Model Flyers Agreement Threatened?
Thursday, April 24, 2014 the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, guided by the steady, confident hand of my friend, Byron de Arakal, will hold its monthly meeting beginning at 6:00 in council chambers at City Hall. You can read the agenda HERE.
HSS AGREEMENT RENEWAL
Right off the top is Old Business Item A, the Renewal of the User Agreement with the Harbor Soaring Society, HERE. A casual observer might think this would be a no-brainer and that it should pass with little controversy. However, not everything is as they appear to be in Costa Mesa these days, particularly when it involves Fairview Park.
A GOOD COMMUNITY ASSET
Harbor Soaring Society (HSS) has been using a small segment in Fairview Park to launch and fly their model aircraft for more than three decades. It is a highly-rated organization which provides each member flyer with $2,500,000 in liability insurance. From all reports it has been an excellent tenant in Fairview Park, a good custodian of the area assigned to it and provides community outreach beyond the terms of the current agreement.
WHY TINKER WITH THE AGREEMENT?
A year ago the Parks and Recreation Commission extended the agreement, but just for one year, not the five-years requested. This year it looks to be the same - one-year instead of the 5 requested by the HSS so they can make longer-range plans for infrastructure improvements.
RESPONSIBILITY WITHOUT AUTHORITY?
In addition, this time around it appears that the City - through the Parks and Recreation Commission - is trying to ask the HSS to accept more responsibility for behavior of individuals who are NOT members of their organization without the authority to enforce the rules. I'm trying to figure out the wisdom of this move and am coming up short. Read the redline version of the proposed new agreement - Attachment 3 to the staff report - and those items will jump off the page at you.
IS THERE A PLAN AFOOT?
It has been widely assumed that certain members of the City Council covet opens spaces at Fairview Park for playing fields. Members of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee appointed by the council have made it VERY clear about their desires to create a sports complex within the 208 acre boundary of the park. I presumed that the reluctance to approve a longer-term agreement is because there is a plan afoot to oust the HSS at some point in the not-too-distant future. It will be interesting to see how this plays out tomorrow evening.
NEW FIELD USE AND ALLOCATION POLICY
Also on the agenda is the new Athletic Field Use and Allocation Policy for the commissions consideration. The staff report is HERE. The new document, modified to reflect the new reporting relationship since the creation of the new city department - the Parks and Community Services Department, headed by brand new Assistant Chief Executive Officer Tamara Letourneau - also contains some very significant changes in policy,not just appearance. Please read the redline copy of the new document for quick reference to some of those changes.
NEW DEFINITIONS AND PRIORITIES
For example, in the wake of the controversy surrounding the Friday Night Lights Football program and the Matt Leinart Football program - which apparently cost former Recreation Manager Bob Knapp his job - some re-definition of various user groups has taken place, particularly defining organizations that pay an executive staff. Pages 3 and 4 begin to reflect those changes. I noticed one line, standing alone on page 5, that appears to be redlined out of existence. That line reads as follows:
Priority use of fields will be given to traditional primary season sports and by priority grouping.
What do you suppose that's all about?
WILL ANYBODY SHOW UP?
I have no idea what kind of a turnout to expect for those first two items tomorrow, but I imagine many youth and adult sports groups will attend and, perhaps, address their concerns. We'll see.
AND TREE REMOVALS, TOO
There are also two tree removal requests on the agenda at the end, HERE and HERE.