Commentary: Public safety starts with better street lights

In the face of increasing property crime rates and the growing encroachment of coyotes in Costa Mesa, it is important that our residential street lights provide adequate illumination at night.

In my neighborhood I have observed that over that past two years or so, especially since a lengthy power outage earlier this year, the light output appears much diminished. When these lights used to warm up, they appeared to go from orange to an orange yellow, and then they seemed to kick into something closer to white, with a higher light output at the end.

Now they seem to be just orange, and noticeably dimmer than in yesteryear. (Much more important than the color or hue is the degree of illumination.)

Of secondary importance is the issue of tree trimming. Nearly every block in my neighborhood has at least one tree which has branches blocking much of a given lamppost's output. Although properly trimmed from an aesthetic viewpoint, this sometimes adversely impacts the lamppost's function of providing illumination on the street and on the front yards of the two or three homes directly behind it.

Many of my neighbors provide for all-night lighting on their front porches or garage doors. I believe they do this at their own expense because it makes them feel safer. I commend them for doing this.

Why can't the city do more?

Perhaps Southern California Edison needs to be persuaded to put out more power to the lampposts, or maybe many bulbs have outlived their useful lives and need replacement. In either case, I believe the extra investment would be worthwhile. The balance between the goals of energy conservation, fiscal responsibility and public safety needs to be re-evaluated.

Retired accountant AL MELONE is running for Costa City Council.

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