|Taken from "Invasion of the Shoddy Blaster" (link)|
There are any number of consequential issues on the agenda for tomorrow night. The most important in a fiscally responsible and beneficial local government kind of way would be the budget. The upshot of the discussion being if a bunch of people from out of town can continue to work in City Hall at rather lucrative compensation rates, or that utility taxes need to be raised so each can enjoy a better life at their homes in places like, oh, West Covina. Wherever that is.
For the record, I hate loud noise. I don't care what the reason is for it. I get the emergency siren thing (how else would anyone ever know we just had an earthquake?), but I doubt that is actually the case here. After all, if public safety really is the issue, wouldn't a serviceable and modern siren have been stuck at the top of that pole? One that wouldn't need to be tested every afternoon to see if it is still working?
Speaking of tradition, a lively community rhubarb over the horn has been waged before, you know. This issue is not as new as some might believe. Here is an article that ran in the Los Angeles Times way back in 1990. A full quarter of a century ago. You can link to all of it here. The names of a lot of people you may know can be found there.
There is a case to be made for silencing the bellicose blaster all over again. Sierra Madre municipal law and - yes - tradition have made peace and quiet one of this community's reasons for feeling good about itself. Here is how that tradition has been incorporated into the newly updated and soon to be official (well, OK, maybe) General Plan. This from the DEIR on the topic of noise.
Here is the question those opposed to the hootin' horn are asking. Has this horn ever been tested for volume? Anti-hornistas have inquired about borrowing the city's Larson Davis sound meter to measure the decibels of the Fire Horn, especially within an immediate proximity to the horn. Since that apparently has never been done before, there is no scientific evidence that Sierra Madre's noise ordinance is being broken on a daily basis. At least not yet.
Oh, you did know that there is a noise ordinance in Sierra Madre, right? You can link to it here. Maybe your band practice was interrupted once or twice because of it? Right in the middle of your guitar solo for Ina-Gadda-Da-Vidi?
Here is what it says:
Now you more legally minded persons might be wondering if there are exemptions to this ordinance, and if the fire horn is listed amongst them. The answer to that one is no, it is not. Read this:
Note the exceptions. It is an important matter because, should this controversy somehow go legal (and what doesn't these days?), local ordinances would play a big role in the proceedings. It is also why there have been calls to measure the decibel levels of the horn. After all, there are laws in this town, even for people who have been here a long time.
This, I believe, is what precipitated the following e-mail exchange between Karol Ballard (of "Invasion of the Shoddy Blaster" fame), and Sierra Madre City Manager Elaine Aguilar. Check it out:
All of which indicates to me that this very loud horn might not even be legal.
Can you see how complicated these things get?