Sunday, November 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Barbecue brings big crowd, progress to Parkway Gardens

17 parkway bbq 1

Parkway Gardens residents gather Thursday at a barbecue at the condominium development in Fairfield. More than 200 people attended the event intended to strengthen community ties at Parkway Gardens. Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet was among speakers at the event. (Ryan McCarthy/Daily Republic)

By
From page A3 | April 18, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — More than 200 people attended a barbecue Thursday at Parkway Gardens – an event praised by participants and city officials as evidence of improvement at the 240-unit condominium development.

“This is so good to see so many people,” Fairfield Police Chief Walt Tibbet said.

The event with hamburgers and hot dogs drew at least twice as many people as a barbecue that took place in March.

Arturo Gallardo, 54, who’s lived at Parkway Gardens for a decade, said residents have faced many problems the past four years.

“This is nice,” he said of the event.

Resident Janice Easton called the turnout amazing and said, “I am thrilled.”

The city of Fairfield joined her legal challenge to conditions at the development. A report prepared this month for the Solano County Superior Court noted mostly absentee landlords had led the property to operate “like a lawless apartment project.” Two people were killed in the parking during a March 7, 2012, gunfight and a man was shot and killed Jan. 3.

Tonia Roberts, outreach pastor at Liberty Church in Fairfield, told the crowd gathered Thursday that job readiness is among programs available for residents.

“Trust me, test me on this,” she said – they are not going away.

Larry Bluford, head of the Christian evangelical ministry The Harvest Unit Gathering Souls – know as Operation THUGS – looked around the gathering and said, “Isn’t this beautiful?”

Liberty Church member Michael Hester, 56, a Fairfield resident, welcomed what he saw.

“It’s an excellent display of love and community,” he said. “We care about Fairfield. We care about our neighborhoods.”

Todd Bertani, senior pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Fairfield and the husband of City Councilwoman Pam Bertani, said of the barbecue, “It’s a great event. It’s bringing the community together.”

“We just need to do this a lot more often,” he said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

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Discussion | 29 comments

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  • 2realApril 18, 2014 - 5:00 am

    How is having a big crowd at a barbeque progress? I dnt understand why their stuck on parkway when the last ten shootings were elsewhere. Phoenix drive girl was killed, walmart, brothers were shot. Travis blvd. Shootout, minutes later man killed in grande. Juveniles shot on orchid st. Etc... i understand parkway has its moments but maybe we should throw a city wide barbeque..?

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  • mescApril 18, 2014 - 7:06 pm

    Free food always brings the welfare crowd. Still I hope this does some good, but until the people stop asking for free stuff and start supporting themselves I do not believe a thing will change. It's too easy to Cry Victim.

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  • MattApril 18, 2014 - 6:21 am

    There is no progress for Parkway Gardens, the layout is built as an ideal area for crime to happen. The minority of criminals who frequent the area will not stop because you throw a BBQ on a Thursday afternoon. The good people in that community are scared to stand up against them. And matter of fact I'm willing to bet most people in this community are willing to stand up against the criminals because if any of them do get arrested our state can't keep them in jail. Fairfields become the Wild West.

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  • Suisun1April 18, 2014 - 6:24 am

    A bbq with a high turnout is a great start to heal and sew the seeds for community trust and respect. Some people in Fairfield take it for granted that their neighborhood is safe. Good for you. Move beyond your own individualism and witness that people are exposed to a crushing amount of violence and poverty in certain neighborhoods. Be glad that you didn't grown up in such situations but don't cut people down who are trying to make their community better by bringing people together.

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  • The MisterApril 18, 2014 - 6:34 am

    Great campaign event! (Sal, I'm being sarcastic.)

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  • JBApril 18, 2014 - 7:13 am

    Wow Pam is really getting the word out. Just wait it won't be long until the gardens are in the news again and it will not be a happy event. The shootings will keep coming and Pam will tell us what a good job she is doing.

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  • rpApril 18, 2014 - 10:26 am

    Let's be real, they came out for the free food. And Pam is just trying to get more votes. How cynical of Pam Bertani. I really hope people open their eyes and see what she's really about and not vote for her!

