Costa Mesa

What Johnson Consulting Didn't Tell You About the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Bond Financing Plans

A Master Site Plan proposal for the OC Fairgrounds (also called Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) created by a team of Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and landscape architects SWA relies upon a $170 million bond issue to fund projects including doubling the size of the Administration Building, moving the Main Entrance about 200 ft closer to the 55 Freeway, demolishing the Equestrian Center, and reviving a parking garage next to a residential neighborhood cancelled in 2015 after loud neighborhood opposition, among other changes. The $170 million bond funding proposal was glossed over in two slides which are deficient in material facts, at the most charitable. As you consider these matters, remember that over a quarter of a million dollars has been paid to the consultants to create this work product in addition to countless hours of staff and Board Directors involved with the Master Site Plan process.

OCFEC was founded in 1949 by a grant of land from the former Santa Ana Army Air Base (SAAAB) for use as a public park, fairground, and recreation. Download the deed and most recent title report  

Since 1949, construction has been financed without going into debt. This has allowed OCFEC to weather economic problems better than other fairgrounds.  For unknown and unclear reasons, Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and SWA propose a high priced set of projects of little real value which could bankrupt OCFEC or force a major change in operations while causing long term and irreversible harm to the surrounding residential neighborhoods. This process cost over a quarter of a million dollars in consultant fees, uncounted staff time, and took over a year to conduct.  More scrutiny is needed of what has transpired before the Master Site Plan process can move ahead. 

The two slides about bond finacing presented by Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture and SWA follow and can be downloaded here  Download Financials_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

Balance Sheet Bond Slides_Board-Presentation-April-2018

Phases Bond Slides_Board-Presentation-April-2018

Bond Payments are Missing from the Financial Projections

The phased build out of the Master Site Plan proposal takes more than a decade and relies on $170 million in bond financing. No analysis of the impacts of bond financing or supporting information is presented in the April 2018 proposal. The hard consequences of the massive debt issue are ignored, at the most charitable. Payments for the bonds are missing from the financial projections prepared by the consultants.  Estimated payments on a one time capital infusion of $170 million at 6% is about $15 million per year for 30 years.  Johnson Consulting, HPI Architecture, and SWA slides show project phases being paid for and revenues generated by the phases but do not show the $15 million per year deduction needed to pay for the $170 million in bond debt.  

When asked about this during the April 2018 Board meeting, representatives from Johnson Consulting seemed surprised that this was an issue. 

 

Nearly Half a Billion Dollars Paid Out to Build What Amounts to Parking Lots

Interest more than doubles the $170 million bond to $450 million (30 years X $15 million/year = $450 million). Paying nearly half a billion dollars to build what amounts to a few more parking places is insane. This proposal was a non-starter and should have been shredded instead of being brought forward. 

 

Project Locked In & Cannot Be Changed Under Bond Financing

Bond financing locks in a project once the bonds are underwritten. The underwriting process sets the cash flows which must be obtained to maintain solvency and to meet debt covenants entered into as part of the bond underwriting process. It is difficult if not impossible to change a project once the bonds are sold. A future Board would face a high if not impossible hurdle to changing a project funded by bonds.  Representatives from Johnson Consulting did not mention this during the April 2018 Board meeting and it is not clear if OCFEC Directors understand that bond financing locks in a project. 

 

No Good Choices Come from $170 Million in Bonds: Bankrupt OCFEC or Quadruple Annual Revenues to Pay Debt Service 

Annual payments on the $170 million bond issue are $15 million per year for 30 years at 6%. Each and every year a $15 million check needs to be written to pay off the debt of building what amounts to parking lots. Current OCFEC operations have revenues of around $45 million per year and around 10% in net proceeds in 2017 which is about $4.5 million. How is that going to pencil out? 

Choose to Declare Bankruptcy: Once the $15 million annual debt payment starts, current reserves of about $45 million only last a few years until an over $10 million deficit occurs each year because the $4.5 million in annual net proceeds is not enough to pay the $15 million in debt payment.  At that point, OCFEC faces long term insolvency of their own making. A private company could declare bankruptcy to restructure the debt but it is not clear what happens to a state agency which becomes bankrupt caused by actions of the state agency.

