Light pollution
John Tavaglione, Riverside County supervisor (2nd District), has introduced a proposed ordinance to regulate outdoor lighting. The proposal will be on the Board of Supervisors’ Nov. 15 meeting agenda.

“Light trespass occurs when light fixtures on one property fall [or project light] across a property line onto another lot or parcel of land or onto a public right-of-way,” Tavaglione wrote in his memorandum to his colleagues. “Light trespass results in a waste of natural resources and at certain levels may jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of Riverside County residents.”

The specific proposed standard reads, “All outdoor [lights] shall be located, adequately shielded, and directed such that no direct light falls outside the parcel of origin, or onto the public right-of-way.”

Specific exemptions, such as required by law enforcement or emergency personnel, authorized by state or federal law, or on holidays, will be permitted. Security lighting will be permitted, provided it meets the other provisions of the ordinance.

Violators will be fined. First offenses could cost $100. Further violations will go to $500.

County ordinance 655 already regulates some outdoor lighting within 45 miles of Palomar Observatory, but Tavaglione’s proposal would apply throughout the county’s unincorporated areas, including Idyllwild.

Ballot scanners
The Board unanimously approved the Registrar of Voters Office’s request to purchase five optical ballot scanners. “In June, the Board designated the purchase of additional scanners as a top priority,” said Kari Verjil, the registrar of voters. “This would help us with the 2012 election and future elections.”

The five refurbished scanners, which count paper ballots, will cost $330,000 and improve the registrar’s ability to report election results. A new scanner costs about $100,000.

In June, as part of the 90-day review of her office, Verjil recommended that the county purchase additional scanners. Riverside County currently has six scanners, while, comparable counties, San Bernardino and Santa Clara, have 14 scanners.