The CEAV Project FAQ
Download the CEAV Project FAQ pdf.
Download 'A Moveable Fair' - State Fair restructuring project pdf.
The Ceav Faq Index
Download the CEAV Project FAQ pdf.
If Sutter had said to Marshall,
"Throw those damn yellow rocks away and go build me a sawmill, like I told you to,"
you would have some idea of what is at stake if Cal Expo is
permitted to go ahead with its plans to foreclose forever on
the real potentials for the public commons entrusted to its stewardship.
What does the name CEAV stand for?
- The name 'CEAV' stands for 'Cal Expo An Alternate Vision'. It reflects a contrasting vision to the current development plans promoted by Cal Expo.
- 'A Movable Fair' is the element of the CEAV Project that proposes the State Fair be periodically rotated throughout the different regions and cities of California.
- 'Cal EXPO GREEN' is the name of the primary concept of the CEAV Project for transforming the properties under the current management of Cal Expo and the California Leasing Authority into a state-managed world nexus and showcase for advanced environmental technology and practices.
- 'California Advocates for the 21st Century' is an umbrella organization that oversees the promotion of the CEAV Project among other public interest ideas.
What is CEAV's mission?
The mission of The CEAV Project is twofold:
1. To secure the land currently entrusted to Cal Expo's oversight and insure it remain a public commons under the control of the State of California for the use and benefit of all Californians, now and for future generations . To prohibit the sale transfer or long-term lease of those properties to private parties and developers.
2. To envision and promote a new 21st century exposition "EXPO GREEN" which would not only excite, interest and educate visitors from California and the around world, but promote and accelerate the world effort to create a healthy, sustainable and flourishing planet.
'A MOVABLE FAIR' proposes returning the State Fair to its original mode of periodically rotating its location throughout the regions and cities of California, distributing its benefits, refreshing its audiences and sharing its economic wealth with all of California rather than operating in its current fixed-location mode as a local, Sacramento, asset.
'EXPO GREEN' - proposes to transform the current Cal Expo holdings into a world showcase and nexus to promote and accelerate advanced technologies, services and products needed by future generations to create a healthy, sustainable and flourishing planet. A permanent, evolving World's Fair and Exposition of everything Green, now and to come.
In addition, The CEAV Project fully supports the original mission statement of the California State Fair and Exposition, one which we believe continues to have value and viability for the people of California despite the fact that Cal Expo's current plans appear to have drifted far from that intent:
10.1 MISSION STATEMENT:
"The California Exposition & State Fair mission is to:
Create a State Fair experience reflecting California including its industries, agriculture, diversity of its people, traditions and trends shaping its future-supported by year-round events."
[Source: The California Exposition & State Fair Board of Directors Policy & Procedure Manual]
What is the CEAV Proposal?
The CEAV Project embodies two separate, related, concepts:
a) 'A MOVABLE FAIR' - A wholly reorganized State Fair structure that will be periodically relocated and hosted in a different location (region or city) in the state;
b) 'EXPO GREEN' - a permanent and evolving World's Fair of the environment, located on the present site of Cal Expo and its surrounding properties.
EXPO GREEN is conceived as a world showcase and destination for
advanced environmental technologies, exhibits, educational activities,
research and promotion of products, services and practices intended to
help create a healthy, sustainable planet.
What is 'EXPO GREEN'?
The CEAV Project envisions something altogether different than Cal Expo for the future use of the public commons presently overseen by Cal Expo and the State Fair Leasing Authority. The current Cal Expo visions largely describe repackaged ideas of the 19th and 20th centuries— carnival ambiance and theme-park clones borrowed from the nostalgias of the past, gun-shows, 'Autorama's and other recurrent retail sales shows, a nod to agriculture and animal display with a sprinkle of underwriting local charity and community events, thrown in to promote the association of the state fair with beneficial local causes.
In contrast, CEAV vision proposes a world hub and nexus for the most advanced technologies, products and services, culture events and yes, entertainment, focused on the environment and the 21st century job of restoring and maintaining the health of our planet and the species that depend on it.
"EXPO GREEN" is conceived as center-stage for the most important task the 21st century will undertake; one that may preoccupy the human project well into the 22nd and 23rd centuries.
As a world's showcase for all things related to the health of the environment and our relationship with it and the technologies that go with that, "EXPO GREEN" would fill a presently vacant niche in providing for the future— a place to bring all these efforts to the center of public attention and to educate the public and encourage market participaation in the urgent demands that we solve these serious problems on which our future may depend.
Why is Expo Green called an evolving project?
