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LB Mayor/Council Schedule Closed Session To Discuss "Price/Terms Of Purchase and/Or Lease" For Convention Center Parking Lot. Some Say They'll Discuss A Possible Angels Deal. What About Brown (Open Meetings") Act?

Anaheim City Council seeks management report in open session on their city's dealings with Angels


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(Mar. 18, 2019, 5:45 p.m., updated Mar. 19, 9:50 a.m.) -- Some other outlets have matter-of-factly told their readers that the Long Beach City Council plans to hold a March 19 "closed session" to discuss a possible move by the California Angels to Long Beach in a stadium some say could be built in or around the surface parking lot adjoining the LB Convention Center.

[UPDATE Mar. 19, 8:26 a.m.: Kevin Lee, City of LB Public Affairs Officer emails LBREPORT.com: "The Closed Session item...is related to the ongoing conversations with the Angels regarding a potential sports venue in downtown Long Beach." [end UPDATE]

Can the Mayor/City Council discuss a possible Angels deal outside of public/press view? That's governed by CA's Brown (open meetings) Act. The publicly agendized item states:

Pursuant to Section 54956.8 of the California Government Code regarding a conference with the City's real property negotiator:

1. Property: That certain real property bounded on the north by East Seaside Way, on the west by Pine Avenue, and on the south and east by East Shoreline Drive and the Pacific Ocean, major portions of which are commonly known as the Elephant Lot and the Marina Green.

City's Negotiator: Patrick H. West, City Manager

Negotiating Parties: City of Long Beach and

Shoreline Investments LLC

Under Negotiation: Price and Terms of Purchase and/or Lease

CA Government Code section 54956.8 provides in pertinent part:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, a legislative body of a local agency may hold a closed session with its negotiator prior to the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease of real property by or for the local agency to grant authority to its negotiator regarding the price and terms of payment for the purchase, sale, exchange, or lease.

However, prior to the closed session, the legislative body of the local agency shall hold an open and public session in which it identifies its negotiators, the real property or real properties which the negotiations may concern, and the person or persons with whom its negotiators may negotiate. [CA Gov't Code 54956.8]

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Earlier today (March 18), Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey confirmed to us the accuracy of her quoted words in the PressTelegram/Gazettes (March 15) that Shoreline Investments, LLC is "the entity we [Angels] are using for the discussions." If the City is in reality negotiating with the Angels, the City's listing of some LLC doesn't truthfully disclose the real negotiating party, which is a Brown Act requirement.

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As to what the Council/Mayor can discuss outside of public/press scrutiny, CA's First Amendment Coalition notes on its website that the Brown Act section on real estate negotiations "has been the subject of considerable abuse. For example, government agencies involved in enormous, multi-faceted transactions have used a real property portion of the potential transaction to discuss the entire matter in secret..."

We don't believe the Brown Act allows the Mayor/Council to go behind closed doors for the stated limited purpose of negotiating price and terms for purchasing/leasing a piece of public property and use this as cover to hide wider discussion of aspects of the deal itself. Broader discussions of a matter of this speculated magnitude merit public, not closed door, discussion.

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And despite what others have speculated or spun, the City still hasn't publicly provided basic journalistic "W"s about what's taken place: Who on the City's side engaged in discussions with the Angels? When did they do so? What did the City's rep(s) discuss and offer? Who, if any among LB Councilmembers, was briefed on this and by whom and when? LBREPORT.com remains very "old-school" about these things.

Meanwhile, in a publicly open session on the same date (March 19), the Anaheim City Council will take up the following agenda item:

[Anaheim City Council March 19 agendizing memo text]

INFORMATIONAL ITEM:

Receive an update on negotiations with Angels Baseball regarding Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Stadium Site.

DISCUSSION:

Council Member Jose Moreno has requested that Staff agendize an update on negotiations with Angels Baseball on a monthly basis.

Since negotiations with Angel Baseball is still in the beginning stages, city staff has been primarily focused on completing the stadium site appraisal process. Steve Norris, with Norris Realty Advisors, was selected by the city in order to conduct the appraisal and staff has been working closely with him as he begins the process. Staff anticipates that the appraisal will take 90-120 days to complete.

Another item of note is that Angels Baseball has recently informed the City that they have retained the services of a development consultant to assist the team on exploring development opportunities on the stadium site. This is important since analyzing and planning for a variety of development scenarios of the existing stadium site will be an important part of the negotiation process moving forward.

IMPACT ON BUDGET:

There is no impact on the General Fund, as costs associated with the items contained in this staff report are included in the Convention, Sports & Entertainment Department's annual operating budget. Any impacts as a result of completed negotiations would be communicated at that time.

Respectfully submitted,
Tom Morton
Executive Director
Convention, Sports & Entertainment Department

Developing.

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