Master Site Plan

OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Postponed to Until Infrastructure Assessment is Completed

GoodJob (1)

The OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center, OCFEC) Master Site Plan is now on hold. The Board will have a comprehensive facility wide analysis of infrastructure and related deficiencies completed prior to re-starting the Master Site Plan process.

Issues which have been identified as needing further assessment include:

  • Inspections by the State Fire Marshal uncovered problems with inadequate electrical systems which could lead to fires.
  • Electrical power delivered to the property needs to be upgraded to allow shows such as Cirque du Soleil to use the power grid instead of using diesel generators to power the show for several months.
  • The Board became aware of ongoing issues with stormwater pollution prevention management. Staff had made legally binding commitments and hired consultants to perform work without bringing the matter to the Board.
  • ADA access needs to be evaluated facility wide. Problems with ADA access have been present during Board meetings.
  • Parking lot lighting needs to be evaluated and updated. Multiple sets of temporary lights on diesel generators are used on an ongoing basis to provide parking lot and facility lighting.


Have you seen infrastructure, environmental or safety issues which need to be corrected? Please bring the issues forward to allow the issues to be added to the infrastructure assessment.  Please post a comment or email the Board to bring the issue forward for study and possible resolution.

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
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns  kkarns@ocfair.com

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


September 2018 Fair Board Meeting Agenda Packet Posted

Check It Out (1)

The full agenda packet with the contracts has been posted. Choose the “September 27, 2018” meeting to access the files. Please share with others who are interested.
https://ocfair.com/public-information/public-meetings/

Master Site Plan Process (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
The plan is to hold one (1) public meeting in October and finalize the Master Site Plan in November.

Equestrian Center and Facility Wide Infrastructure Analysis (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
The proposal is to analyze the infrastructure of the Equestrian Center and then sometime in 2019 to analyze the infrastructure of the bulk of the Fairgrounds. An analysis of infrastructure needs to be done before the Master Site Plan is created in order to determine infrastructure which needs to be updated or replaced. The Fairgrounds has $55 million in reserves, so money is not the problem. Staff is considering using the Equestrian Center for storage space. See “Long Term Storage Solutions.”

Sales Tax Collection and Remittance to City (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
Fairgrounds staff take the position that a City business license is not required. Fairgrounds staff discuss sales tax and point out contract language requiring reporting of sales tax but does not state that Fairgrounds staff will be active in having sales properly reported to allow money to earned in the City to be returned to the City. Should the City implement a gate tax, a per drink tax, and/or a parking tax to receive revenue from the Fairgrounds?

Long Term Storage Solutions (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
Solutions for long term storage are needed. Offsite storage space can be rented for about $100K per year or a Butler building could be constructed or the Equestrian Center space could be used for storage.

New Safety and Security Board Policy (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
The proposed policy is:
Draft Policy 2.12

The CEO will not operate without safety and security planning, procedures and training for the protection of the Association, the staff and guests.

1. Operate without an Incident Command Procedure/Emergency Preparedness Plan, reviewed by appropriate governmental agencies, and communicated to key staff, vendors and production personnel.

To this end;

A. The CEO will schedule a security meeting with the appropriate security partner representatives and two policy representatives from the Board of Directors prior to the start of the annual OC Fair and once in the approximate mid-point of the annual OC Fair.

The CEO will ensure the continued development and delivery of Security, Health and Safety training annually for staff and management of the OC Fair & Event Center.

The CEO will ensure the annual budget supports continuing investment in technology and equipment for Security, Health and Safety.

The CEO will ensure the ongoing investment in staff/management continuing education in Security, Health and Safety for the advancement of procedures and best practices.

The CEO will ensure risk management facility inspections are conducted regularly and corrections are made in a timely manner.

 

Approval of Travel Request to San Antonio, TX (See 18_09_Staff_Reports_A_J1)
State travel is prohibited to states such as Texas which discriminate against same sex couples or their families or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The proposed trip is to the annual International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) allegedly for training. CEO Kramer is making a presentation on “How to Market Your Facilities” and “Creating Community Giveback Programs on Your Fairgrounds with Any Budget”. Ken Karns is presenting in a panel on “Fairgrounds Master Planning - Developing a Vision.” This is an unneeded trip at Public expense and does little to benefit the Public.

