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Let There Be Light!
by Steve Pleich
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 10:07 AM
Public Safety 101
Our community is in darkness and not only because we are all enshrouded by the unexpressable sadness of recent events. We are also wandering in the dark in search of the way forward as a community of people. We stand at the crossroads of our collective hopes and fears and wonder aloud and to ourselves how we can again deliver ourselves into the light of life. And yet as we do so, we must search for and identify both the spiritual and the practical pathes. I will leave the spiritual path for each of us individually to ponder, but as to a practical path forward I do have one to offer: let there be light!

Anyone who has taken a casual stroll through any of our neighborhoods at night must have noticeed one thing, the virtally total lack of illumination. Our community is singularly unlit in this respect. Although many neighborhood groups have adopted the public safety strategy of putting more "eyes" on our problem areas, it seems that no one has thought to simply put more light on the problem. So I suggest just that.

Lets' create a city sponsored program that provides more light for our community in the form of more and brighter street lighting. The city should also consider offering incentives for a program that will enable every resident to install a front porch light on every residence in every neighborhood. This may also be an opportunity to revisit the Blue Light Safety Project envisioned by our good friend Wes Modes.

In these ways, at least, we can together begin the journey out of the darkness and into the light.

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by via Blue Light Safety Project
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 10:50 AM
From the Blue Light Safety Project website:

The Blue Light Safety Project is a Santa Cruz local community effort to provide temporary safe spaces for people who are feeling unsafe. Community members who want to provide a safe space to those in need simply put a blue light on their house.

People in our communities, especially those in vulnerable populations, sometimes need a place where they can stop for a brief time to seek help or safety, make a phone call, wait for a ride, or rest for a moment. For example, female-bodied people or youth walking alone at night, people escaping intimate violence, queer or trans people who've been threatened, or elderly people who need a brief rest might feel supported to have a house in their neighborhood where they know they can find a temporary safe space.

The project is an attempt to provide safety in our community outside of institutional solutions such as police.

You may see signs at houses around town:

This is the Blue Light Safety Project.
A blue light signifies that this house is a temporary safe space, open to anyone that feels in danger or threatened. Knock on the door and the residents will provide support until you feel safer or can make other arrangements. If no one is home, you are welcome to sit on the porch for a short time until you feel safe to continue on your way.

There are several ways to support the project:

The simplest way is to become a Blue Light House. Put a blue light on your home and become a temporary safe space in your neighborhood.
Talk to your neighbors about the project
Put a sign up to explain why you are a Blue Light House.
Donate to the project.
Come to a Community Safety Workgroup
by Earth 101
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 11:37 AM
Light pollution, also known as photopollution or luminous pollution, is excessive or obtrusive artificial light. Pollution is the adding-of/added light itself, in analogy to added sound, carbon dioxide, etc. Adverse consequences are multiple.


Street lights disrupt ecosystem, study says

"Street lighting changes the environment at higher levels of biological organisation than previously recognised, raising the potential that it can alter the structure and function of ecosystems," says the study.

Street lighting is advancing at the average rate of six percent worldwide each year, but its impact on wildlife is poorly understood.

Anecdotal evidence suggests street lights affect the body clock of urban birds, tricking them into feeding longer, and on the feeding habits of mammals such as foxes, rats, mice and bats.


Lights Out? The Dangers of Exposure to Light at Night

A panel of world experts discussed "Light Pollution and its Ecophysiological Consequences" and shed light on the extent of the dangers and harm that night-time artificial lighting causes, emphasizing that it is the short wavelength illumination that we have come to know as "eco-friendly illumination" that is causing the most harm (primarily LED lighting).

The participants were in full agreement that exposure to light at night affects circadian rhythms in nature -- humans, animals and plants -- which when thrown off can result in various illnesses and adverse symptoms. Prof. Haim presented one of his studies showing the adverse effects of exposure to light at night -- particularly short wavelength blue LED -- in the blind mole rat and in seeing rats, both of which showed varying levels of damage to their metabolic rates, hormone production, body mass, and oxygen consumption following exposure to LAN, as well as suppressed levels of melatonin production, which is responsible for tumor growth.

University of Haifa. "Lights out? The dangers of exposure to light at night." ScienceDaily, 10 Sep. 2012.
by Razer Ray
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 7:51 PM
There's a state code prohibiting blue lights as a symbol of safety if the place with the light isn't police agency affiliated. It's a 'reserved' color for ARMED POLICE.

Even when the Community Officers of the SCPD drive a patrol car the 'bubblegum machine' is supposed to be covered, NOT just "not operated". Haven't noticed recently but that's been the case for as long as I can remember.

When I drove Taxi, some Top Lights were prohibited by state law due to blue lights as well, and albeit I see a number of cars with them go unmolested (must be that prioritization thing). Blue lights on any non-police vehicle (under car lighting by lowriders for instance) is AT LEAST a fixit ticket.
by (a)
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 9:36 PM
I'm really not that sad about the cops getting shot.
by watsonville
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 9:43 PM
It is way more sad that there are so many 19 year old kids in Watsonville being shot on what seems like a weekly basis. But that is not as noteworthy as two white cops getting shot in Santa Cruz. In fact, the news (and other white liberals) only make a big deal about violence when it is white people who get hurt. If the Food Bin is robbed or a white college student is robbed at a bus stop, that means our peaceful community is going to hell in a handbasket. But for f*ck's sake, young people are dying 14 miles south of us all the time and nobody gives a sh*t about that.
by (@)
Sunday Mar 3rd, 2013 9:45 PM
actually... two less cops. may we all rest easier now.
by Razer Ray
Monday Mar 4th, 2013 8:51 AM
ACAB, but SOME are a whole lot less "B" than others.

Butch Baker was a putz, and he WAS the person responsible for implementing the "Harassification" pogrom currently denuding any culture other than "Shopper Culture" downtown Santa Cruz, but to the best of my knowledge he DID NOT CREATE those policies, he simply IMPLEMENTED them, and in my estimation I doubt if he thought it would work (AAMOF in personal conversations on the topic I had with him due to some truly unusual circumstance, which I'd be glad to expound upon, I can state almost assuredly he thought it was dumb), but once you've been on a good paying job for any number of year it gets sort of hard to untangle oneself from your income needs.

Get this... Black/White thinking IS NOT an "Anarchist Principle'. It's a precept of Fascism that simple minded nihilists can hang onto.

Just sayin'. It's more complicated than that or there WOULD be a Worker's Paradise by now
by brentish
Monday Mar 4th, 2013 8:17 PM
I lived in the Beach Flats neighborhood for nearly 10 years and watched crime disappear with the darkness.
Crime doesn't like bright light.
But none of the violent crimes of the past 2 weeks would've been affected by more lighting.
The issue of light pollution is very real and i don't want to see more bright lights in the neighborhoods.
See the Target sign issue that brewed in capitola for NIMBY effects of bright lighting.

Let there be the light of compassion.