Friday, June 25, 2010

A Piece Of Our Heritage For Sale

TIME TO CHILL A LITTLE
It's time to throttle back on the rhetoric about the Fairgrounds sale just a little this weekend and enjoy what most of us hope will be the first of many annual visits by the Barrett-Jackson Automobile Auction to the Orange County Fair and Event Center.

AUCTION TIME IN COSTA MESA
Much hoopla has accompanied the launch of this auction week, which will be culminated over the weekend by the car auction.

WHAT A MACHINE!
In the spirit of community harmony and philanthropy, Facilities Management West has donated a pristine 1946 John Deere Tractor - one of only 2840 build during the war years of 1941-1947 - to the auction. According to Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, "...this is one of the most beautifully restored John Deere tractors I've ever seen."

SLOW AND STEADY
This beautiful piece of our agricultural heritage will share the auction block with exotic cars capable of going 0-60 in less than 4 seconds. The tractor has a top speed of 15 miles per hour!

100% OF PROCEEDS TO CENTENNIAL FARM
According to Facilities Management West principal and Costa Mesa resident Richard Dick, 100% of the proceeds of the sale of this tractor will go to the Centennial Farm Foundation at the Orange County Fairgrounds, benefiting the children and programs at Centennial Farm, one of the lynch-pin features of the Fairgrounds.

TERRIFIC GIFT
According to Mack Ramsay, President of the Centennial Farm Foundation, "Centennial Farm and its connection with the people of Orange County is extremely important and dear to our hearts. We're grateful that Facilities Management West is providing this wonderful gift so the work of Centennial Farm can continue and remain a lasting part of our Orange County heritage."

BRING YOUR WALLET
The tractor is Lot # 617.2 and will be auctioned off between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 27, 2010. For more information on the auction and schedule of events visit the Barrett-Jackson page HERE.

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Gail said...

We can kiss the fair, the swap meet and the equestrian center goodbye.

I think it's time for the Derail the Sale crowd and the Fair Board to put their differences aside. It will now take BOTH factions to undo the massive damage done by our city council on Tuesday night.

This is exactly what the Fair Board was trying to prevent from the gitgo. They knew they had to buy the fairgrounds, or developers would.

6/25/2010 07:24:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gail, not according to the deal as approved last Tuesday. The Fair, marketplace and equestrian center were features SPECIFICALLY included in the deal to be perpetuated. However, the vendors may change.

Facilities Management West won't be "developing" the Fairgrounds beyond what might fit within the General Plan as locked-in by Measure C.

What the Fair Board may or may not have been trying to do now becomes moot - if this deal moves forward the Fair Board is out. They blew this from, in your words, the gitgo when they arrogantly assumed they could just quick pitch the system. I lay this whole thing at their feet - they caused it to happen, so have only themselves to blame.

6/25/2010 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Gail said...

Geoff, I must assume you haven't read and carefully analyzed the Purchase Agreement and MOU approved by the city council Tuesday evening. I made the supreme effort, and must concur with the observations set forth in the Pacific Progressive online version of their June 24th piece entitled "Can't Get Any Worse: Fairgrounds Deal with Facilities Management West". Go to Pacific Progressive2 to read their take on the documents. Be sure to read through observation #19.

In my opinion, there are enough holes in those agreements to totally wipe out our fairgrounds, as we know them. I found even more problems than those cited above. The city's general fund needs money; that's what this is all about. They have done a deal with the devil to save their own hides. I see absolutely no love of the fair, let alone the taxpayers, in those documents.

Just think about what will happen the first time the city bucks FMW. They will withhold their payment. The city will buckle under once again, just like they did under the DGS threat to go back to auction. It's elementary, my dear Watson. In time, it's most likely the fairgrounds will be solid with high rises.

FWM is a developer. What were you expecting? And where was the transparency? This was all dumped in the public's lap before they had a chance to read, or object, to anything. How underhanded can a transaction possibly be?

And Geoff, John Campbell (who is now being investigated) was the person who spearheaded the sale of the fairgrounds in 2004. From that day forward, all fair lovers have been in fear of developers getting control of those fairgrounds. That is the reason, the only reason, the Fair Board tried to buy that property. Do you prefer having a developer in control? Apparently so.

It is imperative that the Derailers, the Preservation Society, the 50,000 petitioners, and the Fair Board all get on the same page now. If they don't, 2010 will surely be our last fair.

6/25/2010 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

As much as I can't stand the process the city chose and the results that have know been shoved down our throats...........the thought of helping the Fair Board who were the first ones trying to turn the equestrian center into "flat flexible space" and stated the idea that "the Marketplaces days were over"...is just insane...The Fair Board had every option to come out and join us in getting the governor to "Stop this Sale". This was after the Fairboard foundation imploded. Instead , they went AWOL for thirty days and ending up getting a stale cake. Which was fresh when we first bought it.....they just cancelled all the meetings and it was 30 days old at the first opportunity to present it to them.
FMW gets all the intellectual property rights to the county fair. Also, no other county Fair is allowed to operate. The Equestrian center will be included , although in what shape or form is uncertain, but 7.5 acres will be set aside for that purpose. A Marketplace will be operated as it does currently. Although the Teller family who built that institution over forty years, will probably lose thier family business. Which is unfair , and against every american principle I was ever taught to revere.
Geoff ,..in this we might agree.....the best thing about this whole deal is the Fair Board is disbanded.

