Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My DOT post of 30 Nov 2005 supporting Central time for Indiana

PETITION FAVORING CENTRAL TIME (sun overhead near noon)
=======================================================
I've had a little e-mail exchange with one of the Indiana state representatives who strongly favors eastern time. He wondered why people seem to have such a preference for having their clocks somewhere near noon when the sun is overhead, at least during the shorter winter days. I submitted the following thoughts on this apparent phenomenon, which seems to be particularly strong among those Indiana residents who favor Central time.

Obviously we could adjust to about anything if there were some compelling reason to do so. There's no reason why our whole country couldn't set their clocks to the local mean time of Los Angeles, or New York City, or (splitting the difference) even Sioux City, Iowa. For that matter, the whole world could decide to use Greenwich Mean Time.

Everyone would figure out what time their clock reads in order to sleep when it's dark, be awake when it's light, eat breakfast somewhere near sunrise, supper somewhere near sunset, and lunch somewhere in the middle.

There are even some places in the world that have actually learned to tolerate having their clock time quite a bit different from local time. Western China and parts of Alaska are a couple that come right to mind.

While I'm not sure I can give an objective explanation why most people seem to prefer having their clocks set pretty close to their local mean time, I do see a couple of pieces of evidence that indicate pretty strongly to me that it is so.

First, when the time zones were first conceived and set up, why did the settle on 24 one-hour zones? Fewer wider zones might have been just as, or even more, convenient. I conclude it was at least in part because most people at the time, and I believe probably still today, are willing to set their clocks up to 30 minutes or so faster or slower than their local time for the sake of convenience of commerce, but not a whole lot more. I elaborated on this thought further in the following DOT post.

http://bill-starr.blogspot.com/2005/11/my-dot-post-of-20-nov-2005-supporting.html

Second, when I look up "noon" in my big Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, the first definition is "midday" and the second definition is "twelve o'clock in the daytime". When I look up "noonhour" the definitions are "the hour between 12 noon and 1 p.m." and "lunchtime". When I look up "midday", it says "the middle of the day; noon or the time centering around noon".

Granted, that is somewhat simplistic, but I still think it also gives some pretty strong empirical evidence of just how deeply ingrained these conventions are in our collective cultural psyche. Anybody who decides it's worthwhile to push away from those definitions has a pretty uphill battle cut out for them, as is readily observed in Indiana now.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Masson's Blog: Governor Daniels breaks the law

Doug Masson writes:

*** BEGIN QUOTE ***

Governor Daniels is now officially in violation of Ind. Code 1-1-8.1-3 which states:

Sec. 3. The state supports the county executive of any county that seeks to change the time zone in which the county is located under the procedures established by federal law.

The St. Joseph County Commissioners [are] seeking, under the procedures established by federal law, to change the time zone in which St. Joseph County is located. That means the state has to support them in their efforts, right? Well, apparently only if you're of the opinion that Governor Daniels is obliged to obey the law.

Governor Daniels has submitted a letter to the U.S. Dept. of Transportation opposing the St. Joseph County Commissioners' efforts to change time zones. In other words, he is doing exactly the opposite of what the law requires him to do...

Nevermind that he makes bogus statements about the "clear preference" of Hoosiers generally to remain in the Eastern Zone and of Elkhart County residents specifically. The statements are bogus because no mechanism has been made available to most Hoosiers to express their preference. In fact, the Republican leadership has made clear its opposition to a referendum that would put this "clear preference" to the test. Nevermind that he continues his recent insistence that time zones are a "local matter." Nevermind that he forgets his campaign preference for statewide Central Time. Nevermind that he sat on his hands until the eleventh hour before offering an opinion to the public and to the USDOT.

Forget all that stuff for now. He is breaking the law. The Daylight Saving Time bill added a section to the Indiana Code that specifically required the state to support a county executive's efforts to switch time zones. Instead of supporting the St. Joseph County Commissioners, as the law requires, Mitch Daniels is opposing their efforts...

