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Fair Board expands committee members

Board members agree that the Fair Sale Review Committee will be subject to open-meetings laws.

April 26, 2012|By Jon Cassidy, Special to the Daily Pilot

The Orange County Fair Board on Thursday approved the scope of work for a committee that will investigate the attempted sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds, expanding the committee's roster to include five members with no special interest in the property.

The board agreed that the committee's work would be subject to state open-meetings laws and approved a list of 71 names of people to whom the committee should talk.

The board put off until its next meeting a decision on whether to require committee members to file statements of economic interest.

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Board member Nick Berardino read the names of several well-known activists who would be serving on the committee: Sandy Genis and Reggie Mundekis from the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society, Lisa Sabo and Theresa Sears for the Equestrian Center, Greg Silva and Mike Robbins for the Orange County Market Place vendors, and Lisa Reedy and David Stiller to represent homeowners, plus a member of a union local.

The committee was also supposed to include one member each from the Orange County Business Council and the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, as well as a few at-large members.

Berardino said that there had been a mix-up over who was supposed to contact the chamber, so that hadn't been done yet.

Board Chairwoman Joyce Tucker said that she was having a hard time getting retired judges to fill the at-large seats.

"Based on the makeup of this committee, they declined," she said.

Earlier this week, she had said that the business council declined to take part because the committee was stacked one way, but she apologized for the characterization at the meeting Thursday, saying the committee work didn't fit with the business council's mission.

Board member Ali Jahangiri called for expanding the committee to include more people with no connection to the fairgrounds.

"I don't think it should be open to just these groups," he said. "It should be open to all."

Board member Stan Tkaczyk opposed the idea for "coming in at the end" of a process that began at the last meeting.

Berardino proposed including five at-large members on the committee rather than two, winning the support of his colleagues.

Although the plan is for the committee to finish its report in 120 days, Sears said that was unrealistic if the committee was to conduct some 80 interviews.

"I would hope there'd be an extension of time," she said.

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