Architect: We can fix MLB’s attendance problems if we just architect hard enough!

MLB attendance is on pace to fall again for the fifth straight year, and while all evidence is that this is mostly a self-inflicted wound by team owners — some combination of setting ticket prices too high and too many teams not even trying to compete — SBNation’s Scott Hines has a different idea: He thinks the problem is too many ballparks are like Camden Yards. No, seriously:

The retro-nostalgic trend in baseball park design started by Baltimore’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 1992 has grown stale. A familiar palette of materials and grab-bag of design touches has shown up in new ballparks everywhere, like brick and stone, quirky-for-quirk’s sake outfield angles, and historicist allusions to baseball’s supposed Golden Age. While a few stadiums — notably Miami’s Marlins Park, which we’ll get to later — have bucked convention, there’s little separating a Comerica Park from a Nationals Park, or a Great American Ballpark from a Citizens Bank Park.

That’s all mostly true about the cookie-cutter modern stadium designs, but why would it be causing attendance to drop? Are baseball fans so fickle that they’ll only turn out to games if they’re presented with a dazzling new architectural experience every decade or two? Do millennials and Gen Z have some aversion to brick and stone that baby boomers and Gen X didn’t?

The answer, it appears, is mostly that Hines is a frustrated stadium architect (“When I did a career-shadowing trip to an architecture firm as a high-school freshman and saw not-yet-public drawings for what would become Milwaukee’s Miller Park, I was hooked”) and wants a reason to say how he would design baseball stadiums if only someone would give him a chance. Which, fine, everybody has a right to be a critic. So what are his ideas for building better ballparks?

  • Section off parts of stadiums for supporters’ groups, as is done in European soccer: And not only that, but then let the supporters’ groups actually design those sections: “Cushy seats or hard bleachers? Scrap both for standing rails? Favor a first-come-first-serve daily admissions, or a program that rewards perfect attendance with seating preference? It’s up to you, the fans.” That’s certainly interesting, but presupposes that supporters’ groups existed for MLB, and that they’d be organized enough to come up with design plans, and that they wouldn’t get tired of those designs quickly just like they allegedly did with Camden Yards, all of which seem dubious. (Also, choosing between types of admission plans doesn’t actually require building a whole new stadium for, does it?)
  • Open up the stadium concourses to be part of the surrounding streetscape: This is not actually a new idea, having been pioneered by, wait for it, Camden Yards, where Eutaw Street between the stadium and the adjacent warehouse was turned into an outdoor concessions concourse (inside the stadium turnstiles, of course, because you want to make sure only ticketholders could experience it). And this “erase distinctions between inside and outside” gimmick has been tried at other new sports venues as well, in particular the new Red Wings and Pistons arena in Detroit, where it isn’t exactly sparking tons of fan excitement.
  • Put your more rabid fans right behind home plate where they’ll show up more on TV: I’m not at all sure how this is supposed to boost attendance, unless people are supposed to see regular folks sitting in good seats instead of bored corporate fat cats and think, “I wanna be one of them!” and then rush to buy tickets. Except that then invariably the price of the regular-folks seating would soar to unaffordable levels (anyone here tried to buy Cubs bleacher seats lately?), and anyway couldn’t this be solved much more simply just by offering more seats in current stadiums’ field levels for lower prices, except that teams don’t want to do that because it would cost them money?
  • Increase home-field advantage by designing stadium roofs to make the acoustics louder, and adding adjustable modular sections so that outfield fence distances can be changed year to year depending on whether you have a better pitching staff, better fielding outfielders, etc.: This is a kind of brilliant update on Bill Veeck’s move, when he owned the old minor-league Milwaukee Brewers, to add a movable fence in the outfield that could be raised when the opposing team was at bat and lowered when his team was at bat. (The league immediately outlawed it.) It’s hard to see how it would increase overall baseball attendance, though, since every time one team wins another team loses — unless the idea here is that fans like to see their team win at home, which could easily enough be solved by, say, giving the home team a free runner on second base to start every inning.
  • “Don’t just make a park, make a statement”: Here’s where we get to the heart of nearly every modern architect’s case, which is that buildings shouldn’t just serve as buildings, but as conversation pieces. As for how well this has worked out in the past, consider that Hines’ one example of a baseball stadium that has tried to make a statement is Marlins Park, and “we’re taking that one step further.” This is not likely to get him any stadium design commissions anytime soon.

