Contact Information

Is the OC Fairgrounds Owned by the State of California? Are They Part of State Government?

Cow Question (2)

Yes and yes. The OC Fairgrounds is owned by the State of California and is formally known as the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA.  

District Agricultural Associations were established to assist in marketing California agricultural products by showcasing livestock, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, seeds, hay, straw, other agricultural commodities, and products made from agricultural commodities.  The reason the OC Fair actually exists is to show off local livestock and agricultural products. The Junior Livestock Auction is part of that core reason for being of the OC Fair as are the wine, food, flower, and produce competitions

District Agricultural Associations are part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) in the Executive Branch of government and report to the Governor. Fairs fall under the Marketing Services branch which also manages dairy product production, marketing and pricing; assists in marketing agricultural commodities; and collects agricultural market information and statistics to assist California farmers in growing and selling their commodities. Fairs and Expositions is under Marketing Services and assists State owned and operated fairgrounds in management.

Kill The Bill: AB 2396 Brings the Carnival of Corruption Back to the OC Fairgrounds

Kill AB2396 (1)

Remember back to 2009 when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Governor and our OC Fairgrounds was put up for sale? Directors of the Fair Board asked for the property to be sold and a majority of Fair Board Directors formed a non-profit corporation, the Orange County Fair and Event Center Foundation, to buy the property from the Fair Board that they were on. This kleptocratic self-dealing scheme surfaced and was called out by the California Attorney General who represented the Fair Board at the time. Due to possible conflicts of interest arising from a majority of Directors being on both sides of the transaction, the Attorney General refused to represent the OC Fairgrounds in late 2009. Nearly 6 years later in 2015, the Attorney General agreed to begin to represent the OC Fairgrounds again.

The Public, who own the OC Fairgrounds, were able to fight back because the California Government Code (Sections 1090, 18000, and 19990) bars Fairgrounds Directors and employees from having financial interests in contracts with the Fairgrounds, holding employment which may conflict with their Fairgrounds employment or Director duties, and accepting extra compensation not paid by the state for their services. Conflict of interest laws are on the books to protect the Public from self-dealing self-interested kleptocrats and those laws are usually amended to strengthen the laws when the kleptos find a way around the laws currently in place. For some reason which needs serious explaining, conflict of interest laws are propose to be removed.

AB 2396 introduced by Assembly Member Bigelow (AD 05) wants to remove conflict of interest laws for the OC Fairgrounds and all other state owned fairgrounds (District Agricultural Associations).  State conflict of interest codes are found in the California Government Code sections Sections 1090, 18000 and 19990. Self-dealing in government contracting and employment is legalized under AB 2396 Bigelow.  Under this bill, Fairgrounds Directors and employees can set up companies and funnel contracts to those companies. This can be done because Fairgrounds employees and Directors make the purchasing decisions without oversight from the state. This is a bad sequel to the carnival of corruption which played the OC Fairgrounds from 2009 to 2015. There is no good reason for this bill to exist other than to further self dealing, corruption, and graft. 

This bill allows the OC Fairgrounds to be privatized and leaves the Public with no real tools to stop the privatization. OC Fair Board Directors and employees would be allowed to form a company to manage the OC Fairgrounds, be employed by said company, and have the OC Fair Board enter into a contract to manage the OC Fairgrounds on whatever terms the Directors and employees negotiated for themselves.This would be hard or even impossible to stop because it would be legal. Annual revenues around $45 million with a profit margin of around $8 million a year make legalized kleptocracy lucrative. This bill does not serve the interests of the Public.

Job #1: Kill the Bill

The bill is in the Assembly and we need to contact Assembly Members to have the bill killed. The Assembly email system does not allow you to email anyone but the Assembly Member representing your district, but you can call their offices. Email your Assembly Member using the emails on their page found at the Assembly Member list.

Call Assm. Frank Bigelow (AD 05) at (916) 319-2005  and ask that AB 2396 be killed. Assm. Bigelow represents the area around Yosemite.

Call or Visit Local Assembly Offices

Call, visit and write letters to our Assembly Members to ask them to oppose AB 2396. 

