GUEST VIEW: Anti-stadium lights campaign sending the wrong message
by Brandt Truver
Oct 18, 2013 | 1752 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Like many of you, I have been seeing the blue-and-white signs around that read “Save Our Neighborhood.” Also like many of you, I have been wondering what does that even mean? On my way home from work the other morning on a Point Loma street, I saw a table with two people standing behind it. The table was surrounded by the signs and had a banner that said “info,” so I had to stop.

I had heard that these signs were in reference to a long-debated issue of putting lights on the Point Loma High School football field. I was born and raised in Point Loma, went to Loma Portal Elementary, Correia Jr. High, and graduated from Point Loma High in 2006. It’s with this experience I feel I can weigh in on this issue.

The two women behind the table were very polite as I asked them what exactly they were supporting. I found out the issues were, first priority, stop PLHS from installing the planned stadium lights. With the lights comes increased noise around the field, traffic and the possibility that outside organizations will rent the field (mainly the Rock Church for its football games).

The lights bring in kids who want to drink and party and they also leave behind lots of trash. Cases of trespassing have been reported and the school has no money to pay for police presence during the games — only Elite Security Company, whose officers cannot enforce any rules outside the fences. I’ve also heard that many residents of Point Loma feel that if the lights are only for the football team, why should they get all the money?

Now I can let the reader know, I am 100 percent for the lights, and here’s why. While at PLHS, I played varsity soccer and tennis. The soccer team made it to CIF playoffs every year and the tennis team entered the tournament each year, as well. It’s my best guess that, at no soccer match did we have more than 50 people, and not more than 20 at any tennis match. It’s not very fun for an athlete to compete when there is no school support for all the hours of practice they put in. The theory that this is only for the football team is also false; with football games come so much more. At each football game there is the band, cheer squad and dance team. With the football team this easily amounts to well over 150 kids performing at each football game, and that’s a lot of parents who want to see their children.

I am with the supporters in that the trash and trespassing is completely wrong and should not be tolerated by school officials. However, PLHS does not have lights currently and these problems are already taking place.

I wish that on Friday I could have grabbed dinner with my buddies and watched our football team beat up on La Jolla High. Its true the Rock Church may rent the field for their games, and some residents are worried that the area around PLHS will look like Rosecrans Street on a Sunday. The church members are not going to come watch the games, only the parents and other students.

The women behind the table told me that the school would not pay for extra police patrols. So from what I gathered, as a community, we are pooling our money and resourses together to fight against the students. Instead, wouldn’t it be better to try to gain support to stop the problem that already exists of trash and partying?

Save Our Neighborhood could try to fundraise to help hire more security or even a few SDPD officers during the home games. Furthermore, wouldn’t the in-creased revenue of more ticket sales or even renting the field only enhance other activities at PLHS? Perhaps instead of the other teams and clubs relying so heavily on booster clubs for their budgets, some money could be channeled to them.

We, as a community, should not be looking for ways to take activities away from students that keep them at school. The stance we should be taking is to promote school spirit, community spirit and provide a safe place for them to spend a Friday night with their friends.

The lights are a perfect way to do this if support from the community, school officials and — as much as I wish it wasn’t necessary — law enforcement, is there. I’m all for Save Our Neighborhood, but let’s change the focus. Lets bring back the sense of community we all love about Point Loma.

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