Thursday, December 23, 2010

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!

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.

Virtually simultan
eously, 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!


Clearly, the governor is trying to circumvent the legal process and has stacked the Fair Board dec
k 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.

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.


Seems to me that this validates the questionable status of the title to the Fairgrounds - a po
int 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.

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'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 d
ollars - that nothing at all will surprise me as this mess moves forward. Merry Christmas!

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Blogger Unknown said...

Coersion is equivalent to an armed robbery. Arnold could be arrested and charged with a felony. How dumb can a governor possibly be???

12/23/2010 06:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

You can't sell your neighbors home without their consent. What the sate is doing sounds just as illegal. Regardless, Costa Mesa will lose big time if the sale goes through. The entire city needs to come together and voice their opposition to the sale. Otherwise, the fairgrounds we currently all know and love will be gone within a few years.

12/23/2010 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Max, where have you been? There has been no issue in my memory that has brought together so many diverse constituencies over the past couple years to fight the sale of the Fairgrounds. At this point the governor isn't going to listen to the "public" - he's the lamest of lame ducks and wants to get this sale done before he leaves office in two weeks.

12/23/2010 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Max said...

The Pot Stirer, You are right. I probably should have said come together once again :)

A red flag about this deal is how there isn't a bank around that would finance such a high risk low reward project with such favorable terms. This is corporate welfare that us taxpayers will have to foot the bill for generations to come.

It also dishonors our grand parents who's hard earned dollars purchased this land as a priceless gift for an indefinite amount of future generations to enjoy. There is a reason the state does NOT have title to it. It's just one more piece of protection that they put into it to keep it safe and fully self sustaining. Leave it to a bunch of knucklehead politicians to ruin a perfectly good thing that wasn't costing taxpayers any money at all.

12/23/2010 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Max, the longer this thing drags out the more convoluted it becomes. The whole "title" thing is very frustrating. Clearly, the state finally realizes that it does not own the Fairgrounds and is using this latest, last minute ploy to force it's board to just give the property to it. Of course, stacking the board with three new guys TODAY makes that a lot easier.

You're correct, our grandparents recognized the potential for corruption way back when the land was first acquired from the federal government. This thing continues to reek - I'm glad I don't live downwind!

12/23/2010 11:11:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Dastardly move by this rogue Fairboard and Lame Governor.

12/24/2010 11:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Paper1 said...

Gericault, apparently you didn't get the memo. The official investigation demanded by the Derailers showed NO malfeasance on the part of any fair board official.

If the Derailers had minded their own business, developers would not have gotten their foot in the door. As an ardent fairgoer, I will forever be bitter about their extremely foolish interference.

In 2004 John Campbell and the Governor decided to sell the Orange County Fairgrounds. In 2005 David Pyle, a partner of Facilities Management West, started making sizable campaign contributions to John Campbell's congressional campaign. He continued making those sizable donations clear up until FMW made their move to purchase the fairgrounds.

Like I said before, the Fair Board was trying to head off a purchase by developers. Anybody could have bought those fairgrounds and put up high rises. The Board was acting in the best interest of the fair loving public. Our Fair Board members are well known philanthropists, they aren't thieves.

Shame on you, and your ilk! All you've done is make a BIG mess.

12/24/2010 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Simple question Paper1........Why is the Fair board going to quit claim the deed on Jan 1st?

They don't have to. There is NO gun to their heads.
They were entrusted to steward the property for future generations and the Governor doesn't own the Fairgrounds. The state couldn't sell it without the Fair board acting in concert.

They passed the resolution authorizing the sale. That is what started this mess. They don't have to sign the quit claim deed over to the Governor. They have always been able to stop this but you have to ask yourself, why haven't they?

12/25/2010 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Paper1 said...


Simple answer: Who said the Fair Board is going to give the Governor a Quit Claim Deed? That's just one more unfounded rumor.

If you want to be mad at somebody, be mad at John Campbell, the Governor, and FMW. Misdirected anger is what got us to where we are today.

What the Fair Board needs from the fair loving public is less talk, and more action. Show them your SUPPORT, not your hind side. At this time they need a ground swell of public support, NOT more criticism. I feel certain they will do the right thing if you will just POLITELY let them know you don't want them to sign off on that Quit Claim Deed.

Bring people to the January 1st Fair Board meeting, but only people who will make their wishes known in a respectful manner. Long speeches will not be necessary. Just a lot of people nicely asking the Board to refuse to sign that Deed should be all the support they need. They will then be in a position to tell the Governor "the people have spoken".