So what are we left with? A grab bag of design ideas, some of which might be worth pursuing, hardly any of which seem to require new stadiums in order to implement, and none of which can be expected to have much impact on attendance, which was supposed to be the point of this whole exercise. Also, he completely ignored my revolutionary idea of replacing the entire field with an LED screen that could project the images of computerized players with superpowers, though I guess that’s probably more of an NFL idea anyway.

Posted in MLB

Anaheim completes appraisal of Angels stadium land value, won’t let public see it

Good news: The city of Anaheim has finally received its completed appraisal of the value of stadium parking lot land that Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno wants development rights to as part of a new lease deal, after weeks of saying it only had a “draft” version that couldn’t be released to the public. Significantly less good news: The Anaheim city council still won’t release the appraisal to the public, because reasons.

The City Council directed the city staff to make the appraisal “available to both the public and Council,” according to the meeting minutes. On Tuesday, the City Council received the results of the appraisal — then declined to share those results with the public.

After a handful of speakers urged the council to be transparent in its negotiations with the Angels, Councilman Jose Moreno proposed a public presentation of the appraisal next month. He needed three votes out of seven. He got two votes, one of them his own…

None of the council members who opposed Jose Moreno’s proposal explained why — including Stephen Faessel, who voted last November in favor of releasing the appraisal publicly.

This is disturbing, if not exactly shocking: The state of New York, after all, only released its appraisals of public land being provided for an Islanders arena three and a half hours before the final public vote on the plan (and still has only released the executive summaries, not the complete appraisals). And as the Los Angeles Times notes, Anaheim itself kept its appraisal of Ducks arena land under wraps until five days before voting on that team’s new lease deal.

The advantage for public officials of not wanting to release land value figures is obvious: You can negotiate anything you like without anyone in the press or the public trying to kibitz whether you’re getting a fair price or not. This is also why the public might want to consider screaming bloody murder when officials pull this sort of move, since democracy still involves public oversight of elected officials’ actions, at least last I checked.

All of which could still be fine, so long as the Anaheim city council uses its powers to negotiate in secret to strike a deal that gets the best value for the public, while sitting in a room with only Angels execs and no danger of anyone else knowing what they’re talking about until it’s too late to do anything. That’s not impossible — Anaheim didn’t do a terrible job with the Ducks deal under similar circumstances, after all — but still, it would be nice to have more than five days to make sure everything is on the up and up. Let’s just hope the don’t choose to release it, say, the day before Thanksgiving, with the vote the following Monday. (Oh, crap, I probably shouldn’t give them any ideas, should I?)

Angels sell $101m a year in tickets, but only pay $178,000 in rent to Anaheim

Now here’s a fun headline you don’t see too often, though it could run pretty much anywhere anytime:

Angels Make $100 Million a Year at Stadium While Anaheim Barely Gets a Slice

The news here is that Voice of O.C. reporter Spencer Custodio got ahold of Anaheim’s receipts from Los Angeles Angles ticket sales revenue sharing, and it turns out it’s next to nothing: Because the Angels’ lease says the team only has to share $2 a ticket with the city once it’s sold more than 2.6 million tickets, Anaheim ended up bringing in only $11.5 million total between 2010 and 2018, while sending $9.9 million back to the Angels for maintenance costs, for a net rent of $1.6 million over nine years. At the same time, according to Forbes’ numbers, the team brings in $101 million a year from ticket sales alone.

I’m heavily quoted in the article, along with sports economists Allen Sanderson and Roger Noll, but I think some of my points may have gotten garbled a bit — I’m quoted accurately, but some of the context got lost in translation. So let me elaborate here, where I can go on and on and no one can interrupt me for word count:

