Wednesday, November 19, 2008

EVLL and the Knoll Hill Meeting

I had hoped there would be some real discussion about what to do with Knoll Hill in the future, when I attended the meeting Wednesday night.

I guess I was far too stupid to think that Board members, parents and supporters of Eastview Little League (EVLL) would not show up. But they did.

I am stopping here to acknowledge that I played minor league baseball with the Eastview Little League about 40 years ago and I do not wish to see children lose playing fields, anywhere.

There was a session set aside during the meeting when attendees sitting at 14 different tables were tasked with providing comments, ideas, and thoughts about what they would like to see happen at Knoll Hill.

Thirteen of the tables have folks supporting EVLL sitting at them and just one table did not have a supporter sitting at that table. Guess what table I was sitting at.

When it cam time for every table's 'leader' to get up and show off the paper they wrote up, thirteen times the issue of ball fields were reported on, especially keeping EVLL on Knoll Hill and the 'need' for ball fields to be left there.

One table, was courageous enough to have actually listened to the presentation and acknowledge the truth and not mention permanent ball fields on Knoll Hill. My thanks go to the others at my table who also considered the truth and were not bullied by the masses of EVLL supporters who stuffed the meeting.

Here are some points supporters of EVLL either refuse to understand, acknowledge, or deal with.

EVLL was provided with land on Knoll Hill for THREE YEARS. The management of the League not only verbally agreed to that, but also put it into writing.

Now it seems they want to renege on their agreement. How does that play when trying to instill knowledge into children about promises you make and then mean to break?

The Knoll Hill reuse is contingent on NOT having permanent recreational structures on the site, including backstops and pitching mounds.

Apparently many of the folks in the room turned their ears off during that part of the talk.

Have ANY of the activities promised by EVLL management and supporters, attempting to secure new fields somewhere else, been done or even started?

Do folks remember that EVLL management has agreed with Bob Bisno to have fields provided with him IF he gets what he wants at Ponte Vista?

EVLL agreed to allow other to use the fields on Knoll Hill when they were not using them. How come the gates have been found locked by folks wishing to use the fields? I have had multiple sources tell me that they only see people on the fields when someone from EVLL who has keys, opens up the gates.

Why should a private enterprise be able to use public areas such as Knoll Hill without proper payment for the land being used?

After EVLL leaves Knoll Hill, the Port of L.A. wants to provide open public space for public, not private use. The agreements that will provide public use of the land state that the area remain passive in nature and allow for many different types of uses, not necessarily ball fields.

EVLL has basically exclusive use of its former location for about 45 years. They then were granted temporary lodging for another three years without paying a fair price for using either location.

So for about 48 years the management of EVLL has been able to relieve themselves of actually finding the proper resources to ensure the continuation of their League and the ability for children to play the 'all American game'.

If it is so darn important that the kids have a place to play, then why hasn't the management of EVLL done more to secure a new home?

The parents, volunteers, and supporters of EVLL should have started a monetary fund years ago to assist in finding a new home rather than demanding the government entities provide a home for them.

It is also a suggestion that all the management of EVLL who were in office when Bob came to new terms with the League resign, so new management can work with a community that is not happy with the current management for not telling Bob where to stick his fields.

When you agree to meet with a devil, be prepared to get burned.

So EVLL supporters attended, probably hat in hand, stating that there must be ball fields on Knoll Hill and that they should be allowed to continue to use them, with few restrictions.

If you get a chance to see and aerial photo of Knoll Hill during the day, it looks like about 85% of the flat portion of the hill is already taken up by the fields and parking spaces for parents attending EVLL games.

Now there is some support for keeping at least one ball field on the top of Knoll Hill and keeping the parking spaces for all who would eventually use a more open space type of park.

There were many other suggestions provided during the meeting for what could go up on top of The Hill and almost all of those ideas were suitable for use by anyone, not just kids playing baseball.

But when 13 out of 14 tables have their primary request for continuing to have ball fields at Knoll Hill, it appears the deck was stacked against many other possible uses.

The location of Knoll Hill is also important because San Pedro desperately needs more park lands east of both Pacific Avenue and Gaffey Street, especially more towards the downtown area.

There is a subsidised housing project not far from Knoll Hill that has far too little open or green spaces for kids to play. The residential areas near the Hill also do not have much needed parkland nearby.

There are many parks and areas of open spaces in the greater San Pedro area, but those types of areas are in too short of supply where they seem to be most needed; in the lower income areas of San Pedro.

As long as the Port of Los Angeles is willing to provide the public with land for public use that is flat, open, and offers differing recreational, sightseeing, and meeting uses, then the public should be allowed to use the vast majority of the site, for as long as they can.

That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it!

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