Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting
Last night was a crap shoot... I had to choose between the latest meeting of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee meeting and the Westside Master Plan Community Outreach meeting, both of which were held in the same venue - the Neighborhood Community Center - at the same time. Primarily because of the controversy embroiling Fairview Park issues, I chose the former.
THIRTY PEOPLE SHOWED UP
The meeting was well-attended - at least 30 people showed up and a third of them chose to speak to the committee. I thought that was a good sign and hope even more people will attend the next meeting on October 2nd at the same venue.
A FEW PRO-FIELDS SPEAKERS
The first speaker was Gordon Bowley of Costa Mesa United. He asked to be placed on the agenda for the next meeting so he could address the committee on youth sports. He was the first speaker and formed part of a pro-sports fields bracketing, with Devin Lucas speaking last and stressing the need for more playing fields. Harold Weitzberg again stressed the need to carefully evaluate whether ANYTHING needs to be done in the park. He encouraged the group to carefully assess the need for playing fields, for example. He implied that the demographics may not support more fields.
PACIFIC AVENUE IMPROVEMENTS
Several of the speakers were very concerned about the plans for the new parking lot and play area off Pacific Avenue, stressing congestion on an already-crowded narrow street. They also spoke of the need for a restroom near the proposed playground. One speaker, Jordan Strickland, told the group and audience that Mayor Jim Righeimer will be holding a "Meet the Mayor" meeting at his, Strickland's" house on September 12th at 6:00 p.m. to discuss those very improvements. His address is 2303 Pacific Avenue - last house on the left at the end of Pacific. Watch for the announcement on the city web site.
Then Bart Mejia, Project Manager for Fairview Park, presented an overview of the Northeast Quadrant of the park - the section off Placentia and bracketed by the Fairview Channel and the homes up the hill to the north. It's a relatively small segment of the park and right now is just the home to an overlook site. There was NO discussion of possible enhanced uses of this quadrant - those suggestions will come later in the process.
During Member Comments Brett Eckles expressed an opposing viewpoint to that expressed by Weitzberg. He stressed we NEED more fields.
Dennis Popp echoed Eckles and suggested that folks seeking assistance from committee members be ready to offer "help" in return. He mentioned the excellent community outreach by the Model Train folks and the various sports groups. There was really no other way to interpret his comments except that he was unwilling to listen to folks who were not willing to give something in return. That attitude, of course, is typical of the rest of the followers of the current power elite in Costa Mesa. He's basically saying that if you want your ideas included in the final solution to the park update, then you'd better be ready to fork over your time - at least. I thought it was extremely inappropriate and was surprised that nobody challenged him on it.
Anna Vrska wanted more data. She felt the need to know with much more specificity the demographic of our sports teams so she could more accurately project future needs.
Chairman Richard Mehren requested Public Services Director Ernesto Munoz to provide the committee with use data involving all team sports. Eckles said he has a lot of that data and will present it at the next meeting. The discussion then evolved into a broader discussion of data acquisition and verification.
Ron Amburgey made it very clear, once again, that he felt the need for fields was very strong and that he would just disagree with those who felt differently.
MUNOZ ON THE DG TRAIL MITIGATION
Munoz gave the committee an overview of the memo from LSA Associates regarding the DG trail and the mapping of all vernal pools. He provided copies of the document to everyone at the meeting and explained some of the choices that were offered to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in a memo yesterday. He doesn't expect to hear back from USFWS for at least a couple weeks. The results of that evaluation will be presented to the committee, then the Parks and Recreation Commission. In response to a question by Vice Chair Steve Smith, Munoz affirmed that we would be guided by the decision of the USFWS to perform whatever mitigation of the encroachment of the DG trail into Vernal Pool #6.
The meeting wrapped up in a short 90 minutes. I suspect the next one will be longer...