Choose to Quadruple Annual Revenues to Avoid Bankruptcy: Quadrupling annual revenues from $45 million to about $180 million can produce annual net proceeds of $18 million, if everything goes just right. Annual revenues of $180 million pay the annual debt bill due but do not provide enough cash flow to re-build depleted cash reserves. Going to five (5) times annual revenues which is about $225 million per year allows debt to be paid and reserves to be re-built.

Achieving annual revenues of at least $180 million will bring heavy year round use of OCFEC such as that experienced by the residential neighborhoods during the annual OC Fair. Traffic will clog public streets, lights and noise will continue into the night every night of the year and it is unclear if the drive to book events for the sake of booking events will be kicked into hyperdrive to make more money to stay solvent. Who knows what events will be booked to make at least $180 million a year in revenues.

The current buildings may not be enough to bring in $180 million in annual revenues. New buildings may be needed to have more events to make the minimum required $180 million in annual revenue. New buildings will need new debt financing because OCFEC does not have significant reserves at this time because OCFEC is barely keeping up with what they owe. More debt needs more revenue and the debt death spiral of OCFEC becomes obvious. OCFEC destroys College Park, Mesa del Mar, and Vanguard neighborhoods along with themselves with self-created problems arising from their greed.

Johnson Consulting, HPI and SWA did not discuss the financially destructive nature of the proposal brought forward by their firms.  The Public is owed answers from Johnson Consulting, HPI and SWA regarding these matters. 

 

Bond Financing Proposal Shows Why Audits of Fairgrounds Operations are Needed

The April 2018 Master Site Plan should have never seen the light of day and was treated like a homework assignment that had to be handed in to be checked off in a grade book.  Consultants and staff handed in their homework and expected a star sticker in return but were met with well earbed negative responses and hard questions regarding the plans. Over a quarter of a million dollars has been paid to consultants who did not seem to notice that their proposal would offer OCFEC a choice between bankruptcy or destroying OCFEC along with the quality of life in the surrounding neighborhoods. Board Directors who wanted to press forward on the Master Site Plan process without having a workable, buildable plan which is supported by the Public in hand are not serving the interests of the Public who own OCFEC and whom the Directors represent.  

A Board Director who touts her financial credentials did not question the impact of the bond payments on OCFEC solvency and wanted to hurry the process along for the sake of moving things along. A Director such as this is not needed and may find themselves to be happier outside the scrutiny of the Public and with more free time to use as they choose. We thank you for your service and wish you well on your future endeavors. 

 

What Needs to Happen to Regain Public Trust
Work on the Master Site Plan needs to stop.  An audit of the Master Site Plan process is needed to find out where the money went, how two sets of Master Site Plan proposals which were not acceptable to the Public and destroy the nature of  OCFEC were brought forward and who could benefit from these proposal, among other questions to be answered. 

The Voice of OC has joined Director Nick Berardino in calling for a performance auditor to be hired at OCFEC to aid in staff oversight. Empowering a performance auditor is supported. Hiring a performance auditor is money well spent and needs to happen as soon as possible.

  

Contact Information to Follow Up on Issues

Contact the Fair Board 

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns  kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact the Governor's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers at mona.pasquil@gov.ca.gov to discuss OCFEC Director performance issues. Fair Board Directors are appointed by the Governor and may be removed for cause by the Governor at any time. (Cal. Food & Agriculture Code § 3959-3960.)

Contact Parent State Agency OCFEC is a state agency under the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)  because OCFEC is a state run county fair created to support California agriculture. Please refer to as OCFEC as the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA) when dealing with the state.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross 916-654-0433 secretary.ross@cdfa.ca.gov

Fairs and Exhibitions (F&E) are under the Marketing Services Division. 

