Pacific Amphitheatre

March 22, 2018 Fair Board Meeting Agenda (Thursday at 9 AM by Choice)

Fair Board Meeting (2)

The complete agenda is available here

More information including copies of contracts listed in the agenda will be available on the  Monday before the Thursday 9 AM Board of Directors meeting.  There is no significant update on the Master Site Plan process even though work is continuing in the back rooms without the public being asked to participate. 

Issues to watch are:

Contract amendment for Spectra, the onsite caterer which holds the alcohol license and operates the Orange County Market Place.  Update on the struggling Orange County Market Place. (Agenda Item 9B) A copy of the current contract with Spectra and for the OC Market Place are available on the Fairgrounds Documents Page. 

Centennial Farm Foundation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Issues: Centennial Farm Foundation is legally separate from Centennial Farm and does not own, operate, or provide a significant source of funding for Centennial Farm. Centennial Farm Foundation has been asked to sign an MOU formalizing the relationship with the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center) and has not signed the MOU after a long wait. The Board may take action regarding the MOU at this meeting which is not expected to make a significant change in operation of Centennial Farm. 

California Assembly Bill 2396 Discussion: This is a bad bill which allows conflicts of interest and removes competitive bidding rules, among other changes. Kill the bill!

Committee/Task Force/ Liaison Reports will be given on these areas (Agenda Item 9A):

Pacific Amphitheatre Operation Evaluation & Review Task Force (Director Berardino, Director Tkaczyk): This task force hired the former manager of the Pacific Amphitheatre under Nederlander when the noise problems occurred to assist the task force in reviewing Pacific Amphitheatre operations and making recommendations for changes. A no-bid contract was used for the hiring.

Centennial Farm Foundation Board (Director Cervantes)

Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation Board (Director Berardino, Director LaBelle): Note that Heroes Hall Veterans Foundation does not own, operate or provide a significant source of funding for the Heroes Hall Museum. 

 Financial Monitoring Committee (Director Pham, Director Mouet)

 Legislative Monitoring Task Force (Director Berardino, Director Aitken)

 Master Site Plan Task Force (Director La Belle, Vice Chair Ruiz)

 Tenant Liaison Committee (Director Tkaczyk, Director Berardino)

 Equestrian Center Task Force (Director Aitken, Director Tkaczyk)


Questions or Comments can directed to:

CEO Kathy Kramer

Board of Directors Members (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) choose to not have email addresses to allow the public to contact them. Contact the Board by emailing Summer Angus and asking that your email be forwarded to the Board members. 

Public records requests can be submitted to


Master Site Plan: "Development Report"

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 the plans for development of the Master Site Plan. 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. 24-25 of the C. H. Johnson Consulting, Inc. proposal:


This task will produce a Master Site Plan Report containing summary of key findings and initial recommendations for planning and future use of the Fairgrounds. Our recommendations will stem from a thorough understanding of background data, community input, operational and facilities optimization, market demand, and the OCFEC mission, thereby translating community-based programming and operational strategies into physical place-making that serves the County for generations to come.

The master site planning will include evaluation of local market demand to formulate and evaluate alternative approaches to uses, relationship of uses, phasing, and integration of existing activities.

The cohesive development of a comprehensive, data-driven, visionary MSP will be the culmination of the well- established fluid exchange of information (data) and ideas from the Internal and Community Stakeholders which will empower the 32nd District Agricultural Association’s Board of Directors to make the most informed decisions regarding the future of how OCFEC will fulfill its Mission Statement: “Celebration of Orange County’s Communities, Interests and Heritage.”


Following the Options Workshop/Meetings, and based on additional input from internal and community stakeholders, we will prepare a Master Site Plan with initial recommendations for future use of the OCFEC site and facilities.

Our team’s approach to physical master planning will stem from an understanding of local conditions and an intimate relationship with the site, including topography, drainage, existing uses, relationship to surroundings, and the social context of human activities. It will incorporate sustainable, low impact development techniques that will allow a more intensified program of uses to “sit lightly” on the land. The master plan will be suitable as a basis for detailed site planning and entitlement processing to be conducted as part of a future contract.

The master planning process will translate community-based, evidence-driven programming and operational strategies into physical place-making. This will include alternative land use concepts that describe different approaches to uses, relationship of uses, phasing, and integration of existing activities.

  • Establish zones for County Fair and other major events, active and passive open space, neighborhood and community destinations and recreation, and economic “drivers” including an optimized mix of new infill development.