I'm confident the Fair Board will do the right thing for Orange County. Remember, that is their job, and they are all dedicated, extremely decent people.

12/25/2010 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Paper1, as a matter of fact, Steve Beazley confirmed that the State has directed the Fair Board to meet on January 1 for that express purpose. Arnold stacked the deck with three new guys, plus Ellis and Dykema, which gives them a majority on the board and will do as commanded. We'll see if they have the cojones to ignore the instruction and NOT quit claim the Fairgrounds to the 32a DAA. Don't hold your breath.

12/25/2010 07:27:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...


I should go pentinent and beg the Fair Board to do their entrusted duty?

Last time I spoke to them I was really nice. I even said "I left my recriminations in the parking lot". Then I asked them to rescind the authorization to sell the Fairgrounds. They all acted like they never did that. It was only the entire audience disagreeing with them that got them to admit it. They still refused to act on that. Gave us a song and dance that the Governor "made them".

I'll believe they are "honorable" people when they start acting like it.

12/26/2010 08:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Paper1 said...

Sorry Geoff, no one will ever be able to convince me that this Fair Board can be easily intimidated. I think I will accept your challenge, and hold my breath (if that's OK with you).

If the Board stands up to the Governor on this matter, I hope everyone in Orange County will remember and be thankful we have them. They are the public's buffer against the tyranny we are facing right now. What other purpose do they serve, other than to protect the fairgoers?

Exactly what is it they have to lose by refusing to sign off on that Quit Claim Deed? NOTHING!

And Gericault, as you can see, the Fair Board didn't need to rescind anything. They always had an ace in the hole. The Board's name was on the title so Arnold couldn't sell the property without a Quit Claim Deed from them.

They knew that. You didn't. Knowledge is power.

Please stick a sock in it until this drama plays out. I honestly believe it will have a happy ending.

Like I said before, be mad at FMW, not our Fair Board.

12/26/2010 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Paper1, I hope you're correct, but the facts don't support your optimism. The only vocal opponent of the sale on the Fair Board was Dave Padilla and they tossed him aside. They appointed three brand new guys last week who will, with Ellis and Dykema, make up the majority needed to sign the Quit Claim deed. I certainly hope you are not as naive as you seem - that you are correct and the Fair Board will effectively tell Arnold and his minions to shove it! However, I don't think that's going to happen. I think it's going to take legal pressure to keep the title transfer from happening. Are any courts open next week?

12/26/2010 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Paper1 said...

Geoff, I have a hunch Padilla got booted for reasons other than his opposition to the sale. Since no reason was given it's possible no one will ever know why.

Call me naive if you like, but I like my hunch better than yours.

Let's hope we all have a very happy New Year this 1st. I've got my fingers crossed.

12/26/2010 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Paper1, I guess we'll have an interesting week waiting for Saturday afternoon... I actually hope your hunch is right, but..

To you, and the rest of the readers here, I wish you all a very Happy New Year.. starting with New Year's Day! :-)

12/26/2010 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Paper1 holding his breath......keep doing that until I tell you to stop....

Spent the morning reading over the DA's investigation.Now I see why convicted Sheriff Carona is still walking around having lunch at Antonello's.

So in T-Racks conclusion page 43... The Fair board actions gave the appearance of intentional secrecy and concealment, which generated public distrust.
Although even subsequent actions and lack of public openness continued throughout this process, he could see no wrongdoing.

Even though they passed a resolution that seemed in support of the Governors sale , the comments they made in support of keeping it a Fairgrounds is supposed to exonerate them.

Now we are supposed to believe that a special meeting being held on New Years day ,with three new members appointed by this lame duck governor, are going to help us "stop" this sale?

Actions speak louder than words....this Fair boards actions and lack of public openness has led us here. The one thing the DA's investigation concluded is that the Public's anger is warranted, and not without cause or merit.

So Paper1 while you turn "blue in the face", I'll be putting my breath to better uses.
A full-throated roar trying to stop this travesty.

12/27/2010 10:21:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

OMG! I leave for a week and the fan is covered in it.

Paper1, did you see what happened when dozens of people stood up for Wendy Leece for Mayor? These "Good Ole Boyz" don't care about the people's wishes... the Fair Board is no different.

12/28/2010 11:30:00 AM  

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