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July 2019

OC Fair Board Does Not See or Acknowledge Problems with Contract to Write New Board Policy Manual

Check It Out (1)
A special Fair Board meeting was held on July 27, 2019. The only item on the agenda was a vote to approve the selection of contractor MossAdams to consult on updating and revising the Board Policy manual.

Prior to the meeting, a letter had been sent to the Board members recommending that they not approve the contract because of MossAdams stated preference for a particular policy approach known as the Carver Model, which is used in the Board's current policies and has been severely problematic, and is, in many cases, the root cause of the Board dysfunction and the out-of-control management at the Fairgrounds.

Read the MossAdams proposal Download MossAdams Proposal

Read the letter sent to the Board Download 2019-07-25_Ltr_to_Board

Unfortunately, it appears that the attempt to hire a contractor to assist is leading to more problems due to a failure of the Board to recognize important differences between the process that was described to them by Director Andreas Meyer and that for which they will be contracting.


Director Meyer’s Description of Policy Development Process

During the meeting, Director Meyer, who chairs the ad-hoc committee on Board Governance Policies, defended the recommendation of MossAdams by stating that, despite their stated preference for it, MossAdams will not be using the Carver Model or even directly writing the policies. Instead, the policies will be developed by the Board and the public in sections, through a series of public workshops and based on best practices and examples from other organizations and cities. Policies from each segment will be developed prior to starting on the next segment.

Unfortunately, this is not what the contract being recommended by Director Meyer actually includes.


Actual MossAdams Proposal

MossAdams, in their bid in response to the Fair Board's Request for Proposal proposed one round of drafting of new policies by MossAdams with input from the staff, Board, and stakeholders. The draft would be presented and revised to make the final version of the Board policies. MossAdams does not mention workshops with the owners of the property (i.e., the public), a Board centric process, or the development of the policies in a segmented, iterative fashion. MossAdams proposes a process that will only cost $45,000 (the equivalent of 150 work-hours) over 16 months, or just 9 hours of work per month. It is inconceivable that the intensive iterative process that Director Meyer has described can be performed for that amount of effort.

Per state contracting laws, the contract issued by the Fairground must reflect the bid proposal from MossAdams.


Failure to Recognize Discrepancy

During the meeting, it was not clear that the Board recognized the gap between the MossAdams proposal and Director Meyer's description of what would be done. Consequently, it was not clear whether Board Members were voting to approve a contract to cover what Director Meyer was describing or the contract proposed by MossAdams. When the public tried to have the Board address the gap, Chair Robert Ruiz shut down the public and discussion of the gap and approved the contract.


Letter Was Sent to Board Addressing the Gap Between Reality and Expectations

Following the meeting, a letter was sent to the Board addressing the gap between the MossAdams Proposal and Director Meyer's description of the process. If the Board responds to the letter, we will share the response with you.

Read the letter sent to the Board Download 2019-07-27_Ltr_to_Board


Contact the Fair Board

Chair Robert Ruiz [email protected]

Vice Chair Sandra Cervantes [email protected]

Ashleigh Aitken [email protected]

Barbara Bagneris [email protected]

Doug La Belle [email protected]

Andreas Meyer [email protected]

Newton Pham [email protected]

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia [email protected]
The OC Fairgrounds is also known as the Orange County Fair and Event Center (OCFEC) and the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA.)

How Is the 2019 OC Fair Impacting Your Neighborhood: Ask OC Fairgrounds Executive Management & Board for Help to Solve Problems

Bullhorn Meeting (1)
How did the first week of the 2019 OC Fair go for you and your neighbors? Some of what we have heard:
  • Traffic routing and road closures created headaches for Fairgrounds neighbors traveling to and from their homes because changes were made during the day. Neighbors found themselves stuck in the traffic they were trying to avoid.
  • Eastside Costa Mesa was parked bumper to bumper with cars left by people walking to the OC Fair. Trash was left in the neighborhood by the fairgoers.
  • Merrimac Way was used as a cut thru from Harbor Blvd.
  • Maxed out parking at the OC Fairgrounds and Orange Coast College (OCC) caused fairgoers to find other places to park. 
Are You Facing These Problems in Your Neighborhood During the 2019 OC Fair:
  • Are "No OC Fair Parking" signs and parking enforcement needed for your neighborhood? Where are the signs and enforcement needed?
  • Does your neighborhood need OC Fair Ambassadors to pick up trash? If there are OC Fair Ambassadors in your neighborhood, are more needed?
  • Do neighbors need to be given traffic routing maps including restricted turns and street closures? Should neighbors be told when traffic routing changes to plan for trips to and from their homes?
  • Should offsite parking with shuttle service be offered during the weekday evenings of the OC Fair? Hollywood Bowl and Ventura County Fair have been offering shuttle service during the weekdays for a number of years.
  • Is more weekend offsite parking with shuttle service needed?
  • Is there a better way for the OC Fair to let fairgoers know parking is maxed out other than signs on the 55 Fwy and Fairview Rd? How could fairgoers be told before getting to Fairview Rd that parking is maxed out? Where should fairgoers be routed to when parking is maxed out?
What is happening in your neighborhood and what can be done to resolve the problems? What are your ideas?
Ask for Help to Solve the Problems
CEO Kathy Kramer, VP of Operations Ken Karns and the OC Fair Board need to hear from you about problems experienced in the neighborhoods around the OC Fairgrounds. Please share your experiences with executive management and the OC Fair Board and include your ideas for solving the problems.
Executive Management
CEO Kathy Kramer [email protected]
VP of Operations Ken Karns [email protected]
Fair Board
Chair Robert Ruiz [email protected]

