Facing a roomful of Orange County civic leaders wearing orange lapel buttons stating, "Derail the Sale," the California Assembly's Business and Professions Committee voted unanimously today to support a bill that would block the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.
The vote comes just two day before the Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger-proposed auction of the 150-acre property, which the budget-wracked state estimates will generate $180 million.
Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) is the author of the bill, which is receiving uncommon (for Sacramento) bipartisan support. Reporting from the Capitol, the Los Angeles Times' Patrick McGreevy quotes Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Garden Grove), saying, "This fairground is a cultural asset not only for Orange County but the entire area of Southern California. It's important we maintain it as a fairground."
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Local leaders, who want a nonprofit group or the city and county to take ownership of fairgrounds, fear a developer could get the land at auction and convert it to commercial use. It's been previously reported that seven bids have come in for the fairgrounds. The city and count disclosed they had submitted a joint bid. Other bidders have not yet been revealed.