  • This is, of course, a terrible lease. Anaheim paid $24 million to build Anaheim Stadium in 1966, and paid $100 million to renovate it again in 1996 as part of the deal that set up the current lease. Yet the city receives only a pittance in rent — and nothing from concessions, advertising, or naming rights — that won’t even come close to paying off the last renovation. (“You got to be more hard nosed, hard assed or something in terms of negotiations and got to be willing to let the team walk, or you’re going to lose money on this,” says Sanderson in the article.)
  • It’s terrible largely because of that 2.6 million ticket threshold, which 1) is an extremely high level to reach (only ten teams in MLB sold that many tickets last year, and most didn’t clear it by much), and 2) gives the team a huge incentive to raise ticket prices rather than keeping them low enough to draw more fans, since if they sell fewer tickets for more money, they don’t have to share any of it with Anaheim. Especially since selling fewer tickets for more money seems to be MLB’s marketing strategy these days.
  • A better revenue-sharing plan would have set the threshold lower, or had no threshold at all. As Noll says: “Historically, before the stadium subsidy craze took hold, the standard agreement between a local government and team is they would pay rent in a fraction of gate revenue, which was usually six percent. It would be huge now because [the Angels] take [in] over $100 million now.”
  • Even that could be problematic, though, given current trends in ticket marketing. For example, let’s say Angels owner Arte Moreno had to share six cents on every dollar in ticket revenue with Anaheim, as Noll suggests. Moreno’s first task, I’m sure, would be to figure out how to reclassify as much income as possible as not from “ticket sales.” One possibility off the top of my head: Instead of selling season tickets for $5,000 a season, charge a $4,000 “membership fee” to the “Angels Premier Fan Club,” which would allow you to buy season tickets for just $1,000 a year. That’ll be $60 to you, Anaheim — what, no, you can’t have any share of the other $4,000, that’s not ticket sales, that’s a membership fee!
  • Accordingly, the fairest system (and the hardest to game) is just straight cash rent. As I told Custodio, that way “you’re not penalizing the city if the team is terrible and you’re not disincentivizing the team to sell tickets.”

Either way, the upshot is: The Angels have a sweetheart deal on their lease, and Anaheim really should drive a harder bargain in their next one. This isn’t made any easier by the fact that the city just gave Moreno a nine-year lease extension without apparently realizing they were doing it; still, given that Moreno is drooling at the prospect of getting development rights to the stadium parking lot, that should be some leverage to demand more cash for the city in the next lease, right? Leverage? You Anaheim city officials have heard of using leverage to make demands, right? It’s all the rage!

Friday roundup: New sports venues, new sports venue threats, and our dwindling journalistic resources

Deadspin’s Albert Burneko is a national treasure whether he’s writing about sports or movies or punctuation, and his takedown this week of a Fivethirtyeight article that asserts there are too many minor-league baseball teams is very much no exception. Drop whatever you’re doing — which is reading this post, so okay, drop whatever you were going to do after that — and read it now, whether you care about the purpose of sports as entertainment or the role of the media in management-labor relations or the increasing propensity to reduce human beings to measures of technocratic efficiency. With the demise of the alt-weeklies, there are fewer and fewer outlets eager to combine tenacious reporting and big-picture analysis and engaging writing toward the end of helping us understand the world we live in beyond “here are some potentially viral things that happened today,” so we need to cherish those that remain while we can.

And with that, here are some potentially viral (in the not especially infectious sense) things that happened this week:

Oakland wins land swap approval for proposed A’s stadium site, actual public cost still clear as mud

The Oakland A’s stadium plan for Howard Terminal may seem like it’s been spinning its wheels forever, but it’s been slowly racking up legislative wins of late: A bill to authorize the city of Oakland to acquire property at the site by swapping other land to the state has now passed the state legislature, and is headed to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk for signing, this after another bill was approved to allow tax money to be used for “infrastructure” on the site.

After the bill passed the Assembly in May, [Assemblymember Rob] Bonta said, “This project is a win for Oakland and the East Bay. It will create strong union jobs that provide good wages and benefits.”

He went on to claim that the ballpark will help alleviate the housing crisis: “It will create badly-needed affordable housing and will keep the A’s rooted in Oakland for years to come.”

A figure denoting exactly how much housing might accompany the ballpark and retail mixed-use has yet to be determined.

“Has yet to be determined” is an apt description for most of the stadium plan, as it’s still not exactly clear who would pay for what (aside from the A’s owners funding construction of the stadium itself), or how much the city will get for its share of the Oakland Coliseum site that the team owners want to build housing on to help fund their stadium costs, or how property taxes will work, or lots of other things including how many shipping cranes will be left to decorate the stadium site. All this was par for the course when the stadium plan was still an abstraction, but now that actual authorizing legislation is being passed, maybe it’s time to actually deliver some hard numbers? Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, your Gang of Four membership is at stake!

Friday roundup: When is a football stadium too old to be a football stadium?

