Tuesday, January 26, 2010

O. C. Unfair

I was there. I attended (or, rather tried to attend) the auction on January 14th at the Orange County Fairgrounds. I arrived about 9:40 a.m.. for a scheduled 10:00 a.m. event, which wasn't early enough to secure one of the coveted 40 spaces allocated by the State to gain entrance to the Administration Building. Why, when you have 150 acres to play with, the Grand Thinkers of Sacramento chose to tuck the proceedings into a tiny space, is anybody's guess. Mine would be that they were attempting to minimize disruption from protesters who disagreed with this whole smelly auction process. And the crowd gathered outside vehemently disagreed with the process.

We were told we could dawdle outside and hear the proceedings on loudspeakers. Or we could trundle a couple of blocks away and watch it on CCTV in another building. 50 or so of us took them up on that option. Imagine our surprise upon arriving when we learned we could watch the auction unfold, but we couldn't hear it. No audio. So, we could either see it but not hear it, or hear it but not see it. How emblematic of the performance we've come to expect from Sacramento.

By the time many of us walked back to the Admin. Building the auction was over. Just like that, the hammer fell at a bid of about half the State's low dollar expectation. The Fair Board spent $30 Million over the past year or so in improvements at the Fairgrounds, and it "sold" for about twice that. Now the otherwise unemployables in Sacto must decide whether to accept this minuscule amount. If they do, they'll realize a gain of about one day's interest on our bond debt. Or they can reject it, bringing to an ugly end this ill-advised and ill-fated effort. In either case this saga will add a bold and enduring asterisk on the Guvernator's soiled legacy.

Arnold dropped a car on the Fairgrounds when he was running to unseat Davis. Something about "blowing up the boxes." On the 14th he dropped the full weight of the State on the Fairgrounds. Something about Fascism. Memo to the City Council: Proceed at flank speed with the initiative process to lock in current usage of our Fairgrounds. Let me know where to donate toward this effort. My check will be the first one received...

Do you the difference between the Boy Scouts of America and the California Legislature? The Boy Scouts have adult leaders.

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