Trouble with soccer

Dear Editor:Well it's 7:15 a.m. on Saturday and I am being awakened on one of my only two days off, days I should be relaxing, in the comfort and quiet of my neighborhood. A day I should be able to sleep until noon if I choose. And already the din of the soccer games has begun. For the last three years or more the families in the neighborhood surrounding Griffith Middle School have been fighting with the city of Downey to have the games moved to another site. I have been a resident of Downey for more than 50 years and have watched what I thought was something good for the children turn into something that no one in the area wants. We have been promised that the games would be limited, we have been promised that the parking situation would be corrected. We have been promised numerous things that have yet to come to fruition. I have taken pictures, I have signed petitions, I have talked to everyone I thought could help. The neighbors are frustrated with trying to enjoy their weekends, the time they should be able to go to the store and not have to fight for a parking space in front of the home they pay taxes on when they return. Forget trying to have a child's/grandchild's birthday party, or invite friends or relatives over. Neighbors with swimming pools? Forget the weekend barbecue. There would be nowhere for them to park. We are past annoyed with the off-loading of players and equipment in the middle of the street, cars parked partially in our driveways, in front of fire hydrants and on corners. Nowhere for our friends and family to park. Out of town guests? Forget it! We have been promised that the parking issue would be resolved. How was it resolved? We were told it is a public street, and that they have the right to park there. I wonder how they would feel if their "neighbors" did this to them. There have been accidents, injuries, etc., emergency vehicles have a difficult time reaching anyone because there are too many cars. We have asked them to carpool, we have been lenient when they said they would pick up the trash and haven't. We have endured this long enough. What exactly is the city gaining from this? Is there monetary gain? I hope so, because I am sure they have to pay the employees of the school district to open and close the school. And someone has to be there the entire time. So let's figure this out. Custodians make a decent wage, and if they are getting paid time and a half for the weekend, depending upon how many custodians are on the site at the time, this could be costing the school district between $24.15 to $32.30 per hour, for one custodian to be on the school site. Do the math! Usually the site manager has this duty on the weekend and they would make even more. At a minimum it is costing $190 per day to allow the soccer games. Are the leagues paying this? Are they insured in case of injury or is the district (ultimately the tax-paying residents) responsible for paying the medical bills because they are injured on school property? And more questions. Why is it they have been banned from playing at other schools? Is it for the same reason? Are there not enough public parks and recreation areas for this? Can't they disperse the game playing areas so as not to create this type of problem? Am I bitter? Am I angry? Do I feel betrayed by the city I love? Yes, yes and yes! Honestly, I would deliver this letter in person, but as of right now, I cannot leave my driveway as there is a soccer enthusiast's car blocking my driveway. -- Kathy McLeish, Downey

********** Published: September 16, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 22