Hayward is holding a community meeting Thursday to discuss amending the city’s noise ordinance to bring it into the modern age. The current ordinance was drafted in the 1950s, and is vague. The city hopes to include language that will give it more teeth.
There’s concern over enforcement — it’s one thing to have an ordinance on the books, another to have the resources to go after what many consider a low-level concern.
“It’s probably going to be a work in progress,” said Assistant City Attorney Maureen Conneely, who prepared the draft ordinance brought before a council work session in October . “We’re going to have to see how to implement it, and it may need some adjustments depending on whether it is easy or difficult to enforce.”
At the Oct. 26 work session, the noise ordinance drew support from the council, although members spoke about how they or family members could well be current or past violators. Read about it after the jump.
“ I have been a noise generator, with a teenage son at home from 2000 to 2005,” said Councilman Bill Quirk. “I had cops come down after neighbors complained, as they should have. And it’s a good thing, because kids do quiet down after that.”
Quirk sympathized with people who are more sensitive to noise than others. By “others,” he may have meant fellow Councilman Francisco Zermeno.
“I’ve never been bothered any particular noise,” Zermeno said. “And music coming from cars, I’m guilty of that. … Who wouldn’t want to hear ‘Sympathy for the Devil‘ … or ‘Riders of the Storm’ or mariachi music full blast on the radio?”
Indeed, Zermeno admitted that he has no qualms about subjecting an unsuspecting populace to Iron Butterfly’s “In a Gadda da Vida,” a psychedelic rock song that takes up the entire side of an album, emanating from his roving music mobile.
“If someone comes up with their noise, I’ll just jack mine up,” he said. “If my wife turns on the vacuum cleaner, I turn on the stereo. It’s no problem.”
“It appears that even the reporting could be subjective,” he said. “What’s loud to (Councilman) Marvin Peixoto might not be loud to me.”
Councilwoman Barbara Halliday said she believes some of those car stereos out there are deliberately turned up to levels that will annoy people. And she said that if Zermeno pulled up alongside her with his blasting stereo, she might be forced to “crank up the Rachmaninov on the classical music station.”