Do You Own One Of These|
Unacceptable Lighting Fixtures?
You May Be Ordered To Retrofit!
above was used as an exhibit during a Planning Commission workshop.
Included as unacceptable are most all porch lights and any fixture in
which the bulb element can be seen. All light source elements
will need to be shielded.
Posted: June 10, 2021
Updated: June 15, 2021
Newberry Springs Community Alliance
by Ted Stimpfel
Toxic County is social engineering.
April 1st is long gone, so this isn't an April Fool's joke!
Get ready to possibly replace all of your current
legal exterior lighting fixtures or face civil fines and possibly
We know that BIG BROTHER has gone awry when political
leaders start regulating you with their subjective social experimentation.
What is going on and who is behind it ?
1. The leader.
(1) The target is to reduce glare from artificial
light sources and to reduce artificial light from scattering on
atmospheric moisture and airborne particulates. This creates
a halo skyglow that interferes with the viewing of the stars.
Property owners will need to replace all nonconforming exterior
lighting fixtures at their expense.
(2) The supporters are a small special interest
group of activists from the Morongo Basin.
Leading the pack behind the proposed ordinance
is Stephen Bardwell, a resident of Pioneertown. He is
president of the Morongo Basin Conservation Association, and he is
the leader behind the county's Third District Dark Sky Committee.
He has been the principal voice behind the initiative, speaking
passionately before the county's Planning Commission for the new
Q. So, what is Bardwell's purpose?
A. He lives off-the-grid and apparently believes that
those who don't believe in his ideology, or who are too slow to react,
need to be regulated.
Bardwell and his Morongo Basin Conservation
Association want all manmade lighting shielded. This shielding
would not only reduce skyglow but also darken the cities below the
There already is an existing Glare & Light Trespass
county ordinance. Bardwell wants to greatly expand it.
2. Damning the beautiful lights.
One big attraction that draws many urbanites to visit
and spend money in the county's mountain resorts is the beautiful city
lights enjoyed on the night's drive back. Mountain roadside lookouts
are often busy at night with city light viewers. For Bardwell, such
twinkling lights are a byproduct of glare that must be totally eliminated.
Business owners want their establishments and
their business districts well lighted to warmly attract customers.
Bardwell and his supporters want all exterior residential and business
lights reduced and turned off at 11 P.M. or immediately after
a business closes.
Walking on cool summer nights after
11 P.M. will be at one's peril and having exterior residential
lights on after 11 P.M. can bring a traumatizing citation.
Q. Why should the county go dark at 11 P.M. and
retrofit tens of thousands of light fixtures?
A. It is to allow a few people, who stay up until
after 11 P.M., and who are outdoors, to possibly have a clearer
view of the stars. And, to return to the Dark Ages!
The infringement upon the masses for this is
stupidity that hangs on the fringe of insanity. When property
owners learn that they will have to replace their good exterior
fixtures, they're going to be pissed at the County and those
3. The heavens are drastically changing.
As I presented at the May 27th Planning Commission
the view of the heavens is drastically changing. SpaceX's
CEO, Elon Musk, has launched over 1,500 Starlink Internet satellites
as he is pushing towards his plan of 40,000.
Other competitors are beginning to launch
theirs for an additional 10,000-plus. And currently, there
are 500,000 pieces of space debris, from over 50-years of launches,
now being monitored above the earth. Many twinkling star-like
objects are now man-made.
4. Special interests are driving the ordinance.
Two women from the Morongo Basin testified
during the Planning Commission workshop that they have inconsiderate
neighbors who have glaring lights that significantly trespass
onto their property.
Rather than personally addressing the problem
with their neighbors, or addressing the problem legally as a continued
nuisance, they want to inconvenience you and have Code Enforcement
have a new bloated Code to remedy their problem.
From the strong indications from the Planning
Commissioners, who are having the Land Use Services Department
address some finishing concerns, the Commissioners are expected
to recommend the ordinance to the Board of Supervisors who will
do the Supes' ♫ Happy Rubber-Stamp Dance ♫ .
Skyglow and glare do not harm people.
It is not a health nor a safety issue that demands the county's
intervention, especially in the remote desert or mountain regions
where the proposed ordinance is most targeted. The proposal
is going to upset the norms and the senses of many thousands of
The probability is that 99-percent of property
owners DO NOT want the County's infringement demanding that
they remove their currently legal exterior lighting fixtures
and replace them, and change their lifestyle by turning exterior
lights off at 11 P.M. because Stephen Bardwell and his Morongo
Basin Conservation Association want to darken the sky for
The County is financially intruding upon
property owners unfairly by singling them out for unfavorable
and unnecessary regulatory treatment to benefit a small minority
special interest group.
