The Mirage of Trust

Sent by email – January 26, 2020 at 7:42 p.m. – to Erica Halpern, Scott Wooden, Katherine Fitzpatrick, Gee Wah Mok, and Doug Rafner


The three images below are starting to make the public rounds and will soon be common knowledge in our community.  They show in 60 seconds that the district continues to misrepresent the proposed field size at Del Mar Heights – by about 14,000 square feet in the January 22 design.

I know each of you values the district’s public image and the public trust that has been eroding throughout this rebuild process.  I am sharing the information below in the hope that you care enough to tell the district to come clean and tell the truth.

First, let’s start with the baseline.  The red path in the first image shows the fields today at the school are about 160,000 square feet – not less than 126,000 as the district presently claims.

Second, it’s great that the district enlarged the proposed new fields!  They aren’t 92,000 square feet as the district claims, but they have increased to 78,000, and are now approaching the 79,000 that the district claimed in September 2019 in the Del Mar Times – when the public outcry started.

The first image shows the 78,000 measurement clearly, courtesy of Google Earth. You can see the field (inside the red path) properly excludes the granite path, the boulders, the garden, and the tree trunks.

1.22.2020 field measured including....jpeg

The next image shows you how the district falsely claims 92,000 square feet:  by improperly counting the granite path around the fields, the boulders, the garden, and the tree trunks.  

The district switched to including non-field items in its square footage, secretly, starting with its November 20 site plan. Public mistrust multiplied upon that discovery, yet even today the district won’t own up to what it is doing.  As a result, Play Outside has no choice but to expose the truth, time and again.

One final point – the district now says green space will actually increase in the January 22 design.  That statement is perhaps even more misleading than the field above, but I’ll save that for another day.

Trust is a fragile thing. Easy to break, easy to lose, and one of the hardest things to repair.  I hope you use this email in a constructive way and start to repair the public trust.

John Gartman