Where do Fair Board Directors Sit in the Pacific Amphitheatre?

Goat Question (2)

Directors have assigned blocks of seats in the Pacific Amphitheatre. Each Director has six (6) seats assigned to them. The assignments for 2017 were:

Row AAA 1st row in pit: Nick Berardino seats 13 to 18; Barbara Bagneris seats 19 to 24.

Row BBB 2nd row in pit: Douglas La Belle seats 7 to 12; Gerardo Mouet seats 13 to 18; Ashleigh Aitken seats 19 to 24

Row CCC 3rd row in pit: Stan Tkaczyk seats 11 to 16; Sandra Cervantes seats 17 to 22

Row DDD 4th row in pit: Robert Ruiz seats 9 to 14; Newton Pham seats 15 to 20.


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 Fair Board Directors to Start Using Official Email Addresses on April 1, 2018

  GoodJob (1)

OC Fair Board Directors will have new email addresses for the public who own the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center) to contact the Directors. This is a move in the right direction to allow Directors appointed by the Governor to hear from their constituents, who are all of Orange County. 

The new email addresses will be posted on this website and prior posts will be updated with the contact information.

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

 

 


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


Public Has a Right to Know About What is Going On - Even at the OC Fairgrounds

Mansplain

Current OC Fairgrounds Directors and Executive Management pay lip service to claims of openness, transparency, and supporting the rights of the public, who own the OC Fairgrounds, to ask questions about what is going on. Obstructions to obtaining information including selective disclosure of information  have been used along with bullying and intimidation tactics by the Directors on members of the public. At times, members of the public who have connections to Directors have been asked to join in the bullying and intimidation tactics.

Directors claim that the public should "informally" ask CEO Kathy Kramer for information before submitting a public records request.  There is no requirement under the law that an "informal" request be made for information before a request is made under the California Public Records Act. Informal requests for information with CEO Kathy Kramer have not produced information and are met with stonewalling. Directors and Executive Management of the OC Fairgrounds act as if they are above the law.

A letter was sent to the Directors regarding the rights of the public to ask for and receive information about how business is conducted by the state employees and state officers managing the publicly owned OC Fairgrounds.  This is the letter: 

I am following up on the conversation which started during the February 22, 2018, 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA) Board meeting during which a discussion of the rights of the public to ask for and to receive information regarding the conduct of the people’s business at the 32nd DAA was conducted. The California Constitution (Cal. Cons. Art. I, § 2-3) clearly grants the people rights to freely address a government body, petition the government for redress of grievances and to have access to information concerning how the government conducts the business of the people including access to the writings of public agencies and officials.

During the meeting, you publicly chastised me for exercising my Constitutional rights through public records requests and then suggested that I ask CEO Kathy Kramer informally for the documents. I followed up on your suggestion and CEO Kramer, who works for a state agency for which you have been appointed a Director by the Governor, ignored your suggestion and, of her own accord, converted my informal request into formal public records requests. CEO Kramer then chose to delay fulfillment of those requests by several months. 

I have spoken with CEO Kramer on many circumstances, and although I’m sure that, as a Director of the agency for which she is employed, she often appears receptive and interested in your point of view, she has often not been receptive or interested in my point of view or in assisting me in the past. And, if you would like the testimony of the degree to which she is receptive or interested in the viewpoints of others who do not already share her view point or are not Directors of the agency for which she is employed, I can arrange for them to contact you. I would also point out that, in this case, she was neither receptive nor apparently interested in your point of view that these requests be handled informally and promptly. I am not certain, what benefit, if any, can come from continuing a dialogue with you on this subject, given that CEO Kramer is not going to follow your suggestions and you are apparently unwilling to exercise authority over the multi-million dollar state agency which you were appointed to oversee by the Governor.

You have stated repeatedly that you believe that the public has a right to know what is going on at the 32nd DAA, but you have been among the most vocal critics of those who have chosen to exercise this Constitutional right. It is difficult to reconcile your statements with your actions. If the basis of your concern is cost, then that can be readily addressed, while furthering public access.

As was suggested at a 32nd DAA Board Meeting some months ago, a simple change in policy and a Dropbox account costing $150 per year would eliminate most need for public records request. A simple directive to employees that whenever a document or email is created by a 32nd DAA employee, a determination is made whether it fits into one of the very few, very limited exceptions to the California Public Records Act (Cal. Gov. Code § 6250, et seq.), and if it does not fit into one of those few narrow exception, it is automatically made available to the public via the Dropbox account. Adoption of this approach would make the 32nd DAA and the Board leaders and heroes in the cause of public oversight, openness, and transparent government.

 

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer at kkramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Business Development Michele Richards who oversees public records requests mrichards@ocfair.com

Contact Fair Board Directors 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 


Clarifying "Community Use" in the Master Site Plan

Man Question (2)

Statements have been made that the 20,000 sq ft  ballroom and 50,000 sq ft to 150,000 Ag-Expo Center shown in the Master Site Plan proposals are for "community use".  It's not clear what is driving the perceived need for a massive amount of "community use" space at the OC Fairgrounds, and a letter was sent to the Directors asking for more information about "community use" claims. The letter is as follows: 

Members of the community are trying to understand how the Educational Meeting Center with a 20,000 sq ft ballroom, the Ag-Expo Center ranging from 50,000 sq ft to 150,000 sq ft, and other new buildings proposed to be included in the Master Site Plan will be used only for community use and not for commercial rental use. I am seeking your assistance in obtaining information about community usage of facilities at the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA). Please assist the public by providing the following information to help us better understand what is being contemplated:

1 .Please identify community groups which wanted to have events at the 32nd DAA but were unable to conduct the event due to inadequate facilities for their event for the period from 2015 to present.


2. For each community group identified in (1), please provide a description of the event, the planned date(s) of the event, and the reasons stated by the community group for not being able to hold the event at the 32nd DAA.


3. Please identify community groups which wanted to have events at the 32nd DAA but were unable to conduct the event due to budget concerns for the period from 2015 to present.


4. For each community group identified in (3), please provide information regarding the proposed budget and the actual budget needed to conduct the event at the 32nd DAA.


5. Please identify community groups which have used the conference rooms in the Administration Building for the period from 2015 to present.


6. For each community group identified in (5), please provide a description of the event, the planned date(s) of the event, and the cost of the event for the period from 2015 to present. If a contract was signed, a copy of the fully executed contract with all amendments, riders, and attachments, and event reconciliation should be provided.


7. Please provide copies of fully executed contracts with all amendments, riders, and attachments and event reconciliations for all events considered to be “community events” by the 32nd DAA for the period from 2015 to present.

 

8. Please provide copies of any and all documents, studies, research, and analysis of the need for community use facilities in Orange County which were considered in the Master Site Plan process for the period from 2015 to present. 

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 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


Are There a Lot of County Fairs in California?

 

Funnel Cake Question (2)
Yes. Fairs are held from Crescent City on the Oregon border to Imperial County near the border with Mexico. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) which manages State owned and operated fairgrounds and coordinates with other fairgrounds in the State, there are:

54 District Agricultural Associations (DAA's) owned and operated by the State.

2 DAA's were deactivated during fiscal year 1997/98, leaving 52 active DAA's.

23 County Fairs owned and operated by County government or not-for-profit organizations.

2 Citrus Fruit Fairs operated by not-for-profit organizations. A Citrus Fruit Fair is a specific type of fair focussed on citrus fruit.

The California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) in Sacramento is a State agency.

 

A map of California fairs is available. 

 


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