F&E Branch Chief John Quiroz 916-900-5025 john.quiroz@cdfa.ca.gov


Nearly Half of a Billion Dollar Price Tag for OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Proposal: Little Discernible Public Benefit From Over a Decade of Continuous Construction

Ruiz June 18 Election
The latest Master Site Plan proposal from the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) wants to use $170 million in bonds to fund a decade of construction projects which only create construction work for the sake of construction work and additional parking. Analysis provided by the Master Site Plan process proposes a $170 million bond issue at 6% with annual debt payment of $15 million for 30 years, which is $450 million.  Download CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

Is this proposal worth nearly half a billion dollars to you:

Phase 1: More than double the size of the Administration Building built around 2010. Increasing the size of the Administration Building removes the campground between the Administration Building and The Hangar. Cost: $22.93 Million

Phase 2: Demolish existing livestock barns, build storage space for Spectra (onsite caterer who holds the ABC license and operates the Orange County Market Place), build a livestock barn for temporary animal use during the OC Fair and for emergency evacuations. Cost: $21.82 Million

Phase 3: Demolish the Equestrian Center and build a 245 space RV park/900 space parking lot. Cost: $16.1 Million

Phase 4: Demolish the building with the flower exhibits during the OC Fair and the Century Barn, build an outdoor kitchen, build new offices for the Orange County Wine Society, build a new Century Barn and an Education Center. Cost: $27.4 Million

Phase 5: Put a fence around the property. Cost: $9.4 Million

Phase 6: Move the Main Entrance about 200 ft closer to Newport Blvd. Cost: $50.81 Million

Phase 7: Build a parking garage at the corner of Fairview Rd and Arlington Dr. Cost: $27.4 Million

 

Public Wants & Needs Ignored in Current Proposal
In the only meeting where the OC Fairgrounds bothered to ask the Public what they wanted for their Fairgrounds, the Public said they wanted more open space, agricultural, educational, and community use and work toward resolving traffic issues and fitting into the surrounding neighborhoods better. Plans brought forward look like those in charge looked at what the Public who own OCFEC wanted and did the exact opposite. The Public wanted more open space so more parking was created. The Public wanted more agriculture so the single largest agricultural use at OCFEC, the Equestrian Center, is being demolished to make a 245 space RV park. Members of the Public expressed an interest in being able to use parts of OCFEC as parks and recreation space so a fence to keep the Public off the property they own is proposed. OCFEC Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) have brought forth a plan which ignores what the Public asked for and which will stick the Public with nearly half a billion dollars in debt payment to pay for something they did not want and which has no discernible benefit to the public.

 

Revenues Need to Double or Even Triple to Make the $15 Million Annual Debt Payments
Current OCFEC operations generate about $45 million a year with about $6 million in profits. Getting to $15 million in annual profits to make the debt payment requires annual revenues of about $115 million which is achieved by more than doubling the current revenues which means significant increases in business at OCFEC which will harm the surrounding neighborhoods with more traffic, noise, night lighting use, and related issues. Neighbors will be asked to endure over a decade of construction work which will require more than doubling the business at OCFEC, to the harm of the surrounding neighborhoods, just to foot the bill. It is entirely unclear how the Public benefits from any of this, especially when the Public is stuck with the $450 million bill for this mess.

 

Building Trades Benefit from Construction for the Sake of Construction
Moving the Main Entrance 200 ft closer to Newport Blvd is something that was not requested to improve safety or was requested by the Public. However, spending $50 million on this make-work project creates a lot of building trades jobs. So does erecting a parking garage, building a 245 space RV park after the Equestrian Center is demolished, and erecting the fence around the property to keep the Public off the property they own. Not surprisingly, Director Robert Ruiz who is on the Master Site Plan task force and was instrumental in drafting this proposal, is the elected Secretary-Treasurer of Laborers Local 652, a division of Laborers International of North America (LiUNA.) LiUNA is engaged in the construction business including demolition, building, paving, and a wide variety of other occupations which will be employed for over a decade by this Master Site Plan proposal. Robert Ruiz is up for election in June 2018 and has timed this well as the Master Site Plan comes before the Board for one (1) meeting in April 2018 before being approved and the CEQA and EIR process started after approval at the May 2018 meeting.

While the building trades benefit for years, the Public pays with their hard earned money, damage to the neighborhoods around OCFEC with over a decade of construction, and the required fundamental changes to the OCFEC business model,which will be needed if there is any hope of paying for this construction for the sake of construction. Sacrificed will be what agricultural character remains at OCFEC.

Building trades profit and the Public loses.

 

Contact Information to Follow Up on Issues

Contact the Fair Board Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Contact the Governor's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers at mona.pasquil@gov.ca.gov to discuss OCFEC Director performance issues. Fair Board Directors are appointed by the Governor and may be removed for cause by the Governor at any time. (Cal. Food & Agriculture Code § 3959-3960.)

