First, my apologies for the lack of blog activity. My home internet service went out on Friday night and was down all weekend.
At the time the USDOT’s time zone decision came out, I noted that the Pulaski County decision surprised me a bit. They had been preliminarily denied and hadn’t made much effort to supplement their petition to get USDOT to reconsider. Nevertheless, they were included in Central while St. Joseph, which had been preliminarily approved, was ultimately denied. Apparently this also came as a surprise to Pulaski County. Now the officials are attempting to reconsider whether they want to be on Central Time.
The county commissioners and County Council plan a special joint
meeting on Monday to hear public comments on whether to appeal the U.S.
Department of Transportationâ€™s ruling to shift Pulaski County from
Eastern time beginning April 2, when daylight-saving time begins.
A statement released by County Council President Sam Frain called
the federal decision released Wednesday a â€œsudden changeâ€ from the
agencyâ€™s October recommendation that the county remain in the Eastern
zone. The statement said county officials had received numerous
complaints about the decision.
Meanwhile, we have a chorus of “we got what we wanted, so shut up now” from the eastern parts of the state. One of the voices is an editorial from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. But, not surprisingly, the most disingenuous voice seems to be the editorial from the Marion Chronicle Tribune. Their headline gives away the problem with their reasoning, “After decades of arguing, it’s time to move on.” Why wasn’t it time to move on last year or the year before or the year before that? Because the folks at the Marion Chronicle editorial board hadn’t gotten what they wanted: Eastern Daylight Time. Why is it time to move on now? Because they got what they wanted. So could the rest of us please shut up now? (My comments in italics)
Already, some Hoosier legislators want a statewide referendum on the time zone issue.
“The people ought to be given a voice,” House Minority Leader Pat Bauer whined. Somehow it wasn’t whining when people complained that the system that worked well enough for 30 years ought to be changed.
They’ve had a voice, for crying out loud. They had it when they elected Mitch Daniels, who campaigned on making the change. Folks, you really, really, don’t want to hang your hat on what Mitch Daniels campaigned on. He campaigned on state-wide Central Daylight Time. That is not at all what we have now.
They had it when the General Assembly debated the issue and when the feds conducted hearings and took comments around the state. Nor do you want to hang your hat on the action by the General Assembly. The Daylight Saving Time died twice. First when the original bill didn’t make it out of the House. Second when the bill that ultimately passed was defeated 50 against to 49 in favor only to be resurrected for passage when Troy Woodruff went back on his word to his constituents that he would “never” vote for Daylight Saving Time. And the federal process was stacked against consideration of Central Time. An overwhelming default preference was given to Eastern Time with those preferring Central having to overcome a heavy burden to obtain a shift. Furthermore only changes affecting petitioning counties would be considered — meaning that, even if the State and the interests of commerce would be best served by shifting a non-petitioning county (say, Elkhart County for example), the time shift simply would not be considered under any circumstances.
They’ll have yet another voice when 100 Indiana House seats and 25 Senate seats come up for election this year. You got that right.
But the state does not need a referendum about this. Why? Because the people of Indiana might disagree with the wisdom handed down by the Marion Chronicle Tribune?
It seems to me that the only way out of the time mess is to fill the General Assembly with legislators who are comitted to planning and requesting from the USDOT a statewide time solution or, in the alternative, returning Indiana to the status quo which worked well enough for 30 years, despite the whining from the likes of the Marion Chronicle Tribune.
Josh Needler says
You think it is wrong for the Chronicle and Ft. Wayne to be happy about the decision and say to move on, but if we in the Eastern part of the state would have been forced into switching to Central because of 15 counties, then you would have told us to move on when we wanted to put up a fight. I think we all just need to realize, the state is going to be split, so we all do need to just get over it and move on. If you want to live in the Central Time Zone so bad, move.
The pro-DST crowd didn’t “get over it” for 30 years. For them to expect everyone to shut up now that they got what they wanted is just silly.