Checks and Contracts:
Cash and cash equivalent reserves are over $55 million. See 18_09_Financial-Packet_Aug


Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP is an immigration law firm which was previously engaged to process VP of Operations Ken Karns NAFTA TN clearance and H-1B work visa. Fragomen was paid $5,800.00 on June 7, 2018, using check 84090. See 18_09_Financial-Packet_Aug


Ray Cammack Shows (RCS) which operates the carnival and midway was paid $7,535,495.71 for the 23 day run of the 2018 OC Fair. This money leaves Orange County and does not return. See 18_09_Financial-Packet_Aug Electronic Payments Summary August 2018


Straub Distributing / Anheuser-Busch paid $156,712.00 in sponsorship fees. See contract SA-272-18SP in 18_09_Standard_Agreements1

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
Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com
Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com
Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer kramer@ocfair.com

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns  kkarns@ocfair.com

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


Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds

Bullhorn Meeting

Your input for the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan is needed because the Master Site Plan process will start after the 2018 OC Fair closes in August and finish by the end of December 2018.  Two prior Master Site Plan proposals included converting OCFEC into a convention center (September 2017) and demolition of the Equestrian Center to create an RV park (April 2018).  The April 2018 proposal included $170 million in bonds for a series of projects with the nearly half a billion dollars in  debt payments on the bonds forcing OCFEC either into bankruptcy or to more than quadruple revenues to simply make the debt payments.  Only one meeting was allowed for Public input during these two proposals even though the Public owns the property.  

There has been a lack of participation by the Public and FANS of the OC Fairgrounds is providing a channel for Public input. 

 

Let's Crowdsource: Tell Us How You Want to Use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC)

Friends and Neighbors of the OC Fairgrounds (FANS of the OC Fairgrounds) is crowdsourcing how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) can be used in the future to better serve the needs of the Public who own the property.  We want to know your vision of how the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) should be used in 5 years (2023), 10 years (2028) and 15 years (2033). Here are some questions to get your ideas going:

  • What works well and what needs to be improved?  
  • Are there activities which should be expanded or shrunk?
  • Are new activities needed and what are those activities?
  • How can the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC) better serve the community?
  • The property is supposed to serve the needs of all of Orange County. What are those needs and how can those needs be addressed? 

Ideas which are submitted will be posted and the Public allowed to review and comment on the ideas. During the Master Site Plan process during late 2018, these ideas will be brought forward to show how the Public wants to use the OC Fairgrounds (OCFEC.)  Any member of the Public can submit ideas.  We ask that submissions be no longer than 6 US letter sized pages with all pages in PDF format. 

How to Submit Your Ideas

Email your submission as a PDF attachment to  fansocfairgrounds@gmail.com with the Subject Heading: Crowd Source Submission

Each Submission Needs a Cover Page

  1. Your name.
  2. The ZIP code in which you reside. (Anyone, who lives anywhere, can make a submission and it will be considered, this information is to allow us to determine the geographic effect of our outreach.)
  3. A contact phone number or email address at which you may be contacted if there are any questions about your submission.
  4. The following language: I am submitting the following proposal for use of the Orange County Fairgrounds and I agree that the 32nd District Agricultural Association of the State of California can use anything in this submission for the Orange County Fair and/or Fairgrounds.

Your cover page may include:
Any other statement or background information regarding your relationship to the Fairgrounds, the Fair, or your submission, that you wish to include. As discussed below, this statement will NOT be included in the portion of the submission that is made available for review to the public.

Submission Recommendations
Although there are no formal format or content requirements for your submission, we request that you:

  • Focus on USES, i.e., how you want to see the fairgrounds used, both for the annual Fair use (if any) and year-round use (if any)
  • Discussion of facilities, demolitions, modifications, upgrades, or additions should be tied to USES

Although not required, the following suggestions, may assist you in preparing your submission:

  • Include specific discussion of USES of current major Fairgrounds Facilities, the PacAmp, Centennial Farms, the Equestrian Center, Heroes Hall, the Action Sports Arena/Speedway, and the Ag-Barn facilities
  • If the envisioned uses will significantly increase the number of visitors to the Fairgrounds, you may wish to address, at least generally, impacts on and possible ways to address traffic, parking, and noise issues
  •  If you think it is helpful in understanding your submission, address, at least generally, operating costs for, or revenues from, the identified uses.

