May 12, 2005

Anaheim In The News

The Orange County Register had a slew of stories yesterday on Anaheim's grandiose plans to have the "Platinum Triangle" area near Anaheim Stadium become Orange County's "future downtown". (As usual, the Register is registration-encumbered, but solves that problem ...)

According to a study commissioned by the city of Anaheim, Anaheim was found to be the most profitable site for a new NFL stadium. Surprise of surprises! The other sites considered were the LA Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, and a vacant landfill in Carson.

However, one of their sports columnists opined that Anaheim will have to "wait its turn" and that the new-NFL-team prize will go to the Coliseum.

And here's an overview of planned development in the "Platinum Triangle" area. City officials detail just how grandiose their visions are, airing hopes that a planned "Grand Parkway" connecting Anaheim Stadium and the Disneyland/Convention Center areas will become "an urban boulevard like the Champs Elysées in Paris or Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, featuring bike trails, walkways and shops". Huh? Have any of these people been to the Champs Elysées? Or even Commonwealth Avenue? I'm envisioning that the "Grand Parkway" will end up as yet another fantastically boring 50-mph OC street lined with high-density condos and parking garages, with the occasional Blockbuster, Starbucks, or cellphone store showing up as first-floor retail.

And Anaheim Stadium makes a lousy Arc de Triomphe.

(To me, the most interesting item in that article is its mention of a potential third Disney themepark. What would we get? I'd think that the non-success of Disney's California Adventure would have wiped even tentative plans off of the books ...)

Whatever happens, city councilman Harry Sidhu might be my new local hero:

  • "'I would love for them (the NFL) to come here, but they have got to pay the price,' City Councilman Harry Sidhu said. 'My vision is, if the NFL does not want to pay the price, this property is going for sale.'"

  • Sidhu's impromptu speech, welcoming the NFL, but "not at the taxpayer's expense," embarrassed a few of those in the room Tuesday. "As far as I'm concerned, I would not put a dime in to build an NFL stadium," Sidhu said, his voice tinged with anger.

    Privately, officials explained the other four members of the city council are all pro-NFL and not nearly as emotional about the situation.

. . . go Team Sidhu! Has a stadium deal ever been a good deal for a city's taxpayers? Has any stadium deal ever come close to offering a fraction of the benefits promised by its boosters? I'm sure that if the NFL does come to Anaheim, the city will end up shoveling millions into stadium development (steamrollering right over any objections from anti-NFL, 'emotional' locals), only to have its shiny new NFL team turn around a couple of years later to stab them in the back by insisting that if the city doesn't build new luxury skyboxes/make tax concessions/give up a greater share of parking lot revenue, well, we'll just have to up and move the team to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Not that we want to do this, or that Fort Wayne is better than Anaheim, but you just know how these things are ... now how about those skyboxes again?

Posted by Kevin at May 12, 2005 12:00 PM