Even sillier is for the Chronicle Tribune to pretend that what we got is what Governor Daniels campaigned on.
Maybe if Daylight Saving Time had passed the General Assembly in a reasonably dignified fashion. When it dies twice and only passes two resurrections later after a legislator votes for it who specifically promised his constitutents he wouldn’t, you simply can’t expect opponents to regard the matter as “settled.”
And don’t tell me to move, that’s awfully offensive.
Personally I though Bob Caylor of the News-Sentinel had it over the CT in chutzpa when he wrote last Friday that “And the truth is, our conversations with legislators lead us to believe that very few of them, Republican or Democrat, want to grind another handful of salt into this sore spot [i.e. the time zone issue].”
In other words, we should drop the issue because our legislators find it difficult to deal with. What was it Daniels said when he (trying to run away himself) pushed this off on the County commissioners, something like, if they can’t take the heat you shouldn’t have run for the job. Hoosiers aren’t to blame in this, the Governor is the one to blame.
BTW, who appointed Josh spokesman for all residents of the Eastern part of the State? I live in Fort Wayne and I support statewide Central Time (or a return to year-round standard time).
I can accept a level where our governement “knows better” than the general public. If that were not the case, we would decide everything by vote and there would be no need for representivies.
I think the DST decision falls into that. I still think not being on DST while almost every other state was on DST was harmful for Indiana. I still oppose DST nationally, but I think our government did the right thing for the state.
However, I don’t think the state will be “harmed” regardless of what zone we are in. The constant guessing by everyone else when we didn’t follow DST caused harm, but once people get used to us being in one zone or another it won’t matter to EVERYONE ELSE what zone we choose.
That being said, the people of the state SHOULD choose what zone they live in since the only choice that would cause harm to our state is to have a illogical line that would not be easy for those outside Indiana to follow.
At the very least, allow those who will start changing their clocks twice a year for the first time in their lives to decide what zone they live in.
Bill Starr says
I don’t buy the comment from Josh Needler, “the state is going to be split, so we all do need to just get over it and move on. If you want to live in the Central Time Zone so bad, move.”
I have heard the same “the state is going to be split” mantra from a couple of other Republican legislators who seem to be hoping this issue will just dry up and blow away. I would not buy it even if I were a Democrat, but I’m actually an elected GOP precinct committeeman.
There are a few flaws in this logic.
First, it is based on the red herring claim that there is something special about having Chicago to the northwest and Cincinnati to our southeast that magically prevents Indiana from ever returning to a single time zone, although all 92 counties got along just fine on central time from 1918 through 1961.
The reason I call it a red herring is that the five counties near Cincinnati and Louisville have been doing their own thing since 1967 or so, living on eastern time year-round while they were legally supposed to be on central time for 7 months out of every 12 with the other 77 counties not on year-round central time.
Even if the whole state were back on central time again, why shouldn’t the federal and state governments just keep on turning a blind eye for 12 months out of the year instead of 7, as these five counties keep on doing their own thing. The businesses who deal with these 5 counties are used to having them different from the rest of Indiana 7 months out of the year anyway, so 12 out of 12 shouldn’t be too big an adjustment.
Additionally, this puts the only time zone boundary within the state exactly where it’s been for 40 or so year, right next to the 5 counties who could put it on the state border if they cared to join the rest of the state on central.
Second, even if you think we should maintain the status quo, the status quo for the eastern 82 counties was central time 7 months out of 12.
Also, there is nothing so unique about Indiana’s situation that says we need to be the narrowest state split between two time zones. Alaska is 15 times wider than Indiana and has only two zones. All of the other 11 states that are split between two zones are between 2 and 5 times wider than Indiana — 3 times wider on average. We stick out like a sore thumb staying on two zones unnecessarily. It only takes the sun 13 minutes to pass from one side of Indiana to the other — far too narrow to justify the inconvenience to Hoosiers and our out-of-state customers and suppliers of staying split.
