Solorio's Revenue-Sharing Bill Passes Assembly, Inching Fairgrounds Away From Private Control

The Orange County Fairgrounds continue to creep closer to remaining publicly controlled land. On Wednesday, Assemblyman Jose Solorio's bill (AB 35) proposing a revenue-sharing plan took a major step forward when it passed on the Assembly floor. It will next move to a vote in the state Senate.

Solorio's bill would make it so that revenue generated by the land would be shared between the Orange County Fair & Event Center board and the state, as opposed to a one-time revenue from a sale of the land. According to a statement released by Solorio's office, the revenue-sharing plan could generate at least $100 million over the next 40 years.

The revenue-sharing option was proposed in hopes of preventing the 150 acres of land from falling into control of Facilities Management West–or any private company–for fear of how the land would be used, and without public accountability. In October 2010, FMW's $100 million was deemed the best offer by the Department of General Services, and it seemed the land was theirs. The sale was frozen when two appeals were filed and the appellate court is scheduled to see the case this month.

It's a long, controversial story of how the fairgrounds ever ended up on the auction block, but now, it seems, the problem is close to being rectified–and the group that once tried to buy the land for its own personal gain, may regain control, with a public to answer to.

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