He wasn't ignorant of that provision of the law. His spokesperson was recently asked about it, and offered up an explanation of that provision with which only an illiterate could agree, alleging that the provision required support only of the process not the county executive seeking to change time zones.

He wasn't required to offer his opinion to the USDOT. He could have remained silent and presumably not run afoul of the law. Instead, he went out of his way to violate IC 1-1-8.1-3. Just outrageous. If I were the St. Joseph County Commissioners, I'd be headed to court to seek an injunction of the whole Daylight Saving Time law, delaying its implementation until such time as the Governor corrects his violation or the legislature repeals IC 1-1-8.1-3.

*** END QUOTE ***

Masson's Blog: Governor Daniels breaks the law

PETITION FAVORING CENTRAL TIME (short winter days)

Title: Time Zone Boundaries in the State of Indiana
Docket: OST-2005-22114-3843 (as corrected)
RIN 2105-AD53
FR Refence Number: 70 FR 48460

To: Joanne Petrie
via "http://dms.dot.gov/submit/"
Office of the General Counsel (C-50)
400 7TH ST SW
WASHINGTON DC 20590-0001

PETITION FAVORING CENTRAL TIME (short winter days)
==================================================
I was reading Tony O'Neill's November 25 comment to the DOT docket (OST-2005-22114-3559). Tony lives in Indianapolis. As an objection to Central time, Tony says that if he lives in a state where the sun sets at 4pm, he is "out of here". Well, even on Central time, the sun won't set that early in Indianapolis, so this is a bit of a "straw man" argument, but let's take a closer look at this objection anyway, because there are quite a few who seem to feel this way.

I maintain that Tony's issue has more to do with reasonable expectations for living on the 40th parallel than it does with Indiana's time zone.

The shortest day of the year north of the equator is December 21 (winter solstice). At 40 degrees latitude, we only get about 9 hours 20 minutes of daylight. No matter where you live around the world at that latitude, you will only have about 4 hours 40 minutes before midday and the same after. So at the center of any time zone, the sun rises approximately 7:20am and sets approximately 4:40pm. For those east of the nearest center, like Indiana is, sunrise and sunset times are up to 30 minutes earlier. For those to the west, they are up to 30 minutes later.

Since Indianapolis is only about four degrees east of the nearest time zone center, our actual sunrise and sunset times should be about 15 minutes earlier than those at the center. This would be about 7:05am and 4:25pm (ignoring the correction for the equation of time).

It turns out that the earliest sunrise in Indy on Central time is 4:20pm (including the equation of time correction), which matches the approximate calculation very closely.

So, for all of us who choose to live near Indianapolis (or anywhere due east or west of it), physical reality just dictates that we're going to have less than ten hours of daylight from mid-November through late January -- with the attendant winter sunrise and sunset times approximately five hours or less before and after midday.

If Tony O'Neill, or anyone else, comes to realize that they really want more daylight than this in the winter, setting the clock to eastern time doesn't really address the root problem. It only robs an hour from Peter (who prefers to have 4.9 hours of early-January morning sun instead of 3.9) to pay Paul (who wants to stretch his 4.3 hours of early-December evening sun to 5.3).

On Central time, we would have about 0.6 hours more mid-winter sun in the morning than in the evening. On Eastern, we would have about 1.4 hours more sun in the evening than in the morning. Central helps keep the scale a little closer to the center, more equitably dividing our scant hours of winter daylight between those who prefer it in the morning and those who prefer it in the evening.

So for Tony O'Neill, moving to a more southerly state (closer to the equator) is the only way to provide a true increase in winter daylight hours, with corresponding earlier winter sunrises and later sunsets than we have in Indiana.

Sincerely, Bill Starr
1421 N 475 E
COLUMBUS IN 47203-9380
Bartholomew County resident
http://tinyurl.com/88nnw
Tue, 29 Nov 2005

cc: letter to the editor, Indiana legislators, Governor Daniels

Ref: http://dms.dot.gov/search/document.cfm?documentid=374636&docketid=22114
Ref: http://dms.dot.gov/search/document.cfm?documentid=375009&docketid=22114

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Terre Haute TribStar.com :: Daniels leads clumsy DST dance

The editors of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star write:

"In reality, however, the governor's biggest first-year fiasco is one entirely of his own making. It is he who decided Indiana had a problem with its clocks and pushed hard to get daylight-saving time adopted by the Legislature...

