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Fair use goes to June 8 ballot

UCI chairman says voter turnout will be low, but doesn’t expect voters to be against controlling the fairgrounds’ use.

February 16, 2010|By Mona Shadia

The Costa Mesa City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a measure on the June ballot that would seek to lock the land use of the Orange County Fairgrounds as a fair and exposition center.

The measure would give the fate of the fairgrounds to the voters.

Although Costa Mesa is cash-strapped with an estimated $9.3-million gap in this year’s budget, the city is spending between $112,267 and $136,794 to place the measure on the June 8 ballot.

But the council members say they have been acting on the people’s behalf, who are strongly in favor of keeping the fairgrounds as a fair and exposition center.

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Given that the measure will be placed during a primary election, the turnout of votes will be low, said Mark Petracca, chairman of the UCI political science department.

But, Petracca said, “It’s hard to think of a reason that people would vote against an initiative that gives them control over land use that’s going on in their own backyard.”

Residents, county and city officials have attempted to persuade Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to stop the sale by making visits to Sacramento and by delivering as many as 50,000 petitions to the governor’s office.

On Tuesday, Mike Naple, a spokesman from the governor’s office, said that at this time, the process of selling the fairgrounds is still moving forward.

Costa Mesa also backed Assemblymen Jose Solorio and Van Tran’s Assembly Bill 1590, which attempted to rescind a July bill that authorized the sale. Though the bill has passed many committees, it was severely amended in the process, losing its original intent and leading Solorio and Tran to pull it off the floor.


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