Meetings

Restricting Public Comments & Hiring a Private Investigator on February 2019 OC Fair Board Meeting Agenda but No Action on State Audit

Cow Question (2)

 

The agenda for the Thursday,  February 28, 2019, OC Fair Board (aka Orange County Fair and Event Center, OCFEC, 32nd District Agricultural Association) meeting has been published.  The Board meets at 9 AM at the Administration Building off Arlington Drive. If  you cannot make the meeting, please email comments to the Board Directors using the emails at the end of this post.

Agenda available here Download 19_02_February_Agenda1

Complete agenda packet available here https://ocfair.com/publicmeetings/board-of-directors-meeting-february-28-2019/

Refusing Action on State Audit Which Found Employee Paid to Not Show Up for Work 

No action can be taken by the Board regarding the 2016 state audit which found an employee paid over $70,000 to not show up for work for approximately eight months because the matter has been agendized as "Information Only" notwithstanding either the seriousness of the matter or the multiple requests by the public for action to resolve the issues which permitted this to occur. The same management are in place now as were during 2016 when the deal went down.  The Board refuses to take action to address the underlying issues which allowed these actions to occur. Download CDFA Unredacted 2016 Audit

Restricting Public Comments

New restrictions on public comment are in place for the February 2019 meeting. The new policy called a "Statement of Meeting Decorum" limits what can be said during public and agenda item comment:

[. . .] To encourage and respect all views, The OC Fair & Event Center requests that members of the public not engage in personal attacks, profanity, obscenity, hateful or abusive language, physical violence or threatening behavior. Furthermore, and to further the purposes of the Act, members of the public are requested to direct their comments directly to the Board of Directors as a whole.

It is clear that enforcement of these restrictions will violate the law. The U.S. Supreme Court specifically ruled in 1971 in Cohen v. California that governments cannot restrict speech in the interest of public decorum.  Download Cohen v. California 403 US 15

Hiring a Private Investigator

Over $58,000 was spent with private investigation firm Morley Group during 2018 without either a contract being brought forward to the Board or an explanation given of why a private investigator needed to be hired.  Morley Group is being given another no bid contract SA -051-19YR (agendized in the Standard Agreements file as "professional services" in an attempt to conceal the true nature of the contract) for $49,000 for the period from February to July 2019.  There is no need for the Morley Group contract as the OC Fairgrounds can request the Orange County Sheriff's Department, Costa Mesa Police Department, California Highway Patrol and/or other state investigative services to conduct investigations.  

Board Director Nick Berardino requested hiring an outside performance auditor and presented a report at the May 2018 Board meeting.  Download Performance Auditor Request Board Directors requested action to move ahead on a performance auditor while staff have not followed up on the request. Now is the time to bring in an outside performance auditor and request the State Auditor for assistance. If there is money for a private investigator, there is money for a performance auditor. Maybe the performance auditor can find out why the private investigator was hired and report back.

Video Recording of Meetings

Board meetings are held on Thursday mornings at 9 AM, when few people can attend.  Board intent was to look into both live streaming and recording of meetings for later playback, but the agenda says "video recording." Staff and at least one Board Director have used the specific wording of an agenda item to throttle the intentions of Board Directors on prior matters.  A push needs to be made to have live streaming of meetings and archiving of meeting records despite wishes of staff and some Board Directors to the contrary. 

Increasing Oversight of Requests for Proposals and Capital Projects

A number of surprises in requests for proposals (RFP's) and capital projects have come to light in the past few months. Several examples are:

  • Staff entered into a legally binding storm water management plan (SWMP) with the State Regional Water Quality Control Board (SRWQCB) in 2016, spent over $80,0000 on storm water consulting services, received a notice of violation for allowing runoff water from operations to enter the storm drain during 2018, and failed to let the Board know what was going on. Members of the public let the Board know about the SWMP in late 2018.
  • Nature and scope of the effort undertaken by staff to rebrand the property was unknown to several Board Directors and the public until October 2018 at which time the contract was in place and work had been started.  Staff had written the scope of work without Board or public input. The contract left out the Equestrian Center and tilted the process towards becoming an events and entertainment center.
  • Staff publicly stated that the much needed sound wall for the Action Sports Arena (ASA) was not planned to be built despite appearing in the budget for several years. Estimated costs of the sound wall are around $1 million, which is a small portion of the over $50 million in cash reserves. Staff had been leading on the Board and neighbors about building the Action Sports Arena sound wall.

Board Directors have requested to have input and oversight over how public money is spent on contracting and capital projects.  This is a good thing. 

