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March 25, 2023

Letter: Speak out on fair manager’s firing

Next Tuesday, Feb. 7, the Fair Board will be meeting at 1:30pm at the Fine Arts Building. The first item under Correspondence is “Performance Audit with Dave Kegebein Response.” The Board and the state have been unresponsive to requests to schedule meetings at times that would help people participate. It is the first opportunity for the community to impress upon the Board and the state officials responsible for firing CEO David Kegebein in October last year.

Part of the State Department of Food and Agriculture’s plan to remove the very effective manager from his post involved depriving him, and ourselves of any review of the phony document and ugly process used to justify the removal. Consequently, David’s great work over many years and his sincere motivation for doing it have been undeservedly discredited. While we can’t get this great asset back in the position he is best suited for, we can see that state officials and the collaborating board members are held accountable for their actions contrary to the values of people in the Santa Cruz County community. No one of us should receive this kind of treatment. As of the December Fair Board meeting, David had not even received his final paycheck! True story! At the very least, an apology is in order.

The other casualties of the state officials were long-time Board members and volunteers Loretta Estrada and Jodi Belgard—dismissed and replaced peremptorily by Governor Newsom. This was obviously done not only for their offense of voting against the termination but to encourage the remaining members to put the whims of the state first. In total, this was a political strike against a well-run and successful County Fair without regard to local consequences.

We all want the Fair to be successful and to have that we need to express our concerns in the change that has occurred. The state officials and Board members need to know that we need them to work on our behalf to assure that the chaos and spiral experienced in the years before David Kegebein stepped forward and in the months since his dismissal will not continue.

Dennis Osmer



  1. The phony documents that refer to the embezzlement of money? If they were phony, why was restitution paid ?

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