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  • Larry D. Bluford, Jr.April 18, 2014 - 12:03 pm

    I'm just appalled at how negative these comments are. As if we are insinuating a BBQ means we've had a victory. I'm willing to guess that none of you are even trying to do anything to be an answer to the problem all you do is sit on the sidelines and criticize. And FYI this isn't Pam's event. Pam is one of the ONLY elected officials that almost shows up to EVERY event. She was in Parkway throwing movie night for the kids prior to this campaign. She was the one cleaning up areas in downtown Fairfield prior to this campaign. She was the one getting Operation THUGS in front of decision makers of this city to get us support to do what we do on the front lines. Where were all of you? It's a crying shame that y'all waste energy being negative instead of asking what can I do to help. You all should be ashamed of yourself for your negative judgmental statements. For all those on support of what we do thank you so much. You are a blessing! This is the beginning of a movement of change. Oh and to the person who said the recent incidents haven't been in Parkway, RIGHT ON BROTHA! You've just showed me we ARE making an impact in Parkway and it's because of us concerned citizens that crime hasn't been in Parkway. See what you don't know is Parkway Gardens averages a 100 police calls a month. That surpasses ANY NEIGHBORHOOD in Fairfield. Of course we are concerned with our ENTIRE CITY. #BreakTheCycle will eventually blanket the entire city, but for now we are starting on the worst neighborhood in Fairfield and by you're own admission these latest crimes weren't in Parkway so we are having measurable success with still yet a loooong way to go. To those wanting to help and wanting to make a change give Operation THUGS , Inc. a call at (866) 873-8953. Help us #BreakTheCycle.

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  • CD BrooksApril 18, 2014 - 12:31 pm

    LDBJ, funny I thought it was Mraz that did the movie nights? I was invited but it was presented to me as a religious event and I don't go to those. The Parkway Gardens location just might be prime property for high end townhomes.

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  • Larry D Bluford, jrApril 18, 2014 - 12:56 pm

    Cd brooks wrong again. He helped contribute food ect but he didn't conduct them Pam did.

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  • CD BrooksApril 18, 2014 - 1:11 pm

    LDBJ wrong again? Mraz "only" contributed food etc. Nice. I think it is you that's wrong Sir!

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  • Larry d bluford jrApril 18, 2014 - 8:00 pm

    Wrong again? Ok. First of all I was at EVERY movie night. While you can hide behind a title on this forum to hide your identity my FULL NAME is on mine. So while you act like you know the business you don't because I know EVERYONEA who contributed and for you to say only that one person contributed I can say that's false because I contributed to EVERY movie night. #checkTHErecord

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  • CD BrooksApril 19, 2014 - 6:44 am

    LDBJ, I’ve been contributing to this publication for over twenty years so don’t give me that “hiding” crap. Like I told Salty Dog, I don’t pretend to know anything about your neighborhood but in all the years I’ve read about Parkway Garden’s movie night, Bertani’s name NEVER came up until the other day. Got it? ONLY Mraz NOT Bertani! So I simply asked a question. Frankly your name hasn’t been here either, unless it is a Parkway Garden’s related issue and I could care less who you are or what you might have done, it makes me no difference anyway. I’m not a Mraz fan and I certainly have no use for Bertani. She’ll be a council person til 2016 then she won’t and we won’t have to see her phony photo-ops any longer. Hopefully we’ll see three new faces in November for council and Mayor. Good day to you Sir.

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  • Larry d bluford jrApril 19, 2014 - 8:18 am

    That's my point you're READING I have been at every movie night and I don't recall seeing him at one. So perhaps he was feeding the DR what he wanted them to believe. You should know by now not to believe everything you read. DR never came to our movie nights once. We wasn't doing it for the DR, never called the DR which I'm curious why they didn't come to us. But oh well he got the credit although he never stepped foot in PW.

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  • Salty DogApril 18, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    CD shame on you to criticize this event when you did not even go to see what it was all about. You can continue to stand on the sidelines and do nothing but put it down. It is people like you that want to stick their head in the sand are part of the problem.