As an evolving project, "EXPO GREEN" must represent the best interests of not only those who initiate the effort, but those who will need to continue its work far into the future. CEAV is committed, through the phasing of its initial development and its receptivity to new ideas to remain current and to excite the imagination of visitors, planners and investors alike, indefinitely.
Not only will events and exhibits change as new issues and technologies appear, but the physical structures and venues, themselves, will be subject to continuous transformation over the years. Expo Green will not become a "repackaged entertainment" or simply undergo periodic maintenance and replacement "updates" and cosmetic refurbishing as is now the case. Rather, the very design will be supported by architectures that permit the greatest amount of flexibility and transformation with the least cost and disruption technology has to offer.
Some Things Old, Some Things New.
Functionally, it is expected that some venues are likely to endure over time, though even their physical structures may evolve with changing technology. Anchor venues such as a community college specializing in the training of environmental technicians or Knowledge Transfer facilities that bring inventors, capital and producers together to accelerate the process of getting important tools off the drawing boards and to market as quickly as possible, are offerings of Expo Green that are likely to persist. Some research facilities and specialized facilities are also expected to be relatively stable over time.
Many exhibit facilities, conferencing venues and other specialized public offerings might be subject to more frequent change. Most fluid of all would be areas such as 'living laboratories'-Cal Expo lands and habitat that have been badly neglected and are in need of extensive rehabilitation. These projects would become exciting, ever-changing exhibits in their own right. Scientists would not only work to restore these lands, but invite the public to observe and participate in the process as an inspiring, educational exercise that visitors can take away with them and bring back to their own communities.
Those venues, along with dozens of acres of exhibit halls and other demonstrations on every imaginable aspect of environmental health- water, air, climate, energy, food and agriculture, land-resources, transportation, habitat, ecosystems and many others create a major center of world interest and economic importance where everyone can come, learn, enjoy and be inspired and get involved in the common tasks that will engage all of us for a very long time.
"EXPO GREEN" is conceived as a world-repository and font of green consciousness for the 21st century. In economic terms it has the potential to supply the foundation for President Obama's and others observations that the nation (state and city, as well) that becomes the leader of environmental science, technology and invention will secure its place at the head of table of commerce for the rest of this century. In other words, the solution-set to the environmental problems facing us is also "The prize of the 21st century". The CEAV Project proposes that Green Expo, California can capture that prize, if it has the will and imagination to do so.
What is a 'MOVABLE FAIR'?
'A Movable Fair' component of the CEAV Project envisions Cal Expo as a completely reorganized structure, overseeing a State Fair that would periodically rotated throughout the different regions and larger cities of California.
Cooperatively, the hosting regions and the restructured Cal Expo organization would set the calendar for the location and rotation schedules.
A restructured Cal Expo organization would oversee the general standards of State Fair presentation and insure its state-wide character. A host region or city would be responsible for the design, construction and on site operation of the fair, along with its financing.
The term for any region's State Fair presentation might range from five to ten or more years depending on the state-wide schedule and the interests and resources of the host regions.
'A Movable Fair' concept permits the State Fair to refresh and revitalize its audiences offer new visions of the State Fair in keeping with the broad range of economic and social interests of California and more equitably distributing the economic benefits of the State Fair to all of California.
A more detailed look at the concept of 'A MOVABLE FAIR' is available for download.
Back To The Future - 'Movable Fair' is not a new idea
The original idea the state State Fair, when it first opened in 1889, was to rotate its venue to various locations in the state. Indeed, that was how it operated for the first decade of its existence. However, the inadequacy of roads and transportation, combined with the inadequate communications of that era, made it unfeasible to continue in that fashion. After some debate, it was finally decided to fix the location of the State Fair in Sacramento.
Those early conditions no longer exist. A distributed, sequentially and periodically rotated State Fair is not only feasible and more in keeping with the Fair's original design, but is economically much superior to that of keeping the Fair in a fixed location with assets indefinitely attached to a single city or region. A fixed-location offering is not at all what the founders of the State Fair had in mind. In the 21st century with ample transport and communications capability, periodically moving the Fair to a new location offers the greatest benefit to all the people of California as it was intended to do.
Over time, the Sacramento version of Cal Expo has become acculturated to its fixed-location and identifies almost entirely with the needs, political structures and interests of its immediate surroundings. It cultivates and attends those relationships above all others and adjusts its vision and scope to fulfill the expectations to those of Sacramento. A relationship of permanent dependency develops between the local community and the Fair which overshadows its state-wide mission and real intent of a State Fair.
