This still left plenty of opportunities to chew on other city
matters, and it preserved the lingering threat that some published
notion of mine might earn a stroll down the plank on the parks
commission ship of state.
In the case of Costa Mesa's partnership with the Newport-Mesa
Unified School District, where our shared use of sports fields is
concerned, there are whiffs of smoke at City Hall suggesting that the
partnership isn't popular among some City Council members, and that
it has the potential of going up in flames. Indeed, the concept was
broached during the council's Aug. 9 study session.
To the extent that having no field-use partnership with the school
district represents a devastating blow to organized youth sports
leagues in this town, forceful commentary on the subject trumps the
tight-rope act separating the journalist from the parks commissioner.
So, here goes.
Since 1997, Costa Mesa and the Newport-Mesa Unified School
District have enjoyed a contractual partnership that permits the
school district to use city parks and facilities and that allows
youth and adult sports organizations and city-sponsored athletic
leagues to use school district fields. In government vernacular, we
call the contract the joint-use agreement.
Costa Mesa's role is to serve as the permitting agency for all
fields in Costa Mesa, provide basic maintenance and establish and
administer a policy for when, how and to whom field use is allocated.
From time to time, the city and the school district have tightened
a few bolts and added a quart of oil or two to keep the arrangement
tight and smoothly running. In fact, for nearly a year now, the two
governments have been huddling to produce a retooled joint-use
agreement to build in assurances that school-district-owned fields
are maintained in a safe and playable condition.
The really stinky news is that the current effort to refine the
joint-use agreement seems to have sparked a slowly smoldering notion
among some council members that Costa Mesa might be better off if it