Humboldt County Fair Board ousts GM over newspaper coverage

by | 01.31.2013 | 2:06pm
Humboldt County Fair

The Humboldt County Fair Board of Directors has begun a search to find a new general manager after voting not to renew the contract of Stuart Titus, who had served in that position for over 20 years.

According to a report in the Times-Standard, the board, in a closed session Jan. 28, voted 11 to eight not to renew Titus' contract. Several members of the board had expressed reservations about Titus' association with a local newspaper, the Ferndale Enterprise, which is owned, published, and edited by his wife, Caroline.

In a prepared statement released earlier this month, Titus said that because of his association with the Enterprise, he should “ensure that board members be ‘made not to look bad' in any stories that might appear in the publication.”

Titus continued, ”To accentuate these points, a certain member of the committee informed me that if I failed to take them into account, it could cost me votes when it came time for my contract to be renewed.”

California Horse Racing Board Executive Director Kirk Breed, who has known Titus for over 20 years, told the Times-Standard that he agreed that Titus was booted because board members didn't like the newspaper coverage.

”It's a chickensh– bunch of guys who run the fair board,” Breed said. “The way they get back at (Caroline) is to get Stuart.”

  • Conserned

    As a Humboldt County resident, Throroughbred breeder and owner, I resent that the CHRB Executive Director comments on personnel matters that he knows nothing about.   If you read the interview he states that county fairs boards should be outlawed, though this form of management has worked here for 117 years.  Mr. Breed is badly informed regarding the Fair managers fight to keep racing at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale, CA.  The manager, Mr. Titus tried to sell the dates to the Sonoma County Fair, till he found out he couldn’t because in California the Fairs don’t own the dates, they are allocated.  That is the tip of the iceberg.  The Fair Board cannot comment because it is a ‘Personnel Matter’.  Mr Titus, has a forum in his ‘WIFE’S’ Newspaper, the Fair Board, who are non compensated business people who volunteer their time, have no requirement to explain their decision and they have too much class to engage in mudslinging.

  • Monicamarywest

    Director Cindy Olsen: Despite you being “conserned,” you really shouldn’t comment. You have created this situation by your public comments threatening the widely-respected GM with his job if he didn’t make you and other law-breaking board members “look good” in the local newspaper. By you publicly threatening him with his job if he made you and the board follow the state’s open meeting laws, you have now exposed yourself and the association to litigation and have ruined all the goodwill between the fair and the business community. You are then stupid and arrogant enough to take on the executive director of the California Horse Racing Board– the very entity the HCF is dependant upon for its dates, by calling him badly informed! You give the GM a positive performance review, he leaves the fair in the best financial position ever and yet you continue your lies, libel and slander against a dedicated public employee. The majority of the good ‘ol boys and girls club, otherwise known as the board, bring nothing to the table and just come to the meetings and the fair for the free booze. You and the other law-breaking board members are a disgrace.

  • Conserned

    I’m sure Cindy Olsen is concerned but she is not “Conserned”.  She is also not the only TB Breeder, owner etc in Humboldt County who has had associations with Mr. Titus, and the CHRB.  My concern is with the Executive Director of the CHRB publicly inserting his personal opinions into a local matter.

  • Jerry



  • VeryConcerned

    Thank you, Executive Director Kirk Breed for your response to the Paulick report.  Your careless words have now negligently placed the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) (Keith Brackpool-Chairman, David Israel-Vice Chairman, Members; Steve Beneto, Jesse Choper, Chuck Winner, Bo Derek, and Richard Rosenberg) in jeopardy of legal action by the Humboldt County Fair Association, for Bias.  Due to your erroneous comments regarding the Humboldt County Fair Board members, you alone, are no longer an impartial member of this decision making body. Your future recommendations will undoubtedly have an adverse effect on racing activities for the Humboldt County Fair Association.  Furthermore, your revelation affirms (your personal) future recommendations will cease to be objective or impartial in regards to the Humboldt Association.  I’m certain all appointed Board Members will be dismayed and shocked upon learning of the ramifications of your careless comments. You alone Director Breed have placed the entire board in a biased light, effectively decimating their capacity to complete their due-diligence. Your printed comments will forever overshadow your position on the board, and all its decisions concerning the future of racing at the Humboldt County Fair.  To express your concerns about Executive Director Kirk Breed’s statement, please call the Governor’s Office at 916.322.1640 or the CHRB at 916.263.6000 or fax your concerns to 916.236.6042. 

  • Tellitlikeitis

    Real smart. Take on Kirk Breed. Reminds me of the time one Humboldt County Fair board member wanted to call the governor’s office to lodge complaints about CHRB member David Israel’s description last year of the Humboldt meet! I guess Israel had no right to call Humboldt “obsolete” or a “typewriter in a computer world.” The HCF board put in writing why they dismissed the widely-respected manager, who just in November received a unanimous vote on his positive performance review and leaves the fair in the best shape ever. The minutes clearly state the GM was instructed to make board members “look good” in his wife’s newspaper or he would lose votes. In writing he was also warned to stop reminding the board of having to follow the state’s open meeting laws “or he will lose votes.” Now, the board is faced with the possibility of losing its agreement with the county to run the fair and meet because of their well documented and flagrant violations of state law, not to mention their consumption of alcohol during meetings on the taxpayers’ dime.

    Taking on Kirk Breed is the last thing board members should be focused on. They have created a public relations nightmare with their stupidity and arrogance. BTW, Brackpool is out. HCF will now be at mercy of the new chair-the very man who thinks the HCF is obsolete. Better start taking him on instead.


  • 3875waldo

    “I was humbugged in Humboldt!” cried the ex-GM.

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