  • Integrate usable buildings and outdoor spaces that will provide efficiency and serve as high-functioning venues for community activities.

  • Address site drainage through sustainable system integrated into the roadway and open space network.

  • Incorporate sustainable landscape strategies and a multi-purpose open space system.

  • Design for walkability and interconnected urban form and compact relationship of complementary uses.

  • Create possibilities for a hierarchy of circulation, entry, identity, and image for key landmarks, with more private or support uses buffered and served by more minor roadways.


The Consulting Team, in conjunction with the Executive Management Team and Key Management Support, and Master Site Plan Committee, will prepare drafts and a final fully documented 10-Year OCFEC Master Site Plan that addresses the best options for the District and addresses all of the key issues and planning process listed in your RFP. A presentation will be made to the full Board of Directors for review prior to implementation.


[A] The documents showing 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

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns who is in charge of the Master Site Plan at

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

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. 


Over 111 Day Wait for Answers About OC Fair Board Expenses & Still No Answers

2017 OC Fair Aerial View Cropped

The 2018 budget for the OC Fairgrounds was discussed and approved in November 2017.  Budget questions were emailed to CEO Kathy Kramer a few days before the meeting and were not answered. The same questions were asked during the November 2017 Board meeting when the 2018 budget was discussed and were not answered.  Attempts to follow up to receive answers to questions about expenditure of public money have been met with obstructionism.  OC Fair Board Directors are supposed to be serving without compensation and it is unclear why these expenses are needed.

During 2016 and 2017, OC Fair Board Directors received free nightly catered gourmet dinners for themselves and their families; free concert and admission tickets for themselves and their families including tickets to more than one event per day; use of a private bathroom costing over $14,000 for the 23 day run of the OC Fair; and use of a public employee tasked with being the Board Concierge to coordinate tickets, dinners, and guest lists for Directors. The OC Fairgrounds can't answer public records requests but has enough staff to give the Board a Concierge to manage their busy days of free dinners and free tickets. Executive Management, including those who are responsible for overseeing public records requests, are also recipients of the free nightly catered gourmet dinners and concert tickets. 

CEO Kathy Kramer appears to have the support of  the Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) in keeping this information under wraps as no Director answered the question at the November 2017 Board meeting and no Director has compelled release of the information after being made aware of stonewalling on the part of staff.

What Was Asked & Not Answered

Note: The account numbers refer to line items in the 2018 budget.

Regarding account 5150 Directors Expense budgeted at $11,597, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

Regarding account 5155 Directors Meeting Expense budgeted at $12,300, what are the activities, personnel, and other items paid for with this money?

What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for the nightly catered Board/Business Development dinners held during the OC Fair? What is the budgeted amount in 2018 for Board Concierge services? What is the cost in 2018 of the complimentary parking and OC Fair tickets given to the dinner guests?

Will private bathroom facilities in the Board/Business Development dinner area be provided in 2018? What is the justification for these facilities given that the dinner attendees walk past a bathroom on their way into the event?

Has there been consideration of replacing the area used for the nightly Board/Business Development dinners with a revenue generating activity such as space rentals to concessionaires and vendors or creating a restaurant open to the Public? The restaurant would allow OC Fair patrons to dine on the same food as the 32nd DAA Board members while generating revenue for the 32nd DAA.

What are the costs including face value of tickets and staff time to fill orders associated with Directors and their families receiving complimentary tickets to the events held in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018?

Will Directors be able to receive tickets to more than one event in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena per day in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets received from attending more than one event per day in the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar and Action Sports Arena?

Will the Executive Management Team be gifting themselves complimentary tickets to the Pacific Amphitheatre, The Hangar, and Action Sports Arena in 2018? What is the face value of the tickets gifted to the Executive Management Team?

Has there been consideration of relocating Directors from the premium pit seats to less expensive seats and placing all of the pit seats on sale to increase revenue for the 32nd DAA? This move would generate revenue for the 32nd DAA while reigning in costs.

Contacting the OC Fairgrounds

Public records requests can be submitted to

CEO Kathy Kramer can be reached at

Directors choose to not have email addresses to be used by the public.  Email Summer Angus and ask her to forward your message to the Directors.



Did You Know the Pacific Amphitheatre Changed California CEQA Law?

