Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monahan And The Fairgrounds

It's been a long, long day and my little fingers are aching from all the blog posting I've done today, but there's one last item that simply must be addressed tonight.

I've steered clear of "F
airgrounds" stuff for several weeks. The issue has been percolating quietly in the background as the legal process slowly drags forward and Governor Brown's team tries to figure out a way to balance the state budget. Fortunately, our friends over at the Voice of OC blog - Managing EditorSantana, Jr., in particular - has been staying on top of the issue. His most recent post on the subject, date stamped Tuesday, can be read HERE.

Pending is a court hearing this Friday and Assemblyman Jose Solorio's bill, AB35, which supports the Fair Board's "revenue sharing" proposal, is supposed to be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, May 18th - delayed from Friday.

The main players in this drama - the 32nd Agricultural Association (The Fair Board) - and the potential buyer of the 150 acre property, Facilities Management West, have recently ramped up their campaigns by sending communications to Sacramento within the past week in an attempt to influence the decision by the law makers.

Guy Lemmon, spokesman for F
MW, sent a long epistle touting the wisdom and profitability of their deal last Friday, which you can read HERE. Dr. Steve Beazley, CEO of the Fairgrounds, sent a rebuttal, pushing the Fair Board's "revenue sharing" scheme on Tuesday, HERE.

However, the reason I'm writing this tonight is that Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan has also chimed in on this issue with his own opinion on this subject in the form of a letter, HERE, on official city letterhead, in
which he strongly criticizes Solorio and his bill and advocates FOR THE SALE of the fairgrounds to Facilities Management West! This is a curious move, to say the least, since public opinion certainly seems to favor keeping the Fairgrounds as-is, even despite the questionable actions by the Fair Board leadership over the past couple years.

I do not recall this issue being on any City Council agenda in recent months, nor do I recall anything that was posted on a Closed Session agenda that resembled consideration of this issue, much less advocating the sale. Since Monahan's letter was signed by him alone, it may be safe to assume that he's using his position as Mayor to push his own, personal opinion and thereby misleading the law makers in Sacramento about the views of the residents of this city. I understand the motivation behind the communications of Facilities Management West and the Fair Board - they have very real vested interests at stake and could certainly be expected to advocate strongly for those interests. What I don't understand is Monahan's position.


The letter, clearly written by someone else, is so strongly worded and takes such great pains to criticize Solorio - the ONLY member of the Legislature who
openly advocated for the resident's interests throughout this long ordeal - that it makes a curious person wonder just what Monahan might have to gain with this position. His letter benefits Facilities Management West, so I find myself wondering what in the world would cause the self-identified "populist" Mayor to take a position so opposite from that expressed by the voters of this city when they passed Measure C last spring.

I wish I felt Monahan's position is straight from his heart, and that he has nothing personal to gain by using his office to express a personal opinion on an issue that affects so many people in his city - but I don't feel that way. I find myself wondering just what he has to gain, personally, by this act. In recent months we've seen him align with some members of the City Council that seem determined to destroy this city and wondered why. I find myself wondering if there is much more going on behind closed doors - or over a few drinks at his pub - that we, the voters of this city, should know about. There's a whiff of a pungent odor coming from the corner of Newport Boulevard and 20th Street this evening - and it's not corned beef and cabbage.


In this new era of "transparency" in our city government, perhaps our mayor could enlighten his constituents - beyond those sucking up suds in his pub - about why he wrote that l
etter - or at least why he signed it. I think we're entitled to know why he's turned his back on the voters of this city in such a flagrant act of betrayal. Let's hear it, Mr. Mayor. What's the deal?


Anonymous Max said...

Both deals are bad. The fairgrounds is perfect the way it is. All profits should go back into the fairgrounds and the community it serves, not Sacramento.

5/12/2011 12:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Mayor Quimby said...

Once again, Costa Mesa can't seem to follow the rules.

The Mayor's job, acording to the law, is to preside at meetings and to sign documents, warrants, and contracts on behalf of the City.

A covering email from a secretary said that this letter reflected Monahan's personal opinion, but the letter itself appeared to come on behalf of the Council, which would reflect a policy determined in public, with public input.

Costa Mesa should be run more like a government, and these guys who took an oath to defend the California Constitution might actually start by learning somethhing about their legal responsibilities.

5/12/2011 05:39:00 AM  
Anonymous Et tu, Monahan said...

Well, Mayor Monahan, if you're going to betray the Costa Mesa community you should at least do it in your own words.