Fixed Location State Fairs - where familiarity breeds familiarity
We can see this in many aspects of Cal Expo's staging over the past several decades. It's focus on trying to install sports facilities for local teams and enthusiasts has little to do with the people of Los Angeles or San Diego or Arcata. What do they care about a Sacramento basketball or soccer team? Retail showcases, gun shows, autoramas, or home&garden and the like can hardly be reckoned as "traditions of California", other than such commerce happens everywhere in the state under the auspices of private enterprise. Waterslides and theme-parks, likewise, are scattered throughout the state. But that hardly suggests those are major venues appropriate to the mission of Cal Expo.
A glance at the sprinkling of events for or by charitable and community-based organizations also quickly informs us that they are all about Sacramento and its complement of such efforts. Useful and worthwhile as it may be to those organizations, and to Cal Expo marketing and promotion , such events have little to do with the state-wide interests or scope or mission of the exposition.
This is not to say such things should be entirely excluded from the schedule of fair activities. Fair's are meant to be fun and provide such diversions. Fairs can certainly be of value to local organizations and offer support for events that will promote and benefit them. But they are not the reasons the California Fair exists, nor the charter that allows it to operate under the insignia of the state of California.
CEAV's 'Movable Fair' is especially directed toward ending this overextended and inbred identification with a single locale and for renewing the Fair's relationship with all of the people of California and their varied interests and traditions. CEAV believes that sharing the benefits, presence and wealth of a state fair with all the people of the state is long overdue.
The CEAV Project sounds Huge. Is it even doable?
The CEAV Project is huge, there's no getting around that. A very large-scale civic undertaking on the order of a world's fair or summer Olympics . Financially as well as physically it dwarfs the Kings arena project by several orders of magnitude. In the end, it may well represent an investment of billions of dollars and a sizeable workforce to undertake its initial build out.
The saving grace in that is that it is not intended to be something done all at once. It doesn't need to and, even if that could be done , it's conceptual design forbids such haste. It is meant to be an evolving project, that not only presents the most advanced ideas and current interests as they appear in its history, but prudently anticipates such advances and stays ready to receive.
This is not to say EXPO GREEN must wait fifty years to be open and generate the ten or fifteen million annual visitors world-destinations typically may experience (at the lower end of the world-destination scale). Phased properly, it is estimated that the project could be operational within a decade; a time frame which would also facilitate the restructuring of the Cal Expo organization and the orderly transformation of the State Fair into 'A Movable Fair'. Properly phasing the project is what makes it doable.
The intersection of real-valued and market-valued realities
The early appearance of some of the anchoring and more exciting venues will depend on the response and underwriting by industry, especially those involved with advanced technologies, green applications and other investments in future products and services. For EXPO GREEN's purposes, that embraces a very broad range of industries, from agriculture and food production, through alternate forms of energy, climate-change management, health research, waste management, building materials industries and a host of others.
The annual budget for marketing and promotion of green products and projects is approximately 90 billion dollars. Yet no designated 'world-stage' is in place at this time to fill the category of "environmental arts and sciences" on a world scale, a scale that would attract the kind of investment needed to support its full realization. Given a real commitment to providing that stage and the right people to approach the industries that stand to benefit, the early build up of the project could very well proceed faster than anticipated.
It is really at the intersection of real-valued and market-valued enterprise that the project becomes doable. Through each phase of the project finding that intersection is of paramount importance. As we know, sometimes the problems are simply ones of timing, rather than any fundamental disagreement between a real-valued imagination and market-valued opportunity. These two aspects of the same quest are simply out of synch with one another. Phasing plays an important role in resolving this by permitting time for one or both sides to mature and catch up to the requirements of the other.
At the initial phase of development we can be fairly confident that the necessary technology and entrepreneurial interest will be available. The technology that is available to install world-class (really 'world-class') facilities with radically sensitive artistic and environmental design is already appearing on the market. Our architectural and engineering capabilities with respect to stunning and imaginative projects that take full advantage of environmental relationship has grown exponentially over the past decade. Even the most modest starting venues of Expo Green will be able to capitalize on that imagination and market interest.
So, yes, even given the ultimate enormity of the undertaking, CEAV and its dual projects would seem to be entirely feasible (phasing will be dealt with in another FAQ section). What remains to be seen is whether there is the political will in Sacramento and in the State Legislature to commit to such a project. Those sectors are not always receptive to imaginative thinking or projects that go much past the next election cycle. If it is doable, that doability will have to include persuading those who will need to approve its undertaking and provide the leadership and legal fabric required to undertake it. Fulfilling those project requirements remains to be seen.
Financing - No New Taxes? Whose Going to Pay For It?