6/25/2010 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gail,
As a matter of fact, I did, indeed, plow through both agreements - word for word - before the council meeting. I summarized some of my observations from them in a post before the meeting. However, I have not reviewed what ended up being the final - or most recent final - versions. I, too, was frustrated that even the members on the dais didn't know which version they were supposed to be considering. That was truly bad, in my opinion. I understand the press of time and all that, but it's no way to run this kind of process.

Yes, thanks to Greg Ridge's post on Facebook, I did read the Pacific Progressive piece. There's not enough space here in comments to address it, but I may do so in a separate post.

Am I comfortable with this deal? Nope. However, it is what it is and - as Gary Monahan listed in his comments - many of the elements the City felt were important are included in this deal. Was there enough transparency? Nope. I agree with Sandy Genis in that regard - this was a problem from - in your words again - the gitgo and didn't stop being one right up to the end.

The current zoning and Measure "C" make very specific the nature of uses authorized on that site. For them to build "high rises" on the site will require a vote of the people of Costa Mesa. While not impossible, it's unlikely that will happen.

Of course, this is far from done... we don't know what the Latino caucus will do, if anything, when the legislation is launched that is essential to this deal. We will know soon enough. If they quash the deal, then you may get your wish... maybe the State will say to the Fair Board, "OK, whatcha got?" Think that's likely? If they had not botched this thing in the first place they could have been sitting there, fat and happy.

6/25/2010 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Gericault,

I agree, this is far from the best deal we hoped for, but it is what it is.

I understand your concern for the Tellers - I share it. And, there is no guarantee that they will be ousted, even though the mechanism is in place for that to happen. If escrow closes 9/30/10 I could see Jeff Teller getting an 18 month notice on October 1st. Is it fair? I don't know, but he and his family have had a nearly 40 year run and made a ton of money with the Swap Meet/Marketplace. They've been good citizens as far as I can tell, but life is competition. They cast their lot with American Fairs and it didn't work out. Would I like to see their Marketplace perpetuated - sure. However, Facilities Management West will be the lessee and, as such, get to make that call. You saw Ken Fait at the meeting... he's clearly a tough businessman, who wants to make money. If he can put together a different market event each weekend and make more money, that's probably what he will do. Can't blame him - we've provided him with that opportunity.

There's lots of emotion in this issue - correctly so. Those of you who have been fighting this battle for more than this past 15 months bring a completely perspective to the issue than those of us observing and commenting from the sidelines - I admit that.

I think Gary Monahan had it right Tuesday night - maybe early Wednesday morning - when he mumbled something about the state may NOT sell the fairgrounds if this deal falls through. They might lease it, retaining ownership of the land. If that happens, Measure "C" and our zoning is irrelevant and you could, indeed, see uses of that property that no locals want to see.

6/25/2010 12:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Gail said...

Geoff and Gericault:

After this year I don't expect to see the fairgrounds again, as we know them since all the fair employees are being let go, the swap meet will undoubtedly be moving, and the equestrian center will be relocated to God only knows where (I seriously doubt they will remain on the fairgrounds). If the equestrians, or the city, don't like where the horses are moved (say to Huntington Beach), the first time they cry foul FMW will most likely withhold their payment until compliance is obtained. On the other hand, they might pay them to move voluntarily. This is potentially what we are facing down. You had better start looking down the road. The time to alter the future is now, not later. Katrina Foley didn't feel comfortable with the relationship, and neither do I.

What the documents say, and what the tenants will get away with, are horses of entirely different colors (no pun intended). Being a landlord myself, I can assure you that leases do not always rule. If you want to collect your rent, 9 times out of 10 the landlord will give in to tenant demands, especially if the tenant is willing to sweeten the pot. It's just human nature (and so much easier, and cheaper, than going to court). Agreements are meant to be broken (that's what divorce is all about). It's also what keeps attorneys in business.

Surely you jest. FMW is a far greater threat than the Fair Board ever was. As I understand the General Plan, and Measure C, commercial uses are permitted. High rises and commercial use go hand in hand. It really doesn't matter, however, because FMW has far more power than the city, or Measure C, will ever have. They control the money, and he who controls the gold always wins. Wish it wasn't so.

Are you proposing that we all just roll over and play dead now? I'm not hearing any better ideas out of you two. I'm all ears if you have a better suggestion. In the meantime, somebody, somewhere, better get this sale quashed ASAP. I can't do it by myself.

