An Honor Bestowed And PacAmp Amplified
It was a busy afternoon in Costa Mesa yesterday.
HAMMETT FIELD COMPLEX DEDICATION
First, at 4:30 I joined more than fifty other people at the former Farm Sports Complex as it was dedicated to local hero and municipal legend, Jack R. Hammett.
Hammett, a former mayor and Pearl Harbor Survivor, has been instrumental in many of the early-day accomplishments Costa Mesa experienced. He has been a municipal leader for more than five decades and a mentor to many.
He was honored by residents, family, friends, fellow World War II patriots and politicians. During the nearly one-hour long ceremony many rose to praise Hammett for his many contributions to our community. Among those present were Mayor Gary Monahan, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, council members Steve Mensinger and Wendy Leece. Eric Bever was a no-show. I also saw Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick and Parks and Recreation Commissioners Jeff Mathews, Ethan Temianka and Kim Pederson. About-to-be-lame-duck Assemblyman Allan Mansoor showed up festively dressed in what looked like pajama tops, indicating that he just got off a plane from Sacramento.
CMTV ON THE JOB
Brad Long of Costa Mesa Television was scampering around, camera in hand, so we can probably expect to see some good coverage of this very nice event.
PACIFIC AMPHITHEATER WORKSHOP
I went directly from the dedication to the Fairgrounds for an "open house/workshop" on the proposed modifications of the Pacific Amphitheater. Soon-to-be-former-CEO of the Fairgrounds, Dr. Steve Beazley, guided a presentation of the initial proposals for the modifications planned. He emphasized that they are in the very initial stages of this process - they just hired an architectural firm from Los Angeles - and that this meeting would certainly not be the only one.
EARLY IN THE PROCESS
Beazley fielded most of the questions from concerned residents - the room was packed to capacity, around 80 - and admitted that he didn't have all the answers yet. He did encourage any resident to call him for a one-on-one conversation, but was pressed to give a broader presentation than I think he anticipated. He did tell us that the Board anticipates spending $4.5 million on the proposed changes and that any construction would not start until August, after the Fair has ended, and would be completed before next year's Fair. More meetings are anticipated this spring.
SOME BOARD MEMBERS STAYED
The meeting commenced a little late because the Fair Board had not yet finished its Closed Session. When they did come out and adjourn their meeting, many members stuck around and, at one point, were polled by one member of the audience on their individual commitment to retaining the same sound restrictions currently in place. Each said, one way or the other, that they supported the current sound level restrictions. It was of interest that members Kristina Dodge, Dale Dykema and Dave Ellis were not present. I didn't see Ellis at all, and Dykema and Dodge skipped out after their closed session.
I DETECTED DISTRUST OF THE BOARD....
Many residents in attendance asked questions that implied concern about ANY changes at the Fairgrounds with just a recognizable tinge of distrust in the Board. Of course, that's understandable considering the events of the past couple of years. In fact, one member of the audience asked about the noise restraints in the event the Fairgrounds is sold. Beazley did a wonderful tap-dance around that one and never did answer the question.
THE PROCESS WILL CONTINUE
Now the architects will huddle with the Fairgrounds sound expert, Gary Hardesty, and work together to come up with a final design. More meetings will be held, according to Beazley - assuming he's around.