Governor Jerry Brown recently appointed two local men to the 22nd District Agricultural Association Board of Directors.
Donald Mosier, 74, of Del Mar, and Frederick Schenk, 65, of Carmel Valley, will serve on the board that oversees Del Mar Fairgrounds activities and events, Brown's office announced in a news release Oct. 18.
Mosier was formerly a professor at the Scripps Research Institute until 2016 and is currently a Climate Action Plan facilitator for the City of Del Mar. He is also a member of the Climate Action Campaign, Sandpiper Editorial Board and Del Mar Community Connections Board, among other organizations.
Schenk, an attorney who was reappointed to his position on the agricultural board, has served in that role since 2011. He is a partner at the law firm Casey Gerry Schenk Francavilla Blatt and Penfield.
Brown also reappointed Lisa Barkett, 59, of San Diego, to the fair board. Steve Shewmaker, Richard Valdez, Lee Haydu, Kathlyn Mead, Pierre Sleiman and David Watson also serve on the board.
Following their appointments, Mosier and Schenk recently discussed their goals for their upcoming term, as well as how they plan to tackle issues while on the board.
Q: Why do you look forward to serving on the board?
Mosier: I look forward to working with the eight other board members and the fair staff to help resolve the many issues confronting the fairgrounds.
Schenk: Every year, the residents of San Diego County are asked what are the best activities and events to enjoy during the summertime in San Diego. Consistently at the top of the list are both the San Diego County Fair and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club’s horse racing. The formal name of the property is the 22nd District Agricultural Association, yet people refer to it as the Del Mar Fairgrounds. It is the home of the summer fair, where about 1.6 million people attend during the month of June through the Fourth of July, as well as the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and KAABOO, an annual musical festival growing in popularity every year. The board makes sure that all events on the fairgrounds’ property runs efficiently, safely and professionally.
Q: How should the board proceed when discussing gun shows, after the temporary ban on such events earlier this year?
Mosier: The board should continue to take public input and advocate for clearer guidance from Sacramento.
Schenk: Determining the future of the gun shows requires input from both those who support the events and those who oppose them. Ultimately, the board will spend the next several months reviewing all of the input, as well as hearing from the state legislature, to assess the best course of action. Based on a recent vote by the board creating an Ad Hoc Committee, on which I will be working, we intend to make recommendations sometime before the end of 2019.
Q: What should the board take into consideration when discussing marijuana events?
Mosier: Marijuana is legal in California but not under federal statutes, even for medical uses. This disconnect between local, state and federal law will continue to make events promoting marijuana use challenging for the fair. Local communities have advocated for educational events only, and that view should be taken into account.
Schenk: Regardless of how one feels about the medical and recreational use of marijuana, the law requires the board to incorporate the policies of the city council in which the event is to take place. Although we are a state agency on California-owned land, we are located within the city of Del Mar and its city council has established policies prohibiting the sale and marketing of cannabis containing plants or products. Therefore, our board voted to allow only a marijuana educational festival, but no THC containing items will be permitted to be sold or ingested on the property.
Q: How will the board work to further ensure that controversial events — including those featuring guns and marijuana — will be education based?
Schenk: We will continue to consider the needs of San Diego County residents, seeking input from both sides of controversial events – including those featuring guns and marijuana. Part of the mission statement for the 22nd DAA is to allow for educational programming to take place and to permit festivals and shows which are legal. We are not a legislative body, so we will also work with Sacramento to make sure that we are in compliance with laws which are passed by our state senate and assembly and which are signed or allowed to become law by the Governor of California.
Q: Following the shooting at the Ice Cube concert earlier this year, what measures can the fair board take to provide a safer atmosphere for fairgrounds guests?
Mosier: There was a prompt and appropriate security response to this event. The board has and will continue to make patron safety a top priority.
Schenk: During the run of the San Diego County Fair, about 1.6 million people enter the gates to enjoy a safe and family-friendly experience. However, before entering the fairgrounds property, everyone goes through a metal detector similar to the ones at venues such as Petco Park. In fact, the 22nd DAA was one of the first fairs to install and use such metal detectors. Up until now, the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club has not required the use of such metal detectors and it was at a race meet concert event where the incident took place – outside of the concert venue, but on the fairgrounds property. I believe changes will soon be made to provide added security during the race meet, to help ensure additional safety for its patrons.
Q: What can you share with us about your experience and what makes you qualified to serve?
Mosier: I served as the City of Del Mar representative to the 22nd DAA Community Relations Committee from 2012 to 2016, and I am familiar with many of the issues facing the fairgrounds. I was also Del Mar's member on the San Dieguito River Valley JPA for six years, and I am familiar with the Lagoon restoration project and other land use issues on or adjacent to fair property.
Schenk: I have had the honor of serving on the fair board for approximately 10 years under two different governors. I take the responsibility seriously, realizing that millions of people come onto the 22nd DAA property every year. It is the job of a nine-person board of directors to make sure that we implement policies that continue to provide a safe, fun and meaningful experience for all of our patrons, without exception. I have chaired the Fair Ops Committee for most of my tenure and have worked closely with the heads of many departments to ensure that the fair is a place where our guests can look forward to visiting and enjoy the day with friends and family. It is an ongoing process – the work setting up the following year’s fair begins shortly after the last year’s fair ends. There is little downtime and much to do to create our highly recognized San Diego County Fair.
Q: What other issues do you want to focus on during your time on the board?
Mosier: There are three that are important for me: increased parking and better alternative transportation modes; affordable housing on site for fair employees; and, upgrades to energy efficiency including more solar generation capacity.
Schenk: One change I hope that we will be able to make is to bring sports wagering to the racetrack and fairgrounds facilities. Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such wagering is legal. However, California will require legislative enactment and working with other interest groups to see it come to fruition. I also hope to see better mass transportation access incorporated for seasonal events, like the summer fair, race meet and events such as KAABOO. We need to get away from our dependence on automobiles as the primary means for accessing the fairgrounds property. The traffic is not good for neighboring residents, patrons nor our environment.