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is charge of the Master Site Plan kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact the Costa Mesa City Council to share your concerns regarding safety and traffic issues resulting from replacing the Equestrian Center with a large parking lot and/or RV park.

Mayor Sandra Genis sandra.genis@costamesaca.gov

Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor allan.mansoor@costamesaca.gov


Parking Structure Shot Down in 2015 Arises Anew in Latest Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Proposal

WTF Nautical Flags (3)

The latest OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan proposal (see page 38 and on “Phase VII - Other Projects” page 45) shows a parking structure and pedestrian bridge at the corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive and states that Orange Coast College (OCC) would be partnering on the project.  Representatives of OCC were contacted and multiple officials stated that they had no knowledge of the inclusion of the proposed parking structure in the Master Site Plan and OCC had not requested that the parking structure be included in the OCFEC Master Site Plan. OCFEC  Executive Management made the following statements regarding the proposed parking structure without consulting let alone obtaining an agreement from OCC: 

  • Partner with OCC 
  • Screened to lessen impact on neighbors
  • With elevators
  • Build West Tower at OCC
  • Build bridge over Fairview Dr to OCC
  • Parking garage assumed 3 stories @ +210 stalls per floor 
  • Footprint of parking garage removes -323 stalls of surface parking

CEO Kathy Kramer should recall that in 2015 a proposed parking structure on the same site was met with strong opposition by the College Park neighbors who would bear the brunt of the impacts from the project.  Current Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Robert Ruiz, and Stan Tkaczyk should also recall vocal neighborhood opposition to the project and suggestions that other solutions found such as building a parking garage (if one is needed) in the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Dr below the billboards.  The parking structure proposed now in 2018 is the same unwanted parking structure proposed in 2015. If CEO Kathy Kramer and Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Robert Ruiz, and Stan Tkaczyk don't recall that the parking structure was unwanted in 2015 and aren't smart enough to figure out that the same parking structure is unwanted in 2018, none of them should be in charge of a public agency, allowed  to drive a car, or have sharp objects in their possession because there is something wrong with them. They may also eat paste, so lock that up.

If a Parking Structure is Needed, Put It Under the Billboards on Newport Blvd Side

If a parking structure is needed (and it is not sure if a parking structure is actually needed) the structure should be built at the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Dr under the billboards. Building a parking structure at this location can be part of the relocation of the Main Entrance from Fair Dr to Newport Blvd. The new Main Entrance can be designed to speed up parking and move stacking of cars waiting to park from the public streets and onto OCFEC property.  This plan was previously proposed to the OCFEC and should be reconsidered:

Alt 2 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1) Alt 3 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 4 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 5 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

 CEO Kathy Kramer needs your help to be reminded that the parking garage at the corner of Fairview Rd and Arlington Dr is not wanted. kkramer@ocfair.com

VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan  & the Fair Board Directors need to also hear from you on this matter.

Ken Karns kkarns@ocfair.com

Email Summer Angus and ask her to forward the email to the Directors sangus@ocfair.com


Submit Your Ideas for the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan

MasterSite Plan Info (1)

Under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), an agency such as the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC aka 32nd District Agricultural Association) is supposed to propose more than one project to be considered. Bringing forth one version of a project and declaring that the project brought forth is the only way to satisfy the need for the project is not supposed to be the way things are done under CEQA. This is referred to as consideration of alternatives where a reasonable range of feasible alternatives must be considered. 

If you have been noodling around with ideas about how the OCFEC can better serve the community and fit into the residential neighborhoods around the property, now is the time to start putting your ideas on paper to get them ready to submit to the OC Fair Board (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk.)

A map of the OCFEC is is available here and on Google maps. Use of the OCFEC is governed by legal settlements limiting noise levels in the neighborhoods to approximately the noise limits in the Costa Mesa municipal code (and again in 2012) and limiting the total number of people on the property outside of the annual OC Fair to a little over 25,000 persons, which is the number of persons accommodated by the onsite parking without resorting to offsite or neighborhood parking.

Creating overlays of your proposal and the existing facilities can be the easiest way of communicating your vision. You may also want to include a description of what the purpose is of your proposal including the community need your proposal serves. Start thinking and sketching because the community served by the OCFEC, which is all of Orange County, needs ideas to better serve the community.

