Yes, it’s becoming a theme.
Another week, more to talk about when it comes to the Peabody Stadium project.
No, it did not magically open, although progress is visually being made.
But has the damage already been done — in terms of trust and required transparency?
Here is this week’s Zeroes & Heroes:
Heroes: Moki Nacario, Deacon Hill & Charlie Figueroa
Zero: Peabody Stadium project transparency
At the News-Press, we don’t use Twitter to incite any sort of emotional reaction, we utilize it to inform our audience of content that might be of interest.
Considering that this column has been focusing on the ongoing work on the Peabody Stadium project, we circulated the column to assure that questions from those defending the project were made public. It was an opportunity to showcase both sides.
What happened after wasn’t unexpected — three football players spoke up. Not out, but up. They didn’t show any disrespect to the school, but gave a glimpse into how the actual athletes feel about the current situation.
Senior wide receiver Moki Nacario said, “So ridiculous, home games were not the same.”
Junior quarterback Deacon Hill said, “If it’s not done. I’ll never have a true high school home game.”
Senior Charlie Figueroa said, “Yeah building a stadium with 15 people will delay things . . . and btw it was horrible playing at the other high schools.”
This came on top of notes from multiple parents that have actively fundraised for the school — frustrated with the lack of transparency surrounding the project. The community is understanding to an extent, but not when consistent answers aren’t provided.
The last update on the project’s Facebook page — a site that is championed by the Santa Barbara Unified School District as being ground zero for updates — was Oct. 17, 2019, and it was only updated eight times over the entire year, including only twice since July 30 (or around the time of the year’s second delay). That’s not transparency, not with a $39 million project.
Not only are the continued delays now keeping two soccer teams off the playing surface — with the boys having to play all their night games after San Marcos gets first dibs directly after school, which aids academics — but it is also making teachers on campus the target of pointed comments.
Frustration abounds, and the teachers that sacrifice everything for our students are now having to answer to a situation they have no control over. That’s ridiculous — and a product of a lack of transparency.
At this point, even the school’s principal and athletic director really can’t make an impact, they have no control over the work that is being done — or not done, in this case.
On one hand, the three young men that stood up this past week showcased an incredible amount of heart — and they represent a growing number of people in our community.
And, on the other hand, the lack of transparency continues to show that those involved in the project had hoped that money could buy silence.
Thankfully, it looks like those days are behind us.
Thanks, Moki, Deacon and Charlie.
Hero: JaQuori McLaughlin & UCSB men’s basketball
The season didn’t start in the most opportune way, losing to Pac-12 teams Oregon State and UCLA, as well as a rough loss to Rice at home that left the program with questions only actions on the court could answer.
While the subsequent road wasn’t filled with Bruins or Beavers, UCSB has found its groove, winning 10 of 11, including knocking off previously unbeaten Westmont.
And they’ve done the majority of this without leading scorer Max Heidegger, leaning on JaQuori McLaughlin to take on the leadership role.
McLaughlin is averaging both a team high in minutes at 34.1 and points at 15.3.
Impressive stuff, and with Heidegger likely returning in the coming weeks, the Gauchos will have plenty of options in trying to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Hero: Santa Barbara Foresters Hall of Fame
In what doubles as both a homecoming for some of the best of summer ball and a fundraiser for the Hugs for Cubs, the Santa Barbara Foresters will be inducting former coach Bob Townsend, former player and coach Delwyn Young and former player and current MLB player Ryan O’Hearn into their Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
Dinner tickets help support both the Hugs for Cubs and the team. Festivities start at 6 p.m. at the Carriage Museum.