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During a January 3 meeting, city councilmembers agreed to retain former city councilmember Crystal Crawford to provide legal counsel, on a pro-bono basis, in their efforts to purchase the Del Mar Fairgrounds from the State of California.

Crawford was elected to the council in 1998 and was reelected in 2002 and 2006. Crawford was a member of the negotiation team in 2009, when the city first approached the Governor's office with the proposal to transfer ownership of the fairgrounds.

"Crystal was with us when this idea came to fruition," said councilmember Mark Filanc. "She has the experience with this particular issue, and I think it's an awesome opportunity.”

"It's a slightly different role,” added Mayor Don Mosier, “but it can be equally important. She has the experience. We really can take advantage of the numerous political connections {Crystal has] in Sacramento."

Karen Brust, Del Mar's city manager, introduced the agenda item during Monday's council meeting. "[Crawford] has offered her services as an attorney to work as special counsel," said Brust. "There are a series of items that we need to address and she has the expertise and the willingness to work through some of the issues."

According to city officials, Crawford will be responsible for reaching out to stakeholders, testifying at state legislative hearings, strategizing with city council and staff, and representing the City of Del Mar in meetings.

While Crawford agrees to work at no charge, she will be reimbursed for any travel expenses. The agreement will last approximately 90 days.

"It is a rather unique situation," said Crawford. "I'm available and will help you if desired. I would only act at your direction explicitly. I've put a lot of time and effort and it would be my honor to help you see this through the end."

On January 4, state legislators will vote on Senate Bill 1, a bill authored by Christine Kehoe that would allow the city of Del Mar to purchase the property.

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