Start sketching out your ideas and we will publish information about how to submit your ideas when the information is available.  

 

 

 


Community-Centered Alternatives to Consider for OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan

During May 2017, a group of residents met with OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC) staff and presented their ideas for how to improve the OCFEC during the Master Site Plan process. The complete presentation is available here  Download Community Master Plan Executive May 17

 Highlights from the presentation are follow.

Proposals center on the Community, Agricultural, Recreational, Educational Space and Programming (CARES Space and Programming). This is a community-centered series of alternatives. These are reasonable and feasible alternatives which maintain current programming while allowing for increased use by both the community and revenue generating groups.

CARES_Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alternative 1 is to remodel and improve existing structures which are currently in use. 

Alt1 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

The next 4 alternatives create green space by relocating parking to a parking structure behind the billboard at the corner of Newport Blvd and Fair Drive. A legal settlement with the City of Costa Mesa limits occupancy outside of the annual OC Fair to about 25,000 persons, which is about the number served by the current number of parking places. No new parking spaces need to be added because of the cap on occupancy. However, parking can be relocated to create open space and make the OC Fairgrounds feel more like a fairground and less like a huddle of buildings hiding in the back of a huge parking lot. 

Alternatives include moving the main entrance to Newport Blvd and making the needed changes to make traffic move quickly off the 55 Fwy and into the parking lots. Stacking traffic waiting to park or making cars turn onto Fair Drive and then onto Fairview Road or even onto Arlington Drive to park should be eliminated because OCFEC has more than enough space to stack cars waiting to park on their property and not on City streets. 

Walking paths are included in the Alternatives to connect the Arlington Drive trail with the interior of the property to provide recreation the the community and to aid in pedestrian flow inside the property.

Alt 2 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Unlike the Master Site Plan proposals brought forward by Johnson Consulting, the open space was supposed to be open space with grass or plants and not trees in a parking lot as proposed in the proposals from Chicago based Johnson Consulting. The alternatives also maintain the current footprint of the annual OC Fair. 

Alt 3 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 4 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

Alt 5 Community Master Plan Executive May 17 (1)

What are your ideas for a new Master Site Plan for the OCFEC?

 


OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Information from March 2018 Board Meeting

Attention Question (1)

During the March 22, 2018 OC Fair Board meeting at the Orange County Fair and Event Center, the following updated information regarding the Master Site Plan process was provided:

  • A workshop will be held during the Thursday, April 26, 2018, Board meeting. The meeting starts at 9 AM with the workshop scheduled to begin around 10:30 AM.  If you want to speak during the workshop, your card to speak must be handed in before the meeting begins at 9 AM. 
  • More than one site plan concept will be brought forward to the Board Directors.
  • Work product from Johnson Consulting hired to manage the Master Site Plan process will be posted on the OC Fair website on or around April 2, 2018. The work product posted is promised to be the same as the information given to the Board. 
  • A second workshop to be held in the evening during early May has been promised but not scheduled as of this time.
  • A request for proposal (RFP) for services related to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) has been released.
  • The Board Directors will review draft concepts at the May 24, 2018, Fair Board meeting. The formal CEQA process will start after the draft concepts are reviewed.
  • No final selection of a plan will take place until after the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is certified.
  • The CEQA process is expected to take 6 to 8 months.

OC Fair Board Director Contact Info Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Questions to Executive Management can be sent to CEP Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com and VP of Operations Ken Karns kkarns@ocfair.com.  

 

 

 

 

 

 


"No Cost Rentals" at OC Fair & Event Center Are a Good Idea But More Details Are Needed

Chicken Scooter Question (2)

The Orange County Fair and Event Center (OCFEC) also known as the OC Fairgrounds is owned and operated by the state of California (called the 32nd District Agricultural Association or 32nd DAA) and has recently started a "No Cost Rental" program for non-profits, community groups and government agencies.  This is a good move, but more information is needed about how to apply for the program, what is included, what is excluded, and how the program will be administered in a content and values neutral way which does not discriminate or display favoritism.

 A list of a dozen questions to start to clarify how the No Cost Rental program works were sent to CEO Kathy Kramer and the Board of Directors. If we hear back on this, we will post the information.

