Wednesday, April 11, 2007

What to do About Eastview’s Little League?
Let’s -- at last -- Become A Team

By Diana L. Chapman

Eastview Little League officials, bemoaning the expected loss of their beloved ballfields, seek at least one miracle to save the ballpark that has operated successfully there for 45 years under good faith when owned by a local bakery. But once the property sold, and Target became the official purchaser, no miracle has appeared on the horizon and the league’s eviction date -- June 30 -- threatens the field with dark clouds and bulldozers. This is the time for all of us to stop and think: Is this just about a few baseball fields? No, this is about all of San Pedro -- and the future she faces as a “port town“ under fire from development on all sides. Had I been a politician -- and thank goodness I’m not -- I would have gone in smiling to Target officials and lavished them with praise about our community wanting such a store -- but not at the expense of our Littlle League fields. Had I been Target officials, I would have used common sense to explore other options than sweeping away fields used by thousands of kids for decades -- to make way for a parking lot. Perhaps Target could develop an underground parking lot and leave the ballfields where they are. No matter how you cut it, if Target destroys the fields, it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many San Pedrans. There’s no excuse for Target to behave like this. Are they going to be a good neighbor? It doesn’t appear so. So why would I even think about shopping there and dealing with the additional shoppers streaming in from elsewhere? Yes, you can argue it’s about convenience and getting a lot of those necessities at a lower price. But again, this isn’t just about BALLFIELDS. This embraces the future of all of San Pedro and the way we dig our way into more and more traffic pits and hordes of townhomes -- or -- join forces and present our demands in a united front. It’s our final wakeup call to become a team to demand what we want and not just accept the decisions of others such as the Port of Los Angeles, big developers and even City Hall. We must define our future. And while you might say that shouldn’t include a private league, this reveals just the beginning of transgressions that will continue with San Pedro’s limited space if we don’t find ways to curb or use the potential growth for our best interest as a whole. This league’s turmoil forecasts just the beginning of troubles brewing ahead for San Pedro -- a town that faces problematic growth with a rapid acceleration in both population and traffic downtown and along Western Avenue. This is such a problem that we’d better unite now or we’ll regret it in the future, brave the oncoming onslaught or it will sweep over us like a tidal wave. We should start with the miracle that Eastview president Dave Stanovich seeks.

Let’s make it happen for him. Because the truth is this: We have to stop arguing among ourselves, each putting their own cause ahead of others. That approach plays into the hands of big developers who build townhomes and megastores with increased traffic and then duck out of town cash in hand. This would be tragic if we haven’t figured how to play like a team.

How can we do it? We have to quit thinking in our own boxes. We have to see the big picture and create a tapestry of San Pedro residents and organizations (often, unfortunately, enemies) -- soccer leagues, dog parks, the San Pedro Youth Coalition, Neighborhood Councils, -- and yes, individuals like you and me -- spelling out what we want loudly and clearly with a strengthened voice. That’s the miracle: San Pedro thinking about San Pedro as a whole and not just in pieces. Our community has a way of life that’s fading fast into conglomerates of traffic gridlocks, monolithic businesses and tightly wedged townhomes. The athletic fields, which remain a necessity but are vanishing before our eyes, are a fantastic place to begin with this new team. Let’s prove ourselves here and forge ahead to the next issue. In this case, all of us -- organizations and residents --- need to write letters demanding that Target to come up with other options to keep the fields there. As a community, we can do this. We can demand such an effort and refuse to shop at Target if we can’t save these fields. Because it’s not about the fields anymore. It’s about our way of life that will be buried beneath the dust and debris of progress. If we don’t unify now, we must forever hold our peace and watch for years to come as our quality of life gets bulldozed away. And that’s truly just around the base. But with a strong team, this can be just the beginning of many a home runs for our future.
Please visit for more information about how to save Eastview.