County Business Council owned (or significantly influenced) colleagues are conducting a fire sale on city assets and future tax revenues.
We note that once again, Mayor Tom Tait was the only voice of reason on the council. We have to wonder where this giveaway of public assets will end, and public benefit begin.