COSTA MESA — Community activists who worked to preserve the Orange County Fairgrounds and supported the city's efforts to purchase the land now say they don't believe that Costa Mesa's deal with a real estate company to finance and operate the land is in the public's interest.
"We got started in the first place not only to have the public hold title, a piece of paper, we wanted openness and transparency and the community to be involved," said former Mayor Sandy Genis, president of the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society. "It looks now like it's not going to occur."
Costa Mesa struck a deal with Facilities Management West that would allow the city to pay the $96 million it offered the state for the fairgrounds. The Newport Beach-based real estate company would operate the fairgrounds for the city.