Home > Uncategorized > Humboldt County Fair Director Dumped By Board After 22 Years

Humboldt County Fair Director Dumped By Board After 22 Years

fairFerndale Mayor Stuart Titus, General Manager of the Humboldt County Fair for a generation, will not have his contract renewed for an eighth three year term.  The board of the fair has voted 13-7 not to renew his contract.

The Ferndale Enterprise, run by Titus’ wife Caroline, quotes Mr. Titus as alleging that he was told that board members felt threatened by his insistence on following the Brown Act regarding public meetings.  Titus also asserts he was told in April that he should make sure board members were not made to look bad in the Enterprise. He is quoted in an Enterprise article as saying

“To accentuate their points, a certain member of the board informed me that if I failed to take those issues into account, that it could cost me votes when it came time for my contract to be renewed.”

The Enterprise story states that one story mentioned by the directors was a drunk driving arrest of a board member in 2009.

The Enterprise story is here: http://www.ferndaleenterprise.com/2013/01/09/humboldt-county-fair-board-no-contract-renewal-manager-stuart-titus/

  1. Hoo Ya
    January 10, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    The drunk driver was former Mayor Jeff Farley. Ferndale’s new mayor is Stu Titus. Farley stays on the board. Stu will be mayor but he’s out of a job. Wassup, Ferndale? I hope this doesn’t cost the fair’s owners–you and me–too much money. No doubt the fair will suffer.

    Sue, Stu. Sue.

  2. Hoo Ya
  3. A pesky
    January 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    Now this is some good controversy.

    Hopefully it will last a few weeks to get us out of the midwinter news dulldrums.

  4. Sigh
    January 10, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    There’s just sooooo much I don’t like about Ferndale now… revelation after revelation about the people of that town. These aren’t nogoodnik criminals. We’re talking about the average everyday people. Something is wrong with that town. The curtain has been pulled back.

  5. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Small town politics. But if there were really Brown Act violations, one need not wait for AG Harris or DA Gallegos to do something about it:

    http://www.plumasnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10158:governor-signs-brown-act-enforcement-bill&catid=82:opinion&Itemid=76

  6. Eric Kirk
    January 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    This doesn’t look very good.

  7. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    Does anyone know whether the fair Board is elected or appointed? News like this makes me think there are 13 Board members who need removal.

  8. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Anonymous :
    Does anyone know whether the fair Board is elected or appointed? News like this makes me think there are 13 Board members who need removal.

    Get this: the board appoints its own members. Like it?

  9. jr
    January 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Unlike the Redwood Acres and the Del Norte County fairs, the Humboldt County Fair is not a State agency. District Agricultural Association Fairs (Redwood Acres and Del Norte) have their Board members appointed by the Governor.

  10. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Seriously? It is easy to comment on Ferndale when you don’t live here. So far all I read here are the comments of those who don’t know any of the parties involved. The only comment that hits home for this Ferndalian is “This doesn’t look very good.” You’re right it doesn’t sound good because people have heard and read one story. In a statement issued by the outgoing fair manger that paints himself as a victim. A story that would lead us all to believe that the Humboldt County Fair Board comprised of 21 respected residents and business people from throughout our entire county have it out for his wife. Really?

  11. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Ugly, eh? They don’t like her honesty.

  12. Anonymous
    January 10, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    jr :
    Unlike the Redwood Acres and the Del Norte County fairs, the Humboldt County Fair is not a State agency. District Agricultural Association Fairs (Redwood Acres and Del Norte) have their Board members appointed by the Governor.

    It’s been awhile since I looked at the Brown Act, but from what I remember if it’s not a state agency and not exercising authority delegated by a state/public entity, then why would its meetings be subject to the Act?

  13. Shaw brothers
    January 10, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Sorry, many of those names aren’t Ferndalians. Reading the stories, it sure sounds like Titus thinks the board should do what he wants, rather than the other way around.

  14. jr
    January 10, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Anonymous: You may be correct. City, County, and State governments plus any other agencies that receive public funds, must comply with the Ralph M. Brown Act. If the Humboldt County Fair does not receive public funding–only relying on admissions,advertising, sponsorships, etc, then the board does not need to comply with the Act. If the Fair receives public funds, it must comply.

  15. Shocked again
    January 11, 2013 at 7:30 am

    The Humboldt County Fairgrounds are owned by the county and leased to this incestuous board of directors. Laws have been broken by the infamous 13.

    Jeff Farley, Duane Martin, Darren Hansen, Dave Mogni, Tim Renner, Clare Bugenig, Mel Berti, Cindy Olsen, Jay Hight, Travis Low, Sandy Hanks, Al Cooper and Lawrence Dwight.

    Other than the violation of the Brown Act and threats to silence the press other things I noted. Of the 20 or so board members only one was a woman and the average age of the board members must be in the 70′s.

