Problems with the Santa Rosa Baseball and Softball League aren’t new to the City of San Fernando.
“The league has been nothing but trouble,” one city staffer bluntly told the San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol in describing the league’s history and the many meetings the city has had to address numerous concerns with the league president Marcos Martinez.
Martinez, as the president, is currently out of compliance with his signed agreement with the city, but he continues to oversee more than 30 teams in the league. Parents have complained that spectators have been seen drinking alcohol on the field during games and city staff later confirmed finding cases of beer stored in the snack bar.
The city, until recently, wasn’t fully aware of the league’s problems reaching into the surrounding communities with trophy and uniform vendors who haven’t been paid. The vendors said they extended trust and goodwill to the league and supplied them because it was for kids and community baseball. They believed they would be paid, but as months have gone by, some are considering taking legal action while others won’t do business with the league again.
Similarly, at first Martinez representing the Santa Rosa Baseball League worked with the city with only a “handshake” to use the Las Palmas Park baseball fields and snack bar.
However, that “gentleperson’s arrangement” failed and in 2015 the city entered into a formal agreement with the league and encouraged it to provide transparency by functioning as a nonprofit organization.
While the formal agreement in the beginning seemed to help improve the relationship with the city and appeared to provide more organization for the league, it has remained a tug-of-war to get the sport’s organization to function with checks and balances.
The League Is Out of Compliance
Julian Venegas, director of Recreation & Community Services for the City of San Fernando, was hired last year and inherited the same challenges faced by his predecessor Ismael Aguirre, who pushed for accountability from the league.
“We have provided several time extensions for the league to provide documents and records that are part of the agreement,” said Venegas. “They are not in full compliance.”
Venegas said the league hasn’t yet provided adequate documentation — including bylaws — to prove it is a nonprofit organization, and doesn’t appear to have a full board of directors that is required for nonprofit organizations.
Martinez is listed as the president and has included Abel Luna as the vice-president, but there is no Treasurer or Secretary listed as required or any other board members.
There is concern that Martinez may be functioning more like a sole proprietor rather than a nonprofit, which could open the door for impropriety.
The city is giving the league until the end of the month to provide documentation. If it doesn’t, it runs the risk of breaking the agreement and would no longer be able to receive its benefits. People can opt, however, to rent the park for each game.
“One person can’t run the show,” said Venegas, who is encouraging the league’s parents to attend the meeting.
“Volunteers and a full board are needed. We hope that this meeting will bring more people to be involved and we can come to a solution. ”
The meeting will be held at Las Palmas Park on Saturday at 10 a.m. The park is located at 505 S. Huntington Street in San Fernando.