While most traditional development financing depends on land-value and investment based underwriting, The CEAV Project looks to real-valued, product-based revenue streams to serve as the core source of support. Green technologies, products and services are undoubtedly going to serve as the central economic endeavor of California's future. There will be, already are, advanced technologies and other tools needed to begin the job of putting our house in order. New inventions to discover and bring to market; new concepts to introduce to consumers and the general public; and, of course, new challenges that will appear and will need to be addressed in the future become central theaters for EXPO GREEN offerings.
The industries that provide such tools currently have no permanent, central world hub for displaying, educating, advertising and promoting their materials. True, there is traditional advertising and marketing which goes on all the time— about 90 billion dollars annually, all the time. A number of trade fairs host limited presentations of new green products. However, the provision of a permanent world's fair for displaying and promoting everything green, now and for the future, does not yet exist. The prize of being the global-showcase for the most rapidly growing industries in the world remains unclaimed at the moment. It is truly the "prize of the 21st century."
Large Corporations, philanthropic organizations and donors of all types have already demonstrated their willingness to underwrite large-scale activities, simply for the educational and promotional value it confers. Older established world-class organizations such as the Huntington Arboretum or the Hayden Planetarium, manage to survive, through good times and bad. The Kennedy Center and the great museums and cultural centers of world all depend and endure through these types of support. The new California Academy of Sciences demonstrates that there are good sources that can be engaged to support such projects and more coming on line all the time. They do so largely for the intangible benefits of their missions and educational value such philanthropic underwriting provides as well as direct returns from the promotion of their products.
The CEAV Project offers much that is market-valued as well as real-valued, and can contribute and translates into sales for the industries that support it. The exhibits and green trade fairs, in addition to being as exciting, educational and contemporary as our imaginations can make them, easily promote awareness that translates into future markets and sales. That is only the beginning of real-valued/market-value co-enabling enterprise at Green Expo. The 'School of Green Design' becomes an active partner with both exhibitors and statewide industries in conducting environmental and scientific research leading to product invention and application. It can work directly with exhibitors and California companies on exchanging ideas and considering solutions to problems that are needed in the future.
The knowledge Transfer Center operates to integrate the external green industries and activities in the state with potential markets, inventors, venture capital and other elements which would amplify and accelerate the work of a green economy. Even the demonstration environments and research stations can serve to promote products and services in environmental, agricultural and other sectors of the economy. All that activity, indeed almost every activity of a CEAV-like undertaking, has real value to the producers of these tools. The showcase is merely a stage upon which they can be displayed, operated and even invented, all to the benefit of their production, sale and application.
As a global hub, CEAV would not only be a magnet for California investment and industrial opportunity but for advances anywhere in the world that find value in supporting and exhibiting at Expo Green. Queensland, Australia, for example, announced it is intention to build a state-of-the-art wastewater reclamation system for the entire province, at a cost upwards of 6 billion dollars. Would they not be interested in showcasing their project and its technologies and products on a global stage? For such a project, a reasonable investment in CEAV might launch a venue such as "WaterWorks" on the calculated return for their industries. Not only might it bring Australian ideas and technologies to the attention of the United States and th erest of the world ( 'global-hub') but would also be a good place for California and U.S. technologies and to introduce themselves to Queensland.
The private sector underwriting are certainly out there. And that's not the only revenue stream a CEAV-like concept might exploit. Certainly, it would need to be federal dollars that paid for something like a "Federal Bureau of Environmental Standards", if not this Congress, then perhaps a future one.
As a part of the economic infrastructure of California, A CEAV-like project might have well qualified at one time for Recovery Act funds had it existed at the time. Certainly there will be many more such opportunities in the future. In any case, the real-valued financing base of the project opens far more creative opportunities for underwriting the project than the narrow and limited returns of traditional land-valued, mixed-use private development.
The 'How' of finance would not be complete without a word about process. Traditionally, large-scale projects, such as the new Sacramento sports-arena, begin by asking "Where's the money?". It is why many such projects often build to suit the financial package they are handed from the start, rather than creating a financial package built to suit the project they want. CEAV has argued that this is exactly backwards to the way such projects should be undertaken.
Instead, we have suggested one should first define what they and only then, after the preliminary design and the shape of the project are known and costed, should it be asked, "How do we finance that?"
It may be that a project simply can't be funded no matter how much imagination is put into trying to do so. Elements may have to be scaled back, left to another time or simply eliminated. More often than not, however, it may be found that the way to finance a project is suggest by its design. The design of a financial package is not really much different than the conceptual design of the project itself. In that respect, the financial package simply comes comes after it is known what one wishes to buy.
