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Del Mar and Fair Board at odds over the fairgrounds and its 350 events

February 14, 2011 |  7:48 am

Fairground sign

Arguments between neighbors can be some of the nastiest disputes of all. And so it is with the city of Del Mar and the Fair Board, which runs the state-owned fairgrounds in the northern part of the city. The days of the Hollywood set coming to the races are long gone.

Issues of money and environmental concerns have divided the City Council and the Fair Board, whose members are appointed by the governor to run the 22nd District Agricultural Assn. (Read more: "Del Mar officials and Fair Board joust over fairgrounds.")

When then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger suggested that the state sell the fairgrounds, Del Mar jumped at the chance to buy them, and a tentative sale was arranged. But Schwarzenegger's successor, Jerry Brown, has thrown cold water on the idea, although he has not rejected it entirely.

Meanwhile, the two sides are dug in.

The Fair Board put up signs around the parking lot and Jimmy Durante Boulevard warning visitors of what it believes Del Mar might do if it bought the fairgrounds. Meanwhile, Del Mar says it doesn't want to control the fairgrounds. The city's proposal would create a nine-member governing board with representatives from other San Diego County cities.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Crystal Crawford, former Del Mar City Council member.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: A sign at the fairgrounds warns of the possible sale. Credit: Tony Perry / Los Angeles Times