… That I am not the only one…

I am the acting chairman of Costa Mesa’s Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee (FPCAC). From the start, 20 months ago, the main issue was whether to construct an athletic field or fields in the area now occupied by a model train that offers rides to the public a few hours each month. (If you haven’t been on the train, go – it’s wonderful.)

For several months, I have been pointing out to folks on both sides of the debate that the city has enough fields for youth sports. The problem is that most of them are controlled by the school district,  which has become a poor partner in field sharing, despite a contract with the city called the Joint Use Agreement.

Last night, I attended a community meeting, part of which was dedicated to informing the public about what is happening – or not – at Fairview Park. The speakers included Dr. Richard Mehren, the ex- chairman of the FPCAC, Ernesto Munoz, Facilities Manager for the city of Costa Mesa, and Dean Abernathy, who is a member of Costa Mesa’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

Munoz was there only for the purpose of providing information. Correctly, he did not offer any opinion on what should happen to the park. That is the committee’s job.

Mehren noted that there are plenty of fields – the ones at our schools – and that the school district is not sharing. And in an effort to stop the tail from wagging the dog, he said, “It’s not their property, it’s our property,” he said.

The members of the public who spoke overwhelmingly supported leaving the train area just the way it is – no fields. In fact, there was robust applause from most of the crowd when any form of that comment was made. “[Our youth sports programs] are dependent on a school board that doesn’t really care that we have a lack of fields,” said one attendee.

The school board would like nothing more than to see fields at Fairview Park to help relieve them of any responsibility for sharing the fields under their control. In a letter to the FPCAC last month, they never stated outright that fields should be built at Fairview, but I read between the lines and I believe that is exactly what they want.

But Costa Mesans don’t want fields at Fairview. They have made that crystal clear over the past 20 months. I don’t need a survey to tell me what I already know and I already know it because I have been listening to the citizens of this city – on both sides of the issue.

So, what to do… Take back your fields by attending the school board meetings and tell the board to become a better partner in field allocation. Here is a link to the meeting schedule: http://web.nmusd.us/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1381920042958

Just so you know.