Relocating A4 Skyhawk from Orange County Civic Center to OC Fairgrounds

Plans are being made to relocate the A4 Skyhawk currently located in the plaza at the Orange County Civic Center to the OC Fairgrounds and to place the plane near Heroes Hall Veterans Museum which would allow the plane to be used as part of the museum. Watchful eyes of the public are needed to insure that staff don't create an obstacle to this project. This is a great project. Are there other historic items which could be moved to the OC Fairgrounds?

Contact the OC Fair Board

Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com

Vice Chair Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com

Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com

Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com

Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com

Andreas Meyer ameyer@ocfairboard.com

Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com

Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia nrubalcavagarcia@ocfairboard.com


Rebranding the OC Fairgrounds: Public Input Needed Jan. 29 & 30, 2019

Bullhorn Meeting (1)

Does the OC Fairgrounds (aka OC Fair and Event Center or OCFEC) need a new image and brand or is the current image and brand working fine?  Keeping the current image and branding is an option.

You can give your input on:

  • Tuesday January 29, 2019 from 2-3 PM 
  • Wednesday January 30, 2019 from 6-7 PM

Meetings will be held in the Administration Building located off Arlington Drive. The property address is 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Info from OCFEC about this project is available. 

What's Missing from the Rebranding Effort

A number of important uses of the property are missing from the branding questions such as the Equestrian Center  along with community, educational, and agricultural use. There are no questions about how the property fits into the local community. Please let the branding consultants know these uses are important to you. 

Expected Questions for the Rebranding Workshops

The Board was asked questions about rebranding during the December 2018 Board meeting and expect similar questions to be asked during the workshops. Those questions were:

What makes the OC Fair & Event Center great?

How have you seen the OC Fair & Event Center change in the past five years?

What's your vision of the organization in the next five years?

What do you think are the biggest challenges in attracting new events here to the property?

When you think about events that you go to outside of those that are here at the OC Fairgrounds, what are some of the interesting changes that you see happening at other events that you frequent or that you have attended.

Who would you say the competitors are?

To what extent do you believe we've built goodwill and equity into some of the particular venues here on the site?

Up here on the screen, we just put a few logos together here and we're calling this the OC Tourism Slide. Basically, things that you can experience here in Orange County or near Orange County. And we would just like to hear youth thoughts if there are any particular logos that you think are very effective or that speak to you -- resonate with you?

OCTourismLogos (1)

 

These are fairground brands. Do any of these stand out to you as being particularly effective?

Fairgrounds Logos (1)

 

These are more venue logos where you might go to hear a concert or have an experience. So we'd just love to hear your thoughts about which of these you feel are interesting or effective.

Venue Logos (1)

 

Contact Information

You can share your thoughts with staff and the Board regarding the rebranding effort.

Contact VP of Business Development Who is Managing the Rebranding Work

Michele Richards mrichards@ocfair.com

Contact the Fair Board 

Chair Robert Ruiz rruiz@ocfairboard.com

Vice Chair Sandra Cervantes scervantes@ocfairboard.com

Ashleigh Aitken aaitken@ocfairboard.com

Barbara Bagneris bbagneris@ocfairboard.com

Doug La Belle dlabelle@ocfairboard.com

Andreas Meyer ameyer@ocfairboard.com

Gerardo Mouet gmouet@ocfairboard.com

Newton Pham npham@ocfairboard.com

Natalie Rubalcava-Garcia nrubalcava-garcia@ocfairboard.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


OC Fair Board Meeting - September 27, 2018 at 9 AM

Fair Board Meeting (1)

Fair Board Meeting on Thursday, September 27, 2018, starting at 9 AM in the Administration Building at 88 Fair Drive, CostaMesa, CA. Agenda items include:

  • Costa Mesa City License and Sales Tax Requirements;
  • Public Records Processes;
  • New Safety and Security Board Policy;
  • Scheduling an October Board and Community Master Site Plan Workshop;
  • Property Wide Infrastructure Analysis;
  • Discussion of Storage Solutions.

Complete agenda available at this link

 https://ocfair.com/public-information/public-meetings/

Use the September 2018 meeting information.

 

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

 


Can the Fairgrounds Put More Information About How They Operate on Their Website?

Chicken Scooter Question (2)

Yes, the Fairgrounds could put more information about how they operate on their website. Plans to begin to post more information about operations on the Fairgrounds website were mentioned during a meeting for the 2018 budget. No specifics have been presented as to the types of information to be posted or the changes to be made. Keep asking for more information about Fairgrounds operations to be posted.