If it wasn’t clear from the photos of devastation in the Bahamas, the death toll from Hurricane Dorian is going to get much, much worse than the official confirmed number (30, at this writing). You can find a list of some organizations raising money to help survivors here; please give generously if you can. And remember as you do that it’s the warming oceans that helped make this so bad.

And with that, on to news that’s marginally less life and death:

  • Denver Metropolitan Football Stadium District chair Ray Baker says the Broncos‘ current stadium (which just got a new corporate name, go keep track of these things on your own if you like because I can’t be bothered to remember them) should last “between 50 and 60 years,” at which point Broncos president Joe Ellis replied that “I can’t judge where entertainment venues are going to need to be in the future” and “I can’t tell you whether or not, in 10 years, the city of Denver and our seven-county region has an appetite to host a Super Bowl or an appetite to host a Final Four, which means you need a roof. Or do you need a new stadium?” The new naming-rights deal lasts 21 years, at which point the stadium will be 40 years old; please place your bets on whether it will still be standing by then.
  • RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., will not make it to its 60th birthday in October 2021, which is all well and good as nobody plays there now and it’s costing the city $3.5 million a year for maintenance, landscaping, pest control, security, and utilities. (Note: Yeah, that seems like a lot to me too for an empty stadium.) D.C. officials say they plan to build an indoor sports complex and food market on the site, but have no plans as yet for an NFL stadium, no matter how much Mayor Muriel Bowser might want one.
  • Cleveland Browns COO David Jenkins says team execs still haven’t decided whether to demand a new stadium or a renovated one, but “we’re not far from having those conversations.” Note to Denver: The Browns’ stadium is two years older than the Broncos’.
  • Forbes reports that the value of the Oakland Raiders jumped by $1.5 billion to $2.9 billion after announcing their move to Las Vegas, which is an indication that either there’s something wrong with Forbes’ franchise valuation estimates or there’s something wrong with how much rich people are willing to spend to buy sports teams, or both. Even with the state of Nevada kicking in $750 million, the team will still be on the hook for more than $1 billion in stadium construction costs, which is going to soak up most of the team’s new stadium revenue even if their plan to sell tickets mostly to tourists and visiting fans works out.
  • The Anaheim city council is still squabbling over who knew when that when they voted on a Los Angeles Angels lease extension back in January, they were actually giving team owner Arte Moreno the right to stay through 2029 if he wanted, not just until 2020. (The team owner got a one-year extension of his opt-out clause as well, but the lease is now back in place to its original expiration date set before Moreno opted out the first time last year.) One thing that’s for sure is that this was a major gift to Moreno as stadium renovation talks continue, because “the best friend of a sports team owner is time,” says, uh, me.
  • A bill making it easier for Oakland to create tax districts at Howard Terminal to help raise money for infrastructure for a new A’s stadium passed the California state legislature this week; it’s still unclear exactly how much tax money would be spent on infrastructure, or exactly what “infrastructure” would mean, or even if the stadium will be built at Howard Terminal at all, but that’s one more skid greased, anyway.
  • The new Long Island Railroad station outside the new New York Islanders arena is set to be open by 2022, which only about 90 years faster than these things usually go in New York. It helps to have friends in high places!


KC Star to new Royals owner: You’d like a new downtown stadium, wouldn’tcha? Wouldn’tcha?

Now that the Kansas City Star has editorialized against giving public money (at least, not too obviously) to new Royals owner John Sherman for a new downtown stadium, time for the paper to back up and ask whether Sherman is likely even to ask for money, or for a new stadium. Their answer: Nobody knows or has even asked, but maybe!

Could a new owner usher in the possibility of the Royals pursuing a downtown stadium? People close to Sherman say he hasn’t discussed the idea specifically, but clues exist to suggest he might be warm to the idea.

Sherman was part of an investor group that was looking at building a downtown stadium in St. Louis to support an expansion Major League Soccer team, according to a 2016 article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The idea cooled when then-Gov. Eric Greitens said he would oppose public funding for the project.

Sherman also sits on and was a chairman of the board of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, a consortium of business people who look to guide the city’s future. The Civic Council is helping fund a new study by the Downtown Council of Kansas City’s urban core, an update to earlier studies referred to as the Sasaki Plan, which in 2001 and again in 2005 served as something of a blueprint for the rejuvenation of the city’s core in the years that would follow.

