Posted by M-A parent, a resident of the Menlo Park: The Willows neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 2:05 pm
Dear complaining neighbors: when you bought your house next to a high school, did you not realize that there would be high school students there, along with their high school activities? M-A has been thoughtful in trying to minimize the impact of the lights on its neighbors. How about the neighbors being considerate about a slight change (that you would already face if you lived near many of the other area high schools) that will mean a lot to the students?
Posted by REALITY CHECK, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm
That's it! It's not us, it's them. And we sure don't want any of those people coming to OUR community.
"lights are the least worrry", the irony of all this is that I saw your child drag-racing down my street when college let out (it happens every break)...and it happened last Thanksgiving too. Let's scrap Thanksgiving, that should solve the problem.
Posted by M-A alum, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 5:01 pm
M-A parents argument that neighbors shouldn't be complaining because "they knew they were buying property next to a school is trite and worn. Until 1970 M-A never even had a home varsity game. Now athletic field use has expanded vastly. There's a new PA center, etc. These neighbors deserve the same consideration that M-a parent would expect for herself.
Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of the Atherton: Lindenwood neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 5:32 pm
anonymous - please read the original article -"The evening activities also align with a 40-minute later start time for the first class at M-A, a change officials made, starting with this school year, in recognition of research showing that teens need more sleep than they typically get."
The forcing issue in the school's decision is the later class starting time - if this is not the case then why was this not a problem in 2009?
You are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to your facts.
Posted by REALITY CHECK, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 5:41 pm
Substantial research has demonstrated that later start times at school has a measurable and positive affect on student achievement, performance, and health. Documented in many ways, including by our very own SRI. These are a few: Web Link
But more important, the later bell schedule hasn't changed sports practice times. It simply filled an afterschool gap.
Otherwise, we're really dealing with the sun setting earlier, and the popularity of afterschool sports and activities in a community with a dearth of playing fields. Dog wagging tail, doing what good schools and communities with good schools do.
Posted by Annoyed, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 6:18 pm
I am amazed at the never ending myopic views the Lindenwood Homeowner's Association Board seems to place front and center with all the residents of Atherton. Now it isn't just the Board but also the neighbors on Oak Grove who bought their homes for "economic" reasons next to an established high school. As there are pressures on the field usage from "newer" sports like lacrosse, these will lead to greater demand on the fields and the logical solution(s) which would include adding lights to the football field.
it is troubling that the regular bickering in town appears to stem from a select few in Lindenwood. These people seem to feel that they own Atherton and the rest of us should reprioritize everything in town to meet their needs (and more importantly their wants). If we added up the legal costs we all have borne over the last four years due to the Lindenwood influence, we would all be shocked.
It is time to move on and find some real issues to tackle in town like the town budget and how we will manage our town in the future.
Posted by Ed, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm
What rules will all these sporting games be played by? Will they made up as the games are played?
No other of the several separate entities that exist with our town boarders-for instance HP Park, or Bear Gulch Water, would would ever act with such complete disregard for changes that might impact proximate neighbors. Can any one even imagine a senario where Holbrook Palmer would suddenly announce that the were going put up MA's lights (and the LOUD SPEAKERS), and expect not to need to consider the rights of Watkins or MP Felton Gabels neighbors, or long held covenants with the town, or Atherton's zoning ordinance?
The argument spun out with such aplomb here,-- that the home owners should have known what they were getting into when they purchased their property, makes me see red.
They all knew exactly what they were buying into AND THIS IS WHAT THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO WANT TO KEEP!!!
It is the school that is pushing for a "Game Changer" , not the neighbors.
Everyone wants to see the kids get their athletic opportunities.
But it won't matter in 10 years how healthy and robust they all are, if they are not provided some instruction in good sportsmanship, respect for you neighbors, or why playing by the rules of any game might matter.
This actually a wonderful opportunity for the school teach a lesson in good citizenship by getting the salaried bureaucracy to back off, let the kids write a nice letter to the neighbors asking a favor, and to give the property owners a chance to be generous in negotiating a little give and take.
This should not be portrayed as an example of "tie base going to the runner".
The bases are very much fully loaded, and the batter is not allowed on to an occupied base with out some give and take for mutual accommodation.
Posted by REALITY CHECK, a resident of the Menlo Park: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 7:51 pm
It's no secret that schools have football fields, gymnasiums, traffic, teachers, students, and neighbors. You know, sometimes farms raise food, and sometimes they have manure. It's all in the package. Ed, honestly, do you think that M-A should ask he city and state to change the laws and regulations and ordinances, now and just because you are surprised that schools want to supprt sports, or the community that would like to attend? And only now, you have an objection?
