The government is responsible for providing social services to its citizens. It should listen and discuss with them how to improve their welfare without violating the rights of marginalized and weak groups. Consultations are important in ensuring different stakeholders understand their roles and the suitability of various decisions made by leaders. It is easy to ruin a good plan if people do not know how to solve conflicts and promote consensus among themselves (Lamb 10). This essay presents reasons why it is wrong for the YMCA to take over the management of the Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center.
Jim Janney, City of Imperial Beach’s mayor, drafted a letter to all stakeholders announcing a plan to privatize the management of Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center and other recreational facilities within the city. Parents and other stakeholders of the Little League and Girls Softball protected this decision and argued that this move will violate their rights. However, Janney presented reasons to influence protestors not to reject this proposal that he termed as positive and for the benefit of the city. The mayor has asked people to consider the advantages associated with the city’s move while the president of the league has presented arguments to oppose this decision.
Debate on the Appropriateness of Privatizing the Management of Baseball
Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center is a public facility designed to offer training and completion opportunities for girls and boys who participate in the little softball and baseball leagues. These leagues are designed for participants in the lower grades to ensure they make good use of their time and develop skills that may help them in the future. However, the city has decided to privatize the park and award the contract to YMCA or the Boys and Girls Club. The Mayor presents the following three reasons to support the city’s decision.
First, he argues that the city does not provide adequate recreational facilities to the locals. Therefore, it is underutilized and does not offer the required services to the targeted population. He believes that the facility should offer services to all people and not just a section of the population. Currently, the facility is used by boys and girls during training and their league matches. Therefore, it is not used most of the time when the leagues are not in sessions or schools are open. In addition, he believes that these bodies (YMCA and Boys and Girls Club) have adequate facility management skills and experience that will ensure they offer high-quality services (Hosey and Puffer 361). The Mayor suggests that people should give an external body the opportunity of running the facility because it will expand the services offered and ensure they are of high quality. He believes the body will manage all other recreational facilities within the city to improve the quality of services they offer.
Secondly, the Mayor argues that the city does not have adequate financial resources to provide high-quality services, hire enough employees and carry out regular maintenance to keep the park clean, safe and attractive. He explains that the city spends about $ 20,000 annually to pay employees and maintain the park. This amount is too much, and the city is struggling to provide it at the expense of other pressing needs. In addition, he admits that it is not easy to manage and service the park because it requires more employees and funds to bring it to the standards of other famous parks in the United States (Robinson 60). Therefore, he believes that private companies have adequate capital to finance the required needs of the park. He cites the good performance record of YMCA and how this reflects tits ability to manage the park and ensure it offers high-quality services.
Thirdly, he believes that the park is supposed to offer recreational services to all citizens of this city throughout the year. Currently, the city is used by boys and girls during their league’s matches and training that does not occur at all times of the year. Therefore, he believes that this facility is not being used according to the required standard. The city administrators believe that the park has a huge potential that is being underutilized. The mayor claims that YMCA or other management bodies are in better positions to ensure the park accommodates individuals from different backgrounds and standards (McNeil 41).
On the other hand, parents and other stakeholders of the softball and baseball leagues argue that YMCA should not be allowed to take over the management of the facility. They present the following reason to refute this proposal and resist attempts to deny them their rights. First, it is ridiculous for the city to argue that it does not have adequate financial and human resources to manage the park. The city’s annual tax collection is about $500, 000. Previous financial records of the city show unaccounted for expenses, and this means that the financial problem of this region arises from how the mayor and his people run it. Mismanagement of financial resources should be explained and not used as a scapegoat to privatize the management of the park. The recreation facility can generate adequate funds for self-maintenance and payment of staff. The city has a lot of employees whose roles include cleaning it and ensuring all services are working properly. These employees should be assigned roles in different sectors, and this means that poor planning and allocation of duties is the reason the city wants to evade the responsibility for managing the park.
Secondly, the park was established for softball and baseball and not any other sport. The mayor is wrong in arguing that YMCA will expand the recreational services offered by the park. This park derives its pride and fame by hosting unique sports events, and this means that its reputation is at stake if the city goes ahead and private it. The baseball and softball leagues have managed the facility since it was opened, and there has never been any problem regarding its functions. In addition, it is too late to start demanding that the facility be transformed to offer other services apart from hosting the baseball and softball leagues. The mayor and his supporters are wrong in advocating the delegation of managing the park to the YMCA. They do not consider the park a recreational center for people who are interested in watching baseball.