  1. Please provide copies of any and all policies and procedures regarding the No Cost Rentals program.

  2. Please provide information regarding the application process for the No Cost Rental program and the supporting documentation which must be submitted during the application process.

  3. Please provide information regarding how eligibility to participate in the No Cost Rental program is determined.

  4. Please provide information regarding the screening process for applications to participate in the No Cost Rental program.

  5. Please provide information regarding the limitations placed on the No Cost Rental program including number of times an eligible group may participate, budget, schedule, and any other limitations on the No Cost Rental program.

  6. Please provide information regarding exclusions placed on the No Cost Rental program including schedule, facility, cost, and any and all other exclusions.

  7. Please provide information regarding the decision made to allow or not allow participation in the No Cost Rental program including: decision criteria; decision process; 32nd DAA Executive Management, and staff participating in the decision; and the appeals process when participation in the No Cost Rental program is not allowed.

  8. Please provide information regarding costs, fees, reimbursement, and charges included in the No Cost Rental program.

  9. Please provide information regarding costs, fees, reimbursements, and charges excluded from the No Cost Rental program.

  10. Is the No Cost Rental program in addition to or a substitute for the existing discounts given to non-profit groups and the rental assistance program previously announced?

  11. If the answer to (10) is “yes”, please provide information regarding existing discount and rental assistance programs which are altered or discontinued by No Cost Rental program.

  12. Please provide information regarding how the No Cost Rental program will be administered in a viewpoint and content neutral non-discriminatory manner.

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Business Development Michele Richards who approves facility bookings  mrichards@ocfair.com

Contact the OCFEC Board Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Public Records Requests cpra@ocfair.com


Gun Show at OC Fairgrounds Shows Room for Improvements in Transparency & Accountability

Check It Out (1)

Students are walking out of school on March 14, 2018, to protest the deaths of students and others from gun violence. While Los Angeles County bans gun shows, Orange County allows gun shows. The Crossroads of the West gun show takes place at the Orange County Fair and Event Center (OCFEC), also known as the OC Fairgrounds, several times a year and is a steady source of over $300,000 in annual facility use revenue in addition to parking and concessions revenues.  About a year ago, OCFEC closed for the weekend because the Make America Great Again rally announced that they would hold their unpermitted rally near Fair Drive and Fairview Road on the same weekend as the Crossroads of the West gun show, which caused the cancellation of the gun show for that weekend. The irony is the gun show caused their own cancellation because they agreed to host the Make America Great Again rally without permission to do so.  The gun show was allowed to reschedule the date of the show which was cancelled due to their own actions. 

A recent trip to the gun show raises questions about the conduct of the show including:

  • Photography and video recording are prohibited.
  • A list of of sellers is not available.
  • A "pentagon AR-15 coupler" which attaches five ten-round magazines to an AR-15 was for sale. This apparently legal workaround allows up to fifty rounds to be fired in quick succession. The video linked to is for illustrative purposes only.
  • Several gun show sellers specialize in AR-15 weaponry and accessories.
  • It is not clear if a person is able to obtain the parts needed to assembly an AR-15 from the sellers at the gun show. 
  • Booths do not have signs with the name of the business at each and every booth and not all booths had marketing materials or business cards with the business name and contact information.
  • A number of sellers do not match to a list of Costa Mesa business licenses although a Costa Mesa business license is required to conduct business at OCFEC.  See Costa Mesa Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter I to learn more about business license requirements. A Costa Mesa business license allows sales tax generated at OCFEC to be paid to the City of Costa Mesa, Orange County, and Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), among other agencies. OCTA uses the M1 and M2 OC Go sales tax increments to fund transportation improvements.  
  • Pawn shops which are called "second hand dealers" in statute are among the sellers.  Pawn shops/ second hand dealers need permission from the Costa Mesa Police Department to operate in Costa Mesa. See Costa Mesa Municipal Code Title 9, Chapter II, Article 12 to learn more about business license requirements for pawn shops/ second hand dealers. 
  • A man was observed pushing a hand truck with a box of ammunition for sale throughout the show for several hours. He was holding a handwritten cardboard sign asking people to purchase items from his box. There was less product in the box later in the day than at the beginning of the day.

