Officials headed to capital

Costa Mesa Councilwomen Katrina Foley and Wendy Leece will meet with Department of General Services officials Monday in Sacramento to discuss the proposed sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds.

City Manager Allan Roeder will accompany them to reiterate Costa Mesa’s call that the sale be canceled.

“Our argument is that the city is not going to change the land use designation for the site,” Roeder said. “It is going to remain as a fair and exposition center and consequently will not generate the revenue the state had originally estimated.”

The three will also meet with representatives from the policy and planning office, a branch of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office, Roeder said.


The Assembly put the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa up for sale in July, as part of a plan to sell high-valued state properties as a way to reduce to California’s budget deficit.

Although Schwarzenegger named seven state-owned properties for potential sale, the fairgrounds was the only property placed on the market, through lobbying done by former state Sen. Dick Ackerman on behalf of the fairgrounds’ board of directors.

In response to questions submitted through a California Public Records Request, the OC Fair & Event Center responded that it paid Ackerman’s firm, the Nossaman Law Firm, $19,070.20 for those services.

The Department of General Services issued a request for proposal on the 150-acre fairgrounds in October, and bids are due in January.


The state is expecting to fetch between $90 million and $180 million from the sale.

In November, Costa Mesa and the county Board of Supervisors passed resolutions opposing the proposed sale. Both are also pursuing a purchase of the fairgrounds, in case the state goes through with the sale.

The purpose of the meeting is to help state officials have all information regarding the fairgrounds before making the next move, Costa Mesa officials said.

“I don’t expect that they’ll say ‘we’ll take it off the market’ on Monday, but I believe that the governor will consult with them, and we want them to have the best information possible, ” Roeder said.