Bill to end daylight saving time would be ‘dealbreaker for youth sports,’ Costa Mesa says

Costa Mesa National Little League's Grant L'Heureux slides into home during a 2014 game at TeWinkle Middle School, one of the city's locations with permanent lighting.
(File Photo / Daily Pilot)

Eliminating daylight saving time might be a welcome notion for those tired of forgetting to change their clocks, but doing so would drastically diminish the time available for community groups to use sports fields in Costa Mesa during the spring and summer, according to the city.

State Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose) introduced legislation this year that would put to a public vote the question of whether California should turn back the clock on the annual time shifts.

“California should be leading this change,” Chu said in a statement. “I cannot believe that anybody would like to do this fall backward, spring forward thing twice a year.”

He questioned the place of the practice in today’s world — it was adopted by California voters in 1949 — and said changing the time can negatively affect the daily routines of children and senior citizens.

Without daylight saving time, darkness would come earlier in the spring and summer — decreasing the time available for community groups to use many fields in Costa Mesa in the evening, Justin Martin, the city’s interim recreation manager, said during Thursday’s Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

Doing away with daylight saving time would slash the number of available field hours by 3,782 between March and June, largely because many venues in the city aren’t equipped with lights, according to information from city staff that was presented to the commission.

“We talk over and over again about lighted facilities,” said Commission Chairman Brett Eckles. “We have a problem right now. I can only imagine what happens if this thing goes through, how much worse our problem gets.”

Commissioner Byron de Arakal was more candid. “It’s a horrible idea and a really crappy piece of legislation,” he said.

The city has access to fields with permanent lighting at four locations: the Jack Hammett Sports Complex, Davis Field at Lions Park, the TeWinkle Park Athletic Complex and TeWinkle Middle School.

Costa Mesa owns 22 portable lights that are allocated for use at other fields.

Doing away with daylight saving time would likely increase the need for additional field lighting either purchased by the city or secured by the community groups.

Parks commissioners recommended that the city take a stance opposing the abolition of daylight saving time and inform legislators of the effects it would have locally.

“This is a dealbreaker for youth sports as we know it today,” Eckles said.

Assembly Bill 2496, which Chu introduced in February, stalled in the Legislature. But he has effectively reincarnated it as Assembly Bill 385, which is mostly identical.

AB 385 is set for a hearing before the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee on June 13, according to Chu’s office.

Even if Chu’s bill is passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor, voters would have to sign off on it.