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Anaheim and Angels in Stadium Talks

The Anaheim City Council is negotiating with the Angels about extending the team’s stay at Angel Stadium.

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A business-backed group calling itself Keep the Angels was set to rally in Anaheim Tuesday in support of a deal to keep the baseball team in the Orange County city.

A game at Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium shown in 2009 (credit: Flickr: Ming-yen Hsu)

The group sent out a news release announcing the “community rally” and saying Keep the Angels was a “new grassroots coalition.”

The rally was scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Anaheim City Hall in advance of a City Council discussion on a previously approved agreement intended to keep the team in town and allow it to develop land surrounding Angel Stadium.

“We’re going to have rally and let them know we think this is a good deal,” said Todd Ament, president of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, which is part of Keep the Angels.

The deal, approved on a 4-1 vote Sept. 3, moves forward from 2016 to 2019 the date when the team can opt out of its lease on Angel Stadium. The deal, which creates a framework for lease negotiations that could keep the team in Anaheim will 2057, gives the Angels development rights to land surrounding the stadium.

Keep the Angels said in a news release that it supported the development of that land “for the economic benefit of the entire community.”

Angel Stadium — the fourth-oldest in Major League Baseball — would get an upgrade courtesy of the team, and the city would no longer have to pay for upkeep of the 47-year-old stadium.

The agreement would also allow the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to change their name — potentially to simply the Los Angeles Angels. That’s an possibility that has irritated many Orange County Angels fans.

When the deal was first before the City Council earlier this month, a city consultant told council members that Angels owner Arte Moreno has the means and will to move the team elsewhere in Southern California, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The City Council agenda for Tuesday stated the panel was slated for a “discussion item” on the deal. Ament was not certain what would come before the council.

Earlier this month, a group of residents protested the deal, saying the city had “sold out,” the Orange County Register reported.  Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait has been vocally opposed to the agreement as well.

The vote to approve the deal signaled the opening of negotiations between the city and the team, but the terms of the agreement could still change.

As the Anaheim City Council voted Tuesday to enter formal lease negotiations with the Angels, a consultant representing the city said owner Arte Moreno has emphasized he has the means to move the team elsewhere.

A game at Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium shown in 2009 (credit: Flickr: Ming-yen Hsu)

By a 4-1 vote, with Mayor Tom Tait in opposition, the City Council voted to allow the Angels to opt out of their current stadium lease as late as 2019, rather than the current date of 2016.

“The owner of the Angels has made clear in our discussions he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium,” said city consultant Charles Black, president of CB Urban Development in San Diego.

Black also told the council the Angels could move to Irvine, Irwindale or “at least half a dozen potential sites” in downtown Los Angeles.

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The Anaheim City Council is expected to vote Tuesday to enter lease negotiations with the Angels that could keep the team in the city through 2057 but enable the team to drop the clumsy “of Anaheim” suffix from its name.

Under the proposed deal, the Angels — and not the city — would pay for a major renovation of Angel Stadium. In return, Angels owner Arte Moreno would rent land surrounding the stadium for $1 per year and secure development rights to that land for at least 66 years.

The Angels can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016. The vote Tuesday would extend that opt-out window through 2019, giving the team and the city additional time to negotiate a complex deal.

The two sides already have agreed that the Angels will have sole control over the team name, according to a memorandum posted on the city’s website.

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