North Vallejo Little League defends its own http://www.timesheraldonline.com/news/ci_2326...
The safety of their children came first, but fighting to maintain a small patch of Vallejo against adversity came in a close second.
More than 60 parents, grandparents, coaches, players and others turned out for a North Vallejo Little League board meeting Thursday to help determine if games will continue on the league's Thurmon Field. The question was prompted by gun violence near the park in recent weeks that hit too close to home.
A reasoned conversation among audience members weighed the vivid details of bullets exploding tufts of dirt around players at one game against fears that leaving the home field would mean a loss of members and possible similar crime in a new location.
Moniecia Hall, who said her children lost their father to violence, serves as team mom for the young t-ball players. She said she was present for both shootings at or near the field in recent weeks. Since then, parents have been increasingly reluctant to bring their kids to games, she added.
"It's better to finish at least this season somewhere else," Hall said. "I'm not willing to put my kids through more trauma, just so they can play baseball."
Gene Steele, a grandfather to a Little League player, said he was "a little leery" about being run off from his home park.
"Pretty soon, you don't have no baseball in Vallejo," Steele said. "But on the other hand, do I put my kid out there to fight that fight? I'm not sure about that."
Cherita Dilley, who has five children -- three in Little League -- offered a tempered approach to the dilemma. She said the league could take a break from the field while working toward improving conditions there.
"No bullet has ever curved because an innocent child was in the way," Dilley said. "We don't want our kids to associate baseball and bullets together."
Some other possible solutions voiced during the meeting included having observant parents around the field; Guardian Angels, increased police patrol, confronting the mayor and/or the Vallejo City Council; Fighting Back Partnership; creation of a two-block "kid zone" around the park that would allow the city to assess double fines for child-endangering criminal activity nearby, and prayer.
The passionate group agreed to board president Greg Reason's suggestion that a parent committee be formed to brainstorm some immediate solutions to the crime problem plaguing the area. Scant open game slots at other nearby fields will be snapped up in the meantime.
Reason said GVRD and American Canyon Little League have bent over backwards to help find fields to play on.
Only three weeks remain of the regular Little League season, and most teams were still one or two games short of a full 12 games, Reason told the crowd.
"There's no place like home, but we cannot and should not put our players at harm," Reason said.