Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pondering Whether the San Pedro Youth Coalition Still Even Exists

During the last meeting dealing with Knoll Hill issues and East View Little League being able to remain on the site after the current contract expires, Scott Lane who identifies himself as the President of the San Pedro Youth Coalition got up, was the first to grab the microphone, and then loudly provided his demands and overspoke some audience members who do not agree with his opinions. Scott also continued to speak even after he was asked to finish by meeting organizers.

Scott offered a letter to the editor in the February 17 edition of The Daily Breeze which seems to continue his demand that ball fields be kept on Knoll Hill for Eastview Little League, even after the current contract expires.

I must admit that Scott probably understands about contracts because he is listed on the Internet as a lawyer.

So his outburst and letter got me pondering about the San Pedro Youth Coalition that he claims he is President of. It got be further wondering about the activities of the organization and whether is continues to be active in OUR community and actually provides services it states to provide on its Web site:

I visited the site and spent some time reviewing all the pages listed. I found it odd in many ways and it certainly does not appear to be as up to date as many other sites on the World Wide Web.

On the "Links" page there are no refrences to the Boys and Girls Club of San Pedro and there is no specific link to the Boys and Girls Club of the Port of Los Angeles.

Nowhere on the "Links" page can I find any specific link to San Pedro High School, Eastview Little League, and other some other organized youth activities programs that I know occur in the San Pedro area.

I also found it extremely odd that Scott offered the following quote in a December, 2008 edition of The Daily Breeze concerning the new park along 22nd. Street.

Here is Scott's part of the article about the groundbreaking for the new park:

"We have been trying to secure this very piece of land for the children in 1991, so this day has been 17 years in the making," said Scott Lane, president of the San Pedro Youth Coalition. "This effort has been a testament of endurance and perseverance of the humble men and women of the youth coalition."

But the new park is definetly not what the San Pedro Youth Coalition supported in the past.

What makes it so odd for me is that on the San Pedro Youth Coalition's Web site, under the "Activities" menu item is the nine-page, 2.2 megabyte PDF formatted proposal for the
"San Pedro International Sports Complex".

By reading the PDF for the Sports Complex we can view that the San Pedro Youth Coalition supported building the complex on the very spot where the new park is currently under construction.

Why would Scott offer praise at the groundbreaking of a park that he seems to oppose with his letter to the editor and takes up the very space the Coalition wanted the Sports Complex to go?

The file for the Sports Complex illustrated that it was published on April 1, 2003.

In fact and on every item revealed on the "Activities" link is anything dated beyond about May, 2004.

On the "Events" menu, the latest date that also contains a year is for the "Future Leaders Award" and that date was for May 12, 2004.

Whether any of the listed Board members continue to actively serve with the San Pedro Youth Coalition is something I do not currently know.

I could place a call to Mr. Pete Manghera to find out, but I just may ask him the next time I see him.

Also on the "Activities" menu is the "Scholarship Awards Program". The sample scholarship certificate shown on the site looks to be dated May 10, 1996.

No matter, I happen to have known someone who knows quite a bit about scholarships being provided in the San Pedro area. I have known her for about 48 years, so I just might get some information as to whether the Coalition has been offering scholarships since 1996 or even as late as 2004 or thereafter.

One of the items on the "Events" page is the "Youth Track Meet". visiting that particular menu item will bring up a photograph of (apparently) the event. Whether the track meet has gone on in recent years is still undetermined by me. I think if you carefully look at the photo and the location of the Victory Arch, you just may wonder yourself if the San Pedro Youth Coalition is still in business or if Scott is using the former Coalition to continue to remain identified as someone who truly is attempting to support youth activities.

The "Events" page has not been updated after 2004.

When Scott gets up and claims to represent a Coalition or a group continuing to this day, to support youth activities, it needs to be learned whether those activities are still going on.

I would very much appreciate factual information from Scott or anyone else that can prove Scott is not using a former status as President of something that may no longer really exist to support youth in OUR community.

