Balsitis Park

Jack Barnwell/Mojave Desert News

A clean up of Balsitis Park last week cleared out debris and weeds from the neglected field that once housed the California City Whiptails baseball team.

CALIFORNIA CITY — A clean-up effort by local candidates including mayoral hopeful Jeanie O’Laughlin and council candidate Kelly Kulikoff effectively cleared up a weed-choked and overgrown Balsitis Park ball fields over the weekend.

While the fields may need additional work before they are ready for actual use, volunteers removed trash, cleared out tumbleweeds, brambles and other weeds.

The fields has fallen into disrepair, unused since the pandemic hit the county and California issued a stay-at-home order in March.

Balsitis Park was home to the California City Whiptails baseball team, part of the professional independent Pecos League. The Whiptails played from 2017 to 2019 before Pecos folded the team following the 2019 season. 

Kulikoff, who provided a trailer to haul off debris and weeds, blasted several PSAs on Facebook about the clean-up project last week.

“When we come together as a community, we can make a difference and help move us all in the right direction,” Kulikoff’s campaign stated on its Facebook page.

Kulikoff is running for the short-term, two-year seat on the city council.

He thanked volunteers who showed up to help with the task, as well as Tod Randall of Randall Manufactured Homes, Mayor Pro Tem Don Parris, Breeanna Bayside, and Theodore Counter.

“They brought shovels, rakes, trailers, trucks, and equipment to help with no intentions of being recognized for their actions and those are the kinds of people we need to push us forward together,” Kulikoff said. 

Kulikoff put out a call to action on Oct. 19 to clean up the park, in part due to election season negative campaign tactics and mailers going out regarding local candidates, such as mayoral candidate and current mayor pro tem Don Parris and incumbent Councilmember Ron Smit. In short, he stated he was tired of the trash-talking and that it wasn’t right.

“We, as a city, should be setting an example and not becoming part of the problem,” Kulikoff stated in his Oct. 19 post. “These are our neighbors and those that are doing this are not acting in the best interest of our community.”

Kulikoff’s campaign has revolved around restoring what California City used to have, including building more youth programs, bringing in more activities and businesses, and re-investing in solid infrastructure. At an Oct. 2 candidate forum, Kulikoff noted the city possesses a potential that was going to waste

Kulikoff also stated that time spent “destroying the reputation of another person in this community can be better spent fixing some of our problems here.”

The clean-up effort took around 140 hours of volunteer time to complete.

What I learned from this community project is that not a single person that came out to help wanted to be recognized for their efforts,” Kulikoff stated. “They all did it to help 

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