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Assembly Approves Daly Proposal to Protect Orange County Fair & Event Center
The California State Assembly voted today to approve AB 1907, legislation by Assemblymember Tom Daly (D – Anaheim) to prevent the sale of the Orange County Fair & Event Center property.
AB 1907 eliminates a pair of provisions in state law authorizing the sale of the property. That authority has existed since 2009, when the State Legislature agreed to support a proposal by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sell the fairgrounds, along with several other sites, as part of an effort to close a $42 billion state budget deficit during the Great Recession.
The state later received, but ultimately rejected, several bids for the property. That decision came after much public outcry and a dispute in court. In 2011, a three-judge appellate panel halted the sale of the property, overturning a lower court’s decision that rejected an injunction to stop the sale. In its decision, the court cited flaws in the bidding process, as well as a lack of approval and oversight from the Legislature.
The Orange County Fair & Event Center is home to the county fair, as well as recreational and cultural events – including an annual Tet Festival, which is billed as the largest of its kind in the world.
“Since 2011, the Fair & Event Center has been self-sustaining, and operates at no cost to taxpayers,” Daly said. “The County Fair alone draws more than 1.3 million visitors a year, and creates the equivalent of 2,100 jobs for the region.
“My bill simply strikes two provisions of law which exposed the property to a possible sale.”
AB 1907 is co-authored by Assembly Members Ling-Ling Chang and Young Kim, as well as Senators Patricia Bates, Bob Huff, Tony Mendoza, and Janet Nguyen.
With today’s passage, Daly’s bill next moves to the State Senate for further consideration.
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