  16. Businessman
    January 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Most businesses (and the fair is a huge business that affects the whole ERV) don’t like their employees to report and/or publish private conversations and personel matters to the general public unless the business leaders (In this case the board) approve. The commentor that says that the Manager didn’t understand that the board is the boss and that the manager is the employee is obviously right. It sounds like the Manager was trying to control the board through blackmail and threats of public exposure of private info. Managers are suppose to make recommendations and propose solutions to the boss, not threaten. Seems to me that the board made the correct decision after giving the Manager 8 months to clean up his act.

  17. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 9:58 am

    The public has the right to have public business conducted in public. The Brown Act was written for situations like this.

  18. HUUFC
    January 11, 2013 at 10:04 am

    “Of the 20 or so board members only one was a woman and the average age of the board members must be in the 70′s.” So what? Your use of the word “incestuous” is over the top. Why don’t we wait for more information to come out before we go off half cocked. Then we can go off full cocked.

  19. Booster Wabbit
    January 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    Here in Eureka our taxpayer supported Chamber of Commerce always has open public meetings, and well they should under the Brown Act. Bravo CoC!

  20. Elmer Fudd
    January 11, 2013 at 11:09 am

    I’ve found it prudent to take the claims of a fired employee with a grain of salt. I find it hard to believe Mr. Titus’ story of the reason for his firing is the whole or even half of the story. Ever hear of the term “disgruntled former employee”? I’d love to hear the board’s reasoning but they can’t go public with a personnel matter and Titus knows it. No doubt the Ferndale Enterprise will be the bully pulpit – stay tuned.

  21. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    The 7 who voted in his favor are the best people on the board. Johanna Rodoni, Don Beckert, et al. Thanks to them, at least, for doing the right thing.

  22. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Businessman :
    Most businesses (and the fair is a huge business that affects the whole ERV) don’t like their employees to report and/or publish private conversations and personel matters to the general public unless the business leaders (In this case the board) approve. The commentor that says that the Manager didn’t understand that the board is the boss and that the manager is the employee is obviously right. It sounds like the Manager was trying to control the board through blackmail and threats of public exposure of private info. Managers are suppose to make recommendations and propose solutions to the boss, not threaten. Seems to me that the board made the correct decision after giving the Manager 8 months to clean up his act.

    Private info? No, no, no. The Brown Act verifies that it is all public information. The 13 old farts on the board were trying to break the law to hide their dirty linen.

  23. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    we will probably never know the whole truth of this story – the Brown Act and labor laws forbid the board from disclosing the reasons why they have chosen not to renew the managers contract. Mr. & Mrs. Titus are surely aware of that as they seem well versed on those laws. It is easy for him to sling mud their way – he could say most anything derogatory about any or all of them in his disgruntled frame of mind.

  24. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Corporate Talking Points:
    Always claim former employees are “disgruntled”
    Always hide behind “personnel matter”.
    Give a good review and six months later, fire them (no explanation will be needed).
    Never allow board conversation to be made public, its none of their business.
    Never allow the public to think the County Fair is their business, its none of their business.
    Always avoid the Brown Act at all costs!

  25. observer
    January 11, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    In the most recent issue of the Ferndale Enterprise the cartoon depicts a youthful Mr. Titus with a flawless complexion being tossed from the fairgrounds office. To complete the picture the interior of the office is strewn with empty booze bottles and beer cans. I took it to imply that the board members are a bunch of alcoholics. Has anyone has caught the channel 3 news video being shown recently? It is plain to see his ruddy complexion and bulbous nose – not usually gotten from sipping tea and lemonade on the veranda!

  26. Anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Corporate Talking Points (cont.):
    And smear them with whisper campaigns or blog smears.

  27. observer
    January 11, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Dismissed Employee Talking Points:
    Always mention only the positive accomplishments in your past.
    Always appear shocked that you were dismissed.
    Never mention that you may have been a slacker at times and you might drink to much.
    Never mention that you can be arrogant and smug when dealing with others.
    Never admit that you were not always on top of your responsibilities.
    Always claim that someone in charge “had it out for you” for personal reasons.
    And if you hold a public position – make sure to point fingers at as many people as possible and blow enough smoke out there so that no one will ever be able to see your shortcomings clearly.

  28. Ferndalian Too
    January 11, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    The Ferndale Fairground is a getto compared to all other county fair grounds, all the $ made on the ‘racing’ for the last 20+ years was not put back into the fair or given jobs to the local people… the gate ticket takers were outsourced, the grounds staff wasn’t given support or $ to maintain the lighthouse, so the coast guard took the lighthouse lens back… the covered arena’s roof leaks and floods the stalls, the wooden racing stalls are barely standing. I’m hoping for new management and improvements!

