This is a story about lights and darkness, about loaded weapons and starry, starry nights, and especially about the race for a seat in the California Legislature. If those things don’t necessarily seem related, please read on.
Tuesday in this space, I related a complaint from a chap named Danny, who had a glaring problem with a new street light across from his residence on one of the River Streets in Far West Davis.
Danny’s guided missive was sent to both Mayor Joe Krovoza and Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk, who are in a battle to the death for the 4th District seat in the California Assembly. Danny was kind enough to include me in the correspondence.
So taken was I with Danny’s urgent email that I took my entire family on a cross-town adventure late at night to gaze at the object of Danny’s contempt.
The new light was so very Las Vegas that I leaned over to my sweetheart and — out of earshot of the large number of young children who had accompanied us — said “this is why BB guns were invented.”
I didn’t include that line in my original column because I didn’t want to incite the populace into taking street lighting into their own hands and accidentally shoot someone’s poor kitten that had climbed the light pole while chasing its tail.
As fate would have it, the mayor happens to have one of these new lights on his street as well. His response, reported here Tuesday, was swift and certain.
He noted that he and his wife had “spent 5 minutes” under the new light “in complete disbelief.” He then added “There is no way these can go in all over town. This gives energy efficiency a bad name.”
The headline over my column in Tuesday’s edition of The Davis Enterprise said “New streetlight goes over like a LED balloon.”
This prompted an anonymous comment on our website that stated “I’m not generally a Dunning fan, and I don’t care one way or the other about these street lights, but man, did Dunning nail the headline on this one.”
Indeed I did. Stayed up most of the night playing with those words until they all fell perfectly into place. The Pulitzer committee has already contacted me about how to pick up next year’s headline writing prize at Columbia University in New York City.
Only I didn’t write the headline. No, that bit of brilliance belongs to The Enterprise’s resident Wizard of Wordsmithery, Sebastian Oñate.
In no time at all after The Enterprise hit driveways and front porches and newsracks all over town, another West Davisite by the name of Kent was jumping into the fray.
“I don’t know how many different ways I can describe how garish, unnatural and eerie the new lighting is,” Kent begins.
“The lighting feels like you’re in an autopsy lab, or in an FBI interrogation, or on a movie set at night, or about to land on the moon, or that our home has been converted into a Chevron station at midnight, or that Walmart built a parking lot next door, or that a nighttime highway construction crew is about to start work outside our house, or that our house has magically relocated next to the famous ‘Hollywood’ sign.”
Adds Kent: “The former muted, yellowish lighting, which extended a few feet downward into our street, has been replaced by light that blasts all the way from the other side of the street, across our lawn and into our bedroom windows. It’s not just the lighting that’s bad, but how much farther the light travels in every direction. Our master bedroom is in the back of our house, and it is keeping us up at night.”
In East Davis, fortunately, we’re usually the last to see such things, so for now we’ve been spared.
Notes Kent: “Since the light change was made on our street, my wife and I have been weighing the pros of shooting out the lights with a BB gun versus the risk of public familial humiliation should someone see me do it or catch it on video.”
Better you than me, my friend.
Now here’s where the 4th District Assembly race comes into play.
Writes Kent: “I will find a way to vote at least 100 times for Joe Krovoza in the next election if he promises to squash this lighting replacement project.”
Clearly, it’s time for candidate Wolk to respond before the election slips from his grasp.
So there you have it. Another tale of light and dark and political intrigue in the City that Always Tries to Do the Right Thing.
— Reach Bob Dunning at email@example.com