Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer, October 7 2013
Mount Diablo Unified School District Board of Education Members: Cheryl Hansen, Barbara
Oaks, Brian Lawrence, Lynne Dennler, Linda Mayo
Measure C Managers Cody and Stark
Subject: Ygnacio Valley High School Sports Field Lighting Project
We would first like to offer Superintendent Meyer, and Board members Oaks and Dennler our
sincere appreciation for reaching out to the Ygnacio Valley High School community as was done
at the September 30th community meeting at the YVHS multiuse room. The dialog and
reestablishing of trust which took place during the small group discussions was encouraging to
the community members present. We feel this meeting was a step in the right direction as well
as a demonstration of the progress which can be accomplished with an inclusive, collaborative
process which brings diverse positions together.
Having said that however, the progress we felt was accomplished, quickly gave way once again
to frustration as, after the break-out groups came back together, an ‘us’ verses ‘them’/majority
rule mentality re-emerged.
One such frustration was that we were working from a list of options established by the district
staff without input from the community, without advance notice as what would be discussed,
and without input on how the discussion subjects would be grouped. The District organized
meeting did not involve members from the community in its planning and failed to acknowledge
the detailed list of conditions which the community members had provided to the Board prior to
the last Board meeting.
Subsequent to the meeting, the ideas, concerns and input collected were used to create;
“Exhibit D YVHS Sports Field Lighting Conditions of use.” Created by the district staff to meet a
board deadline, this document was not reviewed in advance with community representatives.
Consequently, the list of Recommendations in Exhibit D, has biased inaccuracies that easily
could have been corrected.
The structure of this “Exhibit D” document fails in at least 3 ways:
1) The Recommendations are confusing and do not accurately reflect what was discussed
by the various groups.
2) There is no flexibility in incorporating and considering the already established list of
project conditions as submitted by the community. For example, one of the most
effective Conditions of Use would be to modify the amount of usage; however, the
recommendation most reflective of the community’s desire is paired with a cost of up to
$550,000 thus making it less than palatable for the board to accept. The way the district
has grouped these recommendations has made it impossible to combine elements which
are desired by the community which will also incur minimal additional cost.
3) It fails to acknowledge that the community members adjacent to the school are being
asked to forego substantial quiet enjoyment of their homes. The proper basis of
comparison is not 170 nights of lighted events that the EIR deems as being an
acceptable environmental impact. The proper basis of comparison is that there currently
is no permanent lights or sound system in place. Any “reductions” from the EIR value
are actually additions to the status quo.
We believe the Board and Administration wants to do the best for everyone. Additionally, we
think that anyone making this kind of major decision wants to do so based on all the available
pertinent facts, information and options available to them in order to make a truly informed
decision. In order to do that, Board Members need the best information—the most accurate
facts and choices. We know the Board is aware that the project includes lighting and PA system,
but the “devil” is always in the details. That said we don’t believe this document before you
represents the best information or the best choices. If we were Board members and had the
“exhibit D” document presented to us as outlined we would be totally confused as to what we
were really being asked to vote for - which alternative, pick one from recommendation "A", two
from recommendation "B", etc. or just what do I do?
We therefore strongly request that the Board order the staff to sit down with the community
representatives and either:
a) Develop an agreeable Conditions of Use document which could be implemented and
adopted by the board as an amendment to the EIR, or,
b) Have the district staff and community representatives create a side by side document
which depicts the districts and communities positions on the issues and then allow the
Board to make the final decision and adopt these final conditions of use as an
amendment to the EIR.
This is not only a major project but also one that will last for fifty years – it will outlive most of
us who are involved in the decision process. Considering the magnitude and the lasting
Potential consequences for the school and the community, it would make sense to allow for a
constructive meeting for the purpose of finalizing an acceptable Conditions of Use document so
that MDUSD/YVHS gets what it wants and the community can get what it needs? It seems
reasonable that getting valid information before making such a long lasting decision is not only
prudent but also proper under the circumstances. If this process takes another two weeks
relative to fifty years, we believe that time is not only well spent, but shrinks to insignificance in
the overall considerations for MDUSD/YVHS and the community at large.
We are confident that this group could be quickly assembled and positioned to provide an
agreed upon list of Conditions of Use in minimal time. Acknowledging that all parties want to
do the right thing, then let’s move to accomplish that. The last thing that anyone wants is
litigation since the only winners then are the attorneys.
Absent this joint effort, we strongly encourage you to resist voting on items 18.5-8, also known
as the YVHS Stadium project, at the October 9th Board meeting. We believe the information
provided does not afford a clear path for accomplishing the desired results for the district, the
school or the community; and, consequently does not allow the Board to make a fair decision
which would be tolerable for both parties. We encourage you to allow the proposed path to be
You now have it within your collective power to make everyone a "winner" by taking the time to
fully understand the impact of this project on all concerned.
The Ygnacio Valley High School Surounding Community