Put those clocks back, Tampa Bay, for controversial daylight saving time


For some, the bi-annual ritual of daylight saving time is just one hour less sleep in March and another 60 minutes for napping in November when we return to normal time.

For others, adding an hour of the day by changing our clocks is a more passionate topic. Politics, even.

“Hate is a strong word, but it doesn’t cover my disdain for the practice,” said Pete Botto Jr., of Tampa, in a recent email response to Tampa Bay weather. Not only does this disrupt your internal clock, he wrote, but the flashback signifies depressing and unnatural early darkness that “is kind of a prison cell.”

But the hatred was also not too strong for St. Petersburg’s J. Michael Munger, who wrote in his email titled “Hate, Hate, Hate Standard Time” that he is “100% pro DST”.

“I don’t want to insult my fellow Floridians, but the desire of many of them to see their days end sooner is beyond me,” he wrote.

Related: How to discuss daylight saving time (no!) As you understand it
The St. Petersburg Waterfront Parks Centennial Sundial should remind you to roll back your clocks on Sundays at the end of daylight saving time. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Then there’s Senator Marco Rubio, who has insisted for years on permanent daylight saving time – making it a full year instead of just eight months.

In an article for Fox News, Rubio urged adopting this as a way to realign the time of day to our most productive hours and to improve public health and the economy.. “The process of resetting our clocks to zero is an obsolete and irritating practice that we should give up,” he wrote.

In fact, the Florida legislature passed a permanent daylight saving time bill three years ago, as have other states. But for it to be sustained, the change must be made at the federal level, and so far that has not happened.

Daylight saving time – and not, as it’s often called, daylight saving time – means that we prepare our clocks to “move forward” one hour on the second Sunday in March. On the first Sunday in November, we set them to “fall back” to winter time. Daylight saving time officially ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday. (Note: Although many smart devices these days reset themselves, remember this weekend to roll back the clocks that don’t.)

The goal is to provide an extra hour of daylight during the hottest time of the year, to add 60 minutes of sunlight at the end of the working day. Of course, the amount of daylight doesn’t actually change – daylight saving time only changes the day.

The idea has been around for quite some time. Ben Franklin reflected on such thoughts, perhaps satirically, in a 1784 essay. New Zealand entomologist George Hudson in 1895 seriously offered to give him more light hours to hunt insects.

Germany used it in an effort to save fuel and energy during World War I, and its origins in the United States can be traced back over a century. Hawaii and Arizona are the only states that do not observe it.

Fans of the annual change love that extra hour of daylight. Opponents protest the disruption and cite studies on the increase in health problems and car accidents.

Many parents and teachers have opposed permanent daylight saving time, saying it will make mornings darker for children on their way to school.

As the annual ritual draws near, the debate rages on.

The centerpiece of the sundial at the Mall at Sundial in St. Petersburg.
The centerpiece of the sundial at the Mall at Sundial in St. Petersburg. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Marty Maranto from St. Petersburg wrote to his congressman to go year round. “Yes, it is dark when we get up, but by the time we go out, to school or to the office, it is daylight,” she said via email. “But when we get home in the wee hours of winter, it’s dark and it’s more dangerous for the roads.”

Munger wrote, “We are the Sunshine State and we should all be enjoying it as much as possible year round.”

Then on the other side: “I was stationed in Guam for 4 years where there was no time change,” Botto wrote. “It was wonderful. It worked perfectly. Chaos didn’t ensue because the weather didn’t change.

Then from Ron Fandrick of New Port Richey came the compromise suggestion: “Why don’t they set the clocks back half an hour and leave them all the time?” “

For now, at least, don’t forget to fall back on Sunday.

A technician adjusts the hands of the clock at Electric Time Company in Medfield, Massachusetts.  Daylight saving time ends Sunday.  (AP Photo / Steven Senne)
A technician adjusts the hands of the clock at Electric Time Company in Medfield, Massachusetts. Daylight saving time ends Sunday. (AP Photo / Steven Senne) [ STEVEN SENNE | AP ]

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