5/12/2011 08:57:00 AM  
Anonymous InsidethePubsHead said...

Jeff. An insightful opinion about what motivated Monahan right from the day he was originally elected to the present: It is Monahan. From the outset he wanted to "capitalize" on the unexpected win and the opportunity it afforded him to benefit himself. He sought the guidance of civic & city leaders on how to promote his public image and "look and sound good" to the public. He was advised to be business friendly and built a war chest from contributions to finance his re-elections. To his credit, he did one heck of a good job convincing Costa Mesa voters that he was for "the little guy" as proven by his consistent re-election. Problem was "he" was the little guy he had in mind all along. Now that his image has been tarnished by his recent actions he knows that it is time to move on to new opportunities and, in the meantime, count on his "lucky charm" to cloak his actions and convince the gullible public and media that he is doing it for them.

5/12/2011 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

If the letter reflects only Mayor Kilt's personal opinion, why did he feel the need to use city stationery?

With all the computer graphics/apps available nowadays, why didn't he just create some custom letterhead with a depiction of Judas or Benedict Arnold?

5/12/2011 10:01:00 AM  
Anonymous OCLonghair said...

and you're point?

you're surprised... why?

misuse and abuse of power?

Come on Geoff... you're kidding... RIGHT?

5/12/2011 10:07:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Solorio's profit sharing deal will likely commercialize the fairgrounds since they don't have to worry about Measure C. FMW will likely commercialize the fairgrounds since that's what for profit businesses do.

There is nothing wrong with the fairgrounds the way it is. It is neither under or over utilized. It is 100 percent self sustaining and doesn't cost taxpayers any money at all to run. If it wasn't for greed, the biggest icon of American culture would last indefinitely.

Costa Mesa needs to say no to both deals if we really want to save the fairgrounds for future generations and have a local emergency evacuation center.

5/13/2011 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom Egan said...

I'm continually surprised when I see Mr. Solario named as the lead person in the Assembly on this issue. His district is Anaheim. And he's a Democrat. Why is he fighting for Republican Costa Mesa's best interests? I don't know.

Even more mysterious is the utter absence of Van Tran's name throughout the issue. He was "our" Assemblyman. And he's a Republican, the dominant Party in Costa Mesa. Why wasn't he fighting for Costa Mesa's best interests? Seems to me that Van Tran is the one who "abandoned" us.

Which brings us to Alan Mansoor, our current Assemblyman. I haven't seen any of his fingerprints on this issue either. Isn't he supposed to be representing us? Is he, too, "abandoning" us?

I suspect Mr. Monahan's angry letter has nothing to do with Costa Mesa's future; rather, it may be just a sidewipe at Solario to perhaps weaken him for the next election so a Republican has a better chance of beating the Democrat. Mr. Monahan may have signed the letter, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was conceived and written by the Republican Central Committee of Orange County, aka Scott Baugh and John Moorlach.

And who might that Republican challenger of Solario be? Well, Jim Righeimer is champing at the bit. After all, he's got national recognition now, what with his face being on Fox and stories in WSJ, etc. He won't be able to run for Mansoor's seat until Mr. Mansoor is termed out several years hence. So Mr. Righeimer, who has tried for many moons (20 years, I hear) to get elected to an office, won't want to wait to take his turn. The Republican Party nowadays is very much into young, pretty, and up-and-coming politicans to spend their grooming money on.

He's proven that he is willing to move his family to another city in order to get on the Republican escalator (remember he was appointed to the Planning Commission a month after he moved to Costa Mesa). I wouldn't be surprised if he packs up his family and moves again, this time, into Assemblyman Solario's district.

But would he then take up the cudgel for Costa Mesa, as Mr. Solario has done? One can only guess.

(If this comment looks familiar, it's because I first posted it to the Pilot's story about Mr Monahan's letter, May 12.)

5/14/2011 03:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Vern said...

Tom, Jose is representing the interests of Orange County taxpayers and fair-attendants, because we pestered him to, relentlessly, and we appreciate him doing so. You're right that Van and Allan are both worse than useless. But don't forget this is the ORANGE COUNTY Fairgrounds, not the Costa Mesa Fairgrounds. And Costa Mesa just has too many voters who just sit on their hands and do nothing (apologies to the Pot Stirrer, gericault, S Genis, K Foley and Wendy!)

But I like your idea of Riggy carpetbagging up to Santa Ana and trying to get the Mexicans there to vote for him over Julian Perez! Sounds outlandish and unlikely though. Smarter people would tell him not to.

5/17/2011 11:20:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home