Finally, I know it’s been beat to death, but the nominal mid-point between eastern and central runs down the middle of Ohio. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who bothers to check that central is three times better at evenly dividing Indiana winter daylight between morning and evening than eastern, and three times better at shifting 60 minutes of morning daylight to the evening in the summer, which are the design goals of the standard time zones and daylight saving time.
I think the cows are going to move on the Marion Chronicle Tribune.
I just wanted to say that most of the State has been on Eastern Time officially for over 30 years. Eastern Time is the offical time zone of most of Indiana. If the Eastern portion of the state did not observe DST, that does not make it Central Time! It is still Eastern Time. I am quite sick of these Central Time people that cryed and cryed and flooded the DOT website with comment after comment. Some of these fanatics posted four or five times each. I believe more counties than Pulaski will petition of EST when they realize the mistake they have made. It will only take one Winter of afternoon darkness and you will see petitions again.
The move toward ET for Indiana coincided with the Interstate Highway system.Today everything is automated and instantaneous through the internet.Home rule wont work once it’s become an issue known to all.As soon as homerule is an option for all,chaos would abound. Indiana time before 1960 is irrelevant as a solution to today’s issues ( legal precedents are the real issue with most time zone ‘historians’)Longitude meridians are only general guidelines,and thats how the DOT sees it.
It’s misleading to call EST the same as CDT. Same sunrise and sunset,sure. The compromise in 60’s made the existing ET counties give up DST,and those counties on CT nominally changed to ET without the DST,which exists nowhere else,and is not understood anywhere else.Each time zone nationally is understood to have 2 parts: ST and DST.Now ET counties have the DST back again,which CT counties have always been allowed to maintain.
As long as Indiana is surrounded on 3 sides by ET there will be a majority of ET…how many counties is the question.There also will always be CT in the state. NW Indiana is a commuting area to Chicago..how many counties should be CT is the never ending question. SW Indiana is with its own time drumbeat and functions well without ‘Indianapolis’ time. But Louisville and Indianapolis will prevent CT from spreading any farther N or E.from the SW corner.
USDOT does not force counties or areas to adapt a certain time.Sure,we go back to the legal precedents and prove they can and have..But in the just passed process,there’s no indication they will force the state to CT.(ET is out of the question to begin with because of Chicago and Evansville) regardless of any referendum that is approved and whatever the results might be.So a statewide referendum is a red herring. USDOT would hold regional hearings,as they have done, and decide what area goes on which time. Marion county/Indianapolis is always just ignored by those seeking CT.NO way this area’s influential civic leaders wont fight to stay on ET and this is the very center of the state with huge influence. The capital will get what it wants! Thats why Bloomington, Terre Haute and Lafayette are all on ET.
The best arrangement for Indiana (in my humble opinion) is much like it was before any counties were recently moved..the state basically on ET,now with EDT added back, with as few counties as posssible on CT.That way, the state will have one unifying time.
So after I close on my house, and when I go for my new Indiana tags do I just ask for a ‘normal’ plates’?
Bill Starr says
Richard wrote, “If the Eastern portion of the state did not observe DST, that does not make it Central Time! It is still Eastern Time.”
This may be correct, but I find it a moot point. Call it what you want, but CDT is 5 hours from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and EST is 5 hours from GMT. Our clocks read the same whether you call it EST or CDT. There is no denying that the middle 77 counties were with Chicago 7 months out of 12 the last few decades and with New York City only 5 months of 12. You can choose to interpret the facts however you want, but they are the same facts for all of us.
Richard wrote, “I believe more counties than Pulaski will petition of EST when they realize the mistake they have made. It will only take one Winter of afternoon darkness and you will see petitions again.”
It all depends on whether you dislike your winter darkness more at the end of the day or at the beginning. There are some Hoosiers in both camps, and absent a statewide referendum, it’s anyone’s educated guess which camp has more in it.