Phasing - A. The cornerstone of becoming
There is a phenomena peculiar to authentic world destinations, from those that annually entertain 8-12 million visitors (Taj Mahal ) to ones with more than 40 million visitors (Times Square). In each category there is generally only one that is identified as the recognized "World-destination" for for each category of interest. The Taj Mahal, for example, occupies 'the architectural-romance and elegance' category. Lincoln Center, the performing arts niche (though there is a small anomaly that vies with the Kennedy Center - a subject beyond the scope of this FAQ), The Art Institute of Chicago (art/art-school niche), MOMA (modern art niche) the Golden Gate Bridge (bridge niche), Huntington Arboretum all capture and capitalize on the public's designation as of world-class exemplar of their special niche. The 'world destination' accolade is not one of an award or trophy type. It doesn't get passed around to the next winning competitor after the seasons play-offs.
Interestingly, this does not mean the designated "world destination" consistently outshines other institutions or facilites of similar function. It may not, after time has passed, have the greatest number of visitors, or be the most architectually stunning of its type or even house the most prized of its area of interest. However, once a venue gets that designation and it sticks, it is nearly always the only facility that has it. Those that obtain the insignia of premier 'world destination' tend to keep it in perpetuity.
Being a world-class, world-destination confers significant advantages. It's visitor or audience numbers may not always be the largest, but it is fairly certain they will remain substantial throughout the history of the facility. They generally endure through periods of economic difficulty or instability where others of their kind often fail. They are able to attract endowments, grants and other revenue sources on the basis of reputation alone. And, it is a rare occurrence that one of these nexus will be torn down or relocated to make room for some skyscraper or moved over for a new freeway. They become rooted memes of our institutional culture.
What this implies for the establishment of the world's EXPO GREEN, is that the first city/state/country to credibly establish itself in the all-things-green category will probably own that designation for all time. Others may come along that are even better or more spectacular in some way. If it qualifies, 'first-come, first-get' seems to be the rule for the world-meme game.
Second, in the case of a green-showcase-of-the-world, the designation may actually precede the full realization of the site. It is peculiar, in this instance, that the race to be the center of all-things-green isn't a race to the finish at all.
Phasing - B. The Race To Be First
Because, by definition, a CEAV-like concept is an evolving in both its content and its architectures, the best designs will not even attempt to "finalize" any particular venue. They will build them to accommodate transformation and change over time, removal and reformulation as technologies and needs change in the world. It's not only what they hang on the walls that will count in designing such a project, but the walls themselves (and the raw land as well) that become part of the presentation of the Expo. That a 'race' of a very different kind, one that requires flexibility and even a certain amount of "incompleteness" as much as permanent fixtures declaring themselves for all time.
The full build out of EXPO GREEN could take fifty years or more. Even after that, things will change. The world will not stop inventing and new challenges will arise. But nothing in that prevents the project from being an attraction right from the beginning, or a clear and credible draw of sizeable audiences and achievements by the end of the first decade.
For example. Suppose you begin, even before a vision is selected or the
first line put on a drawing board, to invite the major environmental
organizations around the state to free or low-rent headquarters or branch
offices in the Capitol. The offering is to use unused or little used
facilities at Cal Expo (or temporary quarters as can be easily and quickly
Not quite free, however. In exchange, what the state expects is that these
organizations will participate in some of the initial work that needs to be
done in planning for EXPO GREEN, work that these types of organizations are
well equipped to do. The lands have to surveyed and inventoried. Habitats
and resources have to examined for what restorations might suit them, where
and how rehabilitation project are to be carried out. Birds need to be
counted, trees examined, water tested and so on. In concert, such
organizations can not only perform such tasks, but bring a level of
imagination and vision that would otherwise be difficult to obtain in any
other way, certainly not pro-bono.
"BUT WAIT! There's More!" as the pitchman might say. Keep in mind, we're in the first phase, one that might last perhaps a decade, but little money has been spent at all, other than staff time getting things setup and some legal hurdles cleared and such.
The organizations which take EXPO GREEN up on their offer of office space in Sacramento (where most of their lobbying is done anyway) also have something else which they are experienced at doing and which serves their purposes as well as EXPO GREEN. There is much to do that can be undertaken along with preliminary studies of the site. A lot of the site simply needs to be cleaned up. There's trash everywhere and bramble and obvious things that simply take people do.
Environmental groups are really good at that, at organizing people, students, concerned citizens and such to come out and help clean up and prepare areas for further reclamation work. That can be started almost at once as well. Certainly there are many people in Sacramento who would gladly spend a day or a weekend helping if there was sufficient organization and direction for them.
