Let’s turn down the volume

Inconsiderate noise makers should be cited

The author is a retired science teacher and school administrator. He has lived in Chico since 1963.

It seems as if the whole world is shouting. Why must we be so loud? Nearly every newscast is punctuated by some high-decibel-protest uproar. We need to turn down the volume before we all become deaf or go stark raving mad.

Society has turned a deaf ear to noise. High-decibel meter readings are ignored at dances, football games, rock concerts, and canned-laughter television programs. Caf"s and sports bars are so noisy you can’t carry on a conversation with the person next to you. Requests to turn down the volume are met with the same “digital” gesture our students are giving us with our noise ordinance.

Locally, the noise issue has become a major concern with the community and Chico City Council. The present noise ordinance calls for a warning by the police for a first registered complaint. Then a second offense within the next 72 hours warrants a ticket. The bail schedule calls for a fine of $266, $532 for a second offense, and $1,046 for a third. Many neighbors of these loud parties, especially in student areas, complain the present policy doesn’t quiet the obnoxious noise. Their requests to tone down the exuberant pandemonium have been responded to with refusal and threats.

A recommendation for the city noise ordinance revision is to hold landlords responsible with fines for second complaints. Is this passing the buck? As a two-unit landlord, I have done everything in my power, albeit unsuccessfully, to quell disturbances. After explaining the problem to my renters—citing the lease section prohibiting boisterous noise at any time, calling the police, and warning tenants of expulsion—I was left with no choice but eviction. This all took too much time as the neighbors suffered. Fine the “loudmouths” immediately, not me.

Loud sounds are not a territorial right, as some would have it. Consideration to neighbors must be given. City ordinance requires sound levels to not exceed 70 decibels just outside the property between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. and 60 decibels after 9 p.m. and before 7 am. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Have we forgotten how to communicate? We should be our brother’s keeper. Do you hear me? I hear you … loud and clear! May we all become more civilly obedient citizens.