What Will Happen to My Submission
Approximately one week after it is submitted, your cover page will be removed from your submission and your submission will be assigned an ID number. All submissions, except those which would subject the Friends and Neighbors of the Orange County Fairgrounds to potential legal action, will then be made available to the public for review and comment.

Submissions will be available to review at Crowdsourcing the OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan.
Comments regarding submissions (referencing the ID number) may be posted in the comments section of this post.


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


Coverup of OC Fairgrounds Equestrian Center Attempted Size Reduction Sends the Wrong Message & Only Increases Problems

IMG_1176

In late March 2018, contractors arrived unannounced at the Equestrian Center at the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) to fence off a substantial part of the facility to make more room to store shipping containers. The immediate threat of installing a fence to make room for more shipping containers was stopped with the fence removed, but questions regarding who did this, why they did this, how this was paid for, who authorized the fence, and how long this was in the works remain unanswered. Direct questions sent to the Board on April 2, 2018, have been ignored. Records requested on April 5, 2018, regarding the attempted size reduction are being delayed until late June 2018. Board Directors refuse to discuss details of the matter in public. This is the wrong approach which does not serve the interests of the Public who own OCFEC.

The instincts of the Board are to cover up questionable actions and misconduct by Executive Management and staff while criticizing and berating the Public for asking questions. Members of the Public have been threatened with removal from Board meetings and action from the Attorney General in response to asking questions which put the Board on the spot regarding conduct of Executive Management and staff.  Board Directors Barbara Bagneris, Robert Ruiz, Sandra Cervantes,  Newton Pham, Stan Tkaczyk, Ashleigh Aitken, Nick Berardino, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet are teaching Executive Management and staff that dishonesty, incomptency, inexcusable neglect of duty, willful disobedience, and misuse of state property, among other issues, are acceptable and the Board will cover it up for them. What do Board Directors gain by covering up for Executive Management and staff?

The Board Directors continue to delegate authority to act to Executive Management despite Executive Management demonstrating on multiple occasions that they are dishonest, incompetent, inexcusably neglect their duties, are insubordinate, and are discourteous in treatment of the Public, among other issues.  Executive Management have shown time and again that they can't be trusted. What do the Board Directors gain by delegating authority to act to Executive Management who can't be trusted?

California civil service employees are subject to disciplinary procedures under statute Cal. Gov. Code § 19570. CalHR distinguishes between employee performance problems and misconduct. CalHR's Supervisors Guide to Addressing Poor Performance describes misconduct as:

The second category of problem behavior is “misconduct” -- meaning the employee does something that is contrary to the nature of the job or state rules. Threatening violence against a coworker, stealing and dishonesty are examples of misconduct. An employer can take adverse action against an employee who engages in these behaviors immediately without engaging in the corrective phase or progressive discipline. In other words, there is no training course to teach someone how to not steal, employees are reasonably expected to know that this is unacceptable conduct.

Board Directors should require Executive Management to immediately release any and all documents regarding the attempts to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center to create more storage for shipping containers.  The Board needs to stop covering for Executive Management and staff who work against the interests of the Public.

When Executive Management refuses to immediately release the documents, the correct response from the Board is to remind Executive Management that insubordination, among other actions, is grounds for disciplinary action under California law and proceed accordingly.  Get the information out there to the Public who own the Equestrian Center and whose money was wasted on this mess while Executive Management and staff who participated bear the consequences.

And remember, there is no training course to teach someone how to be honest and employees are reasonably expect to know what is acceptable conduct.

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

 

 

 


OC Fairgrounds Equestrian Center Demolition Proposed to Create 245 Space RV Park

The latest proposal for the OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) Master Site Plan shows the Equestrian Center being demolished and replaced with a 245 space RV park which can also be used as a 900 space parking lot. Demolishing the Equestrian Center eliminates the single largest agricultural use at a property which claims to have a mission of  "Celebration of Orange County's Communities, Interests, Agriculture and Heritage [. . . ]". Removing the Equestrian Center is unacceptable and must be taken off the table.

