O.C. Board of Supervisors approves new parking vendor for John Wayne Airport

Motorists make their way into John Wayne Airport.
The county Board of Supervisors voted 4-0, with Supervisor Doug Chaffee abstaining, for Ace Parking as the new parking vendor for John Wayne Airport, taking over for LAZ Parking California.
(File Photo)

Orange County supervisors Tuesday approved a contract with a new company to provide parking services at John Wayne Airport with one abstaining for lack of more information and two others complaining about the company’s communications with their offices.

The board voted 4-0 with Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee abstaining for Ace Parking, which will take over for LAZ Parking California.

Orange County officials recommended approval of the five-year contract for up to $60 million with an option for a two-year term. The owner of the company pledged to the board that it would live within the budget.


Orange County Board Chairman Don Wagner criticized comments company officials made during a presentation to the board Tuesday about “external forces” attempting to change supervisors’ minds on the staff recommendation.

“When you’re winning, shut up. Don’t talk yourself out of it,” Wagner said.

“I find Ace’s approach to this where there are legitimate questions — many of which have been asked and answered — the approach from the winning contract vendor to throw mud at this board and suggest we are succumbing to external forces when it is them taking advantage of those forces strikes me as nothing else than very poor advocacy.”

Wagner said the comments left him troubled and sparked concerns about future experiences with Ace Parking.

When Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley noted that both of the top vendors had been “aggressively lobbying,” Wagner said he wasn’t offended by that and actually found that sort of give-and-take rewarding.

“The attitude that I got was not, ‘Supervisor Wagner we want to answer your questions,’ it was, ‘Supervisor Wagner, we think we have enough votes,’” Wagner said. “It was that approach that turned me off at this point to Ace.”

Wagner said he was “disappointed” that the previous vendor, LAZ, did not get a higher score in the request for proposals process.

LAZ “has been a good partner,” Wagner added.

Chaffee said he was in a “quandary” on how to vote. Initially he supported the staff recommendation, but he found further questions about the agreement since reviewing it again and added, “I don’t have enough knowledge to make an informed decision.”

Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do agreed with Wagner.

“I do echo the chair’s comments,” Do said. “I did take a little offense at that as well.”

But Do added that there has been a “sea change in the way the airport has been run,” and that has earned the trust from the board for the staff.