There can be a weirdly recursive snake-eating-its-own-tail aspect to this site at times: Because I’m reporting here on stadium deals, mostly via other outlets’ reports on breaking news, and yet also I’m often interviewed by these same outlets as an expert on these deals, it’s not uncommon for me to report on articles that use me as a source. Such is the case today, where I talked to a reporter yesterday about the Los Angeles Angels stadium deal, and am waiting for the resulting article to go up — but thanks to some nonsense about the Earth being round and it being earlier in California than New York, I’m still waiting.
So instead, here’s the latest news that I gleaned from that conversation, and one other with a different source: The Anaheim city council has scheduled a hearing for December 17, at which it will presumably finally give the public (and its own members) a look at the full plan to sell Angel Stadium and its surrounding parking lots to Angels owner Arte Moreno for $325 million or maybe less if he takes deductions for building parks and affordable housing. Then it has scheduled a final vote for December 20 — meaning there will be all of three days to look over the plans in any detail more than the three-page marketing brochure that the city has posted on its website.
This is, and I’m pretty sure I used this word in my interview, bonkers: There’s simply no way to accurately vet a $325 million land sale with this many moving parts in just 72 hours. Plus, apparently some elements of the deal won’t be resolved until after the vote — which as we’ve seen before is a great way to set yourself up for unexpected costs.
The obvious solution is to wait: The Angels’ lease is now back in place through 2029 after a council vote in January (which the council didn’t even realize it was voting on), so there’s no reason not to take the time to actually read the damn plan, not to mention cross all the t’s in it. Instead, though, the council seems set to rush through the process, either because they don’t understand how contracts and leases work or because they do all too well and are just trying to limit time for anyone to take a look at the inner workings of this deal. Either way, it’s the direct opposite of due diligence — something else you’ll probably see me quoted elsewhere as saying, any minute now.