(Note: I am not a member of any political party, nor am I aligned with any political party. I have been an Independent since 1998.

On February 11, the Newport-Mesa Tea Party held a meeting at which there was a presentation on the state of Fairview Park. The members overwhelmingly favored leaving the park the way it is – no athletic fields. At the meeting, I asked whether I could send a message to the members describing what they can do to prevent fields at Fairview Park. Here is that message.)

Cool heads on both sides of the field debate agree that the youth sports teams in our area do not have enough fields on which to practice and play. Those same people now understand that the reality is that there are actually plenty of fields, but there aren’t enough fields controlled by the city. For many years, youth sports directors have had to suffer from the will of a stingy and indifferent school board that wants us to believe that the fields belong to them, and not to the taxpayers who purchased them and who pay to maintain them.

As a result, the question of whether Costa Mesa should develop fields at Fairview Park has been subsumed to the larger issue of who is in charge of property that has been purchased and is maintained by taxpayers.

In their Jan. 7 letter to the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District Board of Trustees, represented by Supt. Frederick Navarro and board president Martha Fluor, referred to the fields under their purview as “school district property.” That is code for “We’re in charge of the fields and don’t try to tell us what to do with them.”

Perhaps the school board is owed a “thank you” for taking this position because it has resulted in heightened awareness of what happens when we abdicate authority over our property to people whose interests are not compatible with the general population: At the last school board meeting, three speakers used the term “taxpayers” and reminded the board who pays for everything. I have attended countless school board meetings and rarely hear the term “taxpayer.” Three references in one meeting is a milestone.

The tail has been wagging the dog for far too long. We own the fields at our schools. We own the buildings, too, and we own every staple, every paperclip, and every desk within school district boundaries. But instead of acknowledging and abiding by our wishes, we are subjects of a modern version of taxation without representation.

Taxpayers in Costa Mesa and Newport Beach have an opportunity to create ground zero for the process of assuming control of what is rightfully ours. There is no trust in trustees who hide their true agenda and point fingers and place blame while using our youth as pawns in their struggle to retain power.

I urge you to attend school board meetings, which are held every second and fourth Tuesday of each month, and tell the school board to start meaningful meetings with local youth sports directors to help find more places for our kids to play. The complete calendar can be found at: http://web.nmusd.us/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1381920042958

 

Thank you.

 

Steve Smith

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