Cow Sign Question (2)

On December 1, 1986, the California Supreme Court upheld the rights of Costa Mesa neighbors to sue the OC Fairgrounds over problems caused by the construction of the Pacific Amphitheatre. The case Concerned Citizens of Costa Mesa, Inc. v. 32nd District Agricultural Association granted the neighbors an additional 180 days to bring their case because the OC Fairgrounds (32nd District Agricultural Association) had presented one project to the neighbors and built an entirely different project.

The Pacific Amphitheatre was built facing a into the neighborhoods instead of facing away from the neighborhoods, had the seating capacity doubled,and increased in size from 6 to 10 acres.

This California Supreme Court case Concerned Citizens of Costa Mesa v. 32nd Dist. Agric., 727 P.2d 1029, 42 Cal. 3d 929, 231 Cal. Rptr. 748 (1986) is a case which continues to be cited to this day. This case also teaches why it is important to participate in the CEQA process and to do so in writing.

2nd Pacific Amphitheatre Settlement Protects the Neighborhoods

Oops Man Question (2)

In 2012, the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reached a settlement with the OC Fair Board regarding the site plan for the Pacific Amphitheatre remodel in which the berm was resculpted, a new lobby was built, and the plaza area facing the interior of the Fairgrounds was built. Terms of the settlement agreement include using a qualifed noise monitor and maintaining a tracking system for noise complaints.

Download Pac amp finalagreement copy

1996 Settlement with City of Costa Mesa Over the OC Fairgrounds 1991 Master Plan

Women Oops Question (2)

The settlement was ratified at the only joint meeting between the OC Fair Board and the Costa Mesa City Council in July 1996. The agreement capped the number of people allowed on the property at 25,500 when the OC Fair was not being held, require use of leased parking with shuttles when needed, and required cooperation with the City of Costa Mesa on traffic control. Plans for a hotel and off track betting facility were also dropped.

A copy of  the 1991 Master Site Plan is included in the City Atty Report files.

Documents regarding this matter

Download City Atty Report 96-53A copy

Download City Atty Report 96-53C copy

Download City Clerk Changes to Legal Settlement copy 

Download Executed Settlement Sep 9 1996 copy


Concerned Citizens of Costa Mesa Settlement Quieted the Pacific Amphitheatre


Oops Man Question (2)

The OC Fairgrounds built the Pacific Amphitheatre facing into the neighborhoods, with twice as many seats as what the neighbors were told, and on a 10 acre footprint instead of a 6 acre footprint. The Pacific Amphitheatre was operated by Nederlander, which proceeded to book hard rock acts which were very loud, which blew out the neighborhoods with the noise. Nederlander and the Fairgrounds did not coordinate well, which led to Nederlander concerts jamming City streets and people parking in the neighborhoods. The Concerned Citizens lawsuits took over a decade to resolve and ended with noise limits placed on the Pacific Amphitheatre. Nederlander and the Fair Board claimed that the noise limits made the Pacific Amphitheatre unusable. No concerts were held from 1995 to 2003 because no way could be found to hold concerts without disturbing the neighborhoods. The Pacific Amphitheatre opened in 2003 when the Fair Board hired Gary Hardesty to design the sound system and to manage compliance with the sound limits.

Documents related to the matter


Download Concerned Citizens v 32nd DAA 1984 copy

4 Legal Settlements Protect the Neighborhoods Around the OC Fairgrounds

Oops Man Question (2)

There are 4 legal settlements with the OC Fairgrounds which protect the neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds. Each settlement is the product of a Master Site Plan. The settlements are:

1980 Settlement with the City of Costa Mesa requiring storm water runoff management, traffic management, compliance with the municipal code for noise limits and specific types of development, and deletion of a planned commercial development, among other provisions.

Concerned Citizens Settlement to reign in the Pacific Amphitheatre which led to the closure of the Pacific Amphitheatre from 1995 to 2003 and imposed noise limits on the venue, among other provisions.

1996 Settlement with the City of Costa Mesa which imposes a cap of a 25,500 total persons on the property at any time outside of the annual OC Fair, requires the use of leased parking and shuttles to meet parking demands, limits development, and eliminated proposed hotel, restaurant and off track betting facility, among other provisions.

2012 Settlement with the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society to continue the noise limits on the Pacific Amphitheatre, require the use of a trained sound monitor, require a complaint monitoring system for noise complaints, and limit seating in the Pacific Amphitheatre to 8,500 seats, among other provisions.