 

Reform of gun laws is outside the jurisdiction of the OCFEC Board but the Board can require changes to be made in the way all public events are conducted on the property. Shows open to the public, with free or paid admission, should publish a list of all sellers and exhibitors at the event. The list should state the business name, mailing address, phone number, and email to allow sellers and exhibitors to be contacted outside of the show. Show promoters should be required to have the list available at the show and the information should be kept on file by the OCFEC staff to be provided to the public. One simple change to enhance transparency and accountability which is within the grasp of the OC Fair Board is a step in the right direction. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Business Development Michele Richards mrichards@ocfair.com

Contact the OCFEC Board Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com
Nick Berardino nberardino@ocfairboard.com
Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com
Stan Tkaczyk stkaczyk@ocfairboard.com

Public Records Requests cpra@ocfair.com

 

 

 


Master Site Plan: Is a $58,239 Contract Amendment Funding Studies of Cannibalization of Existing Facilities?

When Everything is for Sale (1) 

In October 2017, the contract with C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc.  was amended by $58,239.00 which raised the contract total to $252,369.00. CEO Kathy Kramer, VP Ken Karns,  and the Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) were asked what the additional money would be used for and refused to answer the questions.    This post discusses a section of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. RFP which is listed as an optional task and could be the work being performed but CEO Kathy Kramer, VP Ken Karns and the Directors refuse to let the public know what they are doing with public money.  Directors and Executive Management of the OC Fairgrounds choose to act as if they are above the law and do not have to answer for their expenditures of public money or use of public property. 

The Master Site Plan process is a revenue centered process, not a community, education, agriculture, or recreation centered process.  This is the section from the winning proposal for the Master Site Plan process which discusses financial plans and projections. It should be noted that multiple requests have been made for documents regarding this work and no documents have been produced. [A] This section is from pgs. 25-26 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal:

This Task commenced in Task 5 and will be finalized in this Task (Task 9). It will consider the initial work done by all parties and will result in finalized economic and fiscal impact analyses considering the developed business and masterplan. Our Impact approach is described below .

To the extent that state and local governments will be participating in the project, part of the return is measured in economic benefits of the project. For this project, it may be important to determine where impacts would occur, as this data can be used to advance the project through the public review and approvals process. It may also be helpful in obtaining final funding grants and ongoing operating support by communicating how the project can help drive demand to the area, how much employment will occur and how much tax revenue will be generated. As such, for this analysis, we will:

  • Use the most recent ExPact survey, an excellent survey prepared by Destination Management Association International (DMAI, formerly known as the International Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus), to estimate direct spending by attendees, associations, exhibitors, and the facility itself, adjusted for local market price indices.

  • Identify from where attendance will likely originate.

  •  Indicate the volume of hotel room nights generated by the project.

  • Identify where spending will most likely be captured.

  • Use the IMPLAN model (an input-output model of the local economy) to estimate indirect and induced spending and employment impacts of the proposed facility for both the projected events and attendees in a stabilized year of operations, based upon the demand projections and the construction of the facility. 

  • Summarize local and state tax structures, including all relevant City, State, County, and other municipal taxes that may be appropriate.

  • Project the facility’s impact on City revenue collections, which include retail sales, lodging, restaurants, and any other areas impacted by the project, and determine whether there will be any cannibalization of existing facilities. 

  • Analyze the impact of the one-time construction activity.

[A] The documents regarding the work performed may have been disposed of or in the custody or control of another unnamed state or local agency or may not be able to be located according to CEO Kathy Kramer. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer at kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan at kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact Fair Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk by emailing Summer Angus sangus@ocfair.com

C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. from Chicago, IL  is the contractor for the Master Site Plan process. A copy of the entire proposal is available on the "OC Fairgrounds Documents" page listed on the right side of this page. We have no idea why the OC Fairgrounds hired a company from Chicago and could not find a planning firm in the Los Angeles-Orange County area or even in California.   

This is one in a series of posts looking at individual Master Site Plan tasks to gain a greater understanding of how the OC Fair Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management want to push the OC Fairgrounds away from being the fairground we currently enjoy. 


