Gov. George Deukmejian on Wednesday appointed two San Diego County Republican Party leaders and a longtime Del Mar resident to four-year terms on the nine-member Del Mar Fair Board.
Sworn in as directors during ceremonies at the fairgrounds Wednesday night were Allan Royster, a television account executive and former chairman of the San Diego Republican Central Committee; Bettie Kujawa, a fast-food restaurant owner who is active in Republican politics, and Brooks Parry, a Del Mar resident for 33 years and assistant livestock superintendent at the fair for the past decade.
In telephone interviews, Royster and Kujawa expressed enthusiasm about the appointments and said their varied backgrounds in business and public service qualify them for posts on the board.
“I come from Milwaukee, Wis., originally and the state fair was practically in our backyard,” said Kujawa, 62, who now lives in Coronado. “I have a fond place in my heart for fairs and I’m looking forward to contributing to ours.”
Royster, 48, predicted the appointment would be “a fun one that will afford the opportunity to help shape a major facility that can really do a lot for San Diego County.”
Parry, 63, also a Republican, could not be reached for comment. A fair spokesman said the appointee was helping coordinate livestock exhibitions for the opening of the Southern California Exposition today.
The Del Mar Fair Board, formally known as the 22nd District Agricultural Assn., has a multimillion-dollar budget and leases the fairgrounds for a variety of events, including horse racing. The district is the only one of its type in the state that is self-supporting.
The new members, whose terms expire Jan. 15, 1990, replace Byron Georgiou, an Encinitas attorney who was former Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.'s last appointee; C. Hugh Friedman, a San Diego attorney, and James Mulvaney, also a lawyer in San Diego. The newcomers, who receive no salary but are reimbursed for expenses, make the board an all-Republican panel.
The appointments come during a period of tense relations between the board and the City of Del Mar. Sparking the dispute was the board’s decision to hold grand prix-style auto racing at the fairgrounds this fall. The 10-day event, sponsored by backers of the Long Beach Grand Prix, is expected to attract crowds of 40,000 spectators.
Fair board members say the event will be popular among many county residents and will pump as much as $250,000 annually into district coffers. It represents an opportunity to increase use of the fairgrounds year-round, they say.
But to residents and city fathers in Del Mar, the auto race extravaganza is one thing only: noisy. They argue that fair board members have acted unneighborly by approving an event that will significantly damage the quality of life in the seaside community.
Both the city and a Del Mar homeowners group have filed lawsuits against the district seeking to block the race. Recently, the board fired back, agreeing to investigate the possibility of seceding from the city of Del Mar, which relies heavily on income from the district. A preliminary report on the district’s options is due next month.
Royster, who worked his way up the ranks in local political circles and was elected chairman of the Republican Central Committee in January, 1983, acknowledged that relations with Del Mar could make life on the board “quite challenging.”
“In addition to the grand prix issue, the lease on the race track will come up during my tenure,” said Royster, who works for XETV (Channel 6) and lives near Poway. “And the whole facility will probably need some major modernization before too long. But I’ve got a big stack of briefing books here and I’m ready to get to work.”
Kujawa and her husband own Viva Burgers in Seaport Village as well as an apartment complex in Coronado. She served as deputy foreman of the county grand jury in 1978 and 1979, and has worked on several county advisory boards on land use and other issues.
Parry, who has been active in the Republican Party and on local political issues in Del Mar, is the only appointee with hands-on experience at the fairgrounds. Until her resignation recently, Parry worked for the Del Mar Fair livestock department, coordinating entries and supervising the junior livestock events at the annual fair.
In 1983, she was named honorary farmer of the year by the San Diego County section of Future Farmers of America.
In making his appointments, Deukmejian has been under pressure from farm groups, who want greater agricultural representation on the board and argue that the fair has become too commercial. Both Royster and Kujawa said that they are not agricultural experts but argued that it takes as much business know-how as farming experience to guide the district wisely.
“I don’t think you have to be a working farmer in order to appreciate that phase of the fair,” Royster said. “Besides, for all the agriculture displayed there, there’s plenty of other exhibits that have nothing to do with farming.”