The school district is acting within the bounds of the law. If they're not, the judge will decide. Please, don't you suggest the school act otherwise, just because you have an opinion. There are already laws, ordinances and regulations in place. And they were in place when you bought your Lindenwood house. Or did you or your realtor forget to think about that?
Posted by Informed, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 15, 2010 at 11:07 pm
Ms. Shimko states, "They absolutely can accommodate all school-related practices before it gets dark." REALLY? Soccer practices can't start before 3:30 PM now that school gets out at 3:15, and they last 2.5 hours. Call me crazy, but I'm pretty sure it gets dark before 6:00 PM once Daylight Saving ends. Practices would be shortened at least an hour from late November to mid January. Seems to me that someone needs to do her homework and check out when the sun actually sets in the winter!
Posted by REALITY CHECK, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 7:15 am
"First it was the new performing arts center; now it's the lights; what's next?"
What's next? The community will enjoy performances in the arts center and families & fans will attend to sports events. Some day, Atherton or Menlo Park might even build a new park or two, just for all of us to enjoy!
Or was your suggestion the school and community should have stopped building anything after 1952 (when our homes were built)? I'm glad that didn't happen. Would you believe it...I never play tennis, but I do like living in a town that has tennis courts. Same for new gymnasiums and skate parks, because I know that my neighbors enjoy these things. And there are things I enjoy that they dont' use. Go figure.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 8:59 am
True. And I added that if neighbors couldn't be bothered to show up and voice their concerns at the SUHSD meeting, then their complaints fall hollow on me.
I'm generally sympathetic to families that live next to a high use area such as a high school. They can bear a greater "burden" (and spare me the lectures, I'm only using that word to make a point) than others, especially if that use intensifies as is the case here. I'm even more sympathetic when the controlling government entity is exempt from local regulations.
In this case, it appears that the district DID reach out to neighbors and that those neighbors did not speak at the recent SUHSD meeting. Both of those factors make me a bit less sympathetic... but that does not mean their interests can be ignored.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 9:08 am
My comment has to do with the where these objectional residents chose to live. If you are looking for a home that you plan to stay in, make sure you look at where it is located....I love noise and teenagers and activity so living next to a school or in its proximity would not be a deterrent to purchase that home. However, if I liked to have peace and tranquility, and enjoyed a park-like non urban setting, I would not choose to buy a home in an area near a high school or any school for that matter. Any school district has to adjust to changes in the school calendar, start times, lack of sports facilities to accomodate all sports, (male and female), the rise and fall of the number of students, and the need to expand or close facilities as needed. If you are sensitive to these fluctuations do NOT buy your home near a school. If you overlooked these issues and already live there, get thicker paned windows and air conditioning and perhaps look at selling to someone who would really enjoy that environment.
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 9:45 am
To Pogo -- I'm all for progress but workable progress understanding that there are boundaries.
My point was that one can usually find justification and rationalization for improvement and growth. However, this may have other side effects. These should be considered and potentially incorporated.
Here's another for you -- Laurel School is in the process of doing upgrades. In being a good neighbor what have they done to address the traffic impact on Ringwood Ave. when all the parents wait or park to pick up their kids? This causes significant delays almost every school day.
Posted by Ed, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 10:32 am
HRS and PGE are both public services like schools. Are people allowed to be concerned about how they might be personally effected by the impact of proximate changes? Or is this really none of their concern?
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 11:05 am
Bob, please meet Ed.
This thread, like most, is testament that anyone can justify anything. Politicians can justify things - wars, insurance reform, taxes, high speed rail, school lights, whatever - better than most of us.
But you both make the same excellent point - please involve neighbors, early and often. No, it will never make everyone happy, but it definitely helps and it at least lets us vent!
I just wonder why politicians keep ignoring their constituents?
Posted by Bob, a resident of the Menlo Park: Downtown neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 11:35 am
POGO -- excellent last sentence "I just wonder why politicians keep ignoring their constituents?" and true for all levels of government.
Everybody says we need to be better at communication, and yet it keeps getting repeated over and over which must mean we don't learn from the past. Communication is both listening and talking.
Ed also asks a good question regarding companies in the public space. There needs to be accountability, communication, and exchange. Many issues can be minimized if they are addressed early rather than having them become volcanoes.
Posted by Observer, a member of the Woodside High School community, on Sep 16, 2010 at 1:59 pm
> neighbor do not go to board meet
Cue the Vogon poetry and hold on tight to your Hitchhiker's towel.
"As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less that two of your Earth minutes. Thank you."
The PA died away.
Uncomprehending terror settled on the watching people of Earth. The terror moved slowly through the gathered crowds as if they were iron fillings on a sheet of board and a magnet was moving beneath them. Panic sprouted again, desperate fleeing panic, but there was nowhere to flee to.
Observing this, the Vogons turned on their PA again. It said:
"There's no point in acting all surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display in your local planning department on Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now."