Board Directors (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) and Executive Management  have wasted over $250,000 in Public money on Master Site Plan proposals which do not take into account the needs and desires of the Public and are incompatible with the surrounding neighborhoods.  The time is now to rip up both the September 2017 and April 2018 Master Site Plan proposals and start over with a process which focusses on the needs and desires of the Public who own OCFEC and which includes the Public in the process at the same level of effort as the Board, Executive Management, contractors, and staff. 

View the entire proposal on the OCFEC website or see the two slides about the replacement Equestrian Center with an RV park and parking lot here:

Master Site Plan CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

As a PDF:  Download Master Site Plan CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018

RVPark_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April

As a PDF:  Download RVPark_CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018-FINAL-DRAFT_040218

If you are already fed up, sign the petition asking to save the Equestrian Center and to start over with the Master Site Plan process which includes the Public in the process. 

Rip Up the 2 OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plans, Start Over with a Public-Friendly Process!

 

How Did This Happen?

In September 2017, a Master Site Plan proposal converting OCFEC to a convention center was presented. (See Board Workshop – Concept Presentation MSP files.)  The Equestrian Center was retained in the September 2017 Master Site Plan proposal. This proposal was helmed by VP of Business Development Ken Karns with Directors Doug La Belle and Robert Ruiz comprising the Master Site Plan Task Force overseeing the project. The Master Site Plan proposal was shown one (1) time in September 2017 and then whisked away to a backroom for changes to be made. Despite the Public begging for additional meetings to be held to allow the Public to have input into changes, Directors Doug La Belle and Robert Ruiz kept the process in the back room and refused to allow the Public to participate in decision making. During the same time, an Equestrian Center Task Force with Directors Ashleigh Aitken and Stan Tkaczyk and retired real estate investor Theresa Sears made statements which led many to believe that the Equestrian Center would be retained. 

 

Converting the Equestrian Center to Parking Creates Millions in Annual Revenue

245 Space RV Park is Sized for Year Round Use

The proposed RV park has 245 RV spaces with restrooms and showers and is across the street from TeWinkle Park, the Skate Park and Bark Park. At 245 spaces, the proposed RV park is in between than the 185 space RV park at  LA County Fairplex in Pomona, CA, operated by KOA, the 195 space Orangeland RV Park in Orange and Newport Dunes located on the Back Bay of Newport Beach, CA, with 382 RV spaces. The proposed RV park can be used year round for both camping by those working at OCFEC events or by members of the public desiring to park their RV in a coastal area.  A little research shows a daily rate of $50 per day is a comparable daily rental rate. A conservative projection of about $1.6 million in annual revenues is made as follows:

  • Total Spaces  245
  • Number of Available Days to Rent to the Public  270 (Remove June, July and August from the public rental schedule to the OC Fair)
  • Daily Rate $50.00 
  • Capacity 50%

Once the RV park is built, there is nothing preventing OCFEC from converting the area to year round use or engaging an operator such as KOA to manage the park.

 

RV Park Can Also be 900 Parking Spaces

The Master Site Plan includes using the former Equestrian Center area as a 900 space parking lot in addition to functioning as RV parking. Parking is a signficant source of OCFEC revenue with the 2018 budget showing $5,305,113 in total parking revenue as follows:

  • $2,758,813 in Fair Parking Revenue (line item 4370)
  • $94,700 in Vendor Hang Tag Parking (line item 4393)
  • $2,161,700 in Year-Round Event Parking Sales (line item 4710)
  • $268,900 in VIP Event Parking Revenue (line item 4711)
  • $21,000 in Preferred Parking (line item 4715)

Download the 2018 OCFEC Budget  Download 17_1108_2018_Budget_Roll-up_CapEx_DRAFT

A revenue projection can be made for a 900 space parking lot using a similar methodology as used for the RV park and shows a conservative estimate of about $1.2 million per year.  

