Ag. board continues criticism of Del Mar’s plan to buy fairgrounds


By Marlena Chavira-Medford

Staff Writer

During its Nov. 9 meeting, members of the 22nd District Agricultural Association publically voiced concerns about Del Mar’s attempt to purchase the fairgrounds, a sale that is pending state Senate approval.

Board member Adam Day said Del Mar officials are “misleading the public by making it seem like they have regional support when they don’t.”

He went on to explain that Del Mar is claiming to have backing from the cities of Oceanside and Vista, though only the mayors have written letters of support, as those councils have not taken any official stances — and “the mayor of Vista had his signature on that letter forged while he was in the hospital,” he added.

Board member Tim Fennell echoed those sentiments about misinformation. He said after reviewing a Power Point presentation that Del Mar Mayor Richard Earnest and Councilman Carl Hilliard recently shared at a Solana Beach City Council meeting, he found at least 15 inaccuracies. For example, he said the presentation claimed that the board plans to phase out racing over the next five years, “which simply is not true.”

“If you have to lie to make a presentation then maybe there’s something wrong with this proposal,” Fennell added.

Board President Barry Nussbaum called the tentative $120 million price for the fairgrounds a “giveaway” and a “crime.”

“To give away this property at a fraction of what its worth is a crime and it’s something that should be of concern to all three million residents of this county, because it’s their asset that’s being stolen. It’s a scandal and I can’t believe it’s not on the front page of every local newspaper, every day.”

In other news:

2011 budget

The board approved the 2011 budget, which includes $56 million in revenues and $54 million in expenses. The $2 million net will be used toward debt services, leaving about $65,000.