Orange County Fairgrounds Preservationists Seek Jerry Brown Veto of Privatization Bill

Photo by Trevor Gaston/OC Weekly
The photo of the Orange County Fair is not vintage, the Polaroid camera that shot it this year is.

Remember all the holler when Arnold Schwarzenegger tried to sell the state-owned Orange County Fairgrounds to a private company? The Governator has since left Sacramento for what will surely be an Oscar-winning role in The Expendables XVII. But as the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reminds, the possibility of privatization remains.

Orange County Fair Board Feet to be Put to Fire Again at Morning Meeting

The group is urging those who oppose privatization to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to veto Assembly Bill 2490, which is characterized as the first step in removing public fairgrounds from state oversight in California "so they can be handed over to private corporations."

"No member of the public ever asked for this bill to be written--lobbyists for groups wanting to take our public fairgrounds away from us and turn them into private property wrote the bill," states an Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society email to supporters. "When our fairgrounds are handed over to a private corporation, we all lose."

Among those who will eventually lose if the legislation by Assemblyman Michael Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Googoog'joob) becomes law are 4H clubs, the Future Farmers of America, local equestrian enthusiasts and the community at large, the Orange County group claims.

Of course, the idea to specifically privatize the Orange County Fairgrounds originated not with Schwarzenegger but a previous Orange County Fair Board of Directors. Preservationists suggest foes of privatization also let their feelings be known to current OC Fair directors Ashleigh Aitken, Douglas LaBelle, Nick Berardino, Gerardo Mouet, Barbara Bagneris, Sandra Cervantes, Bao Nguyen, Robert Ruiz and the chairman, Stan Tkaczyk.

You can learn more at, which is also where one goes to donate to the cause.

Email: Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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AB 2490 cuts off fairgrounds from using the State purchasing regulations which insure fair competition for lucrative contracts, removes review of contracts and regulations by the agencies that provide oversight along with checks and balances and makes it easy to push fairgrounds into murky joint powers authorities without any public input.  This is a bad bill and one in a series of annual bills to find ways to start the slippery slope to privatization of public fairgrounds.  These are properties, like state parks and beaches, which have been invested in by the public for many years.  This bill was written with public money - your ticket, corn dogs, beer and cotton candy paid for it.  The general public has not been asked 

what they want to have happen - the lobbyists wrote this bill. 


A couple of points. 

From what I understand, this bill isn't about the OC Fairgrounds but is attempting to provide general relief for all fairgrounds Statewide since the Gov. cut off all funding a  couple of years ago.

And, how is reducing reporting requirements the same a privitization? According to the bill, fairgrounds cannot be sold without the consent of the Department of General Services (The State of California). And can't the State already sell off property without this bill? 

Maybe the author of this article and those who read this blog should read the actual bill. See here: 

sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

please explain how we "all lose" when a private company runs the show vs the tax funded 

some dont have to pay , crowd

JBinOC topcommenter

As if we needed another reason to vote for Gov. Brown in November's election over that capitalist, self-adoring Indian guy, it surely seems he's more likely to preserve the sacred Fairgrounds from redevelopment.  I can't see how the state -- or another government entity like the city of Costa Mesa, if it were to acquire ownership -- couldn't turn a solid profit on the land while still maintaining it as a place 'for the [humble, unconnected] people', to paraphrase MeToo.

And I can't stop laughing at "Michael Eggman (D-Googoog'joob)...

See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run [doo doo doo doo doo]

I'm crying.....


Hey why not! just another step away from government of the people by the people and for the people, on our way toward government of the corporation by the corporation and for the corporation. After all according to our lawmakers corporations are people too! So shut up submit and OBEY!


Looks like another attempt to grab publicly owned spaces for by private interests for private interests. Although it was an especially naked attempt when Gov. Ahnuld tried to sell it (when real estate prices were rock-bottom) this is no better. But, I'm sure that Costa Mesa could use another business park or high-end condo complex.


@JBinOC From all accounts, the State (i.e. the fairgrounds) does turn a solid profit each year operating the fairgrounds.

sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter


you love money and want to make as much as possible and your against capitalism?

please explain

MatthewTCoker topcommenter

@JBinOC Note the Assembly member has been changed to Susan Talamantes Eggman. Mike Eggman is a farmer running for Congress. But both are in Googoog'joob. And the Walrus was Paul.

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