L.A. sportswriter really bugged by the fact that the Angels don’t have a new lease deal already

Something has to give in stalled stadium lease negotiations between Angels and Anaheim

No. No, it doesn’t.

The above column, by L.A. Times sportswriter Bill Shaikin, is a stellar example of concern-troll journalism, claiming respect for Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait’s opposition to a free-land deal for Angels owner Arte Moreno that could be worth as much as $380 million in public subsidies, while simultaneously shaming him for not just buckling under and cutting a deal, summed up neatly in this classic sentence: “This is a tip of the cap toward a mayor who has been so incredibly successful in framing the debate surrounding the Angels‘ stadium lease negotiations that the process has ground to a dead halt.” The arguments presented by Shaikin — who’s done some good work in the past, but for some reason seems to have made a new Angels lease a personal vendetta — come down to these:

  • Moreno wants to spend $500 million of his own money to “revitalize property owned by the city,” which in this case means developing the land that he would get from the city for free, for his own use.
  • The other four members of the Anaheim city council haven’t been vocal in opposition to the deal, “apparently taking political cover behind Tait.”
  • The only way to develop the Angels parking lot is to build parking structures for Angels fans to park in, and this makes the Angels “the most logical developer.”
  • $500 million! Did I mention $500 million?
  • Moreno could move the Angels to Tustin.

All of this is reason for Tait to explore whether there’s a reasonable deal to be made here, but it’s hardly a cry for urgency — after all, there’s no indication that Moreno has even seriously explored sites in other nearby towns, and it’s hard to picture Tustin, say, putting together a Cobb County–style sweetheart deal to wrench the Angels away from Anaheim. Talking about development deals is fine and dandy and the proper role of mayors; calling for something to be done now because it’s been months already is the job, I guess, of sports columnists, though given that it’s also how we end up with terrible lease deals that nobody vetted properly, I kind of wish it weren’t.

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