  • Total Spaces  900
  • Number of Available Days to Rent to the Public  270 (Remove June, July and August from the public rental schedule to the OC Fair)
  • Daily Rate $10.00 
  • Capacity 50%

 

Safety of Arlington Drive & New Bike/Pedestrian Trail Jeopardized by New Parking Lot

Davis Elementary School, TeWinkle Park, Bark Park, Costa Mesa Tennis Center, and Volcom Skate Park are also located along Arlington Drive. Arlington Drive is a neighborhood street to be used to school, park and residential use, not for carrying 900 cars to park at $10 car to make $9,000 per day, at a minimum. It is not clear if Executive Management or the Board of Directors have noticed that Arlington Drive is not a major street designed to carry large amounts of vehicle traffic or heavy vehicles such as RVs and carnival equipment. A multipurpose trail for use by bicycles and pedestrians has been added to Arlington Drive in addition to the bioswale. Creating a 245 space RV park adds a minimum of 490 trips across the bike and pedestrian trail to fill and empty the RV park. Creating a 900 space parking lot adds a minimum of 1800 trips across the bike and pedestrian trail. Vehicle trips over the bicycle and pedestrian trail create safety problems with creating the conditions which can allow pedestrian and bicycle accidents to occur for the sole reason of making money.  Creating safety problems to make money is appalling and the proposed parking lots replacing the Equestrian Center must be removed.

 

April 2018 Master Site Plan Proposal is Yet Another Example of Lack of Accountability of OCFEC Directors & Executive Management

An ongoing lack of accountability exists at OCFEC which tars the Board, Executive Management. A recent example is the attempt to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center to store more shipping containers. While some have tried to portray these actions which involved expenditure of staff time and public money as a "misunderstanding", that is simply not the case. Decisions were made, plans were drafted, contractors were hired, money spent and staff time was used to perform these actions. Executive Management who were involved in these actions must be held publicly accountable.

Earlier in 2018, the Board was made aware of actions taken by the Board, Executive Management, and staff which have endangered safety, manipulated bids and financial records to achieve outcomes desired by staff, worked to evade legal settlements entered into by the Board which protect the neighborhoods around OCFEC, and have turned a blind eye to conflicts of interest, among other problems. It is not clear why the Board allows these problems to continue. No one has been held publicly accountable for these actions. 

The proposed demolition of the Equestrian Center in the April 2018 Master Site Plan proposal is yet another example of the lack of accountability. It is time for the Board to cease and desist aiding and abetting actions by Executive Management which are against the interests of the Public. New Executive Management is needed along with new Master Site Plan proposals.  The time is now for the Board to fix these problems. 

 

Rip Up the Master Site Proposals & Start Over

Over $250,000 of Public money has been wasted by the Board and Executive Management on Master Site Plan proposals which ignore the needs and desires of the Public who own the OCFEC property, are incompatible with the neighborhoods, and create safety problems.  There is money in the budget which can be used as seed money for a redo of the Master Site Plan. The $115,449 from the "PR/Manager Function" at line item 5475 in the 2018 Budget (posted above)  is the Public money used to pay for the Directors and their families and Executive Management to have catered premium buffets with grilled salmon with Florentine cream sauce; beef tenderloin sandwiches on brioche buns; bacon wrapped medallions of beef; sauteed citrus garlic buttered shrimp; swordfish; top sirloin steaks with crispy shallots; pepper crusted roasted tri tip; Portobello filet mignon with Danish bleu cheese sauce; carved rosemary and garlic stuffed prime rib; Tuscan T-bone steaks; pan roasted halibut; and tomahawk rib eye steaks among the fancy salads and desserts.  That $115,449 will make a downpayment on a new Master Site Plan. 

 

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

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 the Governor's Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil Rogers at mona.pasquil@gov.ca.gov to discuss OCFEC Director performance  issues. 

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


Unauthorized Fairgrounds Equestrian Center Size Reduction Requires Public Accountability of All Involved

Porta Pottie Question (2)

During late March, equestrians found construction workers installing permanent fence poles in concrete bases to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center. At no time was a reduction in size of the Equestrian Center approved by the Board of the OC Fairgrounds (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center or OCFEC.)  The reduction was to allow storage of more shipping containers on the property. Work was halted after the equestrians pushed back but public accountability of all involved is required. This work was planned, contracted for, paid for, and overseen by Executive Management and staff. This was not a "misunderstanding", an "accident", or anything but a deliberate planned action which wasted public money.  

