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Proposal to school board and neighbors re M-A lights

Original post made by peter carpenter on Oct 10, 2010

On another topic Jim has posted an excellent suggestion - this new topic is intended to begin a new discussion with his suggestion:

Jim stated:"I wonder if in all this, we might craft a proposal to the school board and neighbors (on this issue). That might make something productive of the forum postings. This might require that we ignore the extremes, but overall, this forum includes a long list of good suggestions, and despite differences, there are a surprising number of points of agreement. It seems a waste if we left this in the archive of the Almanac blog, without productive result.

In the end, the "must-have" is that the school district follow relevant laws. The "nice-to-haves" are that students, family and community get the benefit of accessible practice, games and events, (or not) and this is done with respect and consideration to neighbors. Any suggestions - is there a concise way way to write a proposal that would work for the majority?"

Comments (11)

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 11, 2010 at 9:10 am

Sure, I don't think this is terribly difficult.

1. The school can use lights from sunset to 9:30pm during football season but no PA system.

2. For home football games at MA field, the school can use lights and PA system but not later than 10:30pm.

That would seem to address the school's STATED needs and the neighorhood's desires. Neither side gets everything they want but it's reasonable.

It's a start.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

3 - add specifications for the lights (heights, wattage, shielding etc.) which maximize their impact on the football field and minimize their impact on adjacent areas


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

The next step in this process will be for the school board to commission an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). That study will look an the environmental impact of the proposed project and identify those impact which must be mitigated and how such mitigation might be accomplished. When the study reaches draft form it will then be made available for public comment and the opportunity provided for individuals to identify impacts that may have been overlooked. The final study will then incorporate, if necessary, any such public input.

The factors listed by POGO and myself are ones that all concerned should add to and discuss as the more consensus there is on these issues the more inclusive and complete will be the draft report and the more rapidly the final report can be issued. The better the draft report and the better the final report the less likely that it will be subject to challenge.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 12, 2010 at 11:43 am


What is CEQA?

CEQA, or the California Environmental Quality Act, is a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid or mitigate those impacts, if feasible.

When and why was it enacted?

The impetus for CEQA can be traced to the passage of the first federal environmental protection statute in 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In response to this federal law, the California State Assembly created the Assembly Select Committee on Environmental Quality to study the possibility of supplementing NEPA through state law. This legislative committee, in 1970, issued a report entitled The Environmental Bill of Rights, which called for a California counterpart to NEPA. Later that same year, acting on the recommendations of the select committee, the legislature passed, and Governor Reagan signed, the CEQA statute.

Who must comply with CEQA?

CEQA applies to certain activities of state and local public agencies. A public agency must comply with CEQA when it undertakes an activity defined by CEQA as a "project." A project is an activity undertaken by a public agency or a private activity which must receive some discretionary approval (meaning that the agency has the authority to deny the requested permit or approval) from a government agency which may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment.

Most proposals for physical development in California are subject to the provisions of CEQA, as are many governmental decisions which do not immediately result in physical development (such as adoption of a general or community plan). Every development project which requires a discretionary governmental approval will require at least some environmental review pursuant to CEQA, unless an exemption applies.

If it applies, what are the basic requirements of environmental review under CEQA?

The environmental review required imposes both procedural and substantive requirements. At a minimum, an initial review of the project and its environmental effects must be conducted. Depending on the potential effects, a further, and more substantial, review may be conducted in the form of an environmental impact report (EIR). A project may not be approved as submitted if feasible alternatives or mitigation measures are able to substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project.


What are the CEQA Guidelines?

The Guidelines are the regulations that explain and interpret the law for both the public agencies required to administer CEQA and for the public generally. They are found in the California Code of Regulations, in Chapter 3 of Title 14. The Guidelines provide objectives, criteria and procedures for the orderly evaluation of projects and the preparation of environmental impact reports, negative declarations, and mitigated negative declarations by public agencies. The fundamental purpose of the Guidelines is to make the CEQA process comprehensible to those who administer it, to those subject to it, and to those for whose benefit it exists. To that end, the Guidelines are more than mere regulations which implement CEQA as they incorporate and interpret both the statutory mandates of CEQA and the principles advanced by judicial decisions.

How are the Guidelines crafted?

The Governor's Office of Planning and Research prepares and develops proposed amendments to the Guidelines and transmits them to the Secretary for Resources. The Secretary for Resources is responsible for certification and adoption of the Guidelines and amendments thereto. Prior to final certification and adoption, and pursuant to the procedures in the Administrative Procedure Act, the Secretary for Resources makes the proposed language available to members of the public, provides for at least a 45 day written comment period, and provides public hearings in which to receive oral testimony on the proposals. All public comments, whether received in writing or orally at a public hearing, are considered by the Secretary in determining whether to adopt the proposed amendments prepared by the Office of Planning and Research. Once edited and enriched by the practical experience and wisdom of individual public comments, amendments are adopted and sent to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for review and final approval. Guidelines approved by OAL are deposited with the Secretary of State and go into immediate effect.

How often are the Guidelines amended?

Revision of the CEQA Guidelines is an on-going process. By statute, the Secretary of Resources is required to review and consider amendments to the Guidelines every two years. Annual changes to CEQA and evolving case law make revision to the Guidelines necessary on a continual basis. By the time one revision is completed, another one begins. Because the subject is so large and complex, a definitive, one-time revision is not possible. The actual process of amending the Guidelines is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act and is the same as that described above in "How are the Guidelines crafted?"

