Boy, hasn't it been fun having Orange County Employees Association (OCEA) head Nick Berardino on the OC Fair board of directors? The fiery Berardino--with whom we always don't agree , but always do appreciate his bringing a paisan attitude to WASP heaven Orange County--has already stirred up the usually staid board by demanding full transparency, usually dropping tips to the Voice of OC (of which the OCEA helped get off the ground with a six-figure donation) about some board scheme or other.
But God bless Nick: he left the best tip for me. He has proposed to his fellow board members that they erect a statue at the Orange County Fairgrounds commemorating the hundreds of thousands of immigrant agricultural laborers that set this county on the road to prosperity but whose contributions get swept under our Sunkist memories.
Somewhere, Jimmy Utt is spinning in his grave.
"These people were instrumental in making Orange County rich--Japanese, Chinese, Mexican laborers and others," he said. "They deserve commendation, and especially given how the Fair is a celebration of our agricultural heritage, a statue on the Fairgrounds would be a great idea."
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Berardino says he briefly mentioned the idea to his fellow board members at a recent meeting, and they didn't immediately laugh him out of the room--a stunning development, given our county's ahistorical mindset. He plans to bring up the plan for public discussion at the board's next meeting, scheduled for Dec. 15. See you there!