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Assemblyman changes mind, asks governor to stop O.C. fairgrounds sale

December 2, 2009 |  6:20 pm

An Orange County assemblyman has joined other local politicians who have changed their minds about selling the Orange County fairgrounds to help balance the state budget.

In a letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today, Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) said that while he had voted for the July bill that authorized the state to sell the fairgrounds, a public hearing he held in Costa Mesa with fellow Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Garden Grove) last month raised serious concerns that convinced him it should be halted.

"The process for carrying out this sale has been tainted by misinformation, misrepresentations, conflicts of interests, questionable legal and ethical activities, and a potential constitutional barrier regarding the sale of the property," Solorio wrote.

Solorio also introduced legislation today that would repeal the law that prompted the sale, according to a news release.

Solorio's letter comes a week after the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which had initially backed selling the fairgrounds to a local agency or nonprofit, approved a resolution asking the governor to cancel the sale.

With a bidding deadline of Jan. 8 approaching, the governor-appointed fair board has formed a nonprofit foundation to try to purchase the property, but local activists have mounted a campaign to keep the fair from being sold.

-- Tony Barboza in Orange County