Monday, June 8, 2015

City Council Meeting Tuesday: Sierra Madre Blows Hot & Cold On The Loud Fire Horn

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.

We will ponder these mighty matters again tomorrow. But the priority for many people, wrought with emotion and tradition as it may be, would be that very loud horn that goes off at 5 every afternoon. Some love it, and some hate it. Especially those who have to endure the thing from close up.

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?

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

86 comments:

  1. If the horn may nott be legal, we can ask the POTUS for amnesty

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  2. Too many honkies in Sierra Madre.

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    Replies
    1. I prefer the term Atlantic Islander.

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    2. Northern Sea People.

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    3. Crackers is more accurate

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    4. Saltine or graham?

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  3. Really? More with the horn? Do people care about this so much?

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    1. Traffic is usually about 60% higher for horn stories than budget stories.

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    2. "Traffic is usually about 60% higher for horn stories than budget stories."

      I worry for our town's future.

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    3. I weep for Sierra Madre.

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    4. No reverse psychology intended, right Mod?

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    5. My goal is to advance civic engagement.

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    6. Kinda like the Fox New 'Pop Tarts' column or a Page 6 girl.

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    7. Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
      That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
      And then is heard no more: it is a tale
      Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
      Signifying nothing.

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  4. Said it yesterday saying it todayJune 8, 2015 at 7:04 AM

    Disaster preparedness and city safety are really one and the same. History has shown that we the people really don't want to spend money on any of it, at least no more than we have too. Funny how government will spend a bundle on a police force / Army to protect us from the bad guys but a lot less on life and property saving. This is obvious when you look at the cost of the police department verses the fire department budgets. I would guess at the top of the list are non educated people making decisions regarding our safety without full knowledge of the problems we all face. The horn and emergency radio station are all a part of educating and informing Sierra Madres residents on what to do when a disaster strikes. I would like to think the community could agree on a time when the horn would blow.

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    1. Saturday at noon. Once a week should do it. Nice old horn, but don't let it wear out its welcome.

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    2. I think the horn should sound for 10 seconds at 11:55 AM on Saturday. That will be to let people know they should cover their ears for the weekly test blast at Saturday noon.

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    3. Not ever. Never. Ever. Use your common sense and tune into the emergency radio station when there's an earthquake, power outage, you smell smoke, see flames, hear sirens or police loudspeakers, etc. Take some personal responsibility and leave my daily/weekly/monthly/yearly/decadely peace & quiet alone. You kids turn it down and get off my ripped-up, water-conserving lawn!

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    4. Show me a real report showing how the daily blow of a horn directly or even indirectly saves lives and property over another method and I might consider tolerating it. Otherwise I think this 'civic safety' argument is a false one used to support some personal hobbyist's nostalgia.

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  5. Guess at 4:59 pm we should all be at the horn to measure the dba. Actually, all noise above 80 dba at 10 ft. should be banned. Not only do these devices annoy but they blow the neighbors dust and feces from their yard onto your yard and car and windows and lawn and kids toys. If were talking noise pollution we should also be talking filth pollution.

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    Replies
    1. True. We should start fining neighbors when they cuss.

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    2. Agreed. Filthy mouths would have to go too.

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  6. fe*ces noun plural :solid waste that is released from the body. FULL DEFINITION :bodily waste discharged through the anus" excrement Examples examined the animal's feces for signs of intestinal parasites Origin: Middle English, from Latin faec-, faex (singular) dregs. First use: 14 century Synonyms: dirt, doo-doo, dung, excrement, excreta, dropping, ordure, poop, scat, slops, soil, waste

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  7. Filthy mouths should be washed out with soap.

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  8. Things are headingdownhill fast.

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  9. What about the feces that were being blasted with from the city managers office. Some of the stuff I read coming out of that office is full of doo-doo and it's all a waste of our money.

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  10. Why not bring the horn into the 21st century and make it so that at (choose your time and choose your frequency) the horn will sound on each persons cell phone in Sierra Madre.

