Fiat lux

“Let there be light.” And there was light, after many peaceful months without it. I’m talking about the corner luminaire, a streetlight that’s over-bright and sends way more light upward and elsewhere other than on the street. Some busybody newcomer must have called it in, perhaps the one that believes that a good illumination scheme is one that gives the appearance of a maximum-security prison and extends the benefits to properties several houses away, allowing people to read inside their own houses without turning on a single light. Now late-night drivers can add an additional thirty miles an hour to their rate of progress. There is one benefit to living on the bright side: those of us with peaceful reel lawnmowers and who use rakes, not leafblowers, who formerly had to wait for dawn’s first glimmers to do yard chores can return to working in the middle of the night after being awakened by the police helicopter buzzing rooftops. The grinding bucket truck began its work before four o’clock this morning. Austin’s skies are too red and we can do better than these drop-lens cobra-head monstrosities. Can you tell? I’m a fan of the Dark Sky people. I like to see the heavens and I loathe light trespass. The city code of ordinances does contain some provisions prohibiting light trespass, although not from the public right-of-way, but they’re not enforced, just as many construction and zoning provisions are ignored. Other needed provisions (regular and frequent emptying of portable chemical toilets, extended idling of big trucks on construction sites in residential areas, e.g.) don’t even exist. Where does the mayor stand on issues other than trucks in downtown commercial areas? His statement does not enlighten.

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