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May 23, 2008


Norman Alston

I predict that lights, or anything that increases park usage after dark, will result in a crime increase, not a decrease. With more people in the park after dark, it will almost certainly draw more of the criminal element who would attempt to prey on those users. No matter how much light you have, there are still many places to hide and stretches of trail that cannot be readily monitored by the current level of police patrol. Besides, it is pretty well documented that such crimes are almost non-existent now, a fact that I find fascinating.


I was at the meeting and I was amazed at how this deal was presented.

I found it humorous that the Parks Rep showed a picture from across the Lake of two lights and how they make no impact, but they couldn't from another deployment of a similar Lighting show a realistic scale of magnitude of the light pollution.

The Lighting Sales Rep lit up a candle and then tried to make the same comparison that the lights would be similar in Luminescence's output, which is the worst bait and switch tactic for the lights would have a much greater magnitude of scale

When Deputy Chief Jan Easterling was asked where her statistics came from, she turned around and implied it came from the Lighting Sales rep. She also stated the lights would not make the Park safer.

The Sales rep stated that the lights would only cost 20 cents a day to light, but wouldn't state where that total came from. For as a Engineer I know that the power draw for the Power/Control boxes (ugly) will be much greater, for it'll have to push a large amount of current to the light poles, so I didn't buy the 20 cents a day line.

Councilmen Kadane stated that it was Dallas Park's policy to put up lights in it's new Park's, but when asked where one might read this policy the crowd was told it wasn't a written policy.

One curly haired Lady pulled a person seating by me outside to brow beat him on his opinion and then took the floor with a 9/11ish/Dingos ate my Baby speech on crack heads attacking her house and how lights would stop that.

The main reason for the lights is for safety yet they weren't any studies done to prove it. As a bike rider who circles the lake during the day and night I know that with the large presence of fellow walkers, runners and bikers there is usually someone close at all times all around the lake. The main crime at the Lake is smashing windows which the Police stated only occurred during the daylight hours. Plus DPD has done a great job with a stepped up presence to make the Park much safer. So adding lights to the parking lots will only add the criminals who smash out car windows.
The bottom line is the Lake doesn't need any more lighting.

The was a lot of emotions at the meeting and the Councilmen did sense his political career getting throttled, so he's willing to re-address the whole issue.


At first I don't know that I had a strong opinion one way or the other about this issue. However, as this has unfolded you begin to see the reality of who wants what. Several points that have already been raised: when you look at car break-ins, etc. you will find almost all of it occuring in the daytime; the usual cretins that work the Sunset Bay area are always lurking about during the daytime; any security perceived by additional light is pretty much imagined. This project does have the stench of someone looking to make some money (as my Dad used to say, "there are people that stay up at night thinking of how to remove money from your pocket."). I am curious, when you think of improvements to the park (whether it be some perpetual care, additional resources to police [horse and bicycle patrols included] or ongoing landscape and/or facility improvements), is the city this willing to volunteer funds? I think the insistence of some to push this project based on some suspect or downright spurious "facts" have helped make up my mind for me. Is that a rat I smell or just one of those huge White Rock nutrias?

Chip Northrup

Very very poor presentation by Parks - how could it not be ? The project was transparently a slick sales job by a lighting vendor.

Parks obviously picked the wrong fixtures - the Fisher Road lot likes glared across the lake - instead of down lights.

The wrong color light = the Fisher Road lot looked like a cheap motel.

And put way too many of them in each lot - as they finally admitted = "we will reduce the number of lights per lot - down to 2"

No justification from a security standpoint - as Chief Easterling admitted when asked - "they won't reduce crime"

No "code requirement" for this number of lights - as Parks finally admitted. No written policy. Just spin.

Show of hands of the 100 there indicated overwhelming opposition.

And some very insightful comments - like Richard's posted above.

So up to Parks to find another place to stick these light poles.

Because by the end of the evening - there was no good argument to light up the shoreline at night.

Good video on this site = http://cbs11tv.com/local/White.Rock.Lake.2.730848.html

Dallas Morning News basically printed the Parks Department propaganda . . .


What's missing from this discussion is any sense of the overall vision for the lake. For example, when you look at what Town Lake is to the City of Austin, you see what good lake management can do for an urban lake. Having well-lit trails for use at night and day would increase the use of the lake - and I think that's a good thing. Instead of just looking at what White Rock is now, and fighting any change suggested, we should look at how other similar urban lakes are used, and what their crime rates are. I would support lights, and anything that makes the lake more user-friendly, like the new trails.

Chip Northrup

Good point.

This "Lights Fantastic" scheme was just an ad hoc initiative - with predictable results.

The scheme was promoted narrowly by one advocacy group - and some clever lighting salesmen.

Read the Dallas Observer piece on it for some background


There is no funding to light the trails - that was taken off the table - so discussion about 9.5 miles of trail lights is moot.

For an in-depth report on the meeting, might look at http://www.dallas.org/node/423

Chip Northrup

The funniest part of the meeting was when that Councilman from Oak Cliff showed up and basically asked for the lights for Kiest Park.

And then some Oak Cliff resident in the back of the room spoke up as well - about putting them in Kiest Park.

Then the Dog Park people asked for them. Twice. And was interviewed on 5 as a "lights supporter"

Check out the logo on his hat = http://video.nbc5i.com/player/?id=254965

So the posts and fixtures are sure to find a more appropriate home - away from the shoreline

If you want to be involved - contact Sheffie Kadane's office - and ask for a more comprehensive plan . . . .

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