I don't want a few people over 50 miles away
in the Morongo Basin telling me how to live in Newberry Springs.
They should remedy their local issues within their own Community
The disproportional exercise of the County's police
powers on this matter, against property owners, is far too great to
be justified on the limited benefit to a few stargazers. The
proposal is not a valid exercise of police powers and the County will
need to compensate the property owners for all of the associated costs
During my 15-minute workshop presentation before
the Commissioners in San Bernardino, I stated that,
"As the lighting
fixtures are legally appurtenant to the structures, and are a permanent
part of the design and the ambiance of the structures, the proposed
ordinance represents a governmental taking of a portion of the structure.
This makes the County liable for all of the replacement costs."
I followed up by estimating a potential cost to the
county of roughly $50-million to $100-million to have electricians
replace the many tens of thousands of lighting fixtures scattered
throughout the county.
"The Takings Clause protects individuals from
being forced to bear the full weight of actions that
should be borne by the public at large."
Chief Justice John G. Roberts - Murr vs. Wisconsin (June 23, 2017)
During the workshop, one Commissioner later
asked County Counsel, Jason Searles, whether the County held any
financial exposure. Searles stated no exposure, the proposed
ordinance is giving a two-year period (with a possible one-year
extension) for the replacement the existing attached lighting fixtures and
Searles felt that was sufficient. That is what other government
entities have done. I was not offered a follow-up
opportunity to respond.
No licensed attorney can be knowledgeable in
all areas of the law that includes hundreds of specialties.
I don't believe that Searles understands the basics of Real Estate
6. Point of Law
A lighting fixture under the law is chattel.
However, when intentionally affixed to a structure, the fixture legally
becomes appurtenant. A permanent part of the structure as
the fixture becomes a beneficial use for the functionality and the
enjoyment of the entire body of the structure. The history of
this goes way back to early English Law.
As a point of law, a single appurtenant element
(e.g. a light fixture, windowpane, drywall, bedroom, etc.) can not
be separated and depreciated of value separately from a structure
as the County is proposing in its lighting fixture accelerate
depreciation and condemnation scheme.
Many old homes have the same original porch light,
and other exterior lighting fixtures, after fifty-plus years. The
self-serving two-year depreciated life term unilaterally declared
by the County to devalue nonconforming light fixtures, and to maliciously
label private fixtures valueless, is a blatant theft, abuse of power,
Furthermore, an older attached light fixture has
given the structure an associated lighting effect for years that
is characteristic of the fixture's design. This lighting ambiance,
whether from a bare bulb or an intricate light pattern, has become a
historical characteristic and recognized artistic charm of the structure.
Lighting fixtures are identified with their structures
and they represent an architectural art form that has intrinsic value.
The taking of such an asset represents damages owed to the property owner.
It is easy to recognize that the County's proposed
action is clearly a governmental "Taking" which under the Taking Clause
of the State of California's Constitution is illegal unless full
compensation is first paid by the County. (State law is stronger
on the matter than federal.)
7. But other governments have done it.
In chatting with County Counsel, Jason Searles,
he seemed to base the legal foundation for his opinion solely in a
few small California governments having done a similar ordinance.
Just because someone else has violated the law without
challenge and others have blindly copied, doesn't make the violation legal.
8. State Law already exists.
As I stated to the Planning Commission,
"Under the State of California's
CALGreen construction regulations, new structures are already
mandated to prevent glare and light trespass. We don't
need more confusing redundancy in the Law."
But this State regulation on new construction is
not acceptable to Stephen Bardwell and his Morongo Basin Conservation
Association's following activists because they don't want to wait for
new construction to replace existing structures.
They don't want existing structures to be
grandfathered in. They want to force people to immediately
meet CALGreen's glare and light fixture standards. And, like
a good child, they want you to have all exterior lights off at 11 P.M.
There are many problems with this Glare &
Light Trespass proposal. They range from overt assaults
upon mass tourism, safety, and the repression of sacred property
rights. The biggest boner, however, is the lack of a
grandfather clause for existing light fixtures.
Social engineering is being gifted to a special
interest group for their ego, political, social, and monetary
benefit. This shouldn't be tolerated in any county.
10. More Systemic Discrimination.
The County of San Bernardino's government has an
organizational culture of systemic discrimination and disenfranchisement
against the economically disadvantaged in the rural High Desert.
This assault on Social Justice transpires through
the County's day-to-day operational policies, planning, programs, and
the siting of industrial projects in rural communities that the
wealthier urban areas of the county do not tolerate.
