I am writing to clear up some misconceptions that may have been created by last week’s article regarding softball in Morenci. I appreciate the time and effort that past and present council members have given to our city. We know that not every decision will please everyone. The only guilt I carry in this matter is I voted for some of the current council members.
I am a city employee only to organize a Friday night league. In past years I was paid $1,250 from April-August, not out of taxpayer money but through the money generated by Friday night leagues, and the profit went to the city after paying expenses. I am not paid by the city to run softball tournaments; these are created through the Softball Association. I organize them because I enjoy being around people. The Friday night league didn’t materialize this year due to lack of interest and hard economic times.
I have lived here all my life and have always assumed softball tournaments were a good thing for the city and businesses...up until this year. The council has given me a new perspective: that the consumption of alcohol at softball events is an unfavorable influence on our young people.
I would like to apologize to the Festival committee and Sue Snyder for the short notice of pulling the tournament. After 20+ years of organizing softball events I know what softball players want, and being told they can’t do something that has been allowed in the past, isn’t it. I am aware of the amount of planning that goes into the Festival. A softball tournament also requires a lot of planning and mine would have been wasted for lack of participation.
Mayor Erskin stated he tried to contact me. If he didn’t leave a message, I don’t have mental telepathy. Renée Schroeder called and e-mailed me twice, I answered each time. Mayor Erskin also stated that my job is to bring softball tournaments to Morenci. My only job was to bring a Friday night league to Morenci. This didn’t happen so I ceased to be employed by the city of Morenci. It is my choice to choose to run softball tournaments for the city or not, such as the Town & Country Festival (which I have agreed to do in the past), but the other tournaments I decide who gets the profits. In the past we have donated to high school baseball, high school drama club, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girl Scouts, Little League, the library and playscape.
I have been a player, umpire, spectator, tournament director in and around Lenawee County for over 25 years and Morenci has never had a problem with unruly ballplayers even before there was a designated drinking area.
Mayor Erskin stated there were no opposing views presented when the alcohol permits were brought before them...not true. Tracy Schell and Sue Snyder spoke of their disagreement. I could not attend council meetings due to a scheduling conflict.
The council’s first excuse was, “Let’s set a good example.” Since that didn’t work, now they’re using their insurance carrier as a scapegoat. What else will they deem dangerous? The skate park, playscape, bike track, Little League fields, tomatoes?
I’m not for drinking, I don’t even drink, but I am in favor of people being allowed to make their own choices. When they choose to break the law at the park, they pay the consequences by receiving a ticket. This choice to break a law could be made anywhere in the city at other business establishments and they will be ticketed.
Fayette has been very receptive to our softball tournaments in the past and the present. They appreciate it and look forward to more. I would have have loved to generate income for Morenci businesses. In the past, Fayette and Morenci have benefitted; City Council has closed the door to Morenci.
In closing, I would like to thank Renée Schroeder, the police department and former council members for supporting softball.
– Bob Ford
Burley St., Morenci