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In Defense of Youth Baseball League

February 16, 1992

This letter is in response to your Jan. 30 article titled "Council Accepts Baseball Assn.'s Reform Plan." As the commissioner of the Montebello Baseball Assn. and an active volunteer in the city of Montebello in numerous organizations for many years, I am appalled by the statements made by Councilman Jess Ramirez. The councilman states, "I feel there have been enough questions raised about Montebello Baseball to warrant a full investigation."

The fact is an auditor from the state attorney general's Charitable Trust Division has been conducting an investigative audit for the past months and we are anxiously awaiting its outcome. Mr. Ramirez's statement leads me to wonder what other type of investigation he is talking about. His statement also seems premature and leads me to wonder whether or not he knows that in this country people are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

In another statement, Ramirez says, "I believe in the bid process," and complained that a proposal submitted to replace our program got short shrift. Ramirez also says, "I think it should have been considered on its merits." These statements are outrageous.

Our organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, 40 years of providing a baseball program for the youth in our community. We are the city's largest sports organization. All of our workers are volunteers. I, like most of our volunteers, have given my time as a coach, manager, division director and for the past two years, commissioner. Parks and recreation officials have stated to me that in the past two years they have barely received any complaints about our organization, and we are a program with over 700 kids.

We deserve to be judged on our merits and on the work we do. Anyone can make anything look good on paper; we have proven our abilities for 40 years. Yes, I also believe in the bid process, but when you have a good thing going, I believe if it ain't broke, why fix it?

Another reason I am so appalled is that the councilman has never met with me or our board of directors to discuss his concerns or, more importantly, to offer help. As an elected city official, he owed that to us, especially if he is going to make the type of comments that appear in your article.

Mr. Ramirez is doing an injustice to all the volunteers in every organization in Montebello. He is helping to strengthen a feeling in the entire country that it is not worth it to get involved because no one really appreciates your efforts.

LARRY SALAZAR

Commissioner, Montebello Baseball Assn.

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