Who enforces CEQA? What role does the Resources Agency have in enforcement of CEQA?

CEQA is a self-executing statute. Public agencies are entrusted with compliance with CEQA and its provisions are enforced, as necessary, by the public through litigation and the threat thereof. While the Resources Agency is charged with the adoption of CEQA Guidelines, and may often assist public agencies in the interpretation of CEQA, it is each public agency's duty to determine what is and is not subject to CEQA. As such, the Resources Agency does not review the facts and exercise of discretion by public agencies in individual situations. In sum, the Agency does not enforce CEQA, nor does it review for compliance with CEQA the many state and local agency actions which are subject to CEQA.

What aspects of CEQA compliance is the Secretary for Resources responsible?

In addition to adopting the CEQA Guidelines and amendments thereto, the Secretary for Resources possesses the following responsibilities:

1) Makes findings that a class of projects given categorical exemptions will not have a significant effect on the environment;

2) Certifies state environmental regulatory programs which meet specified standards as being exempt from certain provisions of CEQA;

3) Receives and files notices of completion, determination, and exemption; and

4) Provides assistance in interpreting the provisions of CEQA and the CEQA Guidelines.


Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

peter carpenter is a registered user.

It is interesting that a topic which requires posters to actually identify themselves to the editor, but still allows them to post anonymously, is bereft of input from all of those who spoke so passionately of taking the high road and that it is all about kids.

Looks like the high road and the kids are less important than remaining invisible and unaccountable for your postings.


Posted by R.GORDON, a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Peter Carpenter has about 50 times the amount of posts than ANY person on ALMANAC and he should, by now, recognize that a lot of anonymous posters might be intimidated or just plain frightened to put down their names because of harrassement from one of the corrupt departments of the county (Sort of like the reporter jailed for being a suspected pedophile and dope (POT)smoker. His crime was in reporting a local Police official. Imagine what an average person has to fear in expressing his or her feeling?
Mr.Carpenter, I used to have a lot of respect for your "following the law to a "T")but find that you are coming off a bit to sanctimonious and almost bossy in how you believe things should be run here.
Mr.Gibboney will knock off a comment of mine for being OFF TOPIC when it is not, yet he permits YOU to post the above dealing with anonymity and you even throw in a slam about the parents of kids who you insinuate are not passionate at all about them.RUDE, if I may add.
Also, since you are so experienced in law, should your post not be considered OFF LIMITS to your own way of thinking? Or are you and Mr. Gibboney operating on some laissez-faire plan? Whatever it is, I think that this is a different time compared when you were at your prime in leadership and education some 50 years ago. The future is difficult to grasp for "older Americans" and that could include you since a LOT of laws do not apply to the changing times. That includes family life, even if you do not recognize it within yourself.
I AM ON TOPIC MR.GIBBONEY


Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Mr. Gordon - why should people be intimated by speaking up on this topic?
They certainly were not intimidated when it was an open posting topic. All that is involved in being a registered user is providing the editor with your email address - you can still remain anonymous to the rest of the world.

And there was no insinuation that anybody was not passionate about anything, just the simple, straight forward statement -"Looks like the high road and the kids are less important than remaining invisible and unaccountable for your postings."

Now, would you like to speak to the topic - "Proposal to school board and neighbors re M-A lights"?


Posted by R.GORDON, a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2010 at 12:59 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Oh, but I did Mr. Carpenter. My messages were ALL deleted by Mr.Gibboney for being OFF TOPIC which I now consider a FACT he is just picking on me for being truthful and outspoken about the nuance factors which creep in on the seemingly trivial problem.
As for people being intimidated, because of your lengthy and interesting career about which I was made familiar, I would think you know how corruption and retaliatory events can suddenly befall a person who speaks badly of certain people, groups, and even newspeople. I am sure that you are also familiar with the OSS and its origins and how "secret" groups can exist even in an area as model as Atherton and the other cities on the Peninsula. Though you love and seem to live by the law, I do believe that it has no control over how people who make trouble are dealt with. Therefore, anonymity would seem a better way than to have a troubled COUNTY police department all of a sudden finding, say "drugs or pornography" at an anonymous poster's home.These are desperate times and tempers flare even over something as inane as the lights which I recall did not bother you, personally, but about which you wrote in great length. My father was in the OSS so I know about things like that.(SLIGHTLY OFF,BUT RELATED TOPIC)


Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Oct 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm

POGO is a registered user.

The point, Mr. Gordon, is that people seem to quite willing to anonymously lodge unsubstantiated claims, call people horrible names and repeat fabricated gossip on another thread covering the same subject, yet are demonstrably unwilling to make even a single constructive suggestion on this thread about how to resolve this matter.

That is the point.

While supporters of the school district consistently represent that lights and the PA system will only be used "a few nights during home football games," we suspect that the school's intentions are far more pervasive than that.

Is there another reason the school would be unwilling to put any limitations into a binding agreement?


Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

4 - The lights may not be used for non-M-A activities


Posted by peter carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Oct 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm

peter carpenter is a registered user.

Current summary:
1. The school can use lights from sunset to 9:30pm during football season but no PA system.

2. For home football games at MA field, the school can use lights and PA system but not later than 10:30pm.

3 - add specifications for the lights (heights, wattage, shielding etc.) which maximize their impact on the football field and minimize their impact on adjacent areas.

4 - The lights may not be used for non-M-A activities


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