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Mediation Fails for Angels, City

April 27, 2005|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

Amid indications the Angels and the city of Anaheim have discussed concepts that would enable the parties to settle their lawsuit and the team to keep "Los Angeles" in its name, city officials on Tuesday expressed disappointment that mediation sessions did not resolve the issue.

"The other side has not offered any deals. We've been offering deals," Councilman Richard Chavez said. "We were open to a lot of conceptual things related to the name. We've got a bully pushing us around, and his tactics are extremely frustrating."

The city alleges the new name adopted by owner Arte Moreno -- the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- violates the stadium lease. The city has asked a state appellate court to order the Angels to drop "Los Angeles" from their name pending trial, which is set to start Nov. 7. The appellate court urged mediation, which broke off last week.

In mediation, sources said, the two sides floated several scenarios, including one in which the team would be called the Los Angeles Angels and the ballpark name would revert from Angel Stadium to Anaheim Stadium, perhaps with the team helping to promote the city in ads and broadcasts. It is unclear which side initiated that idea, how seriously it was discussed and what financial terms might have been proposed to translate it into a settlement.

"I was open during mediation to hear what was out there," Mayor Curt Pringle said. "The city was honest in its mediation efforts. We want to figure out how to move forward. We're disappointed we did not get a more positive result."

No councilman would comment on specific proposals, including whether the council would approve a settlement permitting the team to keep the Los Angeles name. But Councilman Harry Sidhu said Anaheim's resolve in reclaiming the team name has not wavered.

"Our sticking point is still the same," he said. "That's what this lawsuit is still about. That's why there is no final answer."

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