So now we've got a second part of the project going and we are still barely into phase 1. An But wait, yes, there's more. The kinds of organizations we're describing (from the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Nature Conservancy,... to smaller local groups and consortiums such as ECOS or The American River Parkway Foundation, SARA etc.) all have one thing in common, no matter what their special interest or focus.
They all depend on public awareness and support, and they are experienced
at getting it. This process not only starts an actual phase of the project,
and for little or no cost, but also serves to establish something that will
be critical to the project. Though small, the traffic and visitors to
these organizations at the EXPO GREEN site constitute the beginnings of
public interest in the project. A visitor base that will grow over time
and help to create the density of interest that the project will need to
The organizations in the consortium might also wish to present their own exhibits at Cal Expo in unused or underused facilities, or during slack periods in Cal Expo's regular schedule. That will bring even more visitors.
It's a win-win-win situation all around. And none of it very expensive or terribly difficult. Meanwhile, Cal Expo can begin to prepare for its eventual transformation into A Movable Fair and its first rotation out of Sacramento. Cal Expo will have to restructure itself for a wholly new kind of operation and role. But they might have nearly a decade to make that adjustment. That is certainly doable.
Those are all preparatory gestures of course. Very important ones and very
necessary. Still, there's nothing prevent making an approach to industries,
foundations and other sources of funding during this phase. It is these
types of sources that will ultimately become the primary underwriters of
Expo Green. It might happen that some large corporations can even be
interested in financing some of the major anchoring venues—the
Culture Center or Knowledge Center or even endowments toward building the
community college campus— during this phase. In that case, the
time-table for implementing the project might be advanced. Given public
support and the political will to commit to the project, that would
certainly be one possibility.
This ends the faq section on 'doability' for now. There are many other things that might be discussed, but this should serve to demonstrate that there are ways that make even such a large scale project as CEAV "doable".
In the final analysis, it rests with those who believe CEAV is an idea that ought to be seriously explored. CA21c can present the concept and consult with others to clarify or extend its basic idea. But our job really ends with describing the concept. From there, it is really up to the readers of these and other CEAV documents to share and discuss the idea. If it has merit, we have confidence that the people of California will organize themselves to move idea from concept to realization, through contacting their own state representatives and others who must actually move the process forward.
What does the mission "preserve the land" mean?
An eyesore and sprawling blight in the minds of many, one of the best things the Cal Expo site may have going for it is that most of it is completely untended, undeveloped and neglected.
To protect the land and its potentials, the approximately 400 acres that Cal Expo is entrusted to hold in the public interest, it needs to be kept free of any plans or intentions that would track towards the transfer or sail for private development or otherwise long-term encumbrance that would threaten its State oversight or public commons status.
Until there has been a thorough public review and the public voice has spoken regarding the future of that site, nothing should be done with the property other than carrying out needed deferred maintenance and needed repair on the subpart of the property hosting the present day Fair facilities.
By 'review' is meant the deliberate and proactive invitation for all Californians to participate in envisioning the future of the site for the public interest. Such a process might take two to five years, or more, and involve expertise from every discipline (from science to the arts, from industry and commerce to anthropology and public planning). Above all the citizens of California must be included as full participants in that process. They need to be provided a clear path present their ideas about what future generations of Californians, one-hundred or five-hundred years hence, might thank us for doing with that land.
The result of that effort could be anything from complete restoration and preservation, to paving it over or anything in between . We believe CEAV would be a very good contender for final consideration. The point is that the matter should be put directly to the people of the California, the ultimate stakeholders in its future, to decide.
Until then, CEAV promotes the idea—has made it an explicit part of its mission— that the entire property, including the portion the State Fair now utilizes, be assigned a protected status until such time there is a high degree of confidence that we really know what ought to be done with it for the benefit of all Californians, now and for generations to come
What must be resisted at all costs is the impulse to sell off or divest portions of that trust at the first signs of economic difficulty, needs to raise money, or someone's wish to finance a collateral project or extract profit for the short-term at the expense of future generations. Those are impulses that ultimately foreclose on the legacy of Cal Expo, forever.
Will EXPO GREEN adversely impact its own site?
Certainly, all the venues, facilities, visitors, traffic and other human footprints that a CEAV-like project implies would have substantial impact on the space they occupy. Pure environmentalists might object on that basis, preferring that all the land be restored as natural habitat and remain free from human encroachment.