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  • CD BrooksApril 19, 2014 - 6:28 am

    Salty Dog, I never criticized this event and I only questioned Mraz' part because his name as all I'd ever seen associated with the movie night thing.

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  • Rich GiddensApril 18, 2014 - 9:44 pm

    Why don't you and your homeys go "break the cycle"? The rest of us are struggling to take care of and educate our kids while the "sons of Obama" and "Holder's people" are out costing society and the taxpayer endless grief and money!

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  • Rich GiddensApril 18, 2014 - 9:46 pm

    I'm certain that the presence of the cop was a magnet and drew quite a crowd of the warring tribe contingent of whom and what all the issues and unpleasantness is about!

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  • Jackie OjedaApril 18, 2014 - 12:28 pm

    Hello everyone, Operation THUGS is a non profit that reaches the community in many ways. This is just one way that we want to show the compassion we have for the city. For right now Parkway is where we are. Loving on the community. I am aware of all the other crimes in other places, but if we as a community can come together we can have it at other places also. We are those Few is our motto right now, but we need so many others to be involved. All donations to our non profit go out ...Yes 100% goes out to helping the community. Just to keep you all abreast in what we do is not only at Parkway, you just read it that it was at Parkway. We go out and help the less fortunate, we help others in need such as food and appliances all funded by our wonderful community. We are reaching the people that want help in Parkway, we are helping the young people reach goals through a program called BreakTheCycle. We strive to make our community better, but unfortunately we can't stop all the crime, but we can help those that want out. Consider in helping us before you judge. We are those few and we would love for you to join us in Breaking the Cycle..

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  • ChelseaApril 18, 2014 - 12:31 pm

    Wow, are we really attacking these people for trying to bring the community together? These men and women who organized this event are well aware of the tragic incidents that have taken place in our city over the last few years and the goal is not merely focused on Parkway, it's Fairfield in general. Maybe we should ask them what their plans are and how we can HELP before we start throwing stones saying they need to do this and that. Sitting behind your computer screen throwing around criticism is helping NOTHING. Get involved, bring your concerns for construction not destruction. Please. I mean that genuinely, please. Your anger makes the issue worse, get involved and help.

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  • Ryan J. GarrettApril 18, 2014 - 12:37 pm

    I am appalled at the comments being left here. It's sickening to hear such negative responses. These awesome people poured into the community of Parkway Gardens with no other agenda than to love on a community that has been marginalized by callous jerks like you. Many people were blessed by this event and if you could have seen all the smiles on the children's faces then you might have a different tone in your responses. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that community barbecues will not stop the violence raging through our city, but it's a step in the right direction. There were many positive influences there lending a hand, pouring into the youth, giving them hope, resources, and counsel. Which is critical, because many of the children/teens coming from communities such as Parkway Gardens don't get that often. It's important that we counter the negative influences in their lives with positivity. It shows them another way, gives them something to think about, and instills hope in their heart. It's a heart issue that only God can heal. Which is why evangelist were on deck witnessing to them. It makes me sick to read the comments left. How dare you try to shed a negative light on this event. It's flat out disrespectful and callous. Hundreds of members of this community took time out of their busy lives to make this awesome event happen. No one got paid to be there. They got involved because they genuinely wanted give a community ravished by violence some hope. Where were you? Running your mouth? Sitting on the sidelines bickering? If your not out on the field trying to be apart of a solution, then you're part of the problem. Show some respect for those trying to make a difference. At least they are trying to do something to bring this community together. With that said, I tip my hat to the Daily Republic for this refreshing article. It was a breath of fresh air. I also want to thank all the men and women who volunteered to make this event possible. One last thing, you can knock on Pam all you want, but I will say this about her, she has heart for this community. I have volunteered in this community for many years and I can honestly say she is one of the few city officials I ever see out there in the field with her sleeves rolled up trying clean this city up. We don't need more division, we need more unity. Together we can make a difference and we will break this cycle, but sitting behind a computer knocking on the people trying to do something positive in the community won't do it. Support their efforts.