Ask yourself:

  • What motivates these actions?
  • Who benefits from these actions?
  • What are the benefits received from these actions?
  • What do Board members gain by not holding Executive Management and staff involved in these actions publicly accountable?

 

Photos of the construction work: 

IMG_1176
IMG_1176
IMG_1176

The letter sent to the Board (Ashleigh Aitken, Barbara Bagneris, Nick Berardino, Sandra Cervantes, Doug La Belle, Gerardo Mouet, Newton Pham, Robert Ruiz, Stan Tkaczyk) follows: 

Staff of the 32nd District Agricultural Association (32nd DAA) are engaging in the revision of contractual lease terms involving the Equestrian Center without apparently asking for, or receiving, approval of the 32nd DAA Board or input from the Public who own the Equestrian Center. There are currently activities ongoing at the 32nd DAA to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center. It is unclear as to when, how or by whom the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center was approved and the source(s) of funds for said activities. The Public who own the Equestrian Center became aware of the reduction in size of after permanent fence poles in concrete bases were installed to move the fence line from between the current boundary of the Equestrian Center to immediately behind the arenas. Work was stopped after Public intervention. At no time was the Public informed of plans to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center.

Any and all members of Executive Management who participated in the decision and actions to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center must be held publicly accountable for their actions. This current action by Executive Management against the greater interests of the Public who own the 32nd DAA property is one of a history of actions by Executive Management against the interests of the Public. For an overview of actions against the greater interests of the Public, please refer to the letter “Ongoing Pattern of Behavior by the 32nd District Agricultural Association” dated February 15, 2018, previously sent to the Board which discusses questionable actions harming the Public which started in at least 2015 and some of which may be ongoing. There is a saying that the “fish rots from the head," which applies to this action regarding the Equestrian Center. The stench of rot is overwhelming and it is time for the Board to clear out the stinking mess.

 

Footprint of the Equestrian Center is Contained in a Contract

The size and footprint of the Equestrian Center is covered by the “Equestrian Center Restated Rental Agreement Terms and Conditions” between the 32nd DAA and Equestrian Services II entered into on March 1, 2009, and modified in a Letter of Understanding dated December 26, 2012, (afterwards referred to as “Equestrian Center Lease”) (enclosed) in Exhibits B and B-2.


Exhibit B2 from Lease

Exhibit B2 from Lease

Construction Work was Conducted to Alter the Footprint of the Equestrian Center in Violation of the Terms of the Existing Contract
The proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center would remove the area between the riding arenas and the fence between the Equestrian Center and Parking Lot G from the area used for the Equestrian Center and use the area for storage of shipping containers. Work was stopped after permanent fence posts in concrete bases were installed prior to moving the fence line, turf removal and installation of concrete. Photos showing the work completed as of March 28, 2018, are enclosed as Exhibits A1, A2, and A3. There are reports of continuing discussions to reduce the size of the Equestrian Center to allow for increased storage space for shipping containers.

 

Altering the Footprint of the Equestrian Center Requires Board Action

Changes to the footprint of the Equestrian Center as described in the Equestrian Center Lease must be approved by the 32nd DAA Board with a contract modification. Executive Management and principals of Equestrian Services II lack authority to enact changes to the footprint of the Equestrian Center. Costs associated with capital improvements such as the work started and stopped at the Equestrian Center are approved during the 32ndDAA Board annual budget process. It is not clear if the costs associated with reducing the size of the Equestrian Center to construct a shipping container storage area were approved as part of the 2018 capital expenditures budget. These actions are contrary to the current direction of the Board regarding the Equestrian Center to make capital improvements and to increase community programming.

 

Action is Needed to Restore Trust

Trust in continuing operation of the Equestrian Center has been placed in jeopardy by these rogue actions by Executive Management. As a good faith gesture to show the Board’s continuing commitment to the Equestrian Center, the Board is requested to modify the Equestrian Center Lease to remove §18 “Impact of Annual Fair Operations and Year Round Events Program” from the current Equestrian Center Lease.