YMCA or other bodies may divert the purpose of this park and abuse it to advance their interests. The only concern of private investors is to maximize profits at the expense of the residents of this area (Gardner 371). YMCA is not a charitable organization, and this means that it expects to generate revenue through charging people who use the facility. YMCA can’t manage the park and improve its standards using the money it collects from other projects. In addition, the mayor outlined various improvements that YMCA is expected to bring to the park. These changes cannot be achieved if the park does not have adequate financial resources. The mayor argues that the city has not discussed the issue of YMCA charging children the entrance and usage fee (Imperial Beach 18). However, this should be perceived as a lie because it is impossible to negotiate the transfer of the management rights without knowing how the public will access the facility. YMCA should explain how it expects to make profits and generate money to run the park yet it claims that the public will access it without paying a dime. It is unreasonable to ask children to pay just to benefit individuals who pretend to take good care of their facilities.
Moreover, the problems of externalities are inevitable if the city allows YMCA to take over the management of the park. It is easy for the city to regulate how people use this park and ensure the environment is safe and clean. A public sector can be controlled through output regulation and ensure socially optimal levels are achieved. However, it is easy to achieve socially damaging levels of externalities if the park is managed by YMCA. The mayor argued that the park would expand the park and increase recreational activities. These issues will attract more people, and this means that the environment will be destroyed by the huge population that will be frequenting the park when it is open (Johnson 55). Imperial Beach Little League will be forced to live with the problems of environmental pollution and congestion because of the large population of visitors in the park. In addition, it will be easy for criminals to infiltrate the park and interfere with other people’s activities. Parks that are open to the public have limited security systems and procedures, and this means that the safety of the clubs’ property and welfare will be at stake. It is unreasonable to ask softball and baseball leagues to pay yet the welfare of their members is at risk.
Lastly, YMCA has already won bids to manage public facilities in different locations within the city (Mize 51). This trend is worrying and may affect the city’s ability to make decisions regarding public facilities. The city should not allow private companies and individuals to own most of its public resources. Imperial Beach Little League should be allowed to continue managing the facility unless the city wants to set a bad precedence for others.
Privatization of the management of Imperial Beach Par is a wrong move that will neither benefit nor add value to the locals and Imperial Beach Little League. The Mayor argues that the city cannot provide adequate recreational activities or manpower to manage the park. These reasons are wrong because the city collects revenues that are unaccounted for, and it has been managing the park for a long time without receiving complaints from the public. YMCA or other bodies that are interested in managing this facility should drop their bids because they cannot address the needs of its users properly. They are interested in making profits at the expense of the expected environmental degradation and other evils.
Gardner, Douglas E., et al. “The relationship between perceived coaching behaviors and team cohesion among baseball and softball players.” Sport Psychologist 10 (1996): 367-381. Print.
Hosey, Robert G., and James C. Puffer. “Baseball and softball sliding injuries incidence, and the effect of technique in collegiate baseball and softball players.” The American Journal of Sports Medicine 28.3 (2000): 360-363.
Johnson, Khari. Turko Talks, ‘Baseball, Sports Park ‘Outsourcing’ to YMCA.’ Imperial Beach Patch (2013): 55. Print.
Imperial Beach. A Letter to the Community – Mayor Janney’s Statement on Sports Park. Imperial Beach California (2013): 18. Print.
Lamb, Chris. “Let Them Play!”: The Cannon Street All-Stars and the 1955 Little League World Series.” NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture 22.1 (2013): 1-10.Print.
McNeil, William. The California Winter League: America’s First Integrated Professional Baseball League. California: McFarland, 2002. Print.
Mize, Rita M. “First Biennial League Report on California Community College Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tenure and Retention.” California: The University of California Press, 1998. Print.
Robinson, William Wilcox. Land in California: The Story of Mission Lands, Ranchos, Squatters, Mining Claims, Railroad Grants, Land Scrip, Homesteads. California: University of California Press, 1979. Print.