A note of gratitude and warning

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The gratitude goes to the SBPD and their  professional handling of a stolen wallet. The thief was apprehended and the wallet was both secured and returned promptly.  Everyone at the SBPD was both courteous and helpful. Often, we do not realize how valuable our law enforcement agencies are until we become victims of crime. Thank you SBPD for your service, efficiency, and professionalism.

The warning to all SB residents.  Generally, we are a quiet and safe neighborhood but be aware that we are not immune to crime. I apparently left my car unlocked making it easy for the thief to abscond with my wallet. I was lucky that the thief was apprehended before he could use or destroy the wallet or its contents. Avoid my mistake, and lock both your automobile and house when absent.

Harold Biggerstaff

Seal Beach

Listen to Rossmoor Park users

Pickleball advocates in Rossmoor, and three of their elected supporters, DeMarco, Barke and Maynard of the Rossmoor Community Service District (RCSD), have grumbled that homeowners who live across from the Rush and Rossmoor Parks are “NIMBYs” – Not In My Back Yard.

These three RCSD Board members, egged on by DeMarco’s wife, Rachael, who was heard to say that she does not want to drive to Seal Beach to play Pickleball, she wants it in HER BACK YARD, have told Joe Mendoza, the general manager of RCSD, whose job it is to develop plans for the Parks and who receives $85,000 a year to do so, that they are not interested in his written recommendations. Instead, in December 2022, they ordered Mendoza to draft a proposal to install Pickleball in Rossmoor Park by January 2023.

What Barke, Maynard, Shade, and DeMarco have done is to ignore their legal duty to ALL of their constituents, and given special treatment to the wife of one of their friends. In other words, DeMarco has a conflict of interest.

When Tony and Rachael DeMarco instigated this change in Rossmooor Park several months ago, I asked the Board: “Where is the Petition signed by Rossmoor Residents asking for pickleball?” NO RESPONSE. NO PETITION. I also asked “Where is the site plan? SILENCE. “Where is the financial analysis of costs for construction and management?” NO RESPONSE. “When will there be a community forum to discuss the PROS and CONS of a major change in the use of Rossmoor Park?” SILENCE by RCSD. Having served on a planning commission and city council, I know that the Board is not following normal procedures that address Community needs, transparency, and financial ability to fund and maintain facilities. They are acting like bullies.

In response to DeMarco’s July 2022 demands for an instant conversion of the tennis courts to pickleball, which increased the use from 4 people to 16 people per court, with no plans for additional parking, traffic through the neighborhood, or noice remediation, Mendoza gave in, and put in a temporary court. That experiment raised many complaints by the tennis users, adjoining homeowners and members of the community.

Community members asked the Board to hire a competent acoustic company to determine the level of noise impacts on property owners, and provided the Board with a sound study conducted by a professional sound engineering firm. Mendoza somehow “found” a company run by a man who “owns a pickleball school, works as a pickleball referee, and is located in Pennsylvania, who “just happened” to be “in the area” at the right time show up with his laptop and microphone, and watch Rachel DeMarco and a group of her friends swat pickleball at each other. To date, that report has not been presented to the community. I observed the “acoustic test” and was told “I can estimate sound”. “It is not necessary to go to homes to observe the actual impact on residents!”

After that sound “test”, the RCSD Board were presented with a long list of news reports of lawsuits and complaints from across the country, where pickleball was introduced into FAMILY NEIGHBORHOOD parks, JUST LIKE ROSSMOOR, resulting in physical and verbal altercations between families whose kids were pushed off their parks by aggressive players and their “cheer squads”, lawsuits filed against homeowners associations and local governments for bringing a NUISANCE into their neighborhood and destroying the “quiet enjoyment of their homes” with 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. use of the courts, and the accompanying BANG, BANG, BANG of hard balls hitting hard paddles…something akin to a jack hammer, hour after hour. The RCSD Board was also shown a public notice that Long Beach JUST revoked the pickleball use of a local family park due to vandalism…the gate preventing entrance during closed periods, was torn off its hinges. NONE OF THIS MADE AN IMPRESSION ON the RCSD Board.

What did DeMarco, Maynard and Barke do when the General Manager PRESENTED A DETAILED WRITTEN PLAN for evaluating and remediating the potential for degrading the parks? They told MENDOZA to go” take a hike” … come back with OUR plan in January 2023 to INSTALL pickleball courts “for another trial period.” WHY? They said they DO NOT WANT to wait any longer, and WE DO NOT NEED community input or to spend money on studies. In our opinion, noise, traffic, and parking are not a problem. They decided that they did not need to wait to get the acoustic studies paid for by the Board. Apparently “facts” have nothing to do with their decision making process…it is all about their personal “feelings”.

DeMarco is going to give his wife Rachael “her” pickle ball court. Maynard got to execute his first “CEO ORDER” on the day of his coronation to the Board, and Barke just goes along with what his pals want him to do. Jo Shade, the new member to the Board, irresponsibly voted to ignore Mendoza’s recommendations, and Searles voted NO.

Opponents of the removal of field grass and shade trees and the construction of pickleball courts estimated by other cities to run $500,000, point out that almost every home in Rossmoor has a yard or driveway large enough for a private portable pickleball court. There are portable pickleball nets and playing grids available for purchase at a nominal fee.  If the Board is, in fact, fiscally conservative as they proclaim, why would they put the community at risk for legal costs associated with a nuisance lawsuits, and put on hold existing capital improvements projects? Why would the Board ignore their own General Manager’s recommendations?

The answer is simple. This is a vanity project for the benefit of the few with “connections” to the Board at the expense of many in entire Rossmoor community.

What Tony DeMarco’s wife could do, IF she cared more about her community than her personal convenience, is to use her large driveway for a pickleball court. This avoids all the negative consequences presented to the Board and allows the General Manager to proceed with his TO DO List of capital projects.

Rachael DeMarco has the ear of her husband, and his pals on the Board … AND A HAPPY WIFE MAKES A HAPPY LIFE … but not for Rossmoor Park users.

Carol Churchill

Rossmoor resident