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→ Video of the meeting (1 hour, 35 minutes)

At its monthly meeting, the Rancho Murieta Association board heard a sports organization’s pitch to be recognized as a community organization and to be allowed practice time on Rancho Murieta’s sports fields.

Scott Abraham and 30 team supporters were on hand Tuesday night representing the Murieta Bulldogs, an organization of competitive baseball teams formed two years ago to allow boys who are too old for Little League to play tournament baseball. 

The Bulldogs have three teams of 10- to 13-year-olds, 30 players who pay $1,200 a year to play and another $50 or $60 each per tournament, Abraham told the board in comments and a document he shared. “We’re a nonprofit ... we make nothing on this deal,” he said of the Murieta parents who have gotten the group going.

Abraham said the Bulldogs don’t want to take field time away from any team using RMA facilities. “We’re not trying to take away from Little League whatsoever,” he said. “We’re trying to add to the experience, giving older kids, once they age out of Little League, something else to do.” He said the Bulldogs would like a day during the week to use the fields and a Sunday. “We’ll take whatever we can get at this point,” Abraham said.

The group has funded and built its own 1,500-square-foot indoor batting facility at the airport, which Abraham said is available to anyone in the community who wants to use it.

RMA directors expressed concern that the organization doesn’t perform background checks on its coaches and lacks a governing body or written guidelines and business practices. Another seeming sticking point was the competitive nature of the operation. It’s possible a child could fail to make one of the teams because he lacks the baseball skills, Abraham said, adding that it hasn’t happened yet.

“It’s a more competitive environment, though,” Abraham acknowledged. “...These kids are probably all going to play high school baseball. That’s our hope. That’s what we want them to do. We want them to play high school and college.”

He was applauded when he added later, “Being part of a competitive organization is just about life. I mean, it really is.”

RMA Director Rob Brown, who’s president of the Pleasant Grove High Lacrosse Club, volunteered to bring the Bulldogs together with the community’s Little League and soccer organizations to discuss the impacts of a policy change. He was instructed to do that and report back to the board next month.

In other business...

  • President Alex Bauer encouraged Murietans to come to next week’s town hall meeting on security, 6 p.m. Wednesday at the RMA Building. He said it would be the first in a series of meetings on the subject, but the one intended for community input. Other meetings: The board’s November meeting will move to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 13 to avoid Thanksgiving week, and the association’s annual meeting will be 7 p.m. Nov. 15.
  • The board voted 6-1 to provide information on new residents to Stephanie Xenos to help her plan to offer “welcome wagon” greetings to new neighbors. General Manager Greg Vorster said the resident information is publicly available, though it takes a month or two to surface. Xenos said the welcome would include basic information about the community and maybe offers from advertisers. She said she has 10 or 15 volunteers who are eager to help. Director Rob Brown, the only dissenting vote, said some residents might be put off to find that the RMA had shared their information, even to a welcoming organization.
  • General Manager Greg Vorster has been granted a three-year contract extension, to February 2022, President Alex Bauer announced. Bauer said the contract gives Vorster a small increase in salary and retirement benefits. Details of the extension will be included in next month’s board budget meeting, he said.
  • The manufacturer has completed the Lake Clementia restrooms, General Manager Greg Vorster reported, and it will take two or three weeks to get them on site and operating. Half in jest, directors suggested that future contracts contain penalties for failure to meet delivery deadlines. The restrooms had been expected in mid-summer, in time for seasonal lake activities.

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