"Through underhanded political means and last-minute shenanigans by members of his own party in the Indiana House, Daniels managed to “solve” a problem that really did not exist...

"The governor himself is likely to feel enormous heat on the issue next year during mid-term elections. If his GOP loses control of the House, which it only holds by four seats, he may have only himself and his DST policy to blame. Hoosiers in these parts are ticked off about DST and may decide to express their disgust with the governor at the polls next November...

"What's important is that we reach consensus and stick with it. And because Indianapolis is our capital city and has such a significant influence on Hoosier commerce, the rest of the state would be wise to follow its lead.

"Mitch Daniels may be the guy who screwed this up. But we don't have to make things worse."

*****
While I disagree with their recommendation that the state should follow Indianapolis on the time zone, I do agree that the whole state should be in a single time zone.

For many reasons I have already expressed elsewhere, I believe Indiana should lie entirely in the Central zone.

If Indiana were a wide state and bisected by a time zone boundary, as Ohio is, I might agree that it makes sense for Indiana to be split into two time zones. But east-to-west, we only extend across 3.25 degrees longitude and we fit well within the eastern half of the 15-degree Central standard time zone centered on St. Louis (90 degrees longitude).


Terre Haute, Indiana News :: TribStar.com :: Daniels leads clumsy DST dance

Monday, November 21, 2005

Unite Indiana on a single time zone

I sent the following e-mail to the Indiana legislators today.


*****
With Organization Day coming up tomorrow in the General Assembly, I wanted to encourage you to seize this opportunity to pass a law or resolution petitioning the DOT to put the entire state of Indiana back into a single time zone, as we once were. With software and maps needing to be updated anyway to reflect the fact that we now observe Daylight Saving Time, this is a prime opportunity to act to unify the state, perhaps excepting the counties adjoining the Cincinnati and Louisville metropolitan areas which have been observing Eastern Daylight Time.

I support putting the entire state back in its original and natural position in the Central time zone. Supporting this move is the fact that that Indianapolis lies only 205 miles from the center of the Central zone (90 degrees), but is 590 miles from the center of the Eastern zone (75 degrees). Our borders are split about equally between the portions of Illinois and Kentucky observing Central time (394 miles) and the portions of Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky observing Eastern (393). From a business perspective, Central puts us at most two hours from every other business in the continental United States versus up to three on Eastern.

From a personal perspective, we were already getting just as much additional summer evening daylight on year-round Central Daylight Time as Boston (exactly one time zone to our east) does on Eastern Daylight. I think the extra hour from observing Daylight Saving Time with most of the rest of the country would be a greater benefit in the winter mornings than it would in the summer evenings, when we already had plenty of daylight shifted from morning to evening.

For example, let's look at July 15, which falls during the Daylight Saving months. In Indianapolis this year on Central Daylight Time (same as Eastern Standard Time), the sunrise was 5:29 and the sunset was 8:12. This is 492 minutes after midday and 391 minutes before, or a net benefit from Daylight Saving Time in the Central zone of 101 minutes. By comparison, sunrise in Boston (Eastern Daylight Time) was 5:21 (399 minutes before midday) and sunset was 8:19 (499 minutes after midday). This gives them a net benefit from Eastern Daylight Saving Time of 100 minutes, virtually the same as we would have on Central Daylight Saving Time.

By comparison on February 11 next year (the non-DST period), if we were on Central time the sunrise in Indianapolis would be 6:42 and sunset 5:16. This is also virtually identical to Boston, one time zone to our east. Their sunrise that day is 6:46 and sunset 5:12. Why should Indiana's sunrise and sunset be that different from those exactly one time zone (15 degrees longitude) to our east?

