With the Orange County Fair now in full swing and the opening weekend drawing the largest first weekend attendance in fair history, it is hard to imagine that California's Department of General Services (DGS) actually was instructed by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sell our precious 150 acres of traditional family fun to a private developer.
As it turns out, the governor's plan didn't materialize, but that end result was no accident. Since the Legislature passed a bill in July 2009 authorizing the sale of the fairgrounds as part of a good-faith effort to balance the 2009-10 budget, there has been a multi-faceted effort to convince two governors, an appellate court and legislators representing the rest of the state that the sale would not be in the best interest of Orange County, or even California.
From the O.C. Fair Board's attempt to form a private foundation to bid on the property shortly after Schwarzenegger signed that budget bill, to Friday's announcement that the sale is off, throngs of stop-the-sale supporters have been there every step of the way. The community activists who worked so hard to stop the sale proved that citizens can make a difference and their voices will be heard.