That’s several steps away from even circumstantial evidence: Sherman once was part of a St. Louis soccer team ownership group that wanted to build a new stadium, and is on the board of a business group that gave money to the downtown business group that is doing a study of things that could help downtown — including possibly a baseball stadium! You can practically see the blueprints dancing before his eyes!

Articles like these are tough: On the one hand, news outlets like the Star should be applauded for trying to get out in front of a story by investigating the new owner’s possible plans before he reveals them. On the other, when the result is just some vague tea-leaf reading plumped up with lots of speculation about possible sites and recitation of how other cities just love downtown stadiums to bits, it starts to feel like less of an investigation and more of a suggestion, along the lines of the Buffalo News’s campaign for a new Bills stadium whether or not the Bills owners even want one.

While the more typical dynamic at play is for news outlets to be overly attuned to the desires of team owners and prominent elected officials — because they’re powerful, because they control access to locker rooms, because they issue lots of press releases that can be written up without taking too much time away from the ten other articles you have to file that day — they can also have other reasons for talking up new stadiums: Because other local business leaders want them, because the papers want something that will grab readers’ attention, because their sportswriters are envious of other cities’ schmancier press boxes. The Star isn’t quite at Buffalo News levels yet, but given that the paper’s editorial board was already talking up the “incredible opportunity” of a downtown stadium months before Sherman started looking into buying the team — not to mention the paper’s scare tactics to encourage K.C. voters to approve public funds for stadium renovations back in 2006 — it’s certainly cause for concern. At least K.C., unlike a lot of other cities, still has an alternative weekly in town, so here’s hoping the Pitch will consider taking a slightly less pre-sold look at the downtown stadium prospects. Better hurry, the Royals’ lease is up in only 12 more years!


Friday roundup: Will Royals sale spark new stadium, is Miami asbestos report a Beckham ploy, could developers influence Bills’ future?

Happy last Friday of summer! You’re probably busy getting ready to go somewhere for the long weekend, but if you’re instead staying put (and enjoying the space left by all the people going somewhere for the long weekend), consider spending some time if you haven’t yet reading my Deadspin article on “What’s The Matter With Baseball?“, which interrogates the various theories for MLB’s attendance decline and determines which ones may not be total crap. Do I conclude that it’s all the fault of team owners who’d rather charge rich people through the nose for a lesser number of tickets than try to sell more seats to less deep-pocketed fans? No spoilers!

And now to the news, and lots of it:

  • A new rich guy is buying the Kansas City Royals, and already there’s speculation about whether John Sherman will demand a new stadium when (or before) the team’s Kauffman Stadium lease is up in 2031. The Kansas City Star editorializes that “Kansas Citians should reject any plan that significantly increases public spending for the Royals, either for a new downtown stadium or a ballpark somewhere else,” and further notes that there’s no guarantee a new stadium would even help the Royals’ bottom line (“Winning, it turns out, is more important than a new stadium”), which is all a nice first step; let’s see what happens when and if Sherman actually opens his mouth about his plans.
  • Miami has closed Melreese golf course after determining it had high levels of arsenic and reopened Melreese golf course after environmental officials determined there was nothing “earth shattering” about the pollution levels. And now there’s concern by at least one city commissioner (Manolo Reyes, if you’re scoring at home) that the release of the arsenic findings is part of a ploy by David Beckham’s Inter Miami to get a discount on the lease price of the land, which is still being hashed out. The Miami Herald reports that the team and city are at loggerheads over whether to take environmental remediation costs into account when determining the land value; this epic Beckham stadium saga may have a couple more chapters to go yet.
  • Buffalo developers Carl and William Paladino are really excited about the possibility of a new Bills stadium near land their own, because they could either sell it to the team at an inflated price or develop it themselves once people are excited to live or shop near a new football stadium. (No, I don’t know why anyone would be excited to live or shop near a football stadium only open ten days a year, just go with it.) Carl Paladino once ran for governor of New York, so it’s worth watching to see if he uses his political ties (or skeezy lobbyist friends) to try to influence the Bills’ stadium future.
  • A group trying to get an MLB team for Nashville may not have a stadium or a site or a team, but they do have a name for their vaporteam: the Nashville Stars. Guy-who-wants-to-be-an-MLB-owner John Loar tells the Tennessean he decided on the name “after reading a book on Nashville’s baseball history by author Skip Nipper,” which is presumably this one; the Seraphs, Blues, Tigers, Americans, Volunteers, and Elite Giants honestly all seem like better names than the Stars, which was last used by a franchise in the World Basketball League (the basketball league where tall players weren’t allowed, which, yes, was actually a thing), but it’s really not worth arguing over the name a team that may never exist in our lifetimes.
  • The Richmond city council’s plan to approve spending $350 million on a new downtown arena without consulting the public has hit an apparent snag, which is that four or five members of the nine-member council reportedly oppose the plan, and seven votes are needed to pass it.
  • The editor of the San Francisco Examiner has penned an opinion piece saying the Golden State Warriors‘ new arena is overly opulent and expensive — premium lounges feature wine butlers and private dining rooms, so yeah — but is resigned to this as a necessity (or at least the headline writer is) that it’s “the price we pay for a privately-funded arena.” Which, does anyone really think the Warriors owners would have passed up the chance to charge through the nose for wine butler service if they’d gotten public money? This is the price we pay for rampant income inequality, and don’t you forget it.