The time zones are arranged every fifteen degrees longitude so that the winter time in each time zone is pretty close to local apparent time. Based on apparent time, the February 11 sunrise in Indy would be 6:43 (317 minutes before midday) and sunset would be 5:17 (317 minutes after midday), very close to our actual clock time on Central time that day.

If you can't see your way clear in this session to recommend a single time zone for Indiana to the DOT, I urge you to at least support a statewide referendum to obtain a clear measure of public opinion on this issue. Possible options on the referendum could include: 1) leave the time zone border within our state borders, as it is now, subject to individual requests of counties to the DOT, 2) put the entire state on Central time, or 3) put the entire state on Eastern time.

By the way, although I am an elected Republican precinct committeeman, I don't see any credible justification why attempting to seize this limited window of opportunity to reunite virtually the entire state into a single time zone should be a partisan issue.

Sincerely, Bill Starr
Columbus, Indiana
Bartholomew County
http://tinyurl.com/88nnw
Mon, 21 Nov 2005

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Indiana required to support petitioning commissioners

To: "Letter to the Editor"

Doug Masson in his blog articles of November 13 and 15, and Martin DeAgostino in the November 15 South Bend Tribune, reminded me of the easily-overlooked first sentence in Senate Enrolled Act 127 (which Governor Daniels signed into law on May 13, giving Indiana Daylight Saving Time starting April 2006).

This sentence declares the will of the legislature that "the state supports the county executive of any county that seeks to change the time zone in which the county is located..."

As with all other Indiana laws, the governor is bound by our state constitution to take care that it is faithfully executed.

Based on the news reports from the first three of the four DOT hearings in Indiana on the time zones this week, there are obviously quite a few other citizens of Indiana who, like me, favor returning the entire state to its former and natural place in the Central time zone. As the DOT public input process continues, I plan to keep an eye on the governor's faithfulness in executing this statute.

And just in case any question might arise about the definition of the word "supports", my American Heritage Dictionary (Second College Edition) defines it in this context as:

"support: 7. To aid the cause of by approving, favoring, or advocating"

Of course, the legislature could choose to amend or revoke this statute in a future session. Until and unless that occurs, I plan to make the clear meaning of this sentence my measure in gauging how well Governor Daniels supports the commissioners of each of the counties who are petitioning the DOT to be on Central time, obviously including St. Joseph County, and I urge others to do so as well.

Sincerely, Bill Starr
Bartholomew County resident
http://tinyurl.com/88nnw
Sun, 20 Nov 2005

Ref: http://www.masson.us/blog/archives/2005/11/sb_127_requires.html
Ref: http://www.masson.us/blog/archives/2005/11/support_through.html
Ref: http://www.southbendtribune.com/stories/2005/11/15/local.20051115-sbt-LOCL-B1-Law_complicates.sto

cc: Governor Daniels, State Representative Luke Messer, State Senator Robert Garton
cc: St. Joseph County Commissioners

My DOT post of 20 Nov 2005 supporting Central time for Indiana

Title: Time Zone Boundaries in the State of Indiana
Docket: OST-2005-22114
RIN 2105-AD53
FR Refence Number: 70 FR 48460

To: Joanne Petrie
via "http://dms.dot.gov/submit/"
Office of the General Counsel (C-50)
400 7TH ST SW
WASHINGTON DC 20590-0001

PETITION FAVORING CENTRAL TIME (time zone width implications)
The nominal width of each of the 24 standard time zones is 15 degrees. This convention was adopted at the International Meridian Conference in Washington, DC in October 1884 (http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/info/conference.htm). Based on the initial meridian being at Greenwich, the nominal boundary between the Eastern and Central zones falls about midway east-to-west across Ohio, and down the eastern borders of Michigan and Kentucky. It's pretty obvious which Indiana border lies closer to that. Yes, there would be some pain at one border or the other if our whole state were on a single time zone, but there's clearly more to the choice than just flipping a coin.