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  11. God bless the horn.Her blast is a tribute to our American ingenuity.

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    Replies
    1. Right. The ingenuity of 75 years ago.

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    2. Indeed, America these days always seems to be tooting its horn to the annoyance of the rest of the world.

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  12. Just as sirens on an Ambulance,police car or fire truck are exempt from noise limits so is the mighty horn. May it proclaim our freedoms in perpetuity.from the top of Bailey canyon to the depths of the city yards.

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    1. How about the depths of City Hall?

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    2. The horn is NOT exempt, b/c it is NOT an emergency siren. It is a notification to tune into some radio station - does anyone know what the number is?

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    3. One Is The Loneliest Number.

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    4. It's 1630 AM Just like in every other City in California. You should know it as well as 911.
      You're grasping at straw if you think an emergency horn is any different legally than a siren.

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    5. Then why wasn't it made exempt in the city noise ordinances?

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    6. It was and is by the very definition of the word.

      1. Siren
      a. A device in which compressed air or steam is driven against a rotating perforated disk to create a loud, often wailing sound as a signal or warning.
      b. An electronic device producing a similar sound as a signal or warning: a police car siren.

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    7. Yeah, but none of that is in the noise ordinance. The law isn't a mood swing, you know.

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    8. A horn goes: toot,toot,toot. A siren goes RWAAAAAAAAAEA<RAWWWWWWEER.

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    9. Sierra Madre City Ordinance 9.32.050 - Public property noise limits.
      C. ...devices primarily intended to create a loud noise for warning purposes, shall not be used ...when a situation endangering life, health, or property is not imminent, without a valid noise permit.

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  13. The ingenuity of 75 years ago is why we live here and why people visit here. I would be happy with no noise coming into town at all, lets keep it peaceful. Keep your loud cars, motorcycles, loud blowers, construction equipment, jack hammers, dogs barking and loud music. Some people like the music and shows in the park but some of us just put up with it because this is what our town has done for years. Oh, and who likes to hear the church bells ringing when your trying to sleep. If we ban the horn we should ban all unnecessary noise, can't we just keep the peace?

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    1. Indeed, There is no in between - if the horn goes so does Free Dumb.

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    2. If the horn goes it will be because the city council will decide that it is not in the interest of the community to keep things as they are now.

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  14. Did anyone hear all that noise from Irwindale speedway Saturday night. Now that is noise!

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    1. Enjoy it while you can. It is scheduled to be torn down for condos.

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    2. Yes, 8:05. It was especially loud. We hear it now & then. I've thought it takes certain wind and air patterns to carry the noise that well this far.

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  15. 8:05 I did and the whole family hears it all the time. Had dinner guests once that asked what is that noise, racetrack.

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  16. I like the sound of the race track.

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  17. A big noise polluting garbage truck going up Baldwin should be banned. They should use propane and more sound deadening designs.

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    1. All the Athens trucks are natural gas, I believe.

      Try again.

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    2. They s/b electric then.

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    3. The extension cords are a problem.

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    4. They have a big key in the back that you have to wind up.

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  18. Back in Highschool I used to take my parents station wagon to grudge night at Irwindale. The horn was at its finest and much louder back then.

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  19. How about those parents who have a party and allow those young children to run amok until 10:00PM. I know, I know they're just children, but when they are allowed to scream at will, well enough is enough! Sound carries here and while the parent's are all sitting inside having a great old time, their children are allowed to run out in the yard. Great parenting, I say. If the horn, that you know will sound everyday at 5:00PM should be stopped than so should rude neighbors.

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  20. Spare me from permissive parents. Sat next toa group the other night in town. Obnoxious children, parents more concerned with which wine to have, and, oh, yes, the children will have water. It is filtered, right? Gag me with a spoon. God forbid if I said anything to them, I would be the rude one. I only wish when they let them loose in the liquor store that they had broken a few bottles. That would have been too funny!

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  21. Children love the horn it's exciting.

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    1. So are train wrecks.

