Norberto Santana, Jr. over at the Voice of OC has an interesting update on the negotiations between the state and the City of Costa Mesa over the purchase of the Orange County Fairgrounds. It seems that Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer is again at the center of controversy, again.
The plan presented at this week’s council meeting by City Manager Allan Roeder is in some ways straightforward.
The city will pay the state $96 million for the 150-acre tract near the 55 and 405 freeways and finance the purchase through a partnership with one of two investor groups: Facilities Management West or a partnership between Advanced Real Estate Services and American Fairs and Festivals, which is a group of current operators at the site.
City officials are also working to establish a joint powers authority to administer the site and may be seeking partners such as the county or the nearby community college district.
There are, however, many details left to iron out and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants an offer on his desk by May 21. And so far officials have shown more of a penchant for dysfunction and Brown Act violations than they have for shrewd deal making.
At the center of a brewing controversy involving the city’s negotiating team is Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer, who has been accused by fair activists of threatening them. Last month Righeimer also inadvertently admitted to Voice of OC that he had taken part in illegal discussions about the fairgrounds negotiations.
And this week, Councilwoman Katrina Foley said from the dais that Righeimer had threatened her, saying that if he was not appointed as an advisor to the negotiating team, he would blow up the deal altogether.
It seems that there is always some person involved in our local government process who thinks that they can dictate what happens. In this case it is Jim Righeimer, who couldn’t get elected as a dog-catcher if his life depended on it, who thinks he’s in charge.
Read the rest of the story here: Fairgrounds Negotiations (and Allegations) Go Public.