Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A New Idea For Eastview Little League
Let's entertain the idea at least...or lose again

By Diana L. Chapman

Whenever adults fight, it’s sad, but it’s incredibly tormenting when they include their kids in the fiasco. This unfortunately happens often when adults fight; the children are sucked in and are no longer allowed to play or even smile at each other.
That’s exactly what the East View Little League predicament reminds me of.
After I posted a story on how we need to become a team to save East View, I received a bunch of complaints. They ranged from: I want a Target (which has taken over the DiCarlo bakery property where the league was allowed to play for $1 a year for about 40 years) to haven’t Eastview officials had long enough to figure it out? What’s their problem?
The problem: these are a bunch of parents who work full time, are possibly not politically savvy and truly haven’t had a councilwoman to back their efforts or negotiate with Target. Negotiations should have kept them right at their original site as apparently Los Angeles Councilman Dennis Zine was able to pull off for the Woodland Hills Little League when their 35 years of operating was nearly lost. The private property the league operated on went up to auction.
Today, they still operate there, said John Shaikin, the league’s president, who explained they leaned heavily on their councilman to stay at the location.
The other problem – San Pedro can be its own worst enemy.
We are on the brink of enduring another big share of diminishing returns. Let me correct that. Everyday, I wake up, look at San Pedro and say – we lost again. We lost another field. We had another apartment complex built taller than it should have been. We just gave away the store again to another developer or organization, such as the private Boy Scout camp at Cabrillo Beach on public lands. And we just lost another round for our kids.
Whether you like Eastview or you don’t like Eastview, the fact that 600 kids play baseball should tell you the story. I hear these complaints: “I don’t like this coach.. My kid had the worst experience playing there.” The complaints go on and on…and are much like the complaints that I’ve heard every year no matter where my son plays. It’s true. Alright. Eastview isn’t perfect.
Does that mean we make the kids pay? Does that mean we make my girlfriend’s son, Jake, who loves to play at Eastview pay because of our shortsightedness. I was pleased that after I posted the story on the blog, however, that people started stepping up to the plate with new solutions. And a new thought came along. Perhaps we should look at the Cooper Continuation High School site on Taper Avenue? It’s a large plot of land with only about sixty students who could be relocated to the continuation school at Angel’s Gate.
Why else should we look? Because it opens a myriad of possibilities. If you live around that school, you might be cussing me out right now. But all I can see is a big gain for the community at large. Before you get angry, let me explain.
The site belongs to Los Angeles Unified School District. Mike Lansing, a school board member, already has agreed to explore the option and turn over the idea to his lucky benefactor –meaning whoever wins this thankless board seat in May. This means the answer isn’t no from the district. Eastview league officials, Dave Stanovich, the president, and Board Member Ron Galosic, see it as a way to open doors not just for their league, but for a myriad of other uses – a track around the diamonds, batting cages, tennis and basketball courts.
What perhaps makes the site an even bigger possibility is that the city of Los Angeles apparently wants to open a brand new library on the north end of town. This spot could actually be a possibility.
Residents around Cooper may be winding up their fists to sock me. In my defense, I have to say I think for myself I’d enjoy these possibilities for children in my neighborhood -- a place to jog and a place to play basketball, tennis and baseball. Also in my defense, I guess I won’t be a “Not-In-My-Backyard” soul after the district proposed building a high school for 1,200 students at Fort MacArthur /Angel’s Gate in 2012.
My biggest disappointment – my son will be to old to go there.
Unlike the Knoll Hill Park fiasco, where East View would have to kick out the Peninsula Dog Park which has fought like cats to get that spot (or any spot to accommodate a dog park)and 22nd Street where the state has a complete lockdown on the area via California tidelands trust laws, this appears to be the biggest possibility to save Eastview permanently and open up several other major uses for residents.
This is the team playing I’ve been looking for. Thinking out of the box about what could be good for all of us in the future – and not our old tribal wars.
Knoll Hill and 22nd Street, both owned by the Port of Los Angeles, are just temporary sites and are no solution for the Eastview saga that’s been haunting San Pedro for decades. Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn proposed both these sites as possible new locations for Eastivew Little League, but both are uphill battles. The idea is to eventually move them to the city’s sanitation property on the north end of town.
When that will happen? Who knows. If it happens, it will be after the councilwoman is long gone and no longer holding the bag.
Then you have the entire 2,300 condominium development at the former Naval housing property on Western Avenue, directly across from Green Hills Memorial Park.
Developer Bob Bisno tried to persuade Eastview officials that they should endorse his highly volatile and controversial project – in order to have new league ball diamonds built there. Eastview officials balked at the contract, saying they couldn’t represent scores of their members who opposed the project. I agree. To develop the site with such dwellings, Bisno has to get the city to agree to rezone it from single, residential to multiple unit zoning.
The mere size of the project, and the sheer volume of traffic for Western Avenue, has scores of residents singing the blues, including myself.
On top of that, the school district needs to develop a high school at the Bisno site and has been trying to obtain about ten acres for a campus that would seat 800 students.
It would be great right now, if our councilwoman started working for us, and our kids and their futures. Let’s ask for acreage for a new school and swap that Cooper land with the school district. That way, the district can build a brand new school on the Bisno property, Bisno could have some of his units (a lot less than 2,300) and the Eastview Little League and residents can have a mini-sport complex and possibly a brand new library.
Another uphill battle? Yes, but not anywhere near trying to obtain port land where things will be mowed down in short order and cause just another huge community uproar as did the temporary move to the dog park. In the end, doing either of these sites give us just this – absolutely nothing.
This new proposal could be a winner for everybody – especially to those who should mean the most to us – the children of San Pedro’s present and the children of San Pedro’s future.
Not to mention, the children of San Pedro’s past.