Arnold Pulls A Fast One...
So, I ask myself, what could possibly happen in this Fairgrounds drama now that there is a firm temporary restraining order in place until at least January 10, 2011? I know that the folks at Facilities Management West are planning to file paperwork with the appellate court, but beyond that I thought we were home free for the holidays. HA! Silly me!
SCHWARZENEGGER APPOINTS A MAJORITY
Today Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed three new members to the 32nd District Agricultural Association AND the 32a DAA and re-appointed two current members. The current members re-appointed are current Chair Dave Ellis and David Dykema. The new folks are Ali Jahangiri, a 35 year-old Republican lawyer from Newport Beach; Douglas La Belle, a 67 year-old retired City Manager (Chino Hills) from Costa Mesa (also a Republican) and Alexander Vellandi a 40 year-old Republican attorney and real estate broker and business owner from Ladera Ranch. You can read about their backgrounds and the others Schwarzenegger appointed at the last minutes of his reign HERE.
STATE DEMANDS A QUIT CLAIM TITLE TRANSFER!
Virtually simultaneously, the State and Consumer Services Agency directed the Fair Board to meet to consider a quit claim deed transferring the Orange County Fair and Event Center from the 32 DAA to the 32a DAA, which was formed with the original legislation authorizing the sale of the Fairgrounds when this whole basket of snakes was created. That meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. January 1, 2011! That's right, New Year's Day! How do you guarantee limited opposition at a meeting? Why, hold it on a holiday when folks will be immersed in watching football games and replays of the Rose Parade, that's how!
ARNOLD STACKED THE DECK
Clearly, the governor is trying to circumvent the legal process and has stacked the Fair Board deck with new folks who, along with known kindred spirits, will form a majority to follow his wishes. He may, however, have overstepped himself and violated the current temporary restraining order. That's for the lawyers to sort out.
WILL THEY HAVE A QUORUM?
There appear to be even more complications in this farce. It seems that at least a couple of board members are out of town, vacationing. I suppose it's possible that there will be no quorum at the meeting on the 1st, but I can't imagine that kind of a gaffe being made - even by this Fair Board. Nope, I suspect we'll see the new guys plus Ellis and maybe one more which will form a quorum. Then it will probably only take 4 of the 5 to vote for the quit claim transfer and the State will have a clear path to sell the property.
LOOKS LIKE A MUGGING TO ME
Seems to me that this validates the questionable status of the title to the Fairgrounds - a point that has been made frequently over the past few months not only by Fairgrounds sale opponents, but the Fairgrounds management, too. Apparently the State doesn't really own the Fairgrounds, so it can't sell it, which may make the whole process being conducted by the Department of General Services illegal. However, if this maneuver goes through - holding a gun to the heads of the Fair Board members and ordering them to hand over the property - then it's clear sailing for The State and Facilities Management West to consummate their deal once the TRO is released.
WHICH LAWS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED?
I find myself wondering just how ticked-off the appeals court must be right about now... I know how angry opponents to the sale are tonight. I wonder if the court has any recourse in this process, or will they be left with their collective jaws on the floor like the rest of us.
I WARNED YOU...
I've cautioned you in the past to never relax when contemplating this Fairgrounds Sale issue. This is why... There is so much money at stake here - hundreds of millions of dollars - that nothing at all will surprise me as this mess moves forward. Merry Christmas!