Several things, however, mitigate or justify that unavoidable consequence of any project meant for human use. If one looks at the many venues and structures (Knowledge Center, Culture Pavilion, Federal Bureau of Environmental Standards, Exhibit Halls, and such...) that might be contemplated for "EXPO GREEN", it can be noted that a large majority of these facilities can be located on the same corner of the site now occupied by the current Fair facilities.
Many other venues will have very light environmental footprints, and can be designed so as to present minimal adverse impact and may even be architected to support reclamation efforts elsewhere on the site. The Master Gardner Library and Headquarters, small college campuses, even the Winery and its associated research facilities can all be designed in ways that are as consonant with the environment as our technologies can make them. In addition to their primary functions they can also be made to serve as exhibits of what applied environmental technology, at its best, looks like.
The third class of facilities and exhibits qualifies as significant environmental positives on their own merit. 'Living Laboratories', native plant reserves, river-front reclamation projects and similar venues are direct applications of environmental restoration and contribute, rather than subtract from the included and surrounding environments.
There remains one very important argument for the environmental consonance of the CEAV Project- The very mission of the project itself. The entire purpose of CEAV is to promote and preserve healthy planetary environments and ecosystems and to advance their repair and preservation on a world scale. That leaves little room for arguing about the negative environmental impacts the use of this tiny swatch of land may engender. The sum of its positive contributions cannot help but vastly outweigh such concerns.
The Threat of Limited Private Development
The CEAV Project proposes developing the property into the global hub for all things green - a worldwide destination and synergistic center for the whole range of activities related to planetary restoration and sustainability .
This implies not only the development of some portions of the property for major facilities, but protecting, restoring and preserving other parts as actual 'exhibits' of that hub. At some point then, the American River Parkway, newly reclaimed wetlands and habitat and, perhaps, undeveloped or marginally developed land adjacent or contiguous to the site could become integrated into a a natural preserve - a GREEN WORLD demonstration of its own, exhibiting a complete urban restoration and greening process, monitored, preserved and tended by scientists and environmental specialists from around the world.
A global hub, a real world-class destination, infers an international reputation that would warrant just such attention. However, unless that land is preserved now, any opportunity for realizing the potentials of that public commons is moot. Even partial developments such as commercial real estate or soccer fields or marginal housing developments and such, will bring market-values to the site and the inevitable pressures for further development.
In the end, not even the State Fair, itself, will be able to protect its domain from such pressures. It will eventually succumb with little to show for itself but temporary infusions of cash that would quickly be spent and gone.
The four-hundred or so acres that were bequeathed to the state for the presentation of the State Fair are the last, large undeveloped urban public commons in California. There are swatches of real estate, infill, in every city in the state that can be utilized for public and/or private purposes -parks, civic facilities, museums, dog-runs, housing and commercial development and such. But these are relatively small parcels and their potentials somewhat limited for any large-scale projects. The Cal Expo site is the last public commons large enough to imagine or incorporate anything on the scale of CEAV that might be offered to the benefit of all Californians for many generations to come
Who are the organizers of CEAV?
CEAV is a project of 'California Advocates for the 21st Century' (CA21c), the parent, umbrella organization for CEAV and other projects. CA21c IS NOT MONETIZED. It neither receives nor disburses funds or materials of any kind. It is a citizen's group solely for the purpose of visioning and promoting worthwhile community projects and educating the public about its activites.
Ca21c is not affiliated with any other group, nor does it endorse any other organization, political party, position or cause.
Red Slider, a Sacramento poet and activist, is the current steward of CA21c. CA21c's primary focus is on those issues and actions that will impact future generations, and to engage in activities that may help improve the social, economic and planetary legacies that will be passed on to them.
CA21c maintains no staff, board or other hierarchical structure and has no membership . It is entirely structured around the free action of citizens participating in their democracy and their personal involvement with issues and causes they find worthwhile. CA21c recognizes the work that others may do on behalf of its projects and acknowledges those who do that work as stewards , without further description.
CA21c may elect to support and promote the work of stewards or other organizations when that effort is entirely consonant with the missions and projects of CA21c.
The CEAV Project is a catalyst group started in 2008 in reaction to Cal Expo's plans to site a major sports arena on publicv properties under its management. The stewards of CEAV are engage in CEAV related activity on their own initiative. CEAV is unaffiliated with those groups or individuals, but may promote or join their efforts when they are entirely consonant with the aims and missions of CEAV and California Advocates for the 21st Century.
What is CEAV's role in the project?
The job of CEAV is to create an initial awareness of the importance of the Cal Expo property and to develop the general concept of 'EXPO GREEN' as one possibility for fulfilling the unrealized potentials of that site. At such time as other citizens and organizations are committed and prepared to take the CEAV project to its next stages, stewardship of both the "MOVABLE FAIR" and "EXPO GREEN" facets of the project will be turned over to others more capable and prepared to carry the task forward.
