Regarding the article in the Sept. 26 Sierra Star titled "Fairbanks wants zero tolerance."
The well drafted article included a comment attributed to me, Tony Ward of the Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Park. The comment stated "The reason we haven't opened the park in Ahwahnee is because we can't count on law enforcement to keep it safe." This could have been construed to be the total statement but the rest of the question posed to Madera County Sheriff candidate Dennis Fairbanks, included an overall description of the Friends of Ahwahnee Parks plan for a resident on-site and a proposed request for security support from our current and/or future county sheriff.
The Friends committee has been observing the continuing problems with aggressive vagrants for a considerable period of time. Recently the news of the problems seems to be getting worse at the Oakhurst Park with the volunteers quitting.
The Friends of Ahwahnee Hills Park committee is currently reviewing applications for an on-site resident to open and close the park during the five days it is planned to be open each week. The resident will be charged to call law enforcement (not take action) to inform them of any illegal infraction occurring within the 241-acre fenced park.
Over the past few years, the park has experienced theft and vandalism due to the absence of eyes and ears. At the forum, I expressed concern that the park resident will need support from law enforcement within a reasonable time to respond to the phone call.
I also expressed my concern, along with those of neighboring properties, that we may be faced with the same problems as the Oakhurst Park only on a larger scale. My questions and comments did not represent the Friends of the Park Committee but as a member and long-time proponent of Ahwahnee Hills Park, I do have concerns.
Each of the other three candidates for Madera County Sheriff will be asked for their plans to solve the ongoing vagrant problems.