If Scott is going to out shout folks, commandeer a microphone, berate opponents of his thoughts, and demand something that is contractually not agreed to yet, he may need to provide OUR community with evidence that he is not simply speaking as a private citizen and he truly continues to actively support youth in OUR community by being President of an active San Pedro Youth Coalition, complete with all the supportive activities that are listed on the group's Web site.

I am Mark Wells, aka M Richards. I am the President, Founder, and Spokesperson for the Rancho Palos Verdes Film Retrospective, an event that is over ten years old and occurs the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Almost every production shown at the Retrospective includes youthful persons. There have been only two productions shown at the Retrospective that did not include humans under the age of eighteen-years old.

I have nothing to hide with the group I am President of. Does Scott have something to hide, while continuing to claim he is President of the San Pedro Youth Coalition?


Scott Lane said...

Dear Sir:

Let me agree with you that the San Pedro Youth Coalition's website is dated and has been given scant attention in recent years which is my fault. Mr. Tom Dorsey of has been working over the last three weeks to update and improve it.

Allow me also to clarify a few things for you.

The San Pedro Youth Coalition is a California non-profit public benefit corporation with 501(c)(3) federal tax exempt status dedicated to improving facilities and programs for the youth of San Pedro. SPYC has been in existence for 21 years. Its accomplishments are many and perhaps sometime you and I might discuss them.

I am proud to be the Youth Coalition's President, a position I have served in for over 4 years along with some of the most dedicated and thoughtful people I have ever met and who comprise our all volunteer officers and Board of Directors.

Regarding our programs, I invite you to our upcoming Poetry Reading in March at the YMCA where selected participants in our Poetry Contest will read their poems in front of their families and peers and receive plaques for their achievements.

I also invite you to purchase a ticket to our 21st Annual Future Leaders of San Pedro Dinner on May 21st at Ports O' Call Restaurant where over 50 children from all of San Pedro's public and private schools will be honored in front of an audience of nearly 400 people and who later will be able to see themselves receiving their award, while their biography of achievements is read, on local cable television in the weeks that follow. Some of the recipients will receive scholarships that night as well. This years event will take the number of Future Leaders honored by the SPYC to over 1100 in the past 21 years in front of over 7000 attendees of the event in that same time span. If you choose to attend our event, and you are indeed welcome, you will have no doubt of our existence and I am confident that you will join me in hoping we never go away.

Sir, the San Pedro Youth Coalition fought hard to try and get a Sports Complex constructed at 22nd Street during calendar years 2003 and 2004 --- that is reflected in the old renderings you see on our website. When we failed to secure a Sports Complex at 22nd Street, we did not turn tail and disengage in bitterness. We instead worked shoulder to shoulder with passive space advocates in an effort to get the gates torn down and the land made available to the people of San Pedro. I suspect this is among the reasons the Port invited me to speak at the groundbreaking. I was happy to appear there and thank them for the project. Our founding members did in fact work to open that space up to the public for 17 years before it actually ocurred. Their efforts preceded my involvement and they deserve praise not criticism.

Regarding Knoll Hill, those ball fields are important to the San Pedro Youth Coalition, as are all of San Pedro's youth serving programs and facilities. We will continue to work to preserve them. That is what we do. No apologies.

When our Board of Directors convenes in March, I will be sure to inform them of your posting and my response. In the future, I would ask that your blog reporting be preceded by a telephone call or an email so that any misunderstandings might be avoided.

Thank you for enduring this lengthy response and good luck with your blog.


Scott Lane
San Pedro Youth Coalition

M Richards said...

Thank you Mr. Lane, for clearing up the questions I had.

I hope you are able to work with your Webmaster to update your site.

After it is updated, I will post a link on my blogs to your site as just one very tiny way to continue to support youth in OUR community.

Mr. Lane, after having witnessed your actions at the last meeting regarding Knoll Hill, I did not feel inclined to put myself into a position where I might have to deal with the kind of attitude you expressed at the meeting, so a phone call to you was not something I was interested in.

Perhaps if, in the future, you will be more respectful to everyone, more comfortable communications can be arranged.

As a former Cub Scout Commissioner, Den Leader, Assistant Scout Master, volunteer CPR instructor, community volunteer, I have spoken and been around many adults and a great number of kids and I never communicated to a group of people the way you did at the meeting, even when I completely disagreed with their positions.