The PA fell silent again and its echo drifted off across the land. The huge ships turned slowly in the sky with easy power. On the underside of each a hatchway opened, an empty black space.
By this time somebody somewhere must have manned a radio transmitter, located a wavelength and broadcasted a message back to the Vogon ships, to plead on behalf of the planet. Nobody ever heard what they said, they only heard the reply. The PA slammed back into life again. The voice was annoyed. It said:
"What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? For heaven's sake mankind, it's only four light years away you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs that's your own lookout.
"Energize the demolition beams."
Light poured out into the hatchways.
"I don't know," said the voice on the PA, "apathetic bloody planet, I've no sympathy at all."
Posted by Ram Duriseti, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 4:02 pm
The later start time for the students was/is predicated on a mountain of evidence suggesting that students learn better with a later start time than typically seen at most schools. Historically early school start times and release times are a relic of an agrarian society.
As for students staying up later, for my high-schooler, this has nothing to do with texting, IMing, surfing the web, cavorting. It is an artifact of the pile of homework that he has every night. This obnoxious homework trend is one that started around the time I was in high school and appears to have continued or gotten worse: quantity is used as a proxy for quality.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 5:55 pm
As for the rebuttle to POGO, no I wouldn't mind. I chose to live in an urban setting. I did not go up into the mountains nor did I go out in the country. I chose to be in a local community where the convenience of a grocery store would be a benefit to me...a WalMart is just a bigger store...still offers me benefits but more of them. I can walk to my grocery store, my WalMart, my school, my coffee shop, laundromat, the bus stop, the train...I do not use all of the services availed to me in my community but others do and it is a benefit for them. The world continues to move on, live and let live and life will be more enjoyable for all of us in it.
Posted by POGO, a resident of the Woodside: other neighborhood, on Sep 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm
Thank you for your answer. I appreciate your intellectual honesty and philosophical consistency.
However, I suspect you are in a very small minority for two reasons. First, I would find it very hard to believe there are many other people in Menlo Park who would find living next to a grocery store as acceptable as living next to a WalMart. Not many people would agree with you that it's just part of living in an "urban setting." Similarly, living next to a school isn't the same as living next to a school with night football games, high intensity lighting and PA systems - unless you don't live next to that school, of course.
Second, we live in an area where our residents routinely protest cell phone towers, bike riders obeying local traffic laws and BevMo replacing Chili's. I would think having high intensity lighting, blaring PA systems and night football games going on right in your backyard - which represents a NEW use - would have a far greater impact on a family's quality of life than any of those things.
My point is that it's a bit too convenient to be in favor of the changes at M-A High School when they don't adversely impact you. But I do believe in karma so I'm sure eventually some project will impact those supporters and it will be their turn to cry "foul."
Posted by Julie, a resident of another community, on Sep 17, 2010 at 12:26 pm
I would think that if you live in a home near a high school, you wouldn't be surprised that there are going to be night games during football season. As long as they end at a reasonable hour I don't see what the fuss is all about.
Posted by Joe, a resident of the Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park neighborhood, on Sep 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm
In the Stanford graduate's defense, he or she did not let it drop until asked. And I thought the point made about twerpishness was a fairly good one. Certainly acceptable in arguing about something and staying within the bounds in good taste.
Posted by Interested, a resident of another community, on Sep 18, 2010 at 1:57 am
What a sad commentary this is. We live in a country where so many parents are struggling just to encourage their children to go to school and stay there. These kids are bombarded day after day with videos and messages related to sex and drugs, that when we were young, would have been considered outrageous. Teen pregnancy, drug use, drop out rates, unemployment, unemployability are problems all parents are facing today...And whats YOUR problem...Well these darn kids want to have lights so they can play football...WAKE UP [portion removed]. Most people in this country would die to have your problems....
Take a good look outside of your little well-heeled bubble and count your blessings.
Posted by Annoyed, a resident of the Atherton: other neighborhood, on Sep 18, 2010 at 9:25 am
Well said Interested and thanks for the reminder. As I said a number of days ago on this same posting site, we have many more important issues to deal with than lights at a high school.
As a community, we are lucky to have talented managers running MA and the District. MA is a very diverse school in terms of the student body and their backgrounds. This cannot be easy for the school leaders and their vision to make MA a great school overall is commendable.
Posted by WhoRUpeople, a resident of another community, on Sep 20, 2010 at 10:23 am
Reality Check-in your post thanking Peter, you made a subtle, but I think, important point I had not thought about. You mentioned that the lights didn't have an impact on the JV game--except it didn't end in a tie. If what your saying is that some games played at MA get called due to darkness - tie or no tie - that makes a case for lights I hadn't considered.
Also, while we're thanking people for humor to brighten our day, POGO, your rama lama ding dong comment had be LOL! Thanks!