The Anaheim City Council Tuesday night unanimously approved making public an appraisal of the land around Angel Stadium, a move that will allow residents to better understand the value of what they’re giving up in a potential stadium lease deal with Angels owner Arte Moreno.
Last year, the council approved a controversial negotiations framework that would give Moreno and an investment group 155 acres surrounding the stadium for $1 annually for 66 years.
The Angels would in return develop the land and use the revenue to finance up to $150 million in stadium renovations.
Members of the council majority have said that the framework is only a starting point for negotiations and not set in stone. Critics have argued that the document sets up a massive giveaway of public assets to a billionaire and that the Angels are already required to do the renovations under the current lease.
Mayor Tom Tait had requested the appraisal and asked that it be made public so that residents can understand whether the city is getting a good deal. Tait argued that the revenue from developing the land should be split 50-50.
At first, the council majority was openly hostile to Tait on the issue. But after media scrutiny and a campaign by Tait to turn the public against the lease framework, comments from council members started to shift toward getting a good deal for taxpayers.
The Angels are “a vital part of our community and our economy, and we want to make sure we have a full public vetting of our appraisal,” said Councilwoman Kris Murray after moving to make the appraisal public.
Said Tait: “Because the public owns the property I think they’re entitled to the opinion of the appraiser and what the value is.”
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