This tumultuous year has proven the essential nature of nonpartisan local news. Every day we bring you news critical to staying informed and active in the community. Join us with a tax-deductible donation.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are expected to present a stadium proposal to the City of Anaheim on Nov. 15, following a year-long lease exit clause extension that was supposed to allow for thoughtful deliberations on the stadium’s future. 

It’s the first meeting for negotiating teams from the city and the Angels. The city and the Angels set a deadline of Dec. 31 to get a new stadium deal done. 

That deadline leaves council members just three regularly-scheduled public meetings to reach a deal. 

Councilman Jose Moreno said he’s concerned there’s not enough time to hammer out a deal that benefits residents. 

“I’m confident a deal can be done by December 31. But I have no confidence in that it will be a great deal,” Moreno told Voice of OC Wednesday.

“A deal can be done in an hour, it can be done in half an hour. That’s what I’m most concerned about, given the way the mayor & the City Council have voted to not have debate … then of course to not have regular updates on the substance of framework for negotiations,” Moreno said.  

Mayor Harry Sidhu has not responded to repeated requests for comment about stadium negotiations from Voice of OC.

Moreno has repeatedly tried to get the City Council to release the stadium appraisal and get updates on the negotiation process, but has failed for lack of support. He did manage to get proposals scheduled at the Oct. 29 meeting to release the appraisal and a 30-day public review period, but Mayor Harry Sidhu, along with the Council majority, shelved his proposals.

Councilman Trevor O’Neil successfully nixed the monthly Angels negotiations update at the March 19 Council meeting.  

In January, the City Council voted for Sidhu’s proposal to reinstate the stadium lease, after the ballclub decided to opt out of the lease in October 2018, to get more time to negotiate a new lease or land sale. The move, which was verbally characterized as a temporary lease extension at the January meeting, extended the Angel’s lease exit window until Dec. 31 this year. If the team doesn’t opt out by then, it stays at the stadium until 2029. 

The city was supposed to get a proposal from the Angels in October.

That didn’t happen.  

At the Nov. 5 Council meeting, City Manager Chris Zapata said the negotiating team — consisting of Mayor Sidhu, City Attorney Rob Fabela and Zapata — will meet with the Angels and get a formal proposal. City officials haven’t announced if they have a counter proposal ready to send to the Angels. 

Sidhu, backed by the majority, put himself on the negotiating team in July

“We look forward to hearing from them about their vision for Anaheim,” said Sidhu at the end of Tuesday’s Council meeting. 

He also said any agreement must benefit the residents of Anaheim. 

Moreno previously said the stadium appraisal was leaked and said the difference between encumbered and unencumbered land is hundreds of millions of dollars.

But city spokesman Mike Lyster said the city doesn’t believe the appraisal was leaked. 

“We are not aware of anybody having the appraisal,” Lyster said after Tuesday’s meeting. 

Moreno said, after Tuesday’s meeting, he was sent a text message asking about the value of the 155-acre stadium land and said the numbers cited in the message were “98 percent accurate.” 

Councilmembers have only once publicly discussed what they would like to see in the upcoming stadium deal, which centered around market-based rent or land sale. 

“I don’t know how the negotiating team is going to respond to Angels baseball, if we have not voted on anything as a Council. And that is what is disturbing to me,” Moreno said Wednesday.  

Under the current lease, the Angels make millions a year in gate receipts, while Anaheim barely gets a slice. The city has only made $1.6 million in net profit from the stadium since 2010. 

And Sidhu and the Angels said putting the city’s name back in the team name is a non-starter for negotiations

“A deal’s going to come that perhaps the mayor has already given a blessing to and that would be very difficult for the staff to recommend against, given the despotic nature by which this mayor is governing our city,” Moreno said. 

Spencer Custodio is a Voice of OC staff reporter. You can reach him at scustodio@voiceofoc.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerCustodio.

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.