Boo, Daylight Savings Time… yay, journalism
This week, we have some odds and loose ends to tie up, which is a reflection of my life, having lost an entire month to heinousitis. The good news is that the last round of antibiotics was the magic bullet. The bad news is that I feel like I wasted four weeks of my life.
I used to dream of having time to lie around and read my piles of books, but sadly, I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to concentrate on much more than Candy Crush. Even my brain was exhausted by this vile plague. Thankfully, I’m bouncing back, but the residual cough still barks up here and there.
More good news: On newsprint, no one can hear you cough…
First odd/end: Daylight Savings Time, and the necessity of its imminent demise. We recently discussed Assembly Bill 807, written by Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-SanJose), which would end Daylight Savings Time in California. If you’re like me, right about now, you’re still a little bleary-eyed and cranky in the morning, because it still feels too darned early. I was skeptical about the chances of our legislators having a shred of common sense and supporting AB-807, but I’m pleasantly surprised: AB-807 made it through its first committee step, and now heads to the Appropriations Committee.
So, here’s what we need to do: email the Appropriations Committee members and tell them that Daylight Savings Time is inconvenient, annoying, and just downright stupid, and please let it move forward so voters can kill it once and for all. The committee members may balk at that, because ballot measures cost money, but we must impress upon them that the cost of our sanity is much higher than a piddly little ballot measure. This time flip-flopping is a ridiculous, meaningless, unnecessary ritual, and it must end.
When I email them, I’m also going to advocate that they change the wording of AB-807, because the question being posed to voters would be “Should Daylight Savings Time end?” If the voters say “yes,” great. All is well and good in the world. But if they say “no” (and I no longer have any faith in the wisdom of voters, based on the outcome of the last Presidential election), we’re back to square one, switching our clocks forward and back every year, and cursing a lot.
My suggestion is this: Rather than a thumbs up or thumbs down on Daylight Savings Time, make the ballot measure an “either/or” choice. Just as we pick between Candidate A and Candidate B at the polls, we can also pick between Daylight Savings Time or Standard Time, and may the best Time win. I no longer care either way, because each choice has its advantages and disadvantages, but the disadvantages of falling back and springing forward are way bigger than all the others.
As for those who prefer Daylight Savings Time for its longer hours of daylight in the summer, let me offer this mitigation: If we remain on Standard Time, it’ll be one hour cooler after work on those 100-degree dog days of August, and the sun will set an hour earlier, which means those pesky mosquitoes will go to bed earlier, so summer evenings on the patio will be cooler and less pesty.
(I know. Pesty isn’t really a word, but whatevs. Which isn’t a word either, but I’m typing fast and loose today, because I’m feeling sassy again. Yay, antibiotics!)
So, dear Appropriations Committee, let’s tweak that AB-807 language and make it an either/or choice. If you need an editor to help you out, I know a good one.
(As is the case with all things, everything would’ve been better if they’d consulted with me first.)
Another odd/end: The Wolfskill News & Review. Some may recall that I’ve been helping Wolfskill High School establish its own newspaper, the WN&R, and some amazing readers even paid for Winters Express gift subscriptions for the students to help them learn — enough subscriptions to cover half the student body. How cool is that? Give yourselves a big, fat pat on the back!
I’m thinking that maybe there’s a kind benefactor to match the other half? A nice feel-good tax write-off? Interested? Email me.
As for the newspaper itself, the most fantastic thing happened. One student wrote an opinion piece about him and his friends having been treated a bit roughly by a couple of our Winters police officers, who also let some foul language fly. Before running this, I asked the journalism teacher, Robert Arosteguy, if he was absolutely certain about the details. When writing about something so potentially inflammatory, every detail must be factual. He assured me that this student was standing by his statements.
When that opinion piece ran in the last edition, it caught the eye of our police chief, who was none too pleased. He contacted me and presented his own version of what actually transpired. I told him that this is the reality of opinion — not everyone will see the same incident the same way, but he was welcome to write a counterpoint. I added that maybe what really needed to happen was for the police department to reach out to the Wolfskill students (who are pegged as the bad seeds in this town) and improve the communication and understanding, rather than viewing them all as potential criminals.
And then the craziest thing happened: Our police chief jumped right on it. He assigned an officer to do just that: reach out to our Wolfskill students and open up some communication.
Hats off to Police Chief John Miller, for recognizing that in any unpleasant situation, an opportunity may arise, and hats off to journalism teacher Robert Arosteguy for encouraging his students to be courageous and stand by what they write. This is journalism at its finest — the written word prompting communication, understanding and change. It doesn’t get any better than this! Miller is proving to be an asset to our community, and Arosteguy an asset to our school district and, moreover, to his students.
I love when things work for the greater good of all!