  29. fair lover
    January 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Amen to that !!!!!! Even the first fair sign you see as a visitor to the fair is under that lighthouse. It ‘s faded and hard to read, unkempt at best. It’s the first thing that the visitors see upon entering the historic fair grounds. he sign to the fair offices – always fresh as new. I love that fair and the grounds and have watched them decline over the past 5 years especially.

  30. anonymous
    January 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    observer :
    Dismissed Employee Talking Points:
    Always mention only the positive accomplishments in your past.
    Always appear shocked that you were dismissed.
    Never mention that you may have been a slacker at times and you might drink to much.
    Never mention that you can be arrogant and smug when dealing with others.
    Never admit that you were not always on top of your responsibilities.
    Always claim that someone in charge “had it out for you” for personal reasons.
    And if you hold a public position – make sure to point fingers at as many people as possible and blow enough smoke out there so that no one will ever be able to see your shortcomings clearly.

    Funny how that same board gave him glowing review reports. Kind of blows your slander all to hell doesn’t it?

  31. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 7:29 am

    “The Ferndale Enterprise, run by Titus’ wife Caroline, quotes Mr. Titus as alleging…”

    So Stu Titus’ wife’s newspaper says he got a raw deal, and to back that up, Stu Titus’ wife’s newspaper quotes Stu Titus. Ummm…okay then.

  32. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 7:46 am

    There’s no doubt this group defies the public meetings laws, Anon #31. The only question is, can they get away with it? Firing Titus was Job One.

  33. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Wow – What kind of plotting do you think might be happening within that group of board members?

  34. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 9:48 am

    We will never know #33 because they are violating the Brown Act and hiding all their discussions behind closed doors.

  35. Smoke Monster
    January 12, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Things escalate to ugly rather fast once you bring quiet little Ferndale into the news.
    Remember when the bakery/caterers kid stepped off of the sidewalk a few years ago,the police chief went nuts,made a scene and they were in the news,the ‘aliens were acting the same on the blogs.
    Or the time the high school kids all parked their trucks on main street flying their confederate flags in solidarity for their friend that was asked not to fly his.
    This is a town where they take pride in being isolated and uneducated,look how easy the guy from the creamery duped them all.
    Its rather humorous how the “ferndaliEns” are so quick to defend their town,but the first to trash others.
    Mayberry is not all that it seems

  36. HUUFC
    January 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Lighten up, “uneducated” is unprovable by you. The federal convict you are referring to stole from the creamery in Fernbridge and lived in Rio Dell.

  37. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Smoke Monster :

    Or the time the high school kids all parked their trucks on main street flying their confederate flags in solidarity for their friend that was asked not to fly his.

    I laugh whenever I see someone who’s not from the South flying the Confederate flag. They might as well just wear their sheets and pointed hoods around town.

  38. Just Watchin
    January 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    Anonymous :

    Smoke Monster :
    Or the time the high school kids all parked their trucks on main street flying their confederate flags in solidarity for their friend that was asked not to fly his.

    I laugh whenever I see someone who’s not from the South flying the Confederate flag. They might as well just wear their sheets and pointed hoods around town.

    With only 1.3% blacks in Humboldt county, it would probably go unnoticed

  39. Anonymous
    January 12, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Blacks aren’t the only group that white supremacists feel threatened by, however.

  40. Rebel
    January 13, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Anonymous :

    Smoke Monster :
    Or the time the high school kids all parked their trucks on main street flying their confederate flags in solidarity for their friend that was asked not to fly his.

    I laugh whenever I see someone who’s not from the South flying the Confederate flag. They might as well just wear their sheets and pointed hoods around town.

    I laugh at people like you who don’t have a clue. Flying of the Confederate flag has nothing to do with race by most of those who fly it anymore.

    It is a sign of being a rebel. A sign of rebelling against authority.

    It is a sign of being a kid. Maybe an insensitive kid but a kid.

  41. Anonymous
    January 13, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Rebel :

    I laugh at people like you who don’t have a clue. Flying of the Confederate flag has nothing to do with race by most of those who fly it anymore.
    It is a sign of being a rebel. A sign of rebelling against authority.
    It is a sign of being a kid. Maybe an insensitive kid but a kid.

    Riiiight. That’s why I never see grown men flying it. Like the police chief in the last town I lived in. Or my middle-aged neighbor across the road. Funny how racial minorities don’t show their pride and support states’ rights by flying it, though, isn’t it? Do they rebel less?

  42. January 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

    The Confederate Flag is seen by some as a symbol of Southern Culture. Of course, people don’t get to define certain symbols. I can argue that a swastika is a symbol for good things (and it originally was), but if I put one on my door, it will not be appreciated by my Jewish neighbors.