Eastview Little League needs options and as much support from the entire community as can be mustered.

Your comments and the manner in which the were presented did not do Eastview Little League any favors, in my opinion.

Have all the options regarding where kids can play organized baseball been completely and/or repeatedly studied?

Would Lomita Little League be able to offer its three fields to Eastview Little League during months that Little League in not historically played?

Has everything been tried to get the use of Eastview Park for Little League?

Can another attempt be made to secure Eastview Park? If so, as a resident of R.P.V. and someone who has been a volunteer Traffic Safety Commissioner in that city, I would be glad to assist Eastview Little League in trying to get Eastview Park for Eastview Little League.

Has it occurred to Eastview's Management that there may be a period of time where players might not be able to play games on a site that has multiple fields?

How can we all help to get the "Field of Dreams" moving along faster for use by everyone?

It may have to come to pass that Eastview Little League might have to use portable backstops on fields that can be easily changed from grassy areas to baseball diamonds to allow kids to play baseball.

I don't think when I played in the Eastview Minor League the pitching mound was elevated and there is no real reason to have an elevated pitching mound for T-Ball, is there?

As a lawyer yourself, I think you have a greater understanding of the Tidelands Trust, existing laws and regulations, and the guidelines set forth for the use of the tide lands in the State of California.

Your advanced education into the law should allow you to deal with the situations without resorting to what you resorted to at the last meeting of Knoll Hill, I feel.

Your experiences, education, and position as an attorney could probably be put to better use by Eastview Little League as it deals with the affects of signing a contract that has a specific end date and allowed for only temporary placement of baseball fields on Knoll Hill.

Please, instead of shouting, commandeering microphones, condemning others who don't necessarily agree with you, I feel you could better represent your position and assist Eastview Little League find permanent homes with your positive abilities.

I know there are answers out there.

They don't involve making a pact with Bob Bisno, Ted Fentin, or anyone else associated with Ponte Vista.

I also know that kids are much more resiliant than many adults and they will play baseball wherever they get the chance to play.

For some time I have been a very strong supporter for keeping the White Point Nature Preserve as it was approved to become.

However, times change and other things change.

When the Preserve finally opens up the building and surrounding areas with the gardens it is creating and the native vegatation is fully restored to the site, I don't see any reason why we all can't sit down and look again at the area on the south-west side of the property and wonder why baseball fields can't be put there, closer to the existing field just across the street.

I can even see kids and parents who would never normally hike around the Preserve, taking some time before, after, or between baseball games, to learn more about the area at the Preserve.

One conceptual illustration of the approved new high school campus at Fort MacArthur's Upper Reservation contains a regulation size baseball field.

Might folks be willing to consider attempting to secure the use of a ball field at the campus if the law allows and proper fees are paid?

Someone commented in the newspaper that there are only eight baseball diamonds in San Pedro, not counting Knoll Hill.

T-Ball could very well be played on a softball field and there are many of them in the area.

It may take a fairly long period of time for Eastview Little League to find a permanent home with three fields, batting cages, snack food stand, restrooms, and other amenities.

But in the meantime and after the current use of Knoll Hill expires, Eastview Little League may have to use split locations for games. I doubt that the kids would mind as long as they get to play the game they either love or their parents want them to play.

12 humans walked on The Moon.

There are three humans currently living far above Earth and inside a Space Station.

Humans have been able to slow down the speed of light to the equivalent speed of 38 mph.

Surely we can work better and together to find a permanent home for Eastview Little League and we should be able to do that without a repeat of what we all witnessed during too much of the last meeting regarding Knoll Hill.

I was the fellow who commented that untill Eastview's Management received more information about the possibility of purchasing Knoll Hill, there should probably be a time period where everyone could learn more.

The question I posed during that meeting, was where the location of the restrooms on Knoll Hill might be, as they were not illustrated on any of the four alternatives posted at the meeting.

But it is still my opinion that, after the current contract expires, only one regulation size field remains on Knoll Hill and that Eastview Little League's management honor the contract and obligation they agreed to when they entered into the contract, in the first place.