In short, the High Desert is the dumping ground for
the urban's unwanted.
The violations by the County against its own
Codes and State Law by the Land Use Services Department, the Planning
Commissioners, and the Board of Supervisors has demonstrated a callous
disregard for the health and the well-being of rural citizens.
Unfortunately, the County's overriding systemic
discrimination is so instilled and rampant within the County's
government that it is the bedrock foundation of a culture of
willy-nilly discriminatory marginalization that is considered the norm.
The Planning Commission's expected acceptance of the
upscaling of the Glare & Light Trespass ordinance will be yet another
example of placing the principle burden upon the High Desert regions
and leaving the urban areas, with the greatest skyglow and political
clout, relatively untouched.
I do not find any of the minor Glare & Light Trespass
in the desert objectionable. It has minimal impact, if
any, upon stargazing in my community of Newberry Springs.
Rural residents love their independence and value their right to live
in freedom. They are strongly against governmental nitpicking
Living in the open desert with deadly night wildlife,
I understand the needs of my neighbors to have security lighting.
A call for the Sheriff's help sometimes requires a dispatch from Barstow
over 25-miles away. I have experienced other response times
that have taken hours. Rural residents are pretty much on their
Lighting discourages two and four-legged predators
from entering properties. Light motion sensors only activate after
the preditors are already on one's property and committed!
11. Rural Communities.
This proposed ordinance will hurt desert communities like
economically depressed Newberry Springs. Newberry homes
are on rural parcels of a minimum of 5 acres and many structures utilized
barn-style or similar lighting fixtures that are effective and desired
for illumination safety.
The widespread lighting fixtures are used throughout
rural America because they are functional for rural living.
The proposal will not have any noticeable difference
to night sky viewing in sparsely populated places like Newberry Springs.
So why should rural residents be saddled in darkness with a flawed
What Stephen Bardwell argues as unwanted glare
is actually valuable surface light-spread which is considered a very
important security asset by most rural residents. Feeling secure
on one's property is extremely important and well-lighted properties
do deter crime.
Feeling safe and secure on one's property is a
basic that the proposal is Taking. The County's confiscation
of safety not only damages property values countywide but it also
intentionally inflicts extreme mental and emotional distress over
one's safety that the County may be held liable for.
People should not be forced to live in darkness.
12. Shielded light vs. floodlight.
The following two illustrations are undoctored
screenshots taken from the County's recorded video on May 27, 2021,
at the Planning Commission's workshop. The video shows two
proponents giving a light demonstration of the difference between
a shielded light and that of a commonly used floodlight.
While the demonstration is supposed to support the
proponents' position, the demonstration highlights how dangerous it
is to restrict visibility.
Video narrative: "This is an example of what is being asked of...
to be accepted by the Planning Commission.
This is an example of shielded light."
Video narrative: "This is a prime example of what
most people are using today." (floodlight)
While shielded light might have an ambient
benefit in a heavily populated urban setting where neighbors live a few feet apart,
other than for accent lighting, shielded light offers little benefit in
rural areas where homes are on 5 to 100-plus acre parcels.
Note: In the shielded light illustration above, two people
sitting only a few feet from the shielded light are not visible.
The narration is correct. Floodlights in
rural areas are what "most people are using today." There
is a strong common-sense reason for it. Floodlights provide
the desired illumination. It is not for Bardwell to tell
people that they can not illuminate for safety.
13. County is creating liabilities.
By forbidding residences and businesses from safely
lighting their properties, and by promoting motion sensors that suddenly
flash on bright lights that temporarily blind the eyes, the County is
mandating requirements that will lead to personal injuries.
The proposed ordinance will attract litigation to the
deep-pocket County that will be legitimately culpable for many nighttime
As a single paraplegic claim can run into many millions
of dollars, the County's wide-open liability exposure from this proposed
ordinance will be substantial.
This proposed ordinance upgrade has been an
open festering cyst that has been oozing pus from the County's
Land Use Services Department since early 2020.
The proposal will only regulate the unincorporated
areas of the county and will not include the populated cities
where the skyglow principally originates.
Shielded light and an 11 P.M. curfew also discriminates against the elderly
and others who have an eyesight handicap.
The supporters of the proposal should be addressing
their issue by voluntary compliance. This is a divisive issue
that the County should not become involved.
The responsibility of the chaos stops at the
Supervisors' door but others may also be held culpable. Remember
all the players. They may not have sovereign immunity from
Constitutional violations (Stripping Doctrine).
• end •
This blog is a follow-up to the earlier February 16,
2021, news blog
warning of the Planning Commission's actions.
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