"Vetting of Business Opportunities" Key Component of Master Site Plan Process

When Everything is for Sale (1)

The Master Site Plan process is a revenue centered process, not a community, education, agriculture, or recreation centered process.  This is the section from the winning proposal for the Master Site Plan process which discusses business opportunities. It should be noted that multiple requests have been made for documents regarding this work and no documents have been produced. [A] This section is from pgs. 20-21 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal available the OC Fairgrounds Documents page:

TASK 5 - VETTING BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES

This task will produce a report containing a summary of independent business cases for future uses/ initiatives of the OCFEC based upon vetted business ideas, opportunities and findings. The Team’s work will stem from a thorough understanding of background data, community input, operational and facilities optimization, market demand, and the District’s guiding principles; thereby translating community-based programming and operational strategies into physical placemaking that serves the District for generations to come.

The planning process will include evaluation of local market demand to formulate and evaluate business opportunities/ ideas, alternative approaches to existing and/ or proposed uses, relationship of uses, phasing, and integration of existing activities.

TASK 5.1 – MARKET AND DEMAND ANALYSIS [A]

The methodology we propose to assess market demand and estimate overall performance for each business sector is outlined below:

Market Demand and Supply Analysis:  We will analyze pertinent economic, demographic, and market factors that impact land use, business expansion, and space utilization within the area surrounding the site which could contribute to overall planning opportunities. This analysis will focus on key economic and real estate issues such as market demand and supply conditions and includes a trade area analysis of retail/entertainment (not including fairgrounds), office, residential, and others. The goal is to provide a comprehensive understanding of market conditions for the overall site.

Estimated Market Performance: Based upon our analysis of market demand and our recommendations outlined in the preceding work steps, we will address the market performance of the indicated uses. For each specific use, we will also profile operating expense information based upon information gathered and summarized in preceding tasks, as well as general information provided through industry resources and other credible secondary sources of information.

Cash Flow Analysis: From the results of the estimated market performance of potential additional/alternative business uses,which are the supporting mechanisms for pricing, performance, operating, and cost assumptions, we will prepare comprehensive cash flow analysis.

The demand profile, current cost structures, and data from existing operations as well as comparable facilities will be used to model the operating revenues and expenses of the proposed uses. Johnson Consulting has modeled numerous similar fairground facilities and will draw on its experience with these facilities. Projections will extend over a 10-year period.

Economic and Fiscal Impact Analysis: Each aspect of the business model will be added to the market. The procedures for the Economic and Fiscal analysis are described in the specific task requested in the RFP in Task 9, below.

TASK 5.2 – JUSTIFICATION/ P&L FOR EACH BUSINESS CASE  [A]

We will work with the MSP Committee to develop a justification analysis for the District on the advantages and/or disadvantages of the OCFEC relative to certain uses. We will develop a P&L and opportunities-and- constraints diagrams based on information obtained and review of the various business case initiatives proposed.

TASK 5.3 – PREPARE REPORT DELIVERABLE  [A]

Based on the Market Demand Analysis, we will research and report on the opportunities/ideas for planning and future business case uses of the OCFEC, as well as constraints. The Business Case Report will include business cases for uses of whatever portion of the venue is not needed for the OC Fair, Centennial Farm, Pacific Amphitheatre, Imaginology, Heroes Hall, and the other anticipated current programmed events and community-based activities, and will include rough schematic drawings of at least three (3) possible alternative facility and/or land use configurations for possible business initiatives, including their relative strengths and weaknesses. It will be both qualitative and quantitative, providing approximate market value estimates for what alternative business use can generate as potential ground rent to the District, for the area considered for new initiatives.

[A] The documents regarding the work performed may have been disposed of or in the custody or control of another unnamed state or local agency or may not be able to be located according to CEO Kathy Kramer. 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer at kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan at kkarns@ocfair.com

Contact Fair Board Directors Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk by emailing Summer Angus sangus@ocfair.com

C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. from Chicago, IL  is the contractor for the Master Site Plan process. A copy of the entire proposal is available on the "OC Fairgrounds Documents" page listed on the right side of this page. We have no idea why the OC Fairgrounds hired a company from Chicago and could not find a planning firm in the Los Angeles-Orange County area or even in California.   

This is one in a series of posts looking at individual Master Site Plan tasks to gain a greater understanding of how the OC Fair Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management want to push the OC Fairgrounds away from being the fairground we currently enjoy.