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Moraga takes more time on noise rules

By asoglin
Thursday, April 26th, 2007 at 5:13 pm in Uncategorized.

Moraga put off a decision this week to adopt an addition to its noise ordinance.

The town was considering amending the ordinance to ward off lawsuits like the one a resident filed recently contending that the summer concert series is too loud.

But instead, the Town Council asked staff to make sure there are no California Environmental Quality Act issues to address before it approves the amendment.

The town was considering adding language to the ordinance that would allow the sounds from community events to exceed 60 decibels at any time. That would help protect the town from future lawsuits.

Resident Joyceanne Beachem filed suit against the town and the Moraga Park & Recreation Foundation that runs the concerts, saying the noise was cutting into her quality of life. She dropped the suit in December, saying she hoped the groups would resolve the problems on their own.

Beachem objected to the proposed ordinance, because it exempted the concerts from noise rules.

Brooke Bryant

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8 Responses to “Moraga takes more time on noise rules”

  1. JD Says:

    A 1902 Nobel Laureate forewarned: “The day will come when man will have to fight noise as inexorably as cholera and the plague.” And that day is coming, if not already at hand. Look at what we put up with already in our small town: thumping car stereos, music pumped into our homes from the local schools, car alarms, leafblowers, traffic noise, the unending “ping ping ping” of aluminum bat on ball from batting cages. A lawyer at Wednesday’s council meeting said you’ve got to weigh the pleasure of many against the annoyance of a few. I suspect that the “annoyed few” are merely gritting their teeth and keeping quiet. Declaring yourself exempt from your own noise ordinance strikes me as a dangerous precedent to set. That said, I love the concerts, but we’ve got to remember our valley is a natural amphitheatre and pumping noise into it at one point is going to upset someone somewhere else. I hope we can find our way here… it is crucial that we do.

    J.D. O’Connor, Moraga

  2. Loujis Hagler, MD Says:

    I am a retired physician with an interest in the public health aspects of noise, which is the plague of the 21st Century.

    As a society, our history is filled with failures to recognize the agents that cause disease; once the causes have been recognized, we have responded reluctantly, slowly, and often inadequately. The case with tobacco is an instructive one. It took many years of lobbying by dedicated individuals before legislators and the general public recognized the links between the hazards of tobacco smoke and disease; as a result laws and behaviors changed accordingly.

    A similar scenario is being played out today with environmental noise pollution. In 1973, the federal Office of Noise Abatement and Control (ONAC) published extensive information about the many health hazards of noise pollution. As reported by ONAC, the World Health Organization and other authorities, among its many significant adverse effects, noise impairs hearing, disturbs sleep, contributes to hypertension and heart disease, degrades performance at work and at school, reduces productivity, increases the rate of accidents, interferes with cognitive development in children, intensifies the development of latent mental disorders, and causes stress that influences mental health and social behaviors.

    When Congress withdrew funding from ONAC in 1982, federal noise abatement efforts essentially ceased. Despite the evidence about the many medical, social, and economic effects of noise, as a society, we continue to suffer from the same inertia, the same reluctance to change, the same denial of the obvious, that the anti-tobacco lobby faced a couple of decades ago. This inertia and denial are similar to those that delayed appropriate action on lead, mercury, and asbestos. Now we seem unable to make the connection between noise and disease, despite the evidence, and despite the fact, which we all recognize, that our cities are becoming increasingly noisier.

    Noise makers and the businesses that support them are as reluctant as smokers to give up their bad habits. Legislators at all levels should protect us from noise pollution the same way they protected us from tobacco smoke. It is clear that laws can change behaviors in ways that benefit society as a whole. Every person has the right to determine his or her soundscape; it should not be imposed by others. Ordinary citizens have a right to domestic tranquility. A quieter society will be a healthier, happier, safer, and more peaceful one.

  3. maria Says:

    I took my son to enjoy the skate park last Sunday in Moraga Skate Park. Few minutes after he arrived he was giving a ticket for not using his helmet. My son call me ASAP and he asked the police officer to wait for me. The officer was bothered by me asking him to wait so he can explain to me the situation. After a long conversation with him, he gave a ticket which will cost me about $100 dollars!!!!!~ Every single kid at the park had no helmets, explain to me why someone can give one kid a ticket and none to the rest of the ones skating at the park. As well at the ones incoming, which I pointed to the officer quite promptly,( by the way) and he just smiled!

    He wanted my kid to go to probation school for 8 hours if he did not pay the ticket? I cannot believe what just happen to me!!! He did not want to give my son just a warning for not wearing a helmet. I had warnings for speeding and my child a ticket for $100 for a misdemeanor? This is plain ridiculous!
    A warning should have been the best call as the same to the rest of the kids at the park, but the rest did not even get a talk. As soon the police officer left everyone went to skating WITHOUT helmets. As far of me and my son; we had to leave with a very unpleasant experience! Is this unfair o WHAT? Or just misused of common sense from the police officer for a minor broken park rule?

  4. smc626 Says:

    Consider this a very inexpensive lesson that could save your son’s life. Why would you, as a parent, take your son to the skate park and let him skate without his very most important piece of safety equipment? Why would you encourage him to break the law and then complain because others who have also broken the law didn’t get caught? Did you have him wear his seatbelt to or from the park while riding in your car? You know, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste…”

  5. Tara Wallace Says:

    The officer was right to do what he did. Tell your son to put the brain bucket on. It will be better than going to the hospital to see him in a coma.

  6. Sandra Says:

    it’s about revenue generation, this ticket. Moraga gets income this way.

  7. M Johnson Says:

    Wow!
    Your letter shows what is wrong with the world today. Instead of teaching your child what he did wrong you are placing blame on the police officer…the other kids…everyone but yourself for not protecting your own child. Take care of your child. If everyone else was doing drugs or robbing a store would you be worried about what the rest of the kids were doing? Good lord wake up!

  8. John Shine Says:

    For at least a decade, I have been waging a lonely (and futile) ‘war’ against these newer cars with remote door locks…the ones that honk the vehicle’s horn every time the owner locks (or, sometimes, even unlocks) his or her car’s doors. While some people DO understand how irritated I get, most people just think I’m loony.
    I like JD’s quote, above, about weighing “the pleasure of many against the annoyance of a few”. I think noise should be viewed as a form of trespassing. Honking one’s horn to lock one’s car is, to me, a rude and selfish thing to do. It also diminishes the effectiveness of that same car horn when it is used for its original intended purpose: to warn of a traffic danger. Most people no longer pay much attention to the sound of a car horn because they assume that it’s just some clown locking (or unlocking) his car.

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