noise, everywhere noise. Recently Herzonner and the Board
of Alderman (BOA) of The City of Frederick heard testimony
from the public regarding their opinions on the proposed
The Wednesday of the hearing my home phone answering machine
and my office phone voicemail were full of messages from
people asking me to call them about the meeting. They said
they needed to talk to me "right away."
"It's important," they said.
Not arriving home until 20 minutes prior to the scheduled
start time of the meeting, I didn't have time to return
About five minutes before 7 P. M., my doorbell began ringing
repeatedly. As I approached the door, a neighbor kept imploring
me to hurry up.
She wanted us to go to the meeting together. She said she
"wanted to see if Herzonner and the BOA would roll over
on the neighbors of Xhale and on the residents of the East
End (who would indeed be there to bring up their repeated
complaints) like they did on our neighborhood regarding
the Presbyterian Church addition."
It seems that people have a variety of issues concerning
noise in the city.
Some came to voice their concern about the thumping of car
stereos that one hears throughout downtown 24/7.
Others came to voice their concern about the "bombs bursting
in air" 18 times a season over Harry Grove Stadium.
Of course, some came to express their concern about the
noise of the tractor pulls that emanate from the fair well
after the 10 P.M. mandated stop time.
Others came to express their concern about the noise from
the music and crowds at Xhale.
One interesting aspect of this ordinance is that it also
applies to activity that "offends public decency." Question
is, who defines "public decency?"
So far some of the actions of this batch of elected officials
could make you question whether they would know right from
wrong if it fell from the sky and smacked them on the head.
Do you expect the wolves to define the methods to defend
the hen house?
Further, while this may seem like an excellent tool for
the neighbors of Xhale to use to seek relief from the onslaught
of used prophylactics and thongs (on thong night) that litter
their neighborhood as that would seemingly be offensive
to public decency, it isn't that simple.
Who is responsible for the offense, the club owners, for
without them there would be no offense, or the actual partiers
who leave the goodies behind?
Further, when will the offenses be investigated, immediately
or within a designated "period of time" as the ordinance
After all, the problem with noise is after the noise is
over, it's over. The noisemaker can be gone, or pout and
look as if they are sorry, while those who were violated
by the noise will continue to feel violated.
How can one investigate acts that offend public decency
if those who enforce the ordinance don't actually see the
Additionally, the city only has one noise meter and few
officers trained to use it.
Imagine if you will the night when the fireworks are booming
at Harry Grove, the tractors are revving at the fair, dance
music is thumping from Xhale and 10 downtown residents call
to complain about cars zipping about with their stereos
at full volume.
Where will the officer with the noise-o-meter go? Whose
complaint will go unresolved?
Further, one has to question whether the city will actually
enforce the ordinance against traditions such as the fair
or fireworks at the All-American sport of baseball. Will
they restrict the use of a business or a church or other
entity, which may have powerful friends involved with them?
This leads us to all those phone calls.
Most of the folks called asking me to be at the meeting
as a show of support. Aw shucks.
Additionally though, they wanted to know if I had any feeling
as to how Herzonner and the BOA would vote on the noise
ordinance in light of what they did to our neighborhood
on the Presbyterian Church matter.
They asked me if I felt they would craft some sort of "deal"
with the perpetual violators that would in effect give the
noisemakers all they wanted in the end?
I stated that I didn't really know. These folks looked at
me with troubled and anxious looks as I attempted, feebly,
to reassure them.
It is simply too bad that a cloud of doubt and distrust
has formed over City Hall in such a short period of time.