By Dennis Ridz
Chairman, Torrey Pines Community Planning Board
This article is an attempt to make the public cognizant of the financial issues that may impact our region for years to come if the draft environmental impact report is certified by the Fairgrounds board. Since the District 22nd Agriculture Association is a state-run agency as part of the network of California fairs, the district has an unfair competitive cost structure that automatically gives it a huge advantage over other similar free enterprises.
The 22nd DAA pays no property taxes, the land has no cost basis and they pay no rent. There is no mortgage expense but there could be bond interest based upon how future expansion projects are financed. State bonds tend to carry a lower rate of interest than commercial paper. There is no way to prevent the 22nd district from using this financial advantage to undercut competition.
The DEIR for the Fairground 2008 Master Plan includes a convention center, hotel, health club and sports training facility supported by above- and underground parking structures. The hotel has plans for 330 rooms and 18,000 square feet of exhibit halls with 1,560 parking spaces of which 440 are under the hotel. The two-story, 60,000-square-foot health club will include roof top dining. There is much more but just go to http://tiny.cc/2EEGT to get the full impact of this expansion.
Having more competition is good, but the playing field needs to be level for all competitors. If you don't have to pay rent or a mortgage and have no property taxes you are way ahead of any free enterprise competitor. Furthermore, based upon the language of Senate Bill 517 passed on July 1, 2009, the primary source of funds for the network of California fairs will shift to the state general fund. The 22nd DAA could run these proposed new facilities at a loss until they had taken enough business from other competitors.
Please take the time to comment to Dustin Fuller, 22nd District Agricultural Association, Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014-2216. Taking the time now may save a special place for future generations.