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Pali High Neighbors Raise Lighting and Noise Concerns

More than 100 people filled a community meeting Tuesday night at Palisades Charter High School to discuss extracurricular activities that are increasingly disturbing nearby residents.

Neighbors of  complained Tuesday night of lights that blaze long into the night and drum noise even on the weekends as more extracurricular activities, some prompted by budget cuts, are causing ongoing friction between the school and surrounding community.

At a community meeting Tuesday night, approximately 113 parents, faculty, residents and youth sports advocates filled a campus room to address intensifying problems with noise and lighting, issues that have prompted neighbor complaints over the last 10 years.

Some of the recent school activities result from district budget cuts and Pali High's need to bring in revenue from outside groups that use the campus facilities.

"I've lived here for 20 years, and the dynamics have changed," said one nearby resident. "Now it's all day, seven days a week and at night. In June, we came home at midnight from a flight. There was a team on the field at midnight on a Saturday."

Principal Pamela Magee said the majority of residents affected by light and noise coming from the Pali High campus reside on Radcliffe Avenue, El Medio Avenue, Haverford Avenue and smaller streets in the neighborhood across Temescal Canyon Road.

El Medio Avenue resident Moira Tenzer said she's lived in the area for 22 years, and wants to make sure the issue does not portray the high school's neighbors as not liking kids, or unreasonable about activities at a grade school campus.

"They deserve the best," Tenzer said, but then pointed to the use of loudspeakers, whistles and vuvuzelas at night from sports games. "We're asking for a little bit of citizenship so at night and on the weekends, there's some quiet. I don't think that's asking much."

Magee indicated the school is open to taking steps that could address the community concerns, but that income to the school could be impacted.

About the possibility of capping onsite field and pool use to accomodate nearby residents, Magee said: "We have to look at the loss of revenue in cutting any hours." She added the school appreciates the public's patience with the process for addressing the concerns.

Those involved with youth athletics outside the Pali High sports community, such as Westside Aquatics and AYSO Soccer, noted Pacific Palisades does not have much open space for recreational leagues.

Richard Held of AYSO Soccer said the group gave a large sum of money to Pali High to put in new field turf and lighting.

"But that's done for the community," he said. He asked parents at the meeting if they have kids who played AYSO Soccer. Many hands went up.

"The school's been hammered by budget cuts. That’s $500 per student. To put a constraint on the school's going to be very difficult. These teachers and administrators are trying to run a school with 3,000 students," Held said.

Resident Denise Morris said she lives near a trailhead in Palisades, and empathized with the high school's neighbors about noise problems.

"I put in blackout curtains and double-paned windows and it's helped considerably," she said. "I am compassionate of the programs here. My son is happier than he's ever been with Westside Aquatics."

Those who work at the school also related to the neighbors complaints.

Judi Firth, who works as a credit clerk at Pali High for 10 years, said some days she wishes she could turn off the drum noise for just 20 minutes while working. 

"But they're winning trophies," she said. "If you don’t want this, start making $100,000 donations a year to the school so we can keep things running."

Tuesday's meeting produced at least one idea that could move the school and community to a compromise.

Magee said an eight-member task force of community and school representatives was proposed. She said the school administration will make sure any task force is staffed with a balance of parents and neighbors. The hope is the panel can come back in October with new information and possible solutions.

A Hirsch September 13, 2012 at 04:22 AM
I am a neighbor of Pali Hi; my children went to school there; I've lived here 37 years. It is true the noise and commotion have increased dramatically. I would like the same behavior from those who use the facilities that I expect from any courteous neighbor. Occasional noise until a reasonable hour of the night is fine; but if a neighbor uses loud speakers, bright lights, and parties too late, I am offended. If event goers want to continue their activities past 10 pm; at least turn off the brights lights and loud speakers, keep the noise to a minimum, and demonstrate community cooperation. Please notice I haven't suggested not using the outside areas of the school or losing income; I am suggesting it be used appropriately to an area smack dab in the middle of a residential neighborhood filled with babies, seniors, and people who work hard and like to enjoy a little peace and quient when in their own home. In other words, the school should be a good neighbor and is not exempt from good behavior.
Ted J September 13, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Judi Firth, who works as a credit clerk at Pali High for 10 years, said some days she wishes she could turn off the drum noise for just 20 minutes while working. "But they're winning trophies," she said. "If you don’t want this, start making $100,000 donations a year to the school so we can keep things running." So the message is tough, learn to live with it!!!!!! Or give us money???? SAD!!!!!!
The Pacpalcalusa Observer September 13, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I have lived on the eastern side of Temescal Canyon for 57 years, and I testify that the noise and light pollution emanating from there is always increasing. For example, the lights on the football field, when installed, were to be used ONLY ON FRIDAY NIGHTS. Then it was Wednesday and Friday night only. PaliHi is "The Home Of The Rubber Promise" to quote a local critic. This same discussion has been going on for decades. I do not believe anything that the administrators have promised us since the football lights were installed. How about the pinging aluminum baseball bats that echo all weekends and the BIG BASE DRUMS practiced outside (based on war drums originally designed to be used by the military to strike fear in the enemy, and now used to intimidate opposing football teams) which are beaten in a way that maximizes echoes off the canyon walls. If I were not on vacation, I would have been at the meeting and voiced my anger, frustration and sense of hopelessness. The PA system and horns used to communicate sound like we are living next to a prison! I have called many times, attended many meetings, all to no avail. Children (and the administrators) need to learn to respect others. Administrators have been and are failures on this subject and need to have some remedial training and CONSEQUENCES for misbehavior. Respect for others is probably the most important lesson we should be teaching children.
Janet Davis September 19, 2012 at 04:30 PM
As mentioned above, Pali Hi has grown its student body exponentially over the last 15 years without making any attempt whatsoever to address the impact on its neighbors. The surrounding neighborhood is now subject to ever higher levels of light and noise pollution, not to mention litter, graffiti and traffic. What, for instance, happened to the traffic control program that school administrators touted so vigorously a couple of years ago? Palisades High needs to become a model of good citizenship for its students.
Katheryn September 30, 2012 at 08:42 PM
The following is an article on NOISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT in the Temecula Patch September 2012, and you would be wise to read the article and watch the videos. http://temecula.patch.com/articles/citizen-reader-shares-mining-sounds A good friend sent this email and said the following, "Do you think this is what happens when a mining operator/Developer seems to be in control of your elected politicians and the appointed officials these same politicians put in positions of authority. Do you think government employees have to follow the instructions of these same politicians in order to keep their government jobs? Do you wonder if someone would be fired if they didn't do what the politicians wanted them to do?" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m_HypxyudI&feature=relmfu Have you seen the MaryAnn Edwards video featuring the Aberhill Ranch Boys and Girls Club with Castle & Cookes aggregate mining operation in the background it's across the street. Paul Jacobs may be onto something? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhckrqXX-L4 Another video of the Alberhill Ranch Boys and Girls Club which puts things in prospective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e12kTmWvn7U&feature=related

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