By Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly
In what’s becoming an increasingly familiar happening, activists took to the steps of Anaheim City Hall this morning to denounce yet another vote by the council majority. The issue this time for the Take Back Anaheim group wasn’t a massive $158 million giveaway for a hotel project, but a potential deal involving Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim owner Arte Moreno that they say would be even worse for residents.
Last week, as our current print news feature scorns, a predictable 4-1 vote moved the opt-out time frame for the Angels lease with the city by three years from 2016 to 2019, giving Moreno the opportunity to be the next ‘should I stay or should I go’ sports figure in the footsteps of ex-Laker center Dwight Howard.
The framework for negotiations includes a lucrative deal, to put it nicely: the private footing for renovations or construction of a new stadium in exchange for leasing 150 acres of city-owned prime real estate surrounding the Big A at a dollar per year for 66 years. That has concerned residents feeling like they’ve been intentionally beaned from the pitcher’s mound.
“This is not the 99 Cent Store,” longtime resident Victoria De Gomez said in brief but punchy statements from atop the steps of city hall. “I’m a realtor. That property is worth more than $300 [million] a year. Why are they doing that? I want transparency.”
Speaker after speaker assailed the framework of negotiations including former councilmembers Richard Chavez and Lorri Galloway. Mayor Tom Tait was previously announced as going, but did not arrive or speak. He had his say on the issue at the council meeting in question.
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