6/25/2010 02:18:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Gail , It sounds like you've been with the Fair Board, if that's the case, I don't know what to tell you.
They have been happily going along , completely in denial that they, " screwed the pooch". Unfortunately, they opened "Pandoras Box". Which is what got everybody so riled up.The unspoken component here is the "Save The Fair " movement, has never actually been about saving the fair. It's been about developing the Fairgrounds as Jim Righeimer sees it. The part that screwed him up was , he didn't even know a permanent equestrian center existed. Why everyone didn't get behind him was a huge deal. He has a political machine which has sold this deal well. It's completely compromised the city and the citizens, who think that they are being protected by activists trying to "Derail this Sale"The unfortunate reality is , the Foxes are in the Hen House, and most people don't follow what's actually going on.It's not a 30 second sound bite.We are trying to preserve history here, and very few like history......as for you .....I would love to have a deeper discussion..

6/25/2010 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Gail said...

Gericault:

As long as the Fair Board is still in control we can maintain the status quo. Once they are gone, it's a crap shoot. You have to ask yourself: Am I a lucky person? If the answer to that question is no, then you better be prepared to pick your poison!

For the life of me, I can't see what your problem is with the Fair Board. John Campbell wanted the fairgrounds sold in 2004. Eventually he got his way. The Fair Board simply stepped up to buy it before someone like FMW got into the picture. You are forgetting that the Fair Board was appointed by the governor for the sole purpose of preserving same. That is what they were trying to do when they were admonished for doing so. Now they seem to be getting flack for not following through. Well, do folks want them to protect the fairgrounds, or not? That is the $96 million dollar question. I feel certain they are so sick of their assignment they no longer care what happens. You can't pillory a group of philanthropists and then expect them to help you. That's not apt to happen. I would just like to see what would happen if all sides sat down at the same table (so to speak) and hashed this thing out.

I'm just an average fair goer. I've never met a single Fair Board member, or Jim Righeimer. I've never been an advocate of "Save the Fair" because I heard that Jim was a developer. All I ever see is an outstanding fair, with each year's fair better than the last. I find it EXTREMELY difficult to criticize ANYBODY who is involved in putting it on (including the carnies). Together, they all put on a darned good show. I've had horses on, and off, most of my life. I don't want the equestrian center moved either, or the swap meet closed in 18 months.

Gericault, you seem to be far more willing to turn that property over to developers than the Fair Board was. That concerns me. Why the change of heart? FWM isn't going to leave any part of those fairgrounds intact. They appear to be intent on leveling all 150 acres and starting from scratch. Is that what you want? You better think about it before you answer. Neither the city, the JPA or God will be able to control FWM once escrow closes. The damage will be done (and it will last for 55 years). I'm convinced our city council, and our city manager, drank the DGS/FWM cool-aid. What were they thinking?

Lighten up and let's get this proposed purchase turned around. Everybody who wants the fairgrounds to truly remain "as is" needs to stand up and be counted. I can assure you we all want the same thing (including that Fair Board you love to hate). Keep in mind that old saying "together we stand, divided we fall". Never has a truer statement been uttered. It's obvious something has strained your relationship with the fair folks. That's why I'm asking you to make amends (somehow) and see if the unification of all the factions can't bring about a peaceful, rewarding solution for everybody involved. Continuing to pick at an open sore won't heal any cause.

I just want to have another wonderful fair in 2011 (minus any outside influences). We don't need any developers messing up our fairgrounds. They are fine just the way they are.

6/25/2010 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Evil Aside said...

Gericault, while you criticize the "save the fair" movement for not being about saving the fair, you fail to mention that your motivation is not about saving the fair either.

You talk about heritage, etc. but all you really care about is preserving the subsidized boarding opportunities at the equestrian center.

Even if FMW is obligated to keep the equestrian center, no one says they have to keep the boarders. They could set up a couple of show rings that can double as a parking area (the fair already uses the equestrian center as a trailer park during the fair).

They don't even have to have any equestrian events.

You have vilified the fair board simply because they threatened the equestrian center, which is a money pit. If the fair board hadn't talked about a parking lot, you probably would have backed their option, but instead you thought someone else might protect your very specific interests. And, in the end, you backed the wrong horse (pun intended).

So, you lost and, while you might want to blame the fair board, people like you are just as much at fault because you put your personal interest (equestrian center) before the greater good (which was to preserve the fairgrounds).

6/26/2010 11:02:00 AM  
Anonymous American way? said...

Gericault - "...against every american principle I was ever taught to revere."

What and where were you taught? This is capitalism and competition. FMW will cough up $19.2 million and get exclusive rights to manage the fairgrounds. If another vendor makes them a better offer, Teller will be gone - rightfully so. That is the American way.

I have several friends who maintained year-round spots at The Marketplace, and who used to make a lot of money. They left last year due to Teller's mismanagement, lack of promotion and lack of innovation. Crowds are way down, maybe it is time to breathe new life into The Marketplace.

6/28/2010 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous danny said...

Write the Latino Caucus tell them you support the cancelation of the fair sale. Its time to put those racist gringos in their place.

6/29/2010 12:58:00 PM  

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