Council Picks American Fairs & Festivals!
At their special council meeting this afternoon the members of the Costa Mesa City Council decided to team up with the partnership of American Fairs and Festivals/Advanced Real Estate Services over Facilities Management West as the Number 1 ranked proposer as they move forward in their quest to acquire the Orange County Fair and Events Center from the State of California.
NEGOTIATIONS MOVE FORWARD
With that decision made, they will now continue to burn the midnight oil to negotiate with American Fairs to see if a satisfactory agreement can be reached in time to present the City's proposal to the State by the 20th. If those negotiations fail they will turn to Facilities Management West.
MEETING BEGAN LATE
The open session of the meeting began a half-hour late, at 4:30, and the next half-hour was spent hearing public comments. Of the eleven speakers, all but two spoke in favor of American Fairs and Festivals. Guy Lemmon, President of Facilities Management West spoke on behalf of his offer. During his presentation - extended beyond three minutes by council vote - he mentioned that an element of Comcast-Spectacor, the organization they hope to use to help manage the Fairgrounds if they were the successful bidder, is Ovations Fanfare, which has been providing food and beverage services at the Fairgrounds since 1995.
SITE WORTH $150 MILLION?
The other comment was by a gentleman named Ron Granados, representing his company, Granados Partners, which he described as a bunch of ex-Disney guys. He encouraged the council to tell the State they couldn't come up with an offer in the time presented. It was clear that he wanted a shot at buying the property himself. He said it was worth $150 million and would be a nice place for such things as a Vatican Library, a water park, hotels, a permanent Cirque du Soleil and one item that I'm sure caught the attention of a couple council members - a Latino Hall of Fame. Talk about the kiss of death! Following public comments they moved to a closed session meeting.
ROEDER ANNOUNCED RESULTS OF RANKING
The council emerged from their closed session at 6:05 p.m. and City Manager Allan Roeder announced the results of the ranking of the proposals. The recommendation is to select American Fairs & Festivals as number 1 ranked proposal and Facilities Management West, Inc. as the second.
MANSOOR VOTES "NO"!
During their comments, Mayor Allan Mansoor said he had "concerns", but wouldn't elaborate beyond indicating that they still didn't know where the money was coming from, but it seemed clear that other issues were on his mind. When the vote was taken it passed 3-1, with Wendy Leece, Katrina Foley and Gary Monahan voting "yes" and Mansoor voting "no" and Eric Bever being absent. City Attorney Barlow later reported that Bever bugged out of the closed session at 5:17 p.m. - shortly after they convened. No reason was given - maybe he just decided (again) that he didn't want to be involved.
DID RIGGY LIGHT THE FUSE?
A 3-1 vote with one absence hardly shows a unified position by our elected leaders. Because Mansoor was obviously irritated by the process, it makes one suspicious about what motives he might have for voting against the selection of American Fairs and Festivals as the first choice. Some have suggested that Jim Righeimer may be exercising his political influence over Mansoor. Since it was reported that Riggy wanted to "blow up" the process, could it be that what we're seeing here now is him lighting the fuse of that bomb?