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DOMINGUEZ

He Got Hint When It Hit Him on Head

July 02, 1998|FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ

Finally, wannabe developer Mark Steele got the message that Cal State Northridge won't do business with him.

Steele was steamed that neither Northridge administrators nor coaches attended the public forum he held Tuesday night at the university.

So on Wednesday he pledged everlasting separation from Northridge.

What took so long?

Did he really think they'd show up? Is this guy hard of hearing or incapable of reading?

Twice before, Northridge President Blenda Wilson notified Steele that his proposals for developing athletic facilities at the North Campus did not meet the school's criteria.

She also reminded Steele of the school's deal--worked out several weeks ago--with a Sylmar businessman who will build a biotechnological park at the location. The revised master plan for campus development was approved by the California State University board of trustees in May and by the Los Angeles City Council on June 17.

But Steele, either an eternal optimist or someone who has trouble understanding the word "No," still wanted to talk about his $90 million arena and stadium plan.

Northridge administrators, who believed the plan was too risky financially, wanted Steele to go elsewhere.

Steele said Northridge administrators never truly listened to his plan. Perhaps they are guilty of that. After all, they have made major blunders when it comes to school athletics.

But Steele apparently had problems listening, too.

Northridge was locked into a plan, for better or for worse, and Steele wouldn't accept it.

He finally took heed of these words uttered by an old sage:

"If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Then stop. No sense in making a fool of yourself."

*

Valley College last week became part of newly recognized Valley Glen, formerly the eastern sector of Van Nuys, but don't look for the school to rush-order new letterheads and business cards.

"We just did that," Athletic Director Chuck Ferrero said. "We just got a new phone system. Changing the address on everything would be really expensive."

In keeping snobbishness alive and well in tinsel town, residents of Valley Glen wanted to help boost the resale value of their homes by seceding from that other presumably lower-class community.

The value of the campus is not expected to go up.

*

Ferrero has more pressing matters to worry about, like hiring a softball coach.

Kodee Murray, Valley's coach the last four seasons, recently resigned to become an assistant with the Tampa Bay FireStix of the Women's Professional Fastpitch league.

"I'm trying to get a quality person in here," Ferrero said. "It's an off-campus position, so it's hard to get someone with experience and flexibility in their work schedule."

Hey, Chuck, just tell them they'd be coaching in exclusive Valley Glen.

*

One year after Mission College dropped all sports, John Klitsner doesn't see the situation changing soon.

Klitsner, the school's former athletic director and baseball coach, is teaching physical education and health at Mission. He said the school is just trying to stay afloat.

"Athletics was not a priority then and it's even less of a concern right now," Klitsner said.

Klitsner said not having sports at Mission the past school year was a little strange.

"I went to a lot of [junior college baseball] games and went home and didn't worry about anything," he said. "I just went over to the coaches and said, 'That was a tough loss. Now get over it.' "

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