Travis Allen (AD 72)

Sacramento Office 916) 319-2072

District Office 17011 Beach Blvd, Suite 1120, Huntington Beach, CA 92647 (714) 843-4966

William Brough (AD 73)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2073

District Office 29122 Rancho Viejo Road, Suite 111, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675 (949) 347-7301


Phillip Chen (AD 55)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2055

District Office 3 Pointe Drive, Suite 313, Brea, CA 92821 (714) 529-5502


Steven Choi (AD 68)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2068

District Office 3240 El Camino Real, Suite 110, Irvine, CA 92602 (714) 665-6868


Tom Daly (AD 69)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2069

District Office 2400 East Katella Avenue, Suite 640, Anaheim, CA 92806 (714) 939-8469


Matthew Harper (AD 74)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2074

District Office 1503 South Coast Drive, Suite 205, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714) 668-2100


Sharon Quirk-Silva (AD 65)

Sacramento Office (916) 319-2065

6855 La Palma Avenue, Buena Park, CA 90620 (714) 521-6505


Job #2: Contact the OC Fair Board & Ask Their Help to Kill the Bill

Please contact the OC Fair Board to ask them to oppose this bill and to do everything in their power to kill the bill. As one of the largest fairs in the western US, the OC Fairgrounds can influence fairs legislation. Directors did not give clear direction during the February 2018 Board meeting to take action to kill AB 2396 Bigelow and need to hear from the Public, who own the OC Fairgrounds, to kill the bill. 

OC Fair Board Directors are: Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Douglas La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Nick Berardino, Robert Ruiz, Sandra Cervantes, Stan Tkaczyk 

OC Fair Board Directors choose to not have official emails so you have to mail a staff member and ask the staff member to forward your email. Email Summer Angus

You can do a public records request to check if your email was forwarded to the Board.


If You Don't Like State Conflict of Interest Laws, Then Find a New Position

There is no excuse for what you are doing by proposing to ending conflict of interest laws for state owned fairgrounds. If you do not like conflict of interest restrictions placed on you as a Director or an employee, no one is forcing you to be a Director or an employee. 

Take a Day Off Work to Attend Master Site Plan Reveal on April 26, 2018


Bullhorn Meeting (1)

The Master Site Plan selection will be revealed on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Download Master Site Plan Notice _February_Board_Packet during a meeting which starts at 9 AM when most people have work, school, or other commitments. Despite repeated asks for evening meetings, the Fair Board chooses to meet at a time when it is hard for people to attend their meetings. The meeting time is by the choice of the Fair Board and nothing in statute says the Fair Board must meet during the day. Oversight of the planning was done by a member of the building trades whose employer can benefit from the project. 

The proposed schedule is:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Agenda items 1-9 (including Call to Order through Governance Process, workshop/training to be last governance item)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Short recess for room re-set (if necessary)

10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Workshop/Training to commence

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Short recess as boxed lunches are delivered for Board of Directors and members of the public

12:40 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop/Training to continue through working lunch

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Wrap up of final Agenda items (Board of Directors Matters of Information and Adjournment)

The Fair Board does not stream or make video recordings of their meetings. This is another choice made by the Fair Board.  With over $40 million in cash and cash equivalent reserves Download Financials_February_Board_Packet, there is no shortage of resources.

The Fair Board is expected to present plans to begin the process of creating a convention and expo center with year round, daily, heavy use. As the process is being led by CEO Kathy Kramer who worked on the $600 million remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center  with the assistance of VP of Operations Ken Karns who helped to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to a year round entertainment and expo center and CEO Kramer celebrated a $1 million sales month in December 2017 Download Million Dollar December_January_Board_Transcript, the project will have major impacts on Costa Mesa. The remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center triggered development of hotels and an entertainment district


Contact Fair Board Directors

The Fair Board Directors are: Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Douglas La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Nick Berardino, Robert Ruiz , Sandra Cervantes, Stan Tkaczyk

Fair Board Directors do not have official email accounts for their jobs, again by their choice. Email Summer Angus, Board secretary, and ask her to forward your message to the Fair Board Directors.  Summer Angus

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer 


Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns










OC Fairgrounds Celebrates $1 Million in Monthly Revenue in Move Towards Becoming Convention & Expo Center

When Everything is for Sale (1)

OC Fairgrounds CEO Kathy Kramer, formerly of the Phoenix Convention Center,  announced that the all-time monthly revenue record for year round events (events held outside of the OC Fair) was broken in December 2017 with over $1 million in monthly revenue.  Ms. Kramer called the $1 million a month sales as a “benchmark for next year” which is being celebrated on February 23, 2018, with a lunch for Fairgrounds staff. 
Hit the goal, get a reward. The OC Fairgrounds is a sales focussed organization with the Fair Board directing Executive Management to those actions. If the focus was education and agriculture, there would be celebration of increasing the number of Centennial Farm visitors and increases in the amount of space devoted to agricultural and educational use.  
Increases in revenue and rewarding staff for the increase gives rise to a number of issue to be examined:
  • While the Fairgrounds Board and Executive Management claim the property is about agriculture and community service, their actions show the goals of the Board and Executive Management are about increasing revenues.  It is not clear why all of this money is needed or how the money is used to benefit the community with increased agricultural and educational programming and community use of the facility. Exactly what does the Public who own the OC Fairgrounds get from this $1 million benchmark month?
  • Who asked the OC Fairgrounds to do this?  Who benefits? We need names.
  • Does the increase in year round sales mean that there will not be increases in admission prices for the 2019 OC Fair and no increases in parking charges? We need a commitment to no price increases for the 2019 OC Fair. 