The largely unstated implication of 24 one-hour time zones is that most people are willing to tolerate setting their clocks to a standard time that differs a maximum of +/- 30 minutes from their Local Mean Time (LMT), for the convenience of commerce (mainly the railroads in 1884).

If most people were willing to tolerate a 30-to-60-minute difference between their local time and their clock time, then 12 two-hour standard zones would have worked just as well. Continuing the thought, if willing to tolerate a 60-to-90-minute deviation, then 8 three-hour zones would have worked out fine. Likewise, if most people were willing to tolerate a 90-to-120-minute offset between local and clock time, then 6 four-hour zones would have been acceptable.

But, the fact that we got 24 one-hour zones implies to me that the consensus then was that a deviation of more than 30 minutes was unacceptable to the average person. I think this largely still applies today, which is at least partly why we see all of the grassroots support for Central time, now that we'll be observing Daylight Time. We were effectively already on Central time from April through October anyway.

Now let's look at the deviation between local time and clock time for Indiana under the two options for a single time zone for the entire state. On Central time, the offset between local time and clock time is only ten minutes for Terre Haute and 20 minutes for Richmond, both well under the 30-minute standard for a system of 24 one-hour zones.

On Eastern time, the offset between clock time and local time for Terre Haute is 50 minutes in the winter. During the 7 or 8 months of Daylight Saving Time, the offset between local time and clock time for Terre Haute is 110 minutes. If everyone in the continental U.S. were willing to tolerate having their clocks off by 110 minutes from their local time, we could have a single time zone from Maine to California, with everyone's clock set to the local time for Sioux City, Iowa.

Can you imagine the howls from Los Angeles and New York City with a system like that? And yet, both cities would have their clocks set only about +/- 90 minutes from their own local time, less than Terre Haute is being asked to put up with for over half the year, beginning April 2006, if most of Indiana remains on Eastern time.

Sincerely, Bill Starr
Bartholomew County resident
http://tinyurl.com/88nnw
Sun, 20 Nov 2005

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Masson's Blog: Jasper Time Zone Hearings

There's an interesting thread of discussion on Indiana's time zone hearings on Doug's blog, including a few comments of my own.

Masson's Blog: Jasper Time Zone Hearings

My petition for Central time to Bartholomew County commissioners, 15 Aug 2005

The three commissioners of Bartholomew County, Indiana held a hearing for public comment on whether to request a hearing from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a possible change to the Central time zone. The hearing was held on Monday, 15 August 2005. The commissioners voted to stay in whichever time zone Indianapolis chooses, but stopped short of making any recommendation to Marion County of which zone they might prefer.

I realized that I had not posted the comments which I presented in my testimony at this hearing. They follow below.

*****

Thank you for scheduling this opportunity for Bartholomew County residents to express our time zone preference to you.

Now that the legislature and governor have passed the bill putting Indiana on daylight saving time, I prefer that as much of Indiana as possible observe Central time rather than Eastern.

The primary reason for my preference is based on our longitude and the natural time zone boundaries. The natural time zone boundaries are centered on even multiples of 15 degrees longitude around the globe, so that the clocks in every zone read approximately 12:00 when the sun passes overhead at noon. This natural Eastern zone is centered on 75 degrees and the Central zone is centered on 90, with the natural boundary between the two at 82.5 degrees. Based on our longitude, the whole state of Indiana, as well as half of Ohio and virtually all of Michigan and Kentucky fall within the natural boundaries of the Central time zone.

If Indiana remains in the Eastern zone, I understand that we would be the only state in the U.S. that lies completely within the mathematical boundaries of one time zone (Central) and yet observes a different time zone.

Normally, when a community is observing standard time in the winter, the sun would pass overhead within one half hour of 12:00 and when observing daylight saving time in the summer, the sun would pass overhead within one half hour of 1:00. If we are on Central time, this will be the case, but if we are Eastern, the sun will not be overhead until 1:50pm in the afternoon -- giving us effectively double daylight saving time. This would give us a sunset of 9:15pm in late June, with dusk not falling until 9:45pm or so. Conversely for portions of each month from October through January, on Eastern time the sun would not rise until after 8am, based on the expanded Daylight Saving Time period approved by Congress to begin in 2007.

