January 04, 2010 2:07 PM

By BRIAN JOSEPH
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave little indication that he would stop the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds when he met with Costa Mesa officials Monday morning, the officials said.

“I’m not optimistic that it’ll be called off,” Mayor Allan Mansoor said.

More than 20 Orange County cities have signed on in support of Costa Mesa’s efforts to stop the sale of the state-owned fairgrounds, which Costa Mesa officials fear could lead to a loss in jobs and businesses as well as endanger the fair as we know it. The governor, however, is planning to use the proceeds from the sale to help solve the state budget woes and, following their meeting with Schwarzenegger, Costa Mesa officials said it looks like he won’t budge.

“He’s desperate to find money to fix the huge hole in the state (budget),” said Foley, who met with the governor along with Mansoor and City Manager Allan Roeder. “We tired our best to persuade him to stop the sale and to talk to us about how we can still accomplish his goals of ridding the state of extra assets and finding a way to solve the state deficit.”

Costa Mesa officials described the meeting as “cordial,” but said they expect little to come of it. They said their focus now is on getting the public to “rise up” and express its opposition to the sale before the bids come in on Friday. They said that on the open market the 150-acre fairgrounds almost certainly will fetch the highest bid from a private developer, who will have more money to spend than any group or government that wants to preserve the fair as it is.

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