MAYOR’S VIEW: Fairgrounds purchase would bring local accountability

By Richard Earnest
Mayor, Del Mar

Del Mar Mayor Richard Earnest


Assembly Bill 181, introduced on Oct. 6, 2010 by Senator Christine Kehoe, would create a non-profit corporation to administer the Fairgrounds, governed by a Board of Directors with representatives from the cities of Del Mar, San Diego and Solana Beach, two from the County of San Diego, one with an agricultural focus, the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority, and SANDAG. The non-profit board would operate the Fairgrounds through an enterprise fund which would be self-sufficient in terms of generating revenues and paying for its expenses, including the debt to acquire it. Instead of a state-appointed board not answerable to the region, the Fairgrounds would be operated by regional stakeholders with related professional experience. The non-profit board would retain professional managers; initially, the current Fairgrounds management.

The funding to purchase the Fairgrounds is proposed under a three-prong approach: the majority of the purchase price would be paid through the sale of revenue bonds backed by revenues from the Fairgrounds and horse racing lease and the up-front payment for a 55-year right to operate the race track. The remainder of the purchase price would consist of payments to the state.

We are fortunate to have a group of horse racing partners who are committed to the preservation of the sport of horse racing in California, and are willing to invest substantial amounts of money to keep the sport of horse racing healthy and viable. These partners, who will pre-pay for the right to operate the race track for 55 years, have both the experience in the horse racing industry and the financial strength to make major capital investments in the Del Mar facility. These infrastructure investments and the industry acumen that these horse racing partners possess will secure the future of horse racing in California, and will secure Del Mar’s future as the jewel of the West Coast Horse Racing venues.

AB 181 requires that both the County Fair and thoroughbred racing be maintained at the Fairgrounds and keeps this property in the public domain. The financial performance of the current Fairgrounds management has been researched by both the City and the state; however, AB 181 simply authorizes the sale, it doesn’t mandate it. Once the legislature approves AB 181, then the City will exercise additional due diligence before finalizing the purchase. For this proposal to move forward in the near future, it is important that the Governor call a special November session so that the legislature can consider AB 181 before the Governor changes, as well as many of the legislators. If a special session is not called, then this bill will be re-introduced with the new legislative period beginning in December.

If you feel that the region would be better served by locally chosen representatives rather than gubernatorial appointees, then please write or call your legislators and ask them for a special session in November.

Related posts:

  1. Crawford encouraged by sale of Orange County Fairgrounds
  2. Feedback strong on Del Mar’s proposal to buy fairgrounds
  3. Del Mar seeks Solana Beach’s support for fairgrounds purchase
  4. Opinion: Support the sale of fairgrounds
  5. City of Del Mar, state close to agreement on fairgrounds sale

Short URL: http://www.delmartimes.net/?p=636

Posted by Halie Johnson on Oct 28, 2010. Filed under News, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Leave a Reply

Archives

Facebook

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

LA JOLLA NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

RSS RANCHO SANTA FE NEWS

  • Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club to present second ‘Taste of Rancho Santa Fe’
    The Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club continues to live up to the motto, “Service Above Self,” and invites you to partner with the Rotary Club at the 2nd Annual Taste of Rancho Santa Fe on Oct. 12. Guests of the event, to be held from 4-7 p.m., will have an opportunity to stroll through the historic and iconic grounds of The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe while sampling f […]
  • Melodrama to open at Village Church Community Theater in Rancho Santa Fe
    As part of the Rancho Days celebration in Rancho Santa Fe, “The Saga of Sagebrush Sal, A Comedy Western Melodrama” is set to open Oct. 5 at the Village Church Community Theater. In this old-fashioned comic melodrama, Sagebrush Sal decides to take over the busiest establishment in town, The Bloody Turnip Saloon, which is owned by Jake the Snake. The audience […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society acquires Covenant founder’s ledger
    The Rancho Santa Fe Historical Society has acquired the ledger of Barton Millard, which dates back to the 1920s, and will unveil it at Coffee On The Patio Saturday, Sept. 20, at 10:30 a.m. at La Flecha House. Millard was a founding member of the Rancho Santa Fe Association, co-wrote the initial CC&Bs, and served four terms as its president. Millard’s gra […]