Monday, August 23, 2010

Fairgrounds Ground Lease Vote Tomorrow

Well, the BIG news this week is the meeting Tuesday, August 24th of the Orange County Fairgrounds Authority (OFCA)/City Council during which they will discuss and, theoretically, vote on acceptance of the proposed ground lease for the purchase of the Fairgrounds. You can read the draft for yourself HERE.

I DID NOT spend much time looking over the lease - as I've said before, it's going to take a much better brain than mine to unscramble that lingo so a normal human being can understand it. I did, however, notice that there are several items - conspicuously highlighted in Gary Monahan Green - that are as yet unresolved, and some of those seem to be deal breakers.

In the meantime, the opposition is whipping itself into a frenzy and are generating much heat on the blogs. Former Mayor Sandra Genis, President of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society, has re-awakened her alter ego, La Femme Wonkita, and posted an epistle on the Orange Juice Blog, HERE, which was followed up by the management of that blog with another call to arms, HERE.

The general consensus of the opposition seems to be that the neophyte negotiators for the City of Costa Mesa are getting bulldozed by those brutes from Facilities Management West, enabled by the unreasonable deadlines imposed by our "friends" in Sacramento. I'm not so sure I agree with the former, but sure do agree that The State seems intent on making our deal fail.

Facilities Management West has been portrayed as the bogyman in this deal ever since Ken Fait, their head honcho, ranted before the City Council a few months ago that he "wanted all the money". He was being interrogated by lame duck Mayor Allan Mansoor about some of the terms of the deal and didn't like it at all. There may be no better example of why big organizations should hire a spokesperson - the "big guys" don't like to be challenged, and certainly not by a lame brain politician, posturing for campaign points. Unfortunately, that night the FMW spokesman, Guy Lemmon, was on the way to Arizona for the birth of a grandchild. At least HE has his priorities in order!

Tomorrow's meeting, which commences at an unusual hour - 5:30 p.m. - should be very interesting and worth attending or watching live on Channel 24, CMTV. (Channel 99 on ATT Uverse)

This may be our last shot as residents to influence what happens to the Fairgrounds for the next couple generations. The drop dead date for the legislature to pass the bill(s) necessary for the sale to come to fruition is Friday, August 27th. After that date they will be gone until after the November elections and a new governor will be at the helm of our sinking ship of state.

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Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

It is somewhat disconcerting that the city is relying on local talent to negotiate this deal.

If you take into consideration that no one involved from the city side seems to have any experience running a public/private facility such as a fair/expo/convention center, you have to be concerned that they won't know what t's to cross and what i's to dot.

8/23/2010 04:34:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Theoretically, that's the role Becky Bailey-Findley was supposed to be performing. However, the lease deal requires strong legal representation... I assume (nasty word, that one) that we're getting what we need through Kim Barlow and Jones & Mayer. Guess we'll find out tomorrow night.

8/23/2010 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Read Wonkitas latest assessment of the ground lease yet?

I tried to read everything but I get easily distracted by shiny objects.....but even I saw the loopholes.
It seems for every provision written to satisfy the natives, there exists a mechanism to waltz around it.
The real corruption will fester and boil up down the road. When the FMW Fair $$$ begins to "wag the dog" of the CM council. Every provision written into Measure C and even the General plan can be undone with a simple 3 vote majority on the council. How hard would that be to buy off and control? We voted 88% ao that these protections would be put before the voters, but this lease mitigates all of that.
This is the piece of paper that will govern the use of the Fairgrounds and the cities ability to "control" it for almost three generations. 55 years. 2065. It's so flimsy it might as well been written on a Skosh's bar napkin.

8/24/2010 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I don't think Ms. Bailey-Findly and our contract legal team have sufficient girth to provide appropriate oversight for a 55 year multi-million dollar deal that includes venue development, economic analysis and safeguards for our little municipality.

In the corporate world, we get to gamble with our own capital. This is our taxpayer dollars they are gambling with and quite frankly it is a bit alarming.

8/24/2010 09:47:00 AM  

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