Since Indiana lies well within the longitude range for Central time, we have effectively been observing Central daylight saving time year-round for the past several decades.

The argument may be made that Indiana borders more states that are in the ETZ than the CTZ. This assumption is only partially correct. Michigan, Ohio and part of Kentucky are in the ETZ. Illinois and the western part of Kentucky are in the CTZ. The border distance with states in the ETZ is approximately 400 miles and the CTZ is approximately 390 miles. A difference of only ten miles makes this argument nearly pointless. And, as I pointed out earlier, even those parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky that currently observe eastern time where they border us actually fall within the Central time zone according to their longitude.

Another argument I have heard for Eastern time is that Indiana's time should match that of Washington, D.C., since that is where our legislators work. I don't give this argument much weight. Carried to its logical conclusion, our whole country would be on Eastern time, regardless of how much sense that made to the people of California, Alaska, or Hawaii. This is exactly the situation in Communist China, whose government imposes a single time on the whole country, although the country would fall into five time zones if they followed the natural lines of longitude.

Apparently the Department of Transportation does not give much weight to the common-sense arguments based on longitude, so let us switch to the business rationale for Central time.

The primary selling point that Governor Daniels made for Indiana's switch to daylight saving time was to put Indiana clocks in sync year-round with most of the rest of the United States. From this perspective, either Eastern or Central time would be fine -- we would still change our clocks with the rest of the country twice per year, and always be the same number of hours different from just about anywhere else in the U.S.

And the rest of the country is already accustomed to dealing with Indiana businesses on both Central and Eastern time for about six months of each year, so neither should require more of an adjustment for our business partners than the other.

One advantage to being on Central time year-round is that it would put all Indiana businesses at most two hours away from all our customers and suppliers in the continental U.S., rather than being up to three hours different from the rest of the country on Eastern time. This might serve to expand opportunities for business with those on the west coast, without harming our relations with those on the east coast, who are already accustomed to being one hour ahead of us half the year anyway.

Another argument for Central time is to align ourself most closely with the population center of the country. The mean center of population of the United States is in Missouri, and moving westward with every census.

If we change to Central time, we will continue to enjoy the same additional sunlight in the summer evenings -- about 1.5 hours more evening sun than morning sun each day on average, while gaining one hour additional morning sunlight during most of the school year.

If we stay on Eastern time next summer, our clocks will read between 1:40 and 1:50pm at local noon during this period, giving us about 3.5 hours more evening daylight than morning daylight per day on the average. Personally I would rather have more light in the winter mornings, without losing any of the abundance of summer evening light we already enjoy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Central time better for Hoosier morning golfers

Until recently, I was under the impression that the Indiana golfing community probably uniformly supports Eastern Daylight Time for Indiana, due to the extra hour of evening sunlight from April through October.

So I was pleasantly surprised when one of my friends and coworkers mentioned that he appreciated my recent comments on Indiana's time zone and that he is also an ardent supporter of Central time, due to his passion for golf.

It turns out that he is one of a group of twelve or so golfers who enjoy playing nine holes together before work Friday mornings from March to September. My friend particularly likes this time slot because he can enjoy his golf and socializing at a time when his family is still asleep, thereby avoiding taking time away from his three young children, as evening golf would do.

They find that they can tee off about 30 minutes before sunrise and still tell which way the first drive is heading. With the sun rising here about 5:15 in mid-June on Central Daylight Time, they have been able to get on the course as early as 4:45, allowing them to get to the office by 7:00 or so. Even with a sunrise as late as 6:30 in March or September, they can still be at work by about 8:15.

With Eastern Daylight Time (if they continue to limit themselves to days when the sun rises before 6:30, in order to arrive at work at a decent hour) their usable pre-work golf season is shortened from about 25 to 9 weeks (mid-May through mid-July). I can see why that would give an avid golfer heartburn.