    The south should find something more appropriate to symbolize their southern culture, maybe a NASCAR flag, or a flag with a Coleman lantern on it, or a flag with 2 cousins rolling in the hay together.

  43. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013 at 8:10 am

    The previous superintendent of Ferndale’s schools was fired as he had forbidden the students who had the Confederate flag to park in the school parking lot. Most likely, the other reason was that at the time he was the brother of Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi (now Congressman GaramendI). It was simple as this: former Superintendent Charlie Lakin want his son to be Superintendent and wanted to get rid of Garamendi. Of course, Garamendi sued and won the lawsuit and Ferndale had to pay.

    Then when coach Lakin became Superintendent, there was the whole debacle that occurred because of racist remarks made by a fan towards an out-of-town football player. All this was reported in the Ferndale Enterprise, a mutli-award winning newspaper.

    During all this, there was the Humboldt Creamery scandal and it was all reported in The Ferndale Enterprise.

    In April of 2012 fair board member, Cindy Olson, threatened Titus that he would lose his job if his wife didn’t make the board members look good in the Ferndale Enterprise. Former Mayor Farley didn’t like that his DUI was reported in the Ferndale Enterprise. It was reported in the TImes Standard, too. Good lord! That is what the newspapers do. Newspapers report the news and when an elected official gets a DUI, then it is news.

    So Stu got fired because his wife reports the news. She has guts.

  44. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Anybody wonder who wants Stu’s job? Most likely it will be one of the fair board members. My guess is Travis Low.

  45. Elmer Fudd
    January 17, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Stuart’s anonymous buddies are sure beating his drum- I’m surprised there’s not more critical thinking voiced in this string. Are you all Enterprise subscribers?

  46. Anonymous
    January 17, 2013 at 4:24 pm

    What are you trying to cover up Elmer?

  47. WOW
    January 17, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Yeah – back on topic!!!!

  48. Loleta Meth Tweaker
    January 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

    Maybe Stu can get a new job at the Loleta Bakery after it expands.

  49. Anonymous
    January 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    The fair board should apologize and give him back his job.

  50. Anonymous
    January 19, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Hope Stu has a backup plan just in case the hype doesn’t work.

  51. The New Great Anonymous
    January 19, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Whether Titus comes back or not, the 12 board members who voted to remove him should not come back. Their understanding of the law and their job as board members is sadly lacking.

  52. Really
    January 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    The New Great Anonymous :
    Whether Titus comes back or not, the 12 board members who voted to remove him should not come back. Their understanding of the law and their job as board members is sadly lacking.

    Is it so unimaginable that these board members are doing what they believe to be in the best interest of the Humboldt County Fair and it’s future?
    Is it possible that a new fair manager could bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and added revenue to the Humboldt County Fair and fairgrounds as a whole?
    Is it at all possible that Mr. Titus had became complacent in position?
    Sometimes change is good! For example the Alameda County Fair made a change in managers in 1999 and saw nothing but improvement at that fair. Mr. Pickering actually increased attendance by 44% and the Alameda Fair is now ranked as the 33rd largest county fair in North America out of thousands of fairs around our great country. Mr. Pickering just took a job overseeing the CalExpo – California State Fair and he will be earning just SLIGHTLY more than our fair manager. Really!

  53. January 20, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Pickering: $155,000. Titus: $70,000.

  54. Anonymous
    January 20, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Benefits included????

  55. Curious
    January 22, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    What benefits come with the fair manager’s position?

  56. Jr.
    January 22, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    The Board of Supervisors need to take charge of this. It’s the county dad-gummed fair, for pete’s sake, and it’s their gol-danged responsibility to see that it is run on their behalf by the same rules that apply to them.

  57. Curious
    January 23, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Jr. :
    The Board of Supervisors need to take charge of this. It’s the county dad-gummed fair, for pete’s sake, and it’s their gol-danged responsibility to see that it is run on their behalf by the same rules that apply to them.

    Is this statement from J.R. or perhaps Mr. Titus in disguise

  58. Greg Brent
    March 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

    Having worked in the Northern California racing industry for almost 40 years (and known Stuart Titus professionally for many years) and having seen his performance as fair manager for the Humboldt County Fair, I cannot understand how his Board could let him go. He has been such a strong advocate for the Ferndale race meet and fought to keep it going for many years. In a time when race meets have gone extinct (Solano County Fair no longer has a horse racing meeting), Stuart has actually been directly responsible for making the Ferndale race meeting grow over the years he has been in charge. It is too bad small town politics can jeopardize the future of Ferndale racing.

  59. Anonymous
    March 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    You should do some investigating Mr. Brent – He hasn’t fought so hard the last 5 years!
    HIs wife didn’t seem that interested in covering that or anything else at the fair until the board figured out that Titus really had not been doing such a great job. He almost lost the racing at the fair!

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