As questions and suspicion mount about corporate giveaways from Anaheim taxpayers to the billionaire-owned Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, 200 local residents and activists held a community forum to address the opaque negotiations between the City and the baseball team. The forum was intended to amplify objections to the deal being worked out behind closed doors with a profitable sports team that has terminated its lease and threatened to relocate if a favorable agreement is not reached.
Angel Stadium has already enjoyed a years-long, one sided relationship with the City of Anaheim. The stadium was built with taxpayer money and is still owned by the City. However, the team’s owner, advertising billionaire Arte Moreno, reportedly pays almost no rent and keeps nearly all profits from parking, concessions and sales.
“I pay $2,300 a month for my apartment while my boss, the Angels Stadium owner pays next to nothing. After my daughter died of cancer, I was left to raise my granddaughter alone, I live paycheck to paycheck, with my rent getting higher every year. I am barely surviving. The Angels owner needs to put himself in our shoes. We deserve to know what is going on with the stadium deal,” said Julianna Bravo, Dishwasher at Angels Stadium.
In negotiations with the Angel’s owner in 2013 a negotiations framework was made public, in which there was a recommendation for the city to grant 153 acres surrounding the stadium for 66 years at $1.00 per year. This caused great concern among the public and a deal was never reached on those terms. This year, the lack of transparency and rapid pace of negotiations have raised suspicions that the deal takes advantage of taxpayers and offer little to nothing back to the community. Worse still, public records suggest that city staff intend to follow the disgraced 2013 negotiations framework.
Simultaneously, the City Council majority has tabled efforts by Councilmember Jose Moreno and residents to stop rent hikes at mobile home parks across the City. While the Angels enjoy effectively free rent, tax-paying residents of the Rancho La Paz mobile home park are facing the prospect of a 70% increase in rent in September.
“I got the notice that my rent was going to increase from $1,250 to almost $2,000 in a month. I cried myself to sleep that night, thinking about the struggle that would mean for my family. Would I have to get another job? Would we have to move?” said Anaheim resident, Esther Gomez.
Community members advocating for an equitable deal with the Angels are demanding transparency in stadium negotiations, protections for renters, fair wages for workers at the stadium and in any development on public land, affordable housing, and fair rent for the stadium that could fund city services like public education and rental assistance funds.