Monday, January 09, 2006

The Devil is in the Amplifier

(CLICK FOR A LARGER VIEW) The noisemakers’ amplifier of choice at H and 8th Streets NE: The Fender “Amp Can.” (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)

Many people have emailed to ask about the electrical power source for the noisemakers’ amplifier—the real culprit in the ongoing saga at 8th and H Streets. The neighborhood residents support free speech and the right to assemble—while we may or may not agree with the speech content, we defend the group’s right to say it. However, it’s our desire that they cease using the amplifier.

The noisemakers use an amplifier made by Fender called “The Amp Can.” Fender calls this little devil “the ultimate in battery powered portable amplifiers.” It can run on AC power or the internal rechargeable battery. The amp features a six-inch diameter, 4 ohm, 30 watt speaker backed by 15 watts of power. Fender says “The Amp Can” is 8.75" high, 7.75” wide and weighs 13 pounds. It has two fully independent channels.

The Fender list price is $249.99, but the street price is closer to $150.

(CLICK FOR A LARGER VIEW) The neighbors—and passersby—can attest that Fender’s “Amp Can” (circled in yellow) is a sturdy, loud, distortion free unit—with the decibel level boosted by those speaking or screaming directly into the microphone, like in this Jan. 7, 2006 photo. (Copyright © 2006. David Klavitter)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its my understanding that this group asks for and is granted an assembly permit on a weekly basis. What would happen if another group requested the permit for that corner before this group did? Would the city issue 2 permits for the same spot or would they deny the second permit?

9:09 AM  
Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Please can you post some transcripts of what they say?

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't need a permit! Anyone can show up and blast at this location. As long as the content is non-commercial and it's during the day you blast away. In fact, there's no limit on Amplifiers, you can bring 30 if you'd like and you're within the limits of the law. Also