The Fair Board and Executive Management  continue to deny that their goal is to become a year round convention and event center with daily, heavy use. Executive Management hired by the Fair Board are from the convention and expo business and converted a fairground into a 364 day a year, 24 hour a day entertainment and expo center.  Executive Management were hired to change the OC Fairgrounds from a fairground to a convention and expo center. 

The Fairgrounds is a 150 acre island surrounded by Costa Mesa and nothing gets on or off the island without going through Costa Mesa.  Costa Mesa neighbors should not be asked to bend their needs to fit what the Fairgrounds wants but the Fairgrounds must fit into the existing Costa Mesa neighborhoods.
Fairgrounds Executive Management Contact Information to Address Your Questions and Concerns
CEO Kathy Kramer
Ms. Kramer was the Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and was part of the team that oversaw a $600 million expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq ft and placing the Phoenix Convention Center in the top twenty-five convention centers in North America.  The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center changed the character of the area

VP of Operations Ken Karns 
Oversees safety, security, facilities, equestrian center, entertainment booking and ticketing, parking, and the Master Site Plan process, among other duties. Mr. Karns worked to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to the Western Fair District which has year round 24 hour a day use. 

VP of Business Development Michele Richards 
Oversees event bookings and scheduling, sponsorships, community programs, and community exhibits during the OC Fair, among other duties. Year round events are not booked by state employees but by Tandem, a company from San Francisco which is paid on commission. 

"Smart Farm"" Bill Includes Fairgrounds & Community Colleges - Opportunity for OC Fairgrounds & Orange Coast College

Attention Question (1)

A new Assembly bill, AB 2166 (Caballero) encourages community colleges and fairgrounds to collaborate on establishing "smart farms" on community college campuses and fairgrounds to provide regional agricultural businesses the opportunity to showcase up-to-date technology in real world practice. The OC Fairgrounds is across the street from Orange Coast Community College where there is an active horticulture program. Adding a new farm area at the OC Fairgrounds to showcase agricultural technology would be a benefit to the OC Fairgrounds, Orange Coast College, local agricultural businesses, and the community as a whole. Please ask your local Assemblymember, the OC Fair Board, and Orange Coast College to support this bill.

Download a copy of the bill as of Feb 13, 2018  Download Bill Text - AB-2166 California Farm Bill: agricultural technology

Track AB 2166

Orange Coast College Board Contact Info
David A. Grant, ​​​President​​ ​

​Mary Hornbuckle, Vice President ​

Dr. Lorraine Prinsky, Clerk of the Board

Jim Moreno, Trustee

Jerry Patterson, Trustee

Javier Venegas, Student Trustee


Contact OC Fair Board via Summer Angus and ask Ms. Angus to foward the email to the Fair Board


Contact your State Assmblymember

How Can I Contact Fairgrounds Staff?

Chicken Scooter Question (2)

Kathy Kramer, CEO



Ken Karns, VP of Operations 

Oversees safety, security, facilities, equestrian center, entertainment booking and ticketing, parking, and the Master Site Plan process, among other duties



Michele Richards, VP of Business Development 

Oversees event bookings and scheduling, sponsorships, community programs, and community exhibits during the OC Fair, among other duties.



Jason Jacobsen, Director of Technology and Production

Oversees compliance with noise limits in the neighborhoods and event production, among other duties.  The buck stops at Mr. Jacobsen's desk/phone/email for noise issues.


How Can I Contact Fair Board Directors?

Senior Man Question (2)

Directors use their personal email addresses and phone numbers to conduct Fairgrounds business. There are no email addresses for Fair Board members using the address used by staff. If you want to send an email to a Director, send it to Summer Angus, who takes messages for the Directors and ask that the email be forwarded to the Directors. Sending the email to Ms. Angus with a request to forward the email to the Directors creates a paper trail which can be tracked using public records requests.

Summer Angus