One of the very few influential people in Orange County who stayed on the bandwagon for the state’s sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds to Costa Mesa and a private developer has now jumped off.

In a statement issued this afternoon, state Assemblyman Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) — who was trying to get a bill passed that would authorize a sale — said city officials haven’t worked enough with him to make a bill possible.

“I provided them with suggestions on ways to strengthen the governance provisions, protect employee jobs during the transition, and prioritize their rental income for use in the impacted area,” Solorio said in a statement.

“The City has responded to these ideas, but as it stands now, there is still a gap in how far they will go and what I think would be minimum concessions to enable me and others to defend the proposal in the Legislature.”

Solorio said the lack of changes made it impossible for him to continue before the end of the legislative session.

“I can’t defend their current proposal or justify why the State should allow them to make so much money from property that belongs to all Californians.”

Now it seems Solorio is back to his original position to kill the sale, which ironically was the original intent of the bill he was trying to get passed.

“As a result, I am now recommending to the Governor [Arnold Schwarzenegger] that he consider dropping the sale altogether.”

Solorio’s announcement came just as Costa Mesa city officials were gearing up for another acrimonious session regarding a ground lease and other agreements to finish the sale — forced by Schwarzenegger.

Last month, just as council members finished their proceedings to adopt a ground lease, Schwarzenegger announced he was putting the property back out to bid.

That process is expected to reach conclusion by Sept. 30.


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