Vice Chair Sandra Cervantes [email protected]

Ashleigh Aitken [email protected]

Barbara Bagneris [email protected]

Doug La Belle [email protected]

Andreas Meyer [email protected]

Gerardo Mouet [email protected]

Newton Pham [email protected]

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia [email protected]

You can copy [email protected] on the emails to help us track issues experienced in the neighborhoods and resolution of the issues.

Costa Mesa Neighborhoods Near OC Fairgrounds Need Neighborhood Policing & Reduced Use of OCC Parking Lots

Attention Question (1)
Neighborhoods near the OC Fairgrounds need relief from problems caused by growing OC Fair attendance and a push to have  year round daily use of the property.  Growth in year round use of the OC Fairgrounds has increased traffic, parking in the neighborhoods, and use of parking lots at Orange Coast College (OCC.)  
Problems once only experienced during the OC Fair are now year round problems for the neighbors.  

Steps can be taken to check the problems caused by increased use of the OC Fairgrounds include funding for neighborhood police services and reducing use of OCC parking lots by the OC Fairgrounds.

Fund Neighborhood Police Services in Addition to Traffic Control Services

Contracts between the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) and the OC Fairgrounds provide traffic control services and do not include neighborhood police services to deal with parking, cut-through traffic, and problems caused by OC Fairgrounds patrons. Neighbors have reported difficulty in having CMPD respond to requests for service during the OC Fair. Read the contract between the OC Fairgrounds and City of Costa Mesa for police services. Download Costa Mesa Police Contracts

The OC Fairgrounds needs to fund CMPD services in the neighborhoods during the OC Fair and large year round events. CEO Kathy Kramer is pushing for increased year round use of the OC Fairgrounds, which will burden the neighborhoods even more. With annual revenues over $50 million with a profit of about $7 million (about 14%) and cash reserves are over $54 million, the OC Fairgrounds has the money to protect the neighborhoods from the problems caused by their operations and needs to step up to address issues caused by their operations.

Reduce Neighborhood Disruptions by Curtailing OC Fairgrounds Use of OCC Parking Lots

Parking lots at OCC are now being used year round for OC Fairgrounds events in addition to the five week OC Fair. OCC parking lots have becoming a defacto extension of the OC Fairgrounds parking lots. Events using the OCC parking lots during 2019 are:

  • Tet Festival on February 8, 9, 10
  • Musink on March 8, 9, 10
  • Pet Expo on April 26, 27, 28
  • OC Marathon on May 5
  • OC Night Market on May 17, 18, 19
  • Scottish Festival on May 25, 26
  • OC Night Market on June 14, 15, 16
  • OC Fair from July 12 to August 11
  • OC Night Market on August 23, 24, 25
  • Sand Sports Super Show on September 13, 14, 15

Read the contract between OCC and the OC Fairgrounds for year round use of the OCC parking lots. Download OCC Parking Contract

Use of OCC parking lots during the OC Fair and year round events disrupts the neighborhoods near the parking lots with noise from patrons coming and going carrying into the neighborhoods. Patrons leaving late at night may be intoxicated which has its own set of problems to deal with. Problems from the five week annual OC Fair are now occurring throughout the year.  CEO Kathy Kramer is pushing for growing attendance of the OC Fair and conducting events every day of the year which will grow the problems for the neighbors including increasing use of OCC parking lots.

Steps need to be taken to protect the neighbors from problems caused by ongoing use of OCC parking lots by the OC Fairgrounds:

  • Reduce use of OCC parking lots for year round event parking. Events at the OC Fairgrounds need to be parked at the OC Fairgrounds.

  • The OC Fairgrounds needs to pay for staff in OCC parking lots at the conclusion of events to move patrons out quickly and quietly.

  • Place DUI patrol in the OCC parking lots to deal with patrons who are too drunk to drive.

  • Create a way to have an immediate response to and resolution of a problem reported in the OCC parking lots. One point of contact to report, resolve and track problems at OCC parking lots caused by OC Fairgrounds events needs to be created. 

Contact the Fair Board

Chair Robert Ruiz [email protected]

Vice Chair Sandra Cervantes [email protected]

Ashleigh Aitken [email protected]

Barbara Bagneris [email protected]

Doug La Belle [email protected]

Andreas Meyer [email protected]

Gerardo Mouet [email protected]

Newton Pham [email protected]

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia [email protected]


The OC Fairgrounds is also known as the 32nd District Agricultural Association, 32nd DAA, Orange County Fair and Event Center, and OCFEC.