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Week in Review

August 10, 2006

COSTA MESA

100-plus-degree Orange County Fair wraps up

"Our joke now is this was the 114th fair in our history and it was 114 degrees."

So declared Becky Bailey-Findley, chief executive of the Orange County Fair, after this year's festival closed July 31. Yes, it was an exceptionally hot July, and perhaps as a result, fair attendance went down a bit from the previous two years. Still, with the third-highest attendance in history ? 924,315 ? fair officials had little to complain about.

This year's fair offered a number of firsts, including the U.S. premiere of UC Irvine's fuel cell exhibit, which was featured last summer at the World's Fair in Japan. In addition, the festival included Mexican-style Lucha Libre wrestling, a flower theme, and performances by Paul Simon, the Moody Blues, Cyndi Lauper, Gnarls Barkley and other popular artists.

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"It used to be the weather," said vendor Gary Edwards, explaining what kept him returning to the fair every summer for 17 years. "Maybe it's habit now."

NEWPORT BEACH

Residents group forms to fight Greenlight II

A group has officially formed to fight the development-control ballot issue called Greenlight II. Proponents say the measure will allow residents to preserve the quality of life in Newport by voting on major developments, but opponents call it ballot box planning.

Taxpayers Against Greenlight II was established by residents ? including former mayors Jan DeBay and Dennis O'Neil ? who signed the ballot argument against the issue. O'Neil said no developers are involved in the group.

Greenlight proponent Phil Arst expects significant spending to oppose the measure.

  • The city is now collecting hotel bed taxes from the renovated cottages at Crystal Cove State Park, and city officials may consider giving some of the money back to benefit the park. A plan floating around City Hall suggests donating some revenue to the Crystal Cove Alliance, which managed the park's historic district, to help pay for the second phase of renovations.

    It cost the State Parks Department $14 million to renovate 22 cottages, but 24 cottages have yet to be refurbished, and there's no more state money. The alliance plans to raise money for the work, but founder Laura Davick said a boost from the city would be welcome.

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