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Brown's position unclear on fairgrounds

Supporters of the Costa Mesa landmark are optimistic that it will not be sold.

February 09, 2011

COSTA MESA — Gov. Jerry Brown's decision to abandon the sale of the 11 state properties that were placed on the market by the previous administration is a good sign for those who want to keep the Orange County Fairgrounds in public hands, a state lawmaker close to the deal said Wednesday.

"Although Gov. Brown did not include the fairgrounds in his statement today, legislators and community leaders have had positive conversations with the governor and his staff regarding stopping the sale of the fairgrounds," Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Anaheim) said in a news release.

Brown said during a press conference that he's abandoning the idea of selling the 11 state properties, which has brought forward many legal challenges by opposition groups.

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The fate of the fairgrounds, however, was not made clear by the new governor, who called the real estate market poor for transactions of this type.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had called for the sale of the properties to shore up California's ailing budget.

The sale of the fairgrounds to Newport Beach-based Facilities Management West, an investment group that offered $100 million for the 150-acre property, is currently on hold pending litigations by community members, state and local officials, including Solorio.

—Mona Shadia

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