*****
Submitted to DOT Docket OST-2005-22114 and as a letter to the editor.

Published in "The Republic" (Columbus, Indiana) Monday, 14 Nov 2005.

My editorial of 16 Oct 2005 on Indiana's time zone

I get a sense sometimes in reading the various arguments from champions of Eastern and Central time for Indiana that the Eastern advocates don't really understand why living on year-round Eastern time seems so extreme to Central backers.

I think an analogy might help explain it.

U.S. Code (Title 15, Chapter 6, Subchapter IX, Sections 261 and 263) defines the standard time of the Eastern zone as the mean solar time (MST) of the 75th degree of longitude and that of Central as the MST of the 90th degree.

I think most people would agree that the thought of putting Buffalo, New York on Central time sounds pretty outlandish. Buffalo is 11.1 degrees (565 miles) east of the middle of the Central standard time zone (which runs approximately through Peoria, Illinois). The sun rises and sets in Buffalo approximately 45 minutes earlier than at the middle of the Central time zone, but only 15 minutes later than the middle of the Eastern zone.

But Indianapolis is in almost exactly the reverse situation. It lies 11.1 degrees (590 miles) west of the middle of the Eastern standard time zone (which runs approximately through Philadelphia). The sun rises and sets in Indianapolis approximately 45 minutes later than at the middle of the Eastern time zone, but only 15 minutes earlier than the middle of the Central zone.

So to Central advocates like me, Indiana's observing Central time looks about as sensible as leaving Buffalo on Eastern time. And conversely, leaving Indiana on Eastern looks about as ludicrous as moving Buffalo to the Central zone. Indianapolis lies about as far from the center of the Eastern zone as Buffalo is from the center of the Central zone.

Continuing to have the extra hour of evening sunlight 7 or 8 months of the year on Central Daylight Saving Time (to which we have been accustomed) sounds fine to me -- but not an extra hour beyond that by observing Daylight Saving Time on top of being one time zone to the east of our natural location.

Some Eastern supporters have correctly pointed out that winter sunrises (November through March) on Eastern time would be the same time as we have been used to for decades. This is accurate, as far as it goes. But central Indiana has been used to having the sun rise earlier than 7:15am until the first week of November. With Eastern Daylight Time, the sun begins to rise later than 7:15am the first week of September -- two months earlier. At the other end of winter, we have been accustomed to having the sun start rising earlier than 6:30am at the end of March. With Eastern Daylight Time, we would have to wait about 1½ months longer -- until mid-May -- to see the sun rise before 6:30am.

For people, like my wife, who enjoy getting an early start on the day with a morning walk in a country neighborhood with no street lights, being on Eastern Daylight Time means losing an hour of morning sunlight for safer walking these 3½ months in the spring and fall, compared to what they have been used to and would still have with Central Daylight time.

Evansville Courier & Press, 19 Oct 2005

Also published as a Letter to the Editor in "The Republic", Columbus, Indiana, Sat, 22 Oct 2005.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bleachers no place for smokers

The following letter (except for the last paragraph) ran in "The Republic" (Columbus, Indiana) on Sunday, 30 October 2005.

Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2005 09:15:36 -0500
To: "John Harmon -- letter to the editor"
Subject: Letter to the editor ("Clean air at Lincoln Park too?")

I remain opposed on principle to a legislative ban on smoking in private business establishments in Columbus.

However, as I read in today's paper about the upcoming ban on smoking in public places in Columbus, I have to admit that it has crossed my mind several times this summer, while watching my family play softball at Lincoln Park, how much more pleasant it would be to be able to breathe clean air in the city park without trying to hunt down a seat in the bleachers upwind from the smokers.

Now there's a place where the Columbus City Council probably actually has legitimate jurisdiction over smoking.

And if you buy all of the arguments about the deleterious effects of secondhand smoke, it would also be a bold stroke for public health on behalf of infants, children, and adult spectators in the stands at the park.

(Once the genie [ of nanny government ] is out of the bottle, it's hard to put him back.)