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Night Sky Meeting - Livin' the Good Life

Oct. 5th, 2006

05:18 pm - Night Sky Meeting

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Phelps Chevrolet in Yucca Valley just built a new facility with monstrous, stadium-style lighting over all their new cars. I, and apparently a lot of other people, were horrified by the blinding lights and loss of night sky visiblity that resulted. I went to a town meeting to protest and then came home and wrote this letter to the editor of our paper:

While driving home from the town council meeting tonight (at which a large group of angry citizens waited to hear from Mr. Phelps, a no-show, about just how and when he plans to comply with the town lighting ordinances), I had a very pleasant experience. As I left Yucca Valley “proper” on Highway 62 and entered the bordering empty spaces of Joshua Tree, it got sparklingly dark. Only a few, dim streetlights lit up the highway, and it felt so quiet and peaceful. I was struck by the immense and awesome beauty of this dark place. I thought to myself, that’s what everyone was so angry about this evening, the idea of giving up this beautiful treasure that people in cities have lost forever. There’s no going back for them. And we don’t want that to happen to us!
What I did notice, though, was that there were some businesses in Joshua Tree, and probably many, many more in Yucca Valley, that had their business signs brightly lit up, but they were closed. The owners had gone home to their, hopefully, dark and peaceful neighborhoods and left an eyesore on the highway for all to endure until morning. Is this really necessary? (I did notice, though, that some business owners were considerate enough to turn off their signs when they went home. I surely do appreciate that.) I mean, why would I need to know a business is there if it isn’t open? I guess the owners consider it advertising. But, wouldn’t a small, unobtrusive light serve that purpose just as well as a large, gaudy one? Where is your taste, people? It’s so much more classy to be subtle and understated.
Anyway, please everyone, turn off your lights at night. Take a long, leisurely look. It’s gorgeous out there!