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  22. When I grew up in the SM children were seen and not heard.There is no way my parents would have allowed their children in a place that served alcohol.

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  23. All the people who cannot tolerate a second of noise at a predictable time every day have to do is get the issue on the ballot.
    Instead of endlessly whining about it, organize, get signatures and get a vote before the city.

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    1. there you go! A ballot measure. Where do I get my I love the horn yard sign? It can go next to I love my library and save sierra madre signs.

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    2. And thus the Blowhard Party was born.

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    3. You can't just make laws against things you don't like. With that point of view humans will never be able to marry animals

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    4. The Blowhard Party renamed itself the Civility Party.

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    5. Can we replace the horn with John Buchanan? Instead of that loud honking noise he could inform us with quotes from Abraham Lincoln.

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  24. I think the horn should be sounded at random times to keep the neighbors on pins and needles.

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    1. Kind of like the noise version of water torture.

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    2. I believe that a handful of older gentlemen in town have always thought the discomfort of a lot of people here is the funniest thing ever.

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  25. I wonder how many concerned and interested people will show up at the council meeting regarding the horn? Are these the same self-important people who don't bother to show up for over development or the budget? There are many people in this town that do care and they do their best to get involved in things that really matter. Then there are those that complain about the horn. I wonder if the horn dislikers are renters and have no vested interest in the city in which they live? They aren't affected by a UUT tax are they? They aren't affected by a parcel tax are they? Maybe they'll care when their rent goes up and they don't know why. There are people on my block who wash their cars, water on the wrong day and when you tell them, they say they had heard nothing about it. Go figure!

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  26. The horn is a distraction to keep us all from looking too closely at the budget. The budget concerns all of us. The horn, not so much.

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  27. 10:03 You are so right, important concerns in the community should be voted on for a majority ruling. Where and how we spend our money is important, life and property saving is even more important.

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  28. Anything, anything to take our mind off the budget. What more can be said that hasn't been said at the past 10 budget meetings or earthquake preparedness lectures. It's more fun to call those who want to keep the horn daily at 5:00, or those who want to ban the horn, jerks and let friendship go by the board. Besides, thinking about more important matters is very taxing!

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    1. Starting 7/1, the UUT will be less taxing. Thank you, 2012 & 2014 "No" voters!

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    2. Watch Goss and Harabedian try and steal our tax cut.

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  29. Honey, what was that noise
    Oh my! Its 5 pm, I have to start dinner.
    Really?, you haven't started dinner yet?
    No dear, I wait for the horn to sound every day. I hope they don't stop sounding it.

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    1. Looks like somebody failed Clock Class.

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    2. I suggest a cocktail at the sounding of the horn and dinner preparation start at the finish of the Monastery bells. I wish they took requests I hope the play Amazing Grace this evening

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    3. maybe the city can explain how the Kraft Estate was allowed to be demolished, or the solar panels on top of Jameson Estate?

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  30. kraft estate is gone, solar panels all over the roof of jameson, maybe city can explain

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    1. I don't believe solar panels are illegal in Sierra Madre And yes the Kraft Estate is gone. What don't you understand?

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  31. Ode to the Horn

    Oh horn so silver brass and fine.
    What comes from thee is sound divine.
    None other has that sweet, rich tone,
    That sound belongs to thee alone.
    None other has that big bright bell
    From out which comes no words can tell.
    None can compare with thee my horn,
    To thee alone my love is sworn.

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    Replies
    1. Sounds like the horn needs a restraining order.

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  32. If I had a horn,
    I'd toot it in the morning,
    I'd toot it in the evening,
    All over this land,
    I'd toot out danger,
    I'd toot out a warning,
    I'd toot out love between,
    My brothers and my sisters,
    All over this land.

    Read more: Peter, Paul & Mary - If I Had A Horn Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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  33. The horn is less annoying then when Buchannan used to go on and on and on.

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  34. e should all sell our houses because the horn should be stopped. No more horn balit measure 2016

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