Friday, June 15, 2007

Another lost treasure
By Ron Galosic, Eastview Little League Board Member

As we approach our last day of Eastview Little League at it’s current location on the corner of Gaffey and Capitol in San Pedro, I look back and reflect upon another mistake our city has made that has let this wonderful complex for kids, that has been open 24 hours a days, seven days per week, for the entire community to enjoy for over forty years, just disappear.

I recently watched the tryouts take place for the next incoming class for the San Pedro High School baseball team freshman class., and after watching the two days with the kids from Dodson Junior High tryout, and then the two days with the kids from Dana Junior High tryout, I along with others there, were amazed with what we saw. Fourteen kids from Dodson, who all come from Eastview, are fully prepared to play high school baseball, and will make the team, while maybe 2-3 from Dana, none of whom even play currently in San Pedro, are prepared to play. What conclusion can you draw from this? There are simply no quality fields left on the south side of our town for the kids that go to Dana to learn this game of baseball and stay out of trouble, and that the one great place that this town does have, and has had for over forty years, Eastview, we all are watching disappear.

Since 1970, the South side of our town has lost the South Shores fields, the Upper reservation fields, the original Bogdonovich fields, Trona fields, Dillon Fields the Boys Club fields, and the fields at Liberty Hill. I ask you a question that I believe is also a responsibility of our elected officials, where do the kids on the south side of town go to play ball and stay out of trouble, and why did we not act fast enough to save the best fields this town has ever seen on the north side of town, Eastview, any sooner?

Did our elected officials ever have a chance to save the fields at Eastview you ask? Well the answer is yes they did. When this whole process began three years ago, one of the first things we suggested to our Councilwoman was to take the property for community park space, a thing this town needs, via eminent domain. The mistake we made was that we trusted Councilwoman Hahn, when she told us that it could not be done. Well, I sat in on a meeting a little over a month ago, and Janice invited a City Attorney to sit in on our meeting. At this meeting, the city attorney was grilled as to the possibilities of eminent domain, which in the end, she also agreed that yes eminent domain can be done now, and that it could have easily been done three years ago, and that the fields could have been saved.

Along with the sadness of the loss of the fields, special thanks does need to go out to The Port Of Los Angeles, and their wonderful leadership, as they did what needed to be done to help temporarily save us from extinction. With the Port’s engineers on site and working daily, it does look like a temporary home on Knoll Hill has began, and should be ready for the first pitch in 2008.

In conclusion, the people of our city need to take a stand and save the places that serve our youth and keep them out of trouble. We need to understand the distinction between the new phrase, “Open Space”, which is a fancy word for space for a place for adults go to sit and enjoy a view, and “Park Space Facilities” which is a place that the kids can go and exercise, run around, kick or throw a ball, and stay out of trouble. This past season I helped coach 8-9 year olds, and one of the coach’s I coach with has a great phrase he uses with the kids to help them to understand that every at bat you only get to see one or two great pitches, and you have to swing the bat and hit those pitches. Those pitches he calls “Treasures”, and tells them that when one comes, you need to swing at them, and you can't let them go. Well, coach, as we close the book on the final season here for Eastview and the corner of Capitol and Gaffey, unfortunately, our city let another good one go by, and we have lost another treasure, Eastview Little League.

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