The Board is requested to investigate this matter and to hold those involved publicly accountable for their actions. A list of questions regarding the reduction of size of the Equestrian Center and shipping container storage and usage is enclosed and that information is requested to be promptly provided in an effort to restore Public trust in the 32nd DAA. (see Exhibit B)

 

Exhibit B: Please provide the requested information regarding the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create a shipping container storage area.

  1. Please provide copies of the approvals for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  2. Please provide a copy of the budget for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  3. Please provide copies of the approvals for the budget for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  4. Please provide copies of any and all drawings and plans for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  5. Please provide copies of any and all approvals for the drawings and plans for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  6. Please provide fully executed copies of any and all contracts including any and all attachments, riders, and amendments for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  7. Please provide copies of any and all bids for the contracts including any and all attachments, riders, and amendments for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  8. Please provide copies of any and all approvals for the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  9. Please provide the number of shipping containers currently stored between the Equestrian Center and Parking Lot G.
  10. Please provide current information regarding the usage and ownership of each and every shipping container currently stored between the Equestrian Center and Parking Lot G.
  11. Please provide information regarding the revenues received from the shipping containers currently stored between the Equestrian Center and Parking Lot G.
  12. Please explain the need for additional storage space for shipping containers including usage, ownership, and revenues.
  13. Please explain why the Equestrian Center is the designated space for additional shipping container storage space. 
  14. Please show alternate locations for storage of additional shipping containers.
  15. Please provide copies of the direction given to remove the fence posts installed as part of the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  16. Please provide documents showing the costs of removal of the fence posts installed as part of the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space.
  17. Please provide proof that the fence posts installed as part of the proposed reduction in size of the Equestrian Center to create shipping container storage space have been removed.

April 2018 OC Fairgrounds Master Site Plan Concept and Proposed Phasing Released

The OC Fairgrounds (Orange County Fair and Event Center aka OCFEC) has released the draft of the process for the Master Site Plan and draft proposal with phasing of costs. Problematic elements featured in the prior Master Site Plan proposal such as demolition of the recently constructed Main Mall and construction of massive convention center buildings have been removed from the proposal. The proposed phasing of the construction is:

Phase I - Expand Administration Building at a cost of $22.9 million.
Phase II - Replace livestock barn, upgrade Action Sports Arena & equestrian facilities relocation and upgrade at a cost of $21.8 million.
Phase III - Repurpose current equestrian center space at a cost of $16.1 million.
Phase IV - Build new education center and upgrade Centennial Farm at a cost of $27.4 million.
Phase V - Install perimeter fence at a cost of $9.4 million. 
Phase VI- Relocate Main Entrance to align with Main Mall at a cost of $50.8 million. 
Phase VII - Build parking garage and bridge to OCC at corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive. 
 
A draft proposal is posted to be considered at the April 2018 Board meeting and is available for download here.  Download CHJC-OCFEC-Board-Presentation-April-2018-FINAL-DRAFT_040218
 
The constraints placed on the proposal included:
  •  No negative impact on the annual fair

  • Engage the OC Marketplace ownership on proposed changes

  • Review parking and engage Orange Coast College in parking opportunities

  • Insure education facility needs are reviewed

  • Re-visit community opportunities

  • Review Equestrian Center and Equine opportunities

The Master Site Plan Process Milestones to date are:

  1. Early to mid-2016 developed a Request for Proposal (RFP) to find a Master Site Planning (MSP) consultant

  2. Awarded a consulting contract to Johnson Consulting November 2016

  3. First quarter of 2017 information gathering

  4. January 2017 OCFEC Board of Directors stakeholder meeting

  5. March 2017 OCFEC staff stakeholder meeting

  6. April 2017 on grounds partners stakeholder meeting

  7. May 2017 facility users stakeholder meeting

  8. June 2017 Community partners stakeholder meeting

  9. June 2017 Town Hall public meeting

  10. September Board of Directors workshop

  11. Late 2017 early 2018 Develop CEQA consultant RFP

The next steps are:

  1. April 2018 Board of Directors workshop – work towards finalizing draft MSP concept

  2. Date, TBD, (Evening, May 2018) hold public meeting to present the draft MSP concept

  3. April 2018 award CEQA consultant contract

  4. Over the next several months work through the CEQA process


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.