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Fairgrounds Issue is Out of Control

November 2009
« Oct   Dec »

The Orange County Register

We’ve all had those times when a situation has snowballed so out of control you wonder “How could this have happened? Why didn’t anyone see this coming?”

Nine times out of 10 someone did, but either nobody was listening to the warnings or worse yet, choosing to ignore them. In hindsight, there’s never just one big event that sets the snowball of disaster in motion. It’s a series of smaller missteps, bad decisions, hidden agendas, and lack of common sense that contribute to the whole chaotic outcome.

I’ve been watching all these ingredients unfold this summer as the O.C. Fairground’s future teetered in the balance. Now that it’s on the auction block, a loosely organized group of folks from the O.C. Marketplace, equestrian community, fair vendors and local residents are attempting to un-ring that bell … but can they?

I’ve struggled with the reasoning behind selling the fairgrounds since day one. Sure the state’s threatened to sell the property numerous times over the years. So what? Public outcry has always shut the idea down before as it did this time all over the state.

If you take into consideration that most bullying tactics count on wearing victims down, the only reasonable response is to continue to stand firm. The first one to blink always loses.

This whole sale issue wouldn’t be an issue if county and Costa Mesa officials had used common sense rather than buying into the propaganda when the Fair Board came up with their more than sketchy plan to buy the property as a newly formed non-profit entity.

Now there’s talk that the city and or the county might make a bid to buy the fairgrounds. Is it because the Fair Board’s plan is about to go down in a ball of conflict-of-interest flames? Or are there other legal issues yet to surface publically?

You have to question whether it’s a wise move to send millions of our tax dollars to Sacramento to buy fairgrounds we basically already have. Both CM and the county are trying desperately to balance budgets with tens of millions of dollars in deficits. How can they justify taxpayers ultimately carry the financial burden of paying for this sale?

Wouldn’t it be smarter to get the state to just take the sale off the table and be done with it? They certainly have the political juice if they choose to use it.

But wait, wasn’t it political “juice” that got us into this mess in the first place? Powerful political lobbyists and elected official surged the governor’s office to sell the fairgrounds.

So once again it’s up to the public to be the voice of reason. The good news is politicians always need to run for reelection and public opinion matters to them.

On Nov. 9 Assemblymen Jose Solorio and Van Tran will host a public meeting on the subject of the sale from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at 77 Fair Drive.

But no matter what the outcome, it’s a lesson once again that the devil is always in the details and that every snowball starts out small.


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