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Voice: Coach not happy with Calexico Recreation Department

January 12, 2002

I would like to express my disgust with the Calexico City Recreation Department.

Here is the reason: For some time now, I have coached a traveling baseball team (10 years approximately), and as coaches out there know, we can't get enough baseball fields or games in, as much as we want to, in order to compete better in the San Diego, Yuma or Cochella/Indio sections.

My concrete problem comes when one of the coaches goes to the Recreation Department and asks them to reserve the Castulo Rodriguez Field in Calexico for Jan. 9, for which they promptly answer that they will gladly do it for $25.

Now, in November, I had also asked for the Castulo Rodriguez Field to practice for the Turkey Trot Tournament in Yuma. They had indicated that it was not available, which is OK. I had tried to reserve it only with a few days or a week in advance.

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But what they did not tell me is that the Vincent Memorial High School football team was practicing on it because of the CIF playoffs, which is fine and dandy! Whenever Calexico, or any Imperial Valley team goes to any kind of playoffs, be it Babe Ruth, Pop Warner, high school, this is great for our valley!

Again, my problem: Vincent Memorial High is a private school. That means you go there if you have the money to pay the tuition or have a scholarship. Don't get me wrong. I don't knock them or the excellent coaches and players, but I do think it is unfair that the city has a preference for a private organization or for that matter a religious organization. I don't think they were charged the $25 a day for using the field. I might be wrong, but I strongly suspect that I am not, that is until I see receipts of payment.

Are we being discriminated against for being poor taxpayers (I mean poor because we can't afford private schools for our children), and also on top of that, pay 1/2 cent tax for a "hospital board" for a hospital that does not function? Give me a break!

The city recreation board should take a new look at this policy. The city should provide the Calexico Sunset baseball team with the baseball field, and also provide other baseball teams with that space free of charge. If they do not contribute to our baseball program, then they should not take, and if they do decide to keep implementing this policy, maybe they should begin doing it uniformly.

For example, for equality and fairness purposes for all, if they charge our team, then they should charge all the days Vincent Memorial used it.

In Spanish there is a saying that applies to this situation: "O todos hijos o todos entenados," which translated into our English it means "All of you are sons and daughters of birth or all of you are adopted." Either/or, or all the same.

Before signing off, I would like to point-out that the Constitution of the United States of America was instituted with the concept of separation of church and state. This is not the case in our city Recreation Department.

JAVIER LOPEZ

Calexico

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