It’s time to fall back this weekend to standard time.
The timing couldn’t be better.
That’s because on Tuesday voters will decide the fate of Proposition 7. If passed, it authorizes the California Legislature with a two-thirds vote to either take the state off daylight savings time or else put us on it permanently. California voters authorized the state switching to the federal daylight savings time model 70 years ago. The language in that measure required the legislature to get electorate approval before monkeying with the clocks again.
The arguments for changing the time twice a year have become quaint and irrelevant in the 21st century. There was a time when the argument that it saved energy and allowed people more time to be active made sense.
But that was back before TV wasn’t on the air much past 10 p.m., few people had jobs that were outside of the 9 to 5 time frame, not many stores were open past dark let alone 24/7, and half of the population under 30 wasn’t hunkered down in front of an energy hogging computer that can handle high definition graphics at warp speed playing video games.
If switching the clocks twice a year saves energy in itself, I’m entitled to a massive refund from PG&E as it hasn’t worked for me. The only energy it saves is when I can get an extra hour of sleep each fall.
As for more time to enjoy outdoor activities — who are they kidding? How many kids play outside today until dark? Better yet how many parents even allow their kids to play outside? The argument falls apart in the winter when it gets darker sooner under our current system that takes us back to standard time. If having light to do things in the afternoon and/or in the early evening is the justification for tinkering with time then we should have been on year round daylight savings time years ago.
Opponents of Proposition 7 still hold onto the notion that simply changing time twice a year saves energy and encourages us all to get outside and pursue healthy activities without our eyes riveted to 24/7 chaos via smartphones.
Instead of simply arguing you can’t fool Mother Nature — cows still need milking at the same time or pointing out you can’t change human behavior by monkeying with the time — proponents roll out medical research.
You’re probably thinking isn’t messing with our clocks supposed to be healthy as it should encourage us to get outdoors after school or work (at least those with normal hours) to frolic in the sunshine.
Apparently for the past 70 years the government has been weeding down the number of potential Social Security recipients to extend the life of the trust fund by using the time change to kill people instead.
People who actually get paid to do so have sifted through death certificates for cause of death and matched them with how close those deaths occurred to a time change. They have produced data that would support a conclusion that the government is either a mass murderer or at least the Dark Angel of Death.
Within two days of a time change, your chance of a heart attack shoots up 10 percent and the chance of a stroke 8 percent. They even determined if you have cancer the time change increases your chance of a stroke by 25 percent and if you’re 65 and older it raises the chance of you having a stroke by 20 percent. That is all attributed to the health impact of changing your sleep pattern based on a clock.
Not trying to dismiss research and realizing everyone is different, by not having a consistent time your wake up I must be dead man walking.
Outtakes aside, it is clear that for most of us changing time is a royal pain. If you doubt that ask a parent after they’ve spent a couple of days waking up a kid and getting them off to school when clock are set ahead an hour in the spring.
The pro Proposition 7 people can even roll out data that shows the time change actually consumes more energy than reduces the use of electricity, gas, and such. Those studies note energy use increases 4 percent as the result of switching time. That translates into a $434 million hit in the United States alone assuming the study is correct.
Then there is the issue of the rest of the world. It’s confusing enough with 24 time zones dictated by the earth’s trip around the sun, but 68 percent of those countries do not use daylight savings. As a result there are essentially 48 different time zones for half the year. How is that for keeping California plugged into the world economy that operates using on demand principles?
For the record, Arizona (except for the Navajos on tribal land) and Hawaii do not play around with their clocks.
Depending on how we vote Tuesday California could join them.
Then at least three states will take a sane approach to time.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.