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

Fair Board Meeting (2)

The complete agenda is available here 

https://ocfair.com/public-information/public-meetings/

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

Issues to watch are:

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

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

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

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

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

Centennial Farm Foundation Board (Director Cervantes)

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

 Financial Monitoring Committee (Director Pham, Director Mouet)

 Legislative Monitoring Task Force (Director Berardino, Director Aitken)

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

 Tenant Liaison Committee (Director Tkaczyk, Director Berardino)

 Equestrian Center Task Force (Director Aitken, Director Tkaczyk)

 

Questions or Comments can directed to:

CEO Kathy Kramer kkramer@ocfair.com

OC 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 can be submitted to cpra@ocfair.com

 


CEO Kathy Kramer to Make Appearance at March 6, 2018 Costa Mesa City Council Meeting

Check It Out (1)

 

CEO Kathy Kramer will make an appearance at the March 6, 2018, Costa Mesa City Council meeting which starts at 6 PM at 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa to make a presentation at the beginning of the meeting agendized as "2. Upcoming OC Fair Events & Information – Ms. Kathy Kramer, CEO, OC Fair".  As this is an information item and does not have a staff report detailing what is being presented, CEO Kathy Kramer should stick to providing information about upcoming concerts, events, classes, and similar items and refrain from discussion of any and all issues regarding the Master Site Plan, Board of Directors decisions, upcoming items on the Board of Directors agenda, or any matter which is not strictly informational. Council Members should also refrain from discussing issues which do not appear on the agenda with CEO Kramer at this time. 

If CEO Kathy Kramer wants to discuss those items with the Costa Mesa City Council, she needs to come back and ask for the item(s) to be placed on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.  Similarly, if the Council wants a discussion of issues involving the OC Fairgrounds,  Council should place the item on the agenda with a staff report prepared and with both the Council and public allowed to ask questions and make comments regarding the agenda item.

 

Background on CEO Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has worked as:

Director of Sales and Marketing for Harrah's Casino and Hotel in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Midwest Regional Director of Sales and Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts in Omaha, Nebraska

Vice President of Convention Sales and Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Nebraska

Deputy Director of Phoenix Convention Center and Venues: Ms. Kramer was part of the executive team that oversaw a $600M expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq. ft and placing the convention center in the top 25 convention centers in North America. The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center permanently changed the area around the property and led to the development of hotels and restaurants near the property. 

Vice President of Business Operations at Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Take a Day Off Work to Attend Master Site Plan Reveal on April 26, 2018

 

Bullhorn Meeting (1)

The Master Site Plan selection will be revealed on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Download Master Site Plan Notice _February_Board_Packet during a meeting which starts at 9 AM when most people have work, school, or other commitments. Despite repeated asks for evening meetings, the Fair Board chooses to meet at a time when it is hard for people to attend their meetings. The meeting time is by the choice of the Fair Board and nothing in statute says the Fair Board must meet during the day. Oversight of the planning was done by a member of the building trades whose employer can benefit from the project. 

The proposed schedule is:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Agenda items 1-9 (including Call to Order through Governance Process, workshop/training to be last governance item)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Short recess for room re-set (if necessary)

10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Workshop/Training to commence

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Short recess as boxed lunches are delivered for Board of Directors and members of the public

12:40 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop/Training to continue through working lunch

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Wrap up of final Agenda items (Board of Directors Matters of Information and Adjournment)

The Fair Board does not stream or make video recordings of their meetings. This is another choice made by the Fair Board.  With over $40 million in cash and cash equivalent reserves Download Financials_February_Board_Packet, there is no shortage of resources.

The Fair Board is expected to present plans to begin the process of creating a convention and expo center with year round, daily, heavy use. As the process is being led by CEO Kathy Kramer who worked on the $600 million remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center  with the assistance of VP of Operations Ken Karns who helped to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to a year round entertainment and expo center and CEO Kramer celebrated a $1 million sales month in December 2017 Download Million Dollar December_January_Board_Transcript, the project will have major impacts on Costa Mesa. The remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center triggered development of hotels and an entertainment district

 

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

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer  

kkramer@ocfair.com 

714-708-1510

Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns

kkarns@ocfair.com

714-708-1552

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Why Can’t the Buildings We Have Be Used for Community Events?

Money Question (2)

Good question. High costs to use the facilities keep community groups on limited budgets from using facilities. Unlike a city facility which is open to all users able to pay a nominal fee and meeting published user guidelines, Fairgrounds staff pick and choose the events to be allowed on the property. Anyone find it odd that rowdy events which sell a lot of alcohol and fill up the parking lots at $10 a car take priority over a community group trying to find a reasonably priced place for a meeting?