Committee passes Solorio bill on O.C. Fairgrounds

The state Assembly could soon vote on an Orange County lawmaker's bill that would enable California and the O.C. Fair Board to share profits with the state.

The agreement would only apply if the fairgrounds remain under public ownership, state officials said.

With a 10-2 vote by the Appropriations Committee, Assembly Bill 35, introduced by Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim), now moves on to the full Assembly for consideration by the end of this month or early June, Solorio said.

The proposed bill offers few details on how much the state could net, or how the O.C. Fairgrounds could realize profits, but it offers an out for the property to remain in public hands while a private purchase by Facilities Management West is on the horizon.

Guy Lemmon, spokesman for Newport Beach-based FMW, criticized AB 35 at Wednesday's committee hearing.

"I will merely repeat our view that this bill fails to protect the integrity of the current Orange County Fairgrounds, is not in the public interest, contains no assurances that it will benefit the state, and will cost the state millions in lost revenue compared to what the sale to FMW would produce for the state," he said.

"We strongly believe the bill conflicts directly with the process established by the legislation that enabled the sale by the Department of General Services."

— Joseph Serna

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