Saratoga, California | In a drama played out daily at planning and zoning hearings throughout the United States, parents’ desires for soccer space in this bedroom community of redwood trees and sycamores have created tension with other residents’ wishes for peace and quiet. The San Jose Mercury News reports on the dispute over the future of Kevin Moran Park, an excruciating public squabble between emotionally invested combatants in a Silicon Valley town short of playing fields and quiet areas.
The triangular park itself is named for a native killed in 1970 while trying to quell a disturbance at a bank. In 1971, the year the park was dedicated, “no one could have predicted the booms in youth soccer, jogging, softball, skateboarding, bicycling and, now, lacrosse,” writes Joe Rodriguez of the Mercury News. Further complicating matters are the personal histories of prominent spokespersons on either side of the debate. Elaine Clabeaux says she found strength in the park to recuperate from breast cancer. “You can’t put a soccer field here without destroying this park,” she says. “Why can’t they just leave it alone?”
Karlina Ott, who backs placement of a “removable” soccer field, draws motivation from the death at 9 years old of her son Andrew Bedard. “He has motivated me to help kids in Saratoga, and one way I can do that now is through his favorite sport, soccer.” Ott was booed for her stance at a recent public hearing. Her message to the detractors: “Exclusivity, hellooo.”