California is never short of kooky ideas and the state pastime is complaining about them.
This time the state might be on an arguably-positive track by wanting to end daylight savings time (DST), which its neighbor to the east – Arizona – already refuses to participate in because who needs it staying lighter longer when it’s already 127 degrees outside?
This, of course, creates an interesting situation where half the year Arizona and California share the same time on the clock while the rest of the time Arizona and New Mexico are in the same time zone.
The Sacramento Bee reports that the California Legislature here may give voters a chance to elect for themselves whether to do the spring-ahead-fall-back routine twice a year, or give it up as Arizona did in 1967. A state bill to allow this is being discussed right now, and in true California fashion, lawmakers are kicking the can by forcing voters to decide on another ballot initiative, as if we don’t have enough of those already (more on that in a moment).
The history on the clock switching is interesting. In short, it was meant to save fuel during World War 1, according to Arizona State University. Congress later standardized U.S. time zones in 1966, at which time the feds gave states the opportunity to opt out. Arizona tried DST in 1967 then opted out, refusing the participate since.
Now California might do the same, but according to the newspaper, it’s not as easy as simply refusing to reset clocks twice a year. Congress will apparently need to become involved in the decision, which might be good for the sake of consistency. If all U.S. time zones gave up DST for standard time then we could keep the consistency of time zones across the states.
Who needs longer days anyway? It’s not as if the tilt of the planet in relationship to the sun doesn’t do that for us every summer anyway. Changing the clocks doesn’t add or take away an hour from the day – it merely shifts by an hour when it gets light or dark.
As for California’s penchant for giving voters the option to decide just about everything – tell me again why we need a Legislature if that’s supposed to be their job – we’re going to get a chance this November to decide whether we want to be one California or three states with similar populations – at least to start with.
Because we allow folks to qualify nearly anything for the ballot box by simply making them gather sufficient numbers of qualified signatures, voters can be consistently swamped with questions about things like property taxes, hunting regulations or whether we should divide California into separate but equal states. I seem to recall someone even suggesting an initiative to allow California to secede. I think we tried that once in the United States and it didn’t go well for either side of that debate.