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

The marquee next to La Jolla High School's Parker Auditorium on Nautilus Street shines into the houses of neighbors.
The marquee next to La Jolla High School’s Parker Auditorium on Nautilus Street shines into the houses of neighbors across the street.
(Michael Sangiolo)

Bright light from a La Jolla High School marquee has 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 home across the street after dark.

For the record:

5:35 p.m. Feb. 22, 2022This article was corrected to say Michael Sangiolo’s grandson attended La Jolla High School rather than that his son is attending.

“The graphics are so obnoxious and so glaring into our living space, [it’s] just unlivable,” he said.

The lights change colors, Sangiolo said, projecting various flashing hues into his living room, hallway and kitchen every few seconds.

“You can’t get away from it,” he said. “Our quality of life has been absolutely horrible when these lights are on. … It looks like the Vegas Strip.”

He added that he believes the marquee has “harmed us financially, to where it would be impossible for us to sell our house with this situation going on. … It’s totally obnoxious.”

Michael Sangiolo's home is illuminated at night when the La Jolla High School marquee timer doesn't shut off the lights.
(Michael Sangiolo)

Sangiolo’s neighbor Johan Emmery said the marquee has been “a constant eyesore. … it’s all we see. It’s flashing, it’s bright.”

“It’s probably less than 100 feet away from our living room and our driveway,” Emmery said. “It’s almost like you got a really bad neighbor that doesn’t care how it’s affected the whole community.”

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

“We do not expect any issues with the marquee moving forward,” Podhorsky said. “We continue to be thankful for the support of our La Jolla community.”

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

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

Michael Sangiolo says light coming into his home from a La Jolla High marquee across the street has been a nuisance.
Michael Sangiolo says light coming into his living room, kitchen and hallway from a La Jolla High School marquee across the street has been a nuisance.
(Michael Sangiolo)

“We kind of just bit our tongue when they installed it because we’re trying to be good neighbors,” Sangiolo said. He added that his grandson attended La Jolla High.

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

Sangiolo said Podhorsky was “very receptive” at the meeting and agreed to limit the 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 daylight, he’s had to close the blinds in his family room, guest room and office to block the light.

Whenever the timer has failed, Sangiolo and Emmery email Podhorsky to alert him and express their frustration.

Sangiolo said he isn’t confident the problem is completely solved.

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

Emmery said he’d like the sign shut down or relocated.

If the marquee continues to light up neighboring homes at night, “it’s going to get ugly,” Sangiolo said. “Something needs to be done to where they gain control.

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