[UPDATED:] OC Fairgrounds Preservation Society Raises Fears About an Electric Daisy Carnival There

UPDATE: Costa Mesa approved the fairgrounds deal (see end of post) . . .

The Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society (OCFPS) warns warned Tuesday evening may be the last chance for the public to be heard on the future of the exposition facility in Costa Mesa--at least for the next 55 years.

Those fears came true.

Photo by Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
The Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society fears fairgoers are being taken for a ride.
The OCFPS also raised fears that the new operators will present an all-day, electronic-dance event like the Electric Daisy Carnival on the 150-acre property. A 15-year-old girl died at June's Electric Daisy Carnival in Los Angeles.

The OCFPS is composed of fair workers, former fair workers and Orange Countians opposed to the state's sale of the fairgrounds to the city of Costa Mesa for $96 million.

Former Costa Mesa Mayor and City Councilwoman Sandra Genis is the president of the OCFPS, and among its directors is Jeff Teller, whose Orange County Marketplace outdoor shopping attraction is held weekends at the fairgrounds when the Orange County Fair is not running.

It initially appeared the city was going to partner with Teller's company to manage the fairgrounds after the state signs off on selling the property. But the city later switched gears and signed a management deal with a new company called Facilities Management West (FMW). The sale is still pending.

It is FMW's inexperience at running fairgrounds, the 55-year deal that gives the city little say on how the facility is operated, and the prospect of historic features being demolished by the new fair operator that most spooks the OCFPS.

But don't take my word for it, visit OCFPreservationSociety.org. See the contents of an OCFPS flier about Tuesday's meeting about the fairgrounds after the jump . . .

UPDATE: The Costa Mesa City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday night for a $453 million deal to allow FMW to operate the fairgrounds for 55 years. The Newport Beach company would finance the $96 million to be paid to the state for the property, which over the course of the deal would actually pay California $218 million. The city would receive $234 million from FMW over the life of the lease. Councilwoman Katrina Foley cast the lone no vote on the lease agreement, which may be moot because without legislative approval of the Costa Mesa deal, the state has again put the fairgrounds up for bid. Offers will be taken through September.

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