Solana Beach officials give update on Ag. Board relations

By Claire Harlin

Could Solana Beach have representation on the 22nd District Agricultural Association Board when seats come open in January? Could the Ag. Board, which governs the 400-acre Del Mar Fairgrounds, become a nonprofit?

These were among possibilities discussed by the Solana Beach City Council and City Manager on Dec. 14 in an update on the possible sale of the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

City Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said she recently received a call from Gov. Jerry Brown’s office and she had a “lengthy conversation” with a representative regarding the selection of Ag. Board members come January, when terms will end for those who have not already been replaced.

“They said they were worried they had not reached out enough to Solana Beach regarding appointments on the 22nd DAA Board,” said Heebner, adding that the Governor’s office has some Ag. Board applications from Solana Beach residents in hand. “I gave her a community member’s name we recommend.”

“Hopefully in January when appointments are up on the Ag. Board, there will be some representation from Solana Beach,” she said.

City Manager David Ott brought up an issue that may be of concern in the future: that there have been considerations of making the Ag. Board a nonprofit in the wake of the state cutting some $30 million from its budget.

He said there is still much to find out about the possibly of a nonprofit Ag. Board board, however, the consideration does raise some concerns — namely whether or not the entity would be subject to the Brown Act. The Brown Act applies to public bodies and governs meeting access. It also aims to keep information open to the public.

Deputy Mayor Dave Roberts reported that the most recent Community Relations Committee meeting, which unites both fairgrounds officials and regional stakeholders, was “one of the best.”

“There seems to be some consensus building between the 22nd DAA and the City of Del Mar and the City of Solana Beach regarding the sale of the fairgrounds,” Roberts said.