Get Rid of The Fair Board

the food wasn't really all that great
the food wasn't really all that great

Here is a very good column we came across today by Barbara Venezia. in light of some of the non-conversations we’ve been having here lately with a Fair Board supporter, we thought we’d share it.

Venezia: OC Fair Board should be removed



Barbara Venezia

 Why isn’t anyone calling for the removal of the current Orange County Fair Board? Doesn’t personal responsibility matter anymore? When you take into consideration the collateral damage they’ve caused with this ridiculous self-serving shell game of buying the fairgrounds, every single one of them should be held accountable, including the two who were not part of the nonprofit shenanigans.

When I asked board member Julie Vandermost why she wasn’t a part of it, she emailed, “It’s a matter of not having enough bandwidth in my schedule.” David Padilla didn’t return my call; rumor has it he wasn’t even asked to participate in the nonprofit. If true, you have to wonder why.

I’m not buying Julie’s clever excuse and David’s non-response speaks volumes. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they were probably the first ones who saw something hinky in this plan. Why didn’t they speak up? Was it because they didn’t want to rock the boat and lose the lucrative perks of being on the Fair Board? Or were they afraid of the blow-back speaking against powerful fellow board members could bring?

Does personal responsibility go out the window if you just keep your mouth shut?

This Fair Board’s questionable behavior should be enough ammunition to explore removal. Let’s not forget they were smack dab in the middle of the Mike Carona trial with board member Debbie Carona. Then there was the whole messy ticket/private dinner scandal that some argued amounted to “gifts of public funds,” perks estimated at approximately $40,000 plus. When this was taken away, tongues wagged that 50 percent of the board considered quitting.

Now Costa Mesa’s setting aside beaucoup bucks to create a plan B, (making a bid to buy the fairgrounds), should plan A, (getting the governor to rescind the sale), not work. This exercise in futility could’ve been avoided had the OC Fair Board done their job and not lobbied for the sale or formed their own nonprofit to buy it.

When is someone going to talk about the elephant in the middle of the room? It appears this board is not looking out for the best interest of the public. Politicians generally hate going after those who fund-raise and have political juice, but what if they’re out of control?

Maybe it’s a task for Supervisor John Moorlach; after all, accountability’s something his office has preached repeatedly. Sure his administration’s taken its lumps as they’ve gone after some sacred political cows like pension reform, but whether you agree with them or not, this group seems fearless. It would make sense for Moorlach and company to lead this charge.

But will he? He’s gearing up for a tough re-election bid. Going after political heavyweights on the Fair Board could cause a rift within his party; then again, being pro-active on this issue could give him a leg up with voters. Wonder if he’s a gambling man?

Costa Mesa, coupled with the OC Board of Supervisors, could accomplish rescinding the sale and requesting new board members. So who’ll have the chutzpah to stand up for personal responsibility? We all should.

Freelance writer Barbara Venezia’s opinion column appears online and in The Current every Friday. Email BV at

Amen, Barbara, and thank you for saying what no one in the Republican hierarchy has the courage to say. Clean the Augean Stable at the OC Fair. Even if we have to divert the Santa Ana River to do it!


10 Replies to “Get Rid of The Fair Board”

  1. Moorlach’s up for a tough re-election? Only if someone asks “what have you done for us lately?” Which would be a damn fair question.

  2. Julie Vandersnoot is on the board? I’ve only been here a few days and I am learning oh so much. If that’s the case count Moorlock the warlock out of the equation. He is allied with the CWLA of which Vandersnoot is a founding member. The affiliation started with the appointment process of Hutchens where John boy threw in the deciding vote at the behest of CWLA. The greedy fairboard opportunists would gladly throw the public under the bus to make a buck. Anyway, FFFF should go County wide. After all, the establishment wacks invade and carpetbag Fullerton. Why not return the favor?

    1. Our policy is to address “Countywide” or issues if they pertain to Fullerton.

      So the Fair, the Sheriff, the County Clerk, the DA, the Supervisors are within our radar.

      We may involve ourselves in local politics of the neighboring cities if there is an impact Fullerton.

  3. Alright. I will say this. I am tired of the old stinky moth ball smelling likes of Dick Ackerman. Those guys need to move on to a rest home and let the activists take over. With them at the helm we have no chance. Time for change.

  4. LOL LOL LOL… Attorney General Jerry Brown, who still remains unable to investigate/prosecute the Fair Board Crooks as his Department HAS technically represented them thus far, HAS JUST CUT THEM LOOSE and told ’em to go find their own damn counsel. I guess he knows an investigation from some other quarter is just around the pike, and he finds their actions indefensible, not something he wants to dirty his hands with.

    Yeah actually I was supposed to “keep this under my hat” but it was starting to get too hot under there, so I’m glad this article came out tonight.

    #4 Matt is not on the board. Stop thinking he’s so omnipotent and omnipresent.

    The two biggest villains on the board – the brains behind the malfeasance – are Dave Ellis and Steve Beazley, if we have to focus. The others are sort of go-along followers. I’ve heard Board chairman Christina Dodge is a really nice lady who gives millions to charity and had been thinking they were doing a good thing to take over the Fair, she’s just in over her depth. If we could get Ellis and Beazley off the board we’d be making good progress.

    1. I think you left out Ackerman. How is it that he worked to get the legislation into AB 22 in the first place and then later on was “hired” to influence the Governor’s office? It looks like he was in it up to his navel.

      1. “on the board.” Sure there are villains off the board – Dick the illegal lobbyist (who we’ve just learned was paid $19,000), Jim Righeimer who’s apparently been running interference with his astroturf “Save the Fair”; possibly Supervisor Moorlach… I would never dream of leaving out Ackerman on a list of villains, but he’s not on the Board!

          1. “the act of a teammate or of teammates running ahead of a ball-carrier and blocking prospective tacklers out of the way: to run interference for the halfback.” … okay, just wanted to make sure I used the mot just…

            This is a matter of controversy, and Righeimer denies favoring the sale, but most of us activists doubt his protestations. He created the Facebook page “Save the Fair,” which quickly achieved like 2400 fans, people who thought they were doing something to help prevent the sale of the Fairgrounds, when Riggy’s (evolving) position was generally that the sale was a done deal, we couldn’t stop it, and the best we could do is lock in the zoning so it remains some kind of fair and try to make sure “nice” people are the ones who end up buying it.

            It wasn’t true then and it’s not true now that it’s impossible to stop the sale – it looks like we may be succeeding – so when someone has the platform of a 2400-member Facebook page called Save the Fair, and counsels acquiescence in the sale, we consider that aiding and abetting the sale, “running interference” for the Fair Board.

            There’s other things – when we started the Derail the Sale page, and began posting anti-sale messages on Riggy’s page, many of them were deleted. His excuse was “This is not what this page is for.”

            Some early installments of his Daily Pilot column “Rigonomics” spoke glowingly of the Fair Board/Foundation’s plan to acquire and “protect” the Fair themselves. This began after he cryptically dropped the line, “I had a chat with Senator Dick Ackerman.”

            Righeimer and members of the Board – notably Dave Ellis – go way back as OC GOP insider operatives and notorious dirty tricksters. I could go on….

            I’ve confronted Riggy on his page and discussed these matters at relative length (he’s given me permission to call him Riggy) and I like to flatter myself that I’ve put him in a position publicly where it’s harder for him to be a de facto sale apologist – exchanges that have been reprinted on the OJ and the Derail page. And I’d also say a finger in the air would give an ambitious pol like him a sense of a change in the wind.

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