Anaheim mayor hints at ways he could lowball Angels lease payments

The Anaheim city council met last night to discuss a new lease for the Los Angeles Angels that could include a sale of city development rights to team owner Arte Moreno to fund stadium renovations, but it’s 8:30 am on the West Coast already and nobody seems to be reporting on what happened, not even Twitter. Wake up and type already, Southern California!

In the meantime, though, the Voice of OC’s Spencer Custodio noted yesterday that an op-ed penned last Thursday by Mayor Harry Sidhu contained some clues about his thinking going into lease talks:

As part of the negotiating team, I will insist that any land sales or leases be at market prices, reflecting ongoing baseball use, development we’re likely to see and any requirements we may ask for with the land. You’ll hear some argue for unrealistic prices based on what we might see if we sold all of the land for housing.

That seems to imply that whatever valuation the city places on the land, it will be for its use for the hotel-and-retail development that’s actually planned, not the “highest and best use” test that would result if the whole site were turned over to housing. That’s not necessarily unreasonable — you want to value the land on what it’ll be used for — but it does mean any appraisal should be carefully judged for its methodology, particularly what comparables it uses to get a price per acre.

Sidhu also wrote:

If we see a new lease for a city-owned stadium, it should include annual rent payments, city revenue-sharing or a combination of both. You’ll hear a lot about rent at Angel Stadium. Unfortunately, much of it is misleading.

Those who don’t want the Angels to stay, or only want a deal on their terms, will tell you the team doesn’t pay rent at the stadium. From 1996 to 1998, the team paid $87 million to fix up Angel Stadium, which then was 30 years old.

That was $87 million our residents did not have to pay to fix up our stadium.

Under the team’s current lease, $80 million of that investment counted as prepaid rent, working out to $2.5 million a year for the 33-year life of the lease. But that’s history now.

That’s considerably less reasonable: The $87 million cost wasn’t for necessary repairs to Angel Stadium, it was for stuff the Angels (then owned by Disney) wanted, mostly the removal of the outfield grandstand that had been added for the Rams in the 1970s and its replacement by some bleachers and landscaping. Counting it as “prepaid rent” assumes that these were somehow public expenses for a public benefit that the team was reimbursing the city for, which is only true if Anaheim residents were clamoring for a giant fake pile of rocks.

Anyway, this is all very much the pregame: We’re not going to know what Sidhu has in mind until he lays his cards on the table, first and foremost that land appraisal. One can only hope that it will be revealed sooner than the day of a vote on the new lease, since that seems to be the way some governments operate these days. One councilmember has requested a minimum 30-day comment period, but Sidhu and the rest of the council weren’t having it — “I will not put any timeline,” said Sidhu said, “whether it’s 30 days, 45 days, 10 days, 5 days ”— so be afraid, be very afraid.

UPDATE: Here’s Custodio’s report on the Anaheim council hearing, and it doesn’t look like much of import happened, beyond agreeing that there should be “no public subsidy or giveaway of tax dollars,” which, nobody ever admits that their plan is a “giveaway.” The land appraisal is still being called a “draft” and has no set release date, and several councilmembers said they were against making public any of the proposals before a vote, with Councilmember Lucille Kring saying, “negotiations are done in secret for a reason.” Uhhh, so no one can find out about them and object to them before you vote for them and it’s too late? It’s that one, right?

Friday roundup: News outlets everywhere get pretty much everything wrong

On a tight deadline this week, so let’s get straight to the news: