Alaska editorial: Daylight-saving time makes no difference

Posted: Thursday, May 11, 2006

This editorial appeared in The Voice of the Times:

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There are many people, we acknowledge, who get all in a dither when it comes to daylight-saving time. In fact, three Alaskans have just won approval from the state to start a petition drive to get voters a couple of years from now to ban the state from moving its clocks ahead every spring and back again every fall.

But really, in Alaska shifting time is no big deal with respect to the hours of daylight and darkness. In the summer, the days are long. In winter, the darkness overpowers the daylight - no matter what the clocks say.

It is a big deal, however, that Alaska stays in step with the rest of the nation - and particularly the West Coast - when it comes to regulating our schedules and timetables.

We have become accustomed, for lo these many years, to being one hour behind Seattle on the clock. The same for Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Palm Springs or elsewhere in the Pacific time zone. We know we are four hours behind New York and Washington. The pattern is fixed, easy to follow.

Our airline schedules are part of the pattern. We're used to doing business with other states that change their clocks twice a year. Refusing to go on daylight time would simply complicate matters.

And as far as whether we get up a 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. in December, it's still dark outside. And in the summer, it makes little difference whether we go to bed at 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. - it's still daylight outside.

The petitioners in this futile attempt to buck the way the nation changes its clock will need in the next year to get the signatures of 31,451 qualified voters, from a total of 30 election districts statewide, to get this initiative on the ballot.

Alaska has bigger things to worry about than a squabble about daylight time. If you are stopped outside the supermarket by someone asking you to sign up, our advice is this: Wish 'em a nice day or a nice evening, and keep on walking.



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