4474 El Cajon Boulevard, Talmadge
On September 20 Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor ordered the newly erected stadium lights at Hoover High School turned off tonight at midnight until San Diego Unified School District can conduct a full Environmental Impact Report.
Taylor's ruling comes in what became a protracted court battle, one that traveled from Superior Court to the Court of Appeals only to return to Taylor's courtroom.
"I just don't see how we can leave the lights on," Taylor said during the Friday afternoon court hearing. "I feel bad for the kids, especially the seniors whose homecoming and other functions will be affected but it is not appropriate to use the lights until the impacts are fully examined."
And while it was assuredly a defeat for the district, the extent of defeat is not yet known. Turning off the lights was one of two issues in the case. The other was the use of Prop S bond revenues to pay for stadium lighting. On that issue, Taylor refused to order the district to reimburse the approximately $462,000 it cost to purchase, and install the lights. Before any restitution is ordered, if it is ordered, the Superior Court Judge wants to see the accounting.
He gave the district 30 days to turn the complete cost for the lights over to the Plaintiffs, Taxpayers for Accountable School Bond Spending, and to the court.
An attorney for the school district told Taylor that delivering a line-by-line expense report will be difficult, especially so considering the lights were a part of a bigger project to renovate Hoover High's aged athletic field.
"Here's the problem," responded Taylor, "you lost."
Meanwhile, as accountants and project managers tally the costs, the district continues to move forward on bringing similar light towers to other high school such as Crawford and Point Loma.
In those case, unlike the situation at Hoover, the school district is following CEQA and conducting a thorough Environmental Impact Report.