As disappointing as it was Tuesday night when the Costa Mesa City Council hastily voted to approve an incomplete Fairgrounds lease contract - one with many important issues remaining to be resolved - despite the efforts of Councilwoman Katrina Foley to have those issues addressed and the lease returned for a special meeting for a vote next Tuesday before their Study Session, even more disappointing are the recent comments by Assemblymen Jose Solorio and Van Tran on this issue.
SOLORIO DUG THE HOLE...
Yesterday afternoon, as the City Council was heading into a closed session to discuss the Fairgrounds lease, Solorio issued a press release in which he expressed extreme displeasure with the deal hammered out between the City and Facilities Management West and said he was recommending to the Governor to simply cancel the deal.
TRAN ROLLED THE BODY IN...
Then, Wednesday, Tran tossed more shovels of dirt on the grave of this deal with his first official comment on the subject in months. He is quoted in news accounts as stating, "All vital signs tell me that this entire deal is in intensive care."
ACTIVISTS SHOVELED IN THE DIRT...
Many activists, convinced that this deal was done with the devil, are rejoicing at the prospects of the sale being killed.
LAST RITES COMING
It seems to me that we will soon be seeing a priest at City Hall, ready to offer the last rites to this deal - something that will make many self-anointed "Save the Fair" advocates euphoric.
DISREGARDING LOCAL ZONING IS POSSIBLE
However, even if the Governor does cancel THIS sale, there's nothing to keep the Department of General Services from proceeding with it's new Request for Proposals and consummating an even more onerous deal. That's right - the State could negotiate with interested buyers a much more draconian deal from the City's standpoint - one that might cut out local zoning regulations and the recently-passed Measure "C".
THE "FAIR" CAN GO ELSEWHERE
And, if such a deal is cut, there is no guarantee in the RFP that a Fair must be part of the mix of uses, freeing the 32nd District Agricultural Association (the Fair Board) from seeking new digs for it's Fair. Does the name "Great Park" spring to mind? It should!
A WORSE DEAL IS POSSIBLE
All those activists cheering over the grave of this deal should be careful what they ask for. Some of those folks are avid equestrians. If the 150 acres at 88 Fair Drive are sold to a developer of , say, outlet malls or a chicken farmer, what will happen with the horses?
A TIME FOR MOURNING
No, I fear that if this deal is, indeed, quashed by Solorio, Tran and the Governor, there will be no joy in Costa Mesa as the other sale process moves forward. The DGS professes that they want a deal struck before the end of the year. That gives you plenty of time to have your funeral duds cleaned and pressed in time to say a few words over the moldering carcass of our once proud Fairgrounds.
MANSOOR'S BIGOTRY TO BLAME
Personally, despite Solorio and Tran blaming other reasons for turning their backs on the Costa Mesa deal at this late hour, I think the anger expressed by the Latino Caucus of the legislature about Mayor Allan Mansoor's recent "rule of law city" resolution had much to do with their decision to abandon our city. While that anger is understandable, I'm disappointed in both of them for permitting it to cloud their judgment and potentially place the future of the Fairgrounds in jeopardy.
TRAN HAS BEEN NO HELP...
Tran, has basically been the invisible man in this process. He's the one who should have been crafting the legislation to make this sale work, but he wasn't. No, he can't afford to appear to be siding with Mansoor on any issue right now because that would put a real crimp in his campaign among Latino voters as he attempts to unseat Loretta Sanchez.
SEND SOLORIO AND TRAN A NOTE
So, if this deal is, in fact, killed by the Governor, don't bother sending flowers. Instead, send a little note to Solorio and Tran letting them know how you feel. I'm sure they will appreciate your views.