Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Meeting Canceled, And More

NEVER MIND!
Remember that Pension Oversight Committee meeting I told you about that was scheduled for this afternoon?  Well, it was canceled yesterday, HERE.  So, all of you planning to attend now have some free time on your hands!



PARKS AND RECREATION COMMISSION
Never fear, though. The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, scheduled for tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers is still on the schedule.  You can read that agenda HERE.  If you attend you will watch Chairman Kim Pederson and the other commissioners discuss a tree removal request and hear about the plant palette for certain Mesa Verde street medians and Monument Entry Sign concepts.

FAIRVIEW PARK COMMITTEE MEETS NEXT WEEK
Next week, on Wednesday, April 1, 2015, (which seems somehow perfectly appropriate, considering the turmoil around this committee for the past few months) the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee will meet for what may well be their last meeting for a long time.  You can read that agenda HERE.

MEHREN'S RESIGNATION AND MEETING CANCELLATIONS
You will likely recall that the Chairman, Dr. Richard Mehren, (shown here on the left with Vice Chair Steve Smith) resigned in protest at their last meeting, early in January.  Their February meeting was canceled because the staff needed more time to prepare the reports on the items to be discussed - the possibility of playing fields being installed in the Southeast Quadrant of the park.  The plug was also abruptly pulled on the March meeting.

ON THE AGENDA
Scheduled for discussion, finally, at the meeting next Wednesday are:
1 - Baseball/Softball Facilities
2 - Soccer/Football Fields
3 - Multi-use Fields

There will also be a discussion of a proposed East Fairview Channel Trail.

A LONG, TUMULTUOUS PATH
This committee, which has toiled for 20 months with a prodigious and ill-timed task, has seen the venue changed several times, the configuration of the group change due to the passing of long-time community activist David Stiller (replaced by Frank Davern) and the resignation of Dr. Mehren.  Former Daily Pilot columnist Smith is the Vice Chair and will apparently run this next meeting.  The ranks of the committee have been depleted by Mehren's departure and the appointment of member Brett Eckles to the Parks and Recreation Commission, where he now serves as Vice Chair.  He subsequently resigned his seat on this committee.

HEAR THE REPORTS, THEN WAIT...
The last direction given to staff by the City Council was that the committee should hear the final remaining staff reports, but should then delay any report of their own to the Parks and Recreation Commission until the completion at least the consultant-conducted community survey portion of the update of the Master Plan of Parks and Open Spaces is finished.  What has been missing since the beginning of this committee's work has been actual data about the field use in the city.  There has been plenty of anecdotal "wishes" presented to the committee by youth sports officials, but actual data has been virtually impossible to acquire - despite constant pleas for that information by at least one committee member.

AN UNFULFILLED ASSIGNMENT
So, next Wednesday may be the last time we see this group meet - with their long, long assignment incomplete.  I've attended most of the meetings and found the process to be sometimes quite painful, but they followed the format created in the beginning and have managed to slog their way to within sight of the finish line - expending thousands of staff hours along the way.  I understand the reasoning behind delaying their final report until that survey is complete, and hope they will be permitted to reconvene at a future date to finish the job they signed on for.

NO REPLACEMENT FOR ECKLES
There has been NO solicitation for replacements of Mehren nor Eckles on the committee.  That process could take at least a couple months.  That lack of activity might be a bellwether of how the future of this committee is viewed by the council majority.  We'll find out.

THE JOB SHOULD BE FINISHED!
I think this committee, which has spent the best part of two years of their lives on this assignment, should be permitted to finish the job.  I think they should hear the remaining reports from the staff and do as they've done in the past - vote on whether to present possible changes to the Parks and Recreation Commission.  Then, they should ask the staff to prepare a report based on all the work they've done over all these months outlining the very few changes the committee has agreed upon for possible inclusion in Fairview Park.  That report should be presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission for its consideration and possible inclusion in the update of the Master Plan of Parks and Open Spaces.  THEN the committee can be disbanded with the thanks of a grateful community for all their hard work.

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