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Why we need regulation and education. - 2008/08/04 01:42 This year marks my 40th year in the effort to educate people about Astronomy and Dark Skies. The problem is education fails in the ever growing face of immorality and abasement. As the ills of society increase it becomes necessary for decent citizens to take action. Who complains about laws except those that break them? Think of this; the lack of rules and regulations most benefit the filthy rich and powerful.

This is a nation of laws and was formed in the face of tyranny which is just another form of anarchy. Under aristocratic rule, there were no laws and no rules which protected the common person. Only the rich had rights. When this country was formed it was done so on the basis and concept of equality. The intent was everyone had as much right as another and that anyone's rights only ended when they infringed upon the rights of others. Always passive rights exceed active rights and thus is the legal principle of "Quiet Enjoyment". This is in fact a property right and it means that you have the right to enjoy your property in a quiet manner and with respect to your right to privacy. Further, a neighbor does not have a right to disrupt your quiet enjoyment. It is a moral principle, a Christian principle and an American right. The purpose of the Kern County Ordinance is merely to bring existing law into local practice. This ordinance is a step towards preserving property rights.

I have a neighbor that knows and has been educated. He was granted a CUP to have 12 nights a year to turn on his lights for roping rodeo and practice. He turned them on 28 times the first year. Where was my protection? He decided to breed dogs without a license and at onetime he owned and boarded for hire 15 dogs that are frustrated by being kept in exposed 4x6ft. Pens with out ever being let out. They yap all night long even though there is only about 5 now. They keep all the dogs within a mile, agitated and fussing all night long. Where are my rights and where is concern about the well being of the dogs. When I have Star Parties over where school children are being taught astronomy my neighbor has turned on his lights only to ruin my party and the childrenís education. Where are my rights? When I had a custom built telescope set up well inside my fenced yard so handicapped children in wheelchairs could look at the cosmic wonders my neighbor ordered one of his cowboys to climb over the fence and destroy the telescope. Where are my rights against trespass and vandalism? M neighbor also put up two lights that are left on. They did not want to be bothered by the lights themselves so they put them on post between the lights and their bedroom window. Yet these lights are a bother from almost any point on m place. After I had rescued another animal of theirs off the Highway I asked if they would reduce the wattage and shield the lights, they just laughed in my face. Where are my rights?

Lights are only a way for the impotent to gain a sense of power over someone else. I have had several tell me they want to kill an intruder and hope to catch one with their lights.

It is in fact only education that has brought the more intelligent people to the crossroads of understanding the importance and our rights to clean, clear, dark skiesÖwith the need to protect them.

Clear Skies,
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Rick Crockett

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MORE from Rick Crockett - 2008/08/04 08:21 If you are receiving Email from me and it is not pertinent to your concerns or vice verse let me know and I will add or drop you.

I want to reiterate that I am not interested in seeing certain light fixtures required. I feel options should be left as open as possible and look for the results. I would like to see a ban on Mercury Vapor and High Pressure Sodium. These waste a lot of energy and produce high amounts of UV radiation known to cause cataracts and skin cancer. They catalyze air pollution components making things worse. They also contain large amounts of mercury and have been illegal since about 1990.

Low Pressure Sodium is not that great either but is about twice as efficient. I understand we could be entirely off the dirty Saudi Oil if this conversion were made. Even better would be the transition to LED lighting. This hold the greatest promise as clusters of directional LEDs would give a far more even light without glare and harsh shadows. Ever been driving and get to a brightly lit corner only to not be able to see well beyond the glare???

I would like to see innovation allowed to provide the solutions, maybe even see a clean cottage industry develop so for now I favor banning Mercury Vapor and High Pressure Sodium fixtures and bulbs and any fixtures that are not "Full Cut-off". Then I would like to see the encouragement of LED lighting. I also would like a Memorandum of Understanding with the Sheriffs department and Code Enforcement to take and process nuisance / trespass lighting violations as any other infringement on property and "quiet enjoyment rights"

Thank You and...
Clear Skies
Rick Crockett

P.S. The myth about CFL, compact fluorescent lights. I had a man from GE in our Cafe that had been in charge of manufacturing CFL. He told me that the cost to manufacture the lights was about $8.50 each. He said now they are being made in China where environmental, health and safety and human rights laws are ignored. He told me they are also subsidized by the communist government in a bid to put our industry out of business and corner the market. Something I also already knew, each bulb has several grams of mercury as does all fluorescent bulbs. The mercury is ionized by very high voltage and produces everything from UV to X-rays (??? Small amount of the latter I am sure). These rays react to the phosphor coating to produce a whiter light.
Rick Crockett, founder of the Kern River Valley Astronomers, leads monthly star-gazing parties behind the Canebrake Cafe, located six miles east of Onyx. Crockett is building a wheelchair-accessible observatory on the 2.5-acre "AstroPark" his non-profit group leases behind the restaurant.
That from Bakersfield Californian article http://www.bakersfield.com/243/story/61412.html
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