I think lots of Hoosiers who are looking forward to the new later sunsets are going to be somewhat surprised to see that the sun waits about 6Â½ weeks longer than they’re used to to start rising before 6:30 am (from April 2 to mid-May), and that it starts to rise after 7:10 am again about 8Â½ weeks earlier than they’ve been used to — around the end of August instead of the end of October.
When you live near 40Â° latitude, as we do in central Indiana, nature decrees that we get ten hours or less of daylight from mid-November through late-January. Since most of the world does not observe DST during those months, this means that, on the average, sunrises are after 7:00 am and sunsets are before 5:00 pm during this period around the world.
By being on EST, which is the same clock time as CDT, we rob Peter to pay Paul. Instead of sunrise near 7 and sunset near 5 on January 27, when Indianapolis gets ten hours of sunlight, our sunrise is 7:57 am and our sunset is 5:58 am. This is about four hours before midday and six hours after.
Whether you think it’s a good thing or not, there’s no denying that we’re effectively on DST this time of year.
Bill Starr says
Typo at the end of my last comment.
“sunset is 5:58 am” should be “sunset is 5:58pm”.
Will there be a movement to put back Indiana on perpetual EST? Is the majority of whole state upset with the recently approved new time zone map or it is just St Joseph county,and is it a majority there? I’m a non-native Hoosier,but someone who has spent lots of time in Indiana ,and these are the questions that come to mind.Any republican who even discusses time legislation would be a fool.It’s absolutely a non-winner.So is ‘time’ going to be ONLY an issue for partisan politics ‘wedge driving’?
Thank you to the Massons for covering the DST issue. I live in east central Indiana and I have to agree that things should have been either left they way they were (with most of Indiana at EST/GMT -5 hours year round) or the whole state should have been moved into Central time.
My county borders Ohio, and while (as is typical for people here) people have not gotten riled up with the USDOT nor have the county commissioners done anything, most people I’ve talked to would rather that we NOT go on EDT come April 2nd.
1. Despite the fact that our local newspaper always managed to find two people (one from Ohio and one from Indiana)who could not add and subtract one twice a year at every OHIO time change, most people here were used to being an hour behind Ohio and points east for 7 months a year. I know people who do business on both sides of the state line; they don’t have problems making the change every year. The only business I ever heard complaining was the newspaper–and it was the editorial board, not the employees. I used to work in an office in which we dealt with people from all over the country. I never had any problem explaining to people what time we were on. It is not difficult to say, “We’re on the same time as Chicago now” or “We’re on the same time as New York now.” In fact in my conversations with people on the Indiana time zone/DST issue, the only thing most people who weren’t from here thought was odd were the southeastern counties going on daylight time on their own. People wondered why those counties wanted to be on the same time as Ohio and Kentucky, but other counties on the eastern boundary didn’t.
2. Our newspaper recently ran an editorial similar to the ones cited here, saying that it was time to leave the DST issue alone. They even chided our state senator for sponsoring a bill that calls for a statewide DST referendum. Why wasn’t it time to leave things alone last year, when the DST bill passed only with strong-arm tactics and vote switching?
3. I am hoping that once people here actually have to live on EDT this year, that could be what prompts action to change things back or at least move the whole state into the Central Time Zone. I would enjoy that extra hour of sunlight in the summer to work in my garden. But I also lived in Michigan for two years and experienced how the sun going down late can affect your body clock.
4. People here like getting TV and radio shows from Ohio and the cable stations an hour earlier for 7 months of the year. Also, if you miss something from an Ohio TV channel, you can watch it later on an Indiana channel. That may seem like a bogus reason for staying on standard time year-round, but it is something near and dear to people’s hearts in this part of the state.
In the eastern part of the state, during the summer its light out at 430 in the morning under central time. In the winter, its nice having it light out at 5 under eastern time.
I say leave the counties as they are. Allen County needs to stay on Eastern time. Anyone that hates it that much, should just move.