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Comments made by Racingfan

Will Del Mar Buy The Fairgrounds?

Pat, there another 16 Del Mar council meetings on the Fairground's negotiations with the state this year: 10/4, 9/20, 9/13, 8/30, 8/24, 8/2, 7/26, 7/12, 6/21, 6/14, 5/3, 5/19, 3/30, 3/22, 3/8 and 2/8.
Magnum, If the Fairground's valued horse racing, why do they have events on the track that chew it up so badly that it endangers the horses, their riders and the viability of the Del Mar meet? The track's poor condition almost caused Zenyatta to be scratched:
Maybe the 17,000+ vehicles from Thanksgiving Day through New Years for "Holiday of Lights" damaged the track? Or the Fair traffic? Would Churchill Downs permit this traffic on their track? No. For Del Mar to be a world class racing venue, we need to protect the delicate racetrack instead of trashing it!
The Del Mar community will be an even better guardian of Del Mar horse racing. It has the highest number of track attendees, season pass holders, owners and racing related professionals than any other community in San Diego county. The community’s tight bond with horses and horses racing preceded the founding of the track in the 1930s. There were horse stables in the beach colony, the hills above and on the Fairgrounds property. Del Mar native, Jock Jocoy, who grew up to become a track vet met his future wife when she rode into town on a horse ridden all the way from LA. Track founders, Bing Crosby and Pat O’Neil, were ushers at the local church. Adjacent Jimmy Durante Blvd. is named after the famed resident who entertained us all at the track along with Del Mar neighbors like Desi Arnez.
Extended San Diego-based families like mine reunite every summer at the Del Mar track.
The Del Mar community treasures its deep roots in horse racing that nurture the local economy. Many residents rent out their homes to racing fans and track employees. Although the racetrack is separated from the ocean by train tracks, the coast highway and housing, Del Mar is the only track in America whose theme song “Where the turf meets the surf” by Bing Crosby is played to start each racing day.
Del Mar is also the most environmentally sensitive community in the entire county. Its zoning and development restrictions are the most stringent in California. Del Mar citizens are incredibly active. Developers cannot buy seats on its city council. The Del Mar community cherishes its famed race track, beaches and surrounding wetlands. They are vigilant guardians who will protect and nurture these precious resources for future generations of San Diego county residents to enjoy. You can be sure that they will find more effective traffic solutions to combat the I-5 gridlock created by Fairground's events which are the bane of surrounding businesses and San Diego commuters!

October 15, 2010 at 11:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Will Del Mar Buy The Fairgrounds?

I find the Del Mar Fairground’s “surprise” at the proposed sale surprising. Didn't they notice that the governor previously proposed selling the property, the state’s continued budget crisis or the six separate city council agendas posted on the city of Del Mar’s website regarding acquisition of the property? The city of Del Mar is negotiating with the state to buy the property, not the tenants. If I were to sell one of my rentals, I wouldn’t ask for my tenant’s approval!

I also did some checking on the publically available financials and bond ratings of the Fairgrounds and the City of Del Mar. Financially, the Fairgrounds is not as well managed since its debt obligations are rated “junk” at BBB- versus Del Mar’s AA, the highest municipal bond rating. With their demonstrated financial acumen, Del Mar obviously reviewed the District’s publically available financials in order to submit their $120M offering price to the state.

Those who speculate that the Fairgrounds property is worth more than $120M ignore some very material facts that greatly diminish its value. The property is in the City of Del Mar and is subject to that city's restrictive zoning and development prohibitions. It is also in a floodplain and includes environmentally protected wetlands. Del Mar's $120M offering price is fair since the property cannot be privately developed for commercial or residential use.

Contrary to the characterization of Fairgrounds’ officials who want to block the purchase, Del Mar has every incentive to insure that the Fairgrounds and the Del Mar race track continue to be well managed to continue to produce the nationally renowned Del Mar horse races, the county fair and other profitable events. Much of Del Mar's tax base comes from Fairground’s related revenues and events, especially horse racing. Del Mar’s proposal to use the existing operating staff at the Fairgrounds and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club is quite sensible and is welcomed by racing fans like me.

The governance structure of their proposed board with representatives from Del Mar, Solana Beach, San Diego City and San Diego County provides needed and more accountable local control. Fortunately, they will be more sensitive to traffic and environmental issues that impact the entire region.

I support the sale of the Del Mar Fairgrounds which will generate $120M for the state, keep the Fairgrounds in the public domain, continue successful events like the county fair and horse racing, provide needed revenue for the state and local governments, and ensure local control with more accountability for generations to come.

October 13, 2010 at 3:59 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Will Del Mar Buy The Fairgrounds?

October 13, 2010 at 3:52 p.m. ( | suggest removal )