Assemblyman Tom Daly Authors Bill to Save OC Fairgrounds from Sale

You may recall that in 2009—when the state of California was bleeding money—the state Legislature gave its blessing to then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to sell the Orange County Fair & Event Center property.

Assemblyman Tom Daly introduced legislation Thursday to essentially take the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa off the market.

The local fairgrounds sale was to be the first of several state properties the Governator wanted to unload to close a huge, Great Recession budget gap.

Amid an outcry from Orange Countians—and especially Orange Countians with government union jobs at the fairgrounds—the state took bids …

… and then rejected each one as too low.

With the state doing better financially these days, Gov. Jerry Brown has shown no interest in wanting to sell the fairgrounds. But the law remains on the book that could allow that to happen.

That’s where Anaheim-based Democrat Daly’s AB 1907 comes in, eliminating the provision in state law authorizing the sale of the OC Fair & Event Center.

“The Orange County Fair & Event Center ranks among the best in the state and has clearly been a source of pride to people across Orange County,” says Daly in a statement from his office. “And while Governor Brown has made it clear that he does not support the notion of selling the land upon which the Fair and Event Center sits and operates, the fact that this law exists means the door remains open to a future governor with a different perspective on the issue.” 

Besides the county fair, which typically draws more than 1.3 million visitors each year, the grounds host the weekend OC Marketplace, the annual Tet Festival and various weekend trade shows, educational events and other special events like the recent Cirque du Soleil run.

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