Some Nautilus Street neighbors see the La Jolla High School marquee as a blatant nuisance

The bright light from a marquee at La Jolla High School led to frequent complaints from neighbors on Nautilus Street.

The marquee, installed in October 2018 next to the school’s Parker auditorium, often lights up Michael Sangiolo’s house across the street after dark.

“The graphics are so obnoxious and blatant in our living space, [it’s] simply unlivable,” he said.

The lights change color, Sangiolo said, casting various flashing hues through his living room, hallway and kitchen every few seconds.

“You can’t live without it,” he said. “Our quality of life is absolutely horrible when those lights are on. … It looks like the Vegas Strip.

He added that he thinks the marquee “has hurt us financially, so much so that it would be impossible for us to sell our house with this situation going on. … It’s totally abhorrent.

Michael Sangiolo’s house is lit up at night when the marquee timer at La Jolla High School fails to turn off the lights.

(Michael Sangiolo)

Sangiolo’s neighbor Johan Emmery said the marquee was “a constant eyesore. …that’s all we see. It flashes, it’s shiny.

“It’s probably within 100 feet of our living room and driveway,” Emmery said. “It’s almost like having a really bad neighbor who doesn’t care how it affects the whole community.”

LJHS Principal Chuck Podhorsky said the school had an electrician work on the marquee on Feb. 15 after the most recent complaints, and he said the electric timer for the lights had been replaced.

“We don’t foresee any issues with the marquee in the future,” Podhorsky said. “We continue to be grateful for the support of our La Jolla community.”

Sangiolo said the timer had “failure after failure after failure”, leaving the marquee lights on at night, on weekends and during the school’s winter break.

“We have to live this until [someone returns from break] and solves the problem,” Sangiolo said.

Michael Sangiolo says light entering his home from a La Jolla High marquee across the street was a nuisance.

Michael Sangiolo says light streaming into his living room, kitchen and hallway from a marquee at La Jolla High School across the street was a nuisance.

(Michael Sangiolo)

“We kind of bit our tongues when they put it up because we try to be good neighbors,” Sangiolo said. He added that he has a son who now attends La Jolla High.

Shortly after installation, however, Sangiolo and Emmery met with school officials, including Podhorsky, to show photos and describe the problem.

Sangiolo said Podhorsky was “very receptive” to the meeting and agreed to limit marquee lighting to daylight hours and weekdays when school is in session.

Sangiolo said the marquee is not a problem during the day. However, Emmery said that even during the day he had to close the blinds in his family room, guest bedroom and office to block out the light.

Each time the timer has failed, Sangiolo and Emmery email Podhorsky alerting him and expressing their frustration.

Sangiolo said he wasn’t sure the issue was fully resolved.

“It’s happened probably 30, 40 times and it’s just to the point where we can see no one will be able to control this,” he said.

Emmery said he would like the sign closed or moved.

If the marquee continues to light up nearby houses at night, “it’s going to get ugly,” Sangiolo said. “Something has to be done for them to take control.

“If they can’t…maybe they need to consider moving that sign somewhere else.” ◆