IMPERIAL â€“ Tempers flared once again at the Imperial County Fair Board meeting January 20Â as the Junior Livestock Foundation and the board wrestled with matters still unsettled. Starting the meeting off during the public comment period, Imperial Valley resident Sarah Reece stood before the board to relay a heated conversation Imperial County Fair CEO Theresa Garcia had with an unidentified person that was overheard byÂ Reece and her son while waiting in Garcia’s office.
As per County Fair Board bylaws, public comment speakers are limited to five minutes and no debate by the board is permitted on public comments. In addition, no action is permitted at the time of the comment as law requires formal public notice prior to any action on a docket item.
Begin video transcript:
Sarah Reece: Hi, my name is Sarah Reece and I am a third generation, actually my children are third generation showmen at this fair in the Imperial Valley. It started with my father, myself, and now my children. With all due respect, ladies and gentlemen of the board, I have a huge concern on behalf of myself and the children of this fair. On January 9, 2016 at approximately 11 am after the â€œNo Show, No Goâ€ meeting, myself and my son Ryan walked into the fair office to confirm dates and times of his mandatory community service. While my son and I were waiting to be seen and for someone to come up front, we overheard some shouting and yelling from the back. And it was some very unpleasant things, so forgive me if I use the word “expletive” instead of the actual word, I do not want to offend anyone. We heard a womanâ€™s voice yelling from the back room. â€œExpletive these kids. The fair only makes 7.5% profit and wastes 95% of my expletive time.”
She proceeded to yell, “Why would someone want to check permits and why wouldnâ€™t we want our kids to work at the fair? These kids are privileged brats that donâ€™t give blank about their buyers.” She went on to state, “Our kids are dumb and we wonder why kids from India take all of our jobs.”
I, at which time, yelled â€œhelloâ€ so someone would know we were out front. At which, Miss Theresa Garcia came out and I let her know that I heard everything in the back and she proceeded to try to tell to me not to get it twisted and she was talking about her school districts. I found that very hard to believe since fair money was involved. I believe that a person in this power needs to have our best childrenâ€™s interests at heart and not to be allowed to call them dumb, even if itâ€™s behind closed doors. Personal beliefs are just that, personal beliefs. They need to be kept personal. Our children are involved with 4-H, FFA, Grange, Independent, whatever organization it is to be at this fair. They are allowed to grow, flourish, learn new opportunities, experience new leaders, show their animals and have fun with dignity and respect without being called names. These are some things my son remembers the most: they waste 95% of my time, I donâ€™t give an expletive about my buyer, I am stupid.
Thank you for your time, if you have any questions I will leave my cell phone number.
Jim Hamilton (board director): This did not come from a board memberâ€¦ (inaudible)?
Sarah Reece: Miss Theresa Garcia. Thank you. If you would like, I could have my twelve-year-old son up before you too. I chose to keep him out of it tonight, because I donâ€™t want him to be involved in adult politics for overhearing the wrong conversation.
End of video transcript.
In the regular part of the meeting, CEO Garcia gave a 2016 fair update, in which she reported 400 kids attended the â€œNo Go, No Showâ€ event which she stated was a good turn outÂ since the mandatory meeting beganÂ three years before. She also reminded attendees the meeting February 1Â is the last day to enter as a fair exhibitor, and forms are available electronically online.
Garcia announced that because it was January, the board needed to decide to accept the delegation of authority and to have workerâ€™s compensation for the directors and for the coordinated volunteers. President Joe Montenegro explained Â the delegation of authority is when the board Â gives the CEO, Theresa Garcia, authority to negotiate contracts that do not exceed a one-year term without further authorization from the board of directors. Agreements will be submitted to the board of directors and approved by the board of directors.Â The motion was approved unanimously.
Montenegro also stated the Junior Livestock Foundation (JLF) Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was still heavy on his mind, but clarified that everything they do is dependent on that MOU being drawn up, which to date, it is not. Montenegro stated there are a lot of things that even they want to do (with the JLF), however they cannot do anything without an MOU in place. Therefore, the board rejected the Junior Livestock Foundation’s offer to purchase this yearâ€™s livestock shavings for $15,000 in exchange for advertisement, because currently, no MOU exists between the two organizations.
There was back and forth discussion between JLF members and the board concerning the JLFâ€™s formal request for the fair’s general ledger that they say they have not received. The board agreed, as did Garcia, that she would try to get that finished and sent to the JLF.
This year’s Imperial County Fair begins on February 26 and runs until March 6.