Ever since former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger backed the Orange County Fair Board's desire to sell the state-owned property, a good chunk of fun has left the place known for good times since 1949. Let the bad times roll: the Orange County Fair Preservation Society (OCFPS), which has been highly critical of state/city/developer desires regarding the 150-acre site, warns of an important meeting this morning by the state fair board.
The OCFPS says that issues to be raised at the meeting beginning at 9 a.m. at the OC Fair & Event Center at Arlington & Fairview include:
- 44 percent in fair vendor rent increases over 2013 and 2014 being implemented without board approval;
- "Rumblings" that the contractor charged with Pacific Amphitheatre redevelopment is "not wanting to follow all of the rules' (like allowing job site inspections by outsiders, paying prevailing wage, using the correct ratio of journeymen to apprentices on the project);
- Pressing the board to call on Gov. Jerry Brown to investigate efforts to sell the fairgrounds;
- Pressing the board to support state legislation that would repeal a sale of the facility;
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- Ensuring the fair's CEO is not signing checks for more than $200,000 for non-Pacific Amphitheatre expenses. The board recently reduced the CEO's authority to approve expenses from $200k to $50,000;
- Seeking opposition to a Western Fairs Association-backed bill that would cut all audits of state-owned fairground from once a year to once every 5 years. "The bill also allows public-private partnerships and greater ability to lease out property for long term uses," reports OCFPS. "This bill reduces oversight and opens the back door to privatization. There is already a problem with money laundering and state employees working for the real estate developers wanting to buy up fairgrounds."
The group previously called on the Orange County District Attorney's office to investigate the goings on at the fairgrounds. "It's important that we send a message that we are not going to let the DA whitewash this investigation like he did the last time. Criminal acts occurred and must be prosecuted," reads the OCFPS call to attend the meeting. Learn more about their fight here: www.ocfpreservationsociety.org.