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  • Arica HenryApril 18, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    There is always a need for critical discussions and debates surrounding the manner in which to respond to a crisis. After all, no one with good intentions wants to trial and error how to respond at such a time of urgency. However opinions are like noses, we each have one. What will be of most benefit is input and participation from individuals with a desire to serve, who have experience, education or research to stand on when providing constructive criticism. Any time spent on nay sayers or critics without such a background is time wasted. The fact of the matter is that OT has been providing crisis response to this city in an effort to show love, support, and to stand against the negative cycles of violence in our community. They are some of the first responders coming along side of the police, going beyond to generate funding, and ongoing care for families after the tragedy has passed. It would be foolish to look back on and criticize the practices of Gandhi, Mother Theresa, or Martin L. King simply because of their faith or religion. The civil rights movement started in a church, that sure didn't mean the impact wasn't for the good of all or only relevant for the church attendee. Break the Cycle is about more than just BBQ's, telling people that they need to change, or pushing a religious agenda. However many faith based organizations and Christians are supporting this cause from various churches. Yet, no one is offended when a church distributes food, offers clothing or tutoring. And let's face it, food brings people together. Many organizations and institutions realize this. In fact schools realize this in terms of providing free lunches or dinner nights to share information with families. Even CostCo offers free samples to get people to come out and see what is being offered. The difference here is that Break The Cycle represents a gain for the entire community and future generations. Gathering people together in and of itself won't convince people to live differently nor will just having people and services available. It's a gradual process of building trusting relationships, fostering opportunities and building a bridge between the people and the resources that are available to be accessed. The blessing of Break the Cycle is that it is a collective effort of people from various churches, educational, political, and workforce backgrounds whom have committed to look at the global need and root of the issue beyond the state of immediate urgent care. The BTC initiative is a synergistic movement: combined effort being greater than parts; the working together of two or more people, organizations, or things, especially when the result is greater than the sum of their individual effects or capabilities. BTC is a comprehensive model with a triage of services and a means of tracking the success and outcomes. The goal is to facilitate positive and lasting changes, which require first reaching the hearts of people. You cannot effectively activate change by selling a good idea until you build relationships with the people and impact them on a personal level. People of all walks of life want better for themselves and their children. It's like someone who knows about a beautiful country that exits, yet doesn't have map to get there, has no one to show them way, doesn't speak the language, or have the funds to travel. They aren't going to see the possibility of getting there without links to all the above, but that doesn't mean they don't want to go to that beautiful country. The people involved with BTC are the bridge, the links, and their heartfelt compassion and commitment is the catalyst that will activate this community's ability to #BreakTheCycle Thank you to all who are digging in and giving this movement your all.

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  • How Beautiful Upon the Mountains - John StainerApril 18, 2014 - 3:24 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H5wCy3v3Xyg

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  • Ashley de la rosaApril 18, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    It's funny how the people that believe to know everything about OT an the great thing they do for the community know nothing. Great job Larry and OT.

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  • Rich GiddensApril 18, 2014 - 4:39 pm

    Yep, a barbeque and national night out are really going to gain control over errant young people with no real parents or direction in life

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  • Rich GiddensApril 18, 2014 - 4:44 pm

    I'm sorry but the ''residents'' of that low-rent apartment complex are objectionable and contemptible.

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  • RalphApril 18, 2014 - 9:42 pm

    BBQ brings a crowd....

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  • JBApril 18, 2014 - 9:57 pm

    Hey Ryan answer me this, why is Pam running for supervisior instead of fulfilling her committment as a councilperson? Answer because she is using it as a steppingstone for her political career. Looks like a security person in the picture, just like Oakland , not enough cops so they have to have private security. She is dedicated alright. Keep believieving instead of looking at the facts. Shootings, murders, and robberies.

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  • LcApril 18, 2014 - 10:41 pm

    Go ahead CHURCH...... Do what you do. I think it's great. Have more events for the community. Of course having a BarBq is NOT going to stop the violence.(DAH) They talked about Jesus put him down, called him out of his name,& spit on him. Guess what? It didn't stop him. I say amen. Amen Church. I would say something too the IGNORANT people that made stupid & ignorant comments. It's obvious YOU need PRAYER. They say FAIRFIELD has gang bangers/thugs. Guess what we have more IGNORANT ASSHOLES than thugs

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