It is hoped, but it not essential, that such receiving organizations and/or individuals will further refine and develop the CEAV concept as well. Of first importance, however, will be to secure the protection and preservation of the site from private development or other actions by the State or Cal Expo that would foreclose on opportunities such as CEAV to be seriously considered and thoroughly examined. That, at a minimum must be done to reserve a place for future consideration of the best use for the site.
Finally, it cannot be stressed enough that the CEAV Project is not offering its proposal as the only or even best idea that may come forward in an open solicitation for ideas and visions. CEAV encourages and insists that the actual search for the best concept be entirely open and accessible to all Californians. Experts and public officials may have to devise a fair process for examining that proposals that are offered [and CEAV does have an additional suggestion to offer about such a mechanism, when the time comes], but is firm that the process not be done in the back rooms and private talks that often attend such projects. This effort should, and must, take place in the full light of day, where everyone can participate and follow its progress.
How did the CEAV Project first start?
The CEAV idea was an immediate reaction to the headline I saw in the Sacramento Bee in 2008 on Cal Expo's announcement of joint plans with the NBA to put a new basketball arena on their site. It didn't take a minute to realize how wrong that would be -- how much it violated the idea and mission of the State Fair -- the deal smelled a little fishy, too.
It didn't take long to figure out why, either. The article was centered around the "Letter of Understanding" (L.O.U.) Cal Expo had just signed with the NBA to negotiate the details of building an arena. A look at that L.O.U. a little while later was the beginning of my education in just how underhanded Cal Expo's dealings with the public really are. Of special interest was one particular passage in the document in item 3-b under the section on "Exclusivity":
While this LOU remains in effect, the parties shall negotiate exclusively and in good faith with each other...specifically Cal Expo will not solicit, initiate, encourage, or engage in any discussions or negotiations with a third party [e.g. the public - ed.] concerning the long term development of the Cal Expo site , excluding discussions and negotiations relating to on-going business operations that would not, if consummated, be materially disruptive to, or inconsistent with, the Proposed Project; and NBA Sacramento [the local Kings organization - ed.] will not solicit, initiate, encourage, or engage in any discussions or negotiations relating to the location and development of a new basketball arena on some other site located within the greater Sacramento Area.
In effect they agreed to a gag rule and blackout clause which would stifle all attempts of the public to either get information on the deal or respond to the proposal at public meetings and discussions. [Indeed, later, when one of the Director's was asked why the announcement was so delayed and public information on it so sketchy, he replied "Because we have a contractual agreement with the NBA not to discuss the project with third parties." That director flately stated that was why the public was not included in the process and that he should not even be discussing that much about it with me.
That's really all it took for me realize how much was wrong about Cal Expo's plans. There was, however, a larger problem than Cal Expo's contempt for the public. It is one thing to complain about some action being taken by public officials. But quite another to offer a better alternative to what they were doing; in this case, the future development of Cal Expo. that would be tall order.
I would need to satisfy a lot of often competing interests. There were of course investors, the NBA, commercial interests and others with a financial stake and profits to be made in seeing the project get done. Developers, too had a large financial interest in the project and had been eager for some time to get their hands on the property, especially at below-market values. There would be public officials who lookto their next campaign and those same interests to finance them. There would be environmentalists who might have other ideas about the project and any alternative that might equally threaten the environment. There would also be a very small, but very noisy number of sports enthusiasts and King's fans which are reasonably easy to manipulate and which officials and others in Sacramento are very skilled at doing just that. A lot of things that would need to be account for if any idea was to be perceived as "better" than the one they were getting.
It would also have to be done without the benefit of new taxes. This is a rallying cry which Sacramento politicians frequently use to thwart almost any idea they don't happen to like, and get around by clever distortions of language and fact, when it's for something they or their friends do happen to like. And what about the Fair? That, too, had to be accounted for.
Most of all was that, whatever the idea, it would really have to be better. Not simply to satisfy a lot of self-interested parties looking after their own piece of the pie, but an idea that would actually be worthy of doing for all the people that Cal Expo was supposed to serve, and for future generations as well.
CEAV was the product of thinking about what was needed to trump what Cal Expo was offering. One can pretty well see (throughout this FAQ) that nearly all of those difficult obstacles have been responded to in the conceptual design of "EXPO GREEN". It may not be exactly in the fashion some of those interests have in mind, but their agenda and needs have all been addressed in the CEAV Project.