Noise and naps

Sans the screaming and finger-pointing, it was a typical meeting last Friday for the Detroit City Council, which briefly discussed a proposed amendment to the city “noise” ordinance.

Well, not everyone was there to discuss it. Councilwoman Kay Everett missed it since she sauntered into last week’s meeting late.

We suspect Everett’s tardiness may be due to the daily difficulty she encounters when trying to select exactly the right chapeau from her extensive collection — in this case a white cowboy hat. To be fair, Everett is receiving dialysis treatments, which might explain why she appeared to catnap for a few minutes at the council table. To be even more fair, several other council members were wandering in and out of the meeting.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson, however, was fully alert for the discussion. Soon after a city resident suggested that the noise ordinance should also prohibit “foul” and “disrespectful” language, Watson proclaimed, “Amen.”

The proposed amendment seeks to prohibit “sound caused by the operation of specified devices in a motor vehicle that is plainly audible more than 10 feet from the motor vehicle.” In other words, it may soon be a no-no to blare rap music and other tunes from hoopties in D-town. The amendment says violators will be fined up to $100 for a first offense, up to $200 for a second offense and third-time violators would pay up to $300 and could spend 90 days in jail. The council was scheduled to vote on the amendment July 14.

If it passes, News Hits is doubtful that noise polluters will get much attention from police, who have their hands full dealing with the noise of guns blasting as the city’s horrible killing spree continues.

Elected officials heard from Bernard Johnson, the only citizen to comment on the proposed amendment. A supporter, Johnson also suggested a few addenda of his own, such as the one about prohibiting foul and disrespectful language.

Councilwoman Sharon McPhail, who is also an attorney, pointed out that the council might find itself at odds with a few federal provisions — such as the First Amendment — if it starts defining what constitutes foul and disrespectful language. McPhail prudently referred Johnson’s suggestion to the city Research and Analysis Department, as well as the Law Department.

Johnson also wants the ordinance amended so that it bans ice cream trucks, or at least the incessant jingles that blare from them. Johnson explained that he cares for his 97-year-old grandmother, who has trouble napping in the afternoon because of the grating music. After all, someone can endure “Pop Goes The Weasel” only so long before they just lose it.

A News Hits staffer who happens to live in the same East Side neighborhood as Johnson couldn’t agree with him more, saying, “Amen, brother! That ice cream truck music is fucked up!”

We just won’t say it too loud.

Contact News Hits at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]
Scroll to read more Metro Detroit News articles


Join Detroit Metro Times Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.