Are Fair Negotiations Breaking Down?
That's what one speaker asked the City Council during public comments tonight. She was frustrated and angry about being blindsided by the report from the closed session that a major change has occurred in the Fairgrounds negotiations - Facilities Management West, the second bidder, was included in the mix and the City negotiating team was charged to negotiate with them as well as the previously exclusive bidder, the American Fairs and Festivals partnership.
IT'S A NEW BALL GAME
According to City Attorney Kimberly Hall Barlow, the council voted in closed session 4-1 (Eric Bever voting "No") to authorize the negotiating team to enter "exclusive negotiations with either American Fairs and Festivals or Facilities Management West". My head spins....
SAW IT COMING
I must confess that I saw this coming when, during the two minute preamble to the closed session at approximately 5:15 - when no one else was in the auditorium - City Manager Allan Roeder asked the three council members - Allan Mansoor, Wendy Leece and Eric Bever - for a unanimous vote to change the agenda for the study session and add Facilities Management West as a negotiating party. Apparently Katrina Foley and Gary Monahan were still in negotiations!
NEGOTIATIONS IN TROUBLE
It's obvious that the deal with American Fairs and Festivals is in trouble. Roeder explained during council member comments that, even though negotiations have been going on practically around the clock, recent events (meaning late this afternoon) required them to broaden the scope of negotiations to include Facilities Management West.
HOW WILL THEY DO IT NOW?
Since the negotiating team will board a plane to Sacramento before dawn on Thursday to present our proposal to the State, I have no idea how they will manage to finalize a deal with the approximately 30 hours they will have from the end of the council meeting until they leave. I've seen Roeder pull rabbits out of hats in the past, but this just doesn't seem possible now.
COUNCIL FORMS JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY
Retaining hope that the process will, somehow, be successful, the council - wearing both hats as the council and the public finance authority - voted twice to create the Joint Powers Authority. Lamebrain buffoon, Bever, voted "No" in both cases.
A CLOUD OF GLOOM DESCENDS...
I can tell you that I came away from this meeting with much apprehension about the Fairgrounds deal. Adding this new element at, literally, the last minute in the negotiations seems to practically guarantee our plan will fail. Couple that with Bever's persistent negative votes and Mayor Mansoor's on-going expression of concern for the process, I just can't shake the feeling of doom.
COSTA MESA - A "RULE OF LAW" CITY
At the end of the meeting, to no one's surprise, Mansoor's resolution to declare Costa Mesa a "Rule of Law" city passed 4-0 - Foley had long since departed from the chambers. As former and future council candidate Chris McEvoy said at the speaker's podium, this is just pure political posturing on Mansoor's part, making sure he gets free press - he pointed to the media present. McEvoy couldn't be more correct. And, sadly, this is just the beginning if you believe Mansoor's words quoted in an early edition of the Orange County Register as reported in my earlier post.
RIDING BIGOTRY TO VICTORY
Remember the turmoil and legal difficulties of 2006? Get ready - it's going to happen again this summer as Mansoor attempts to ride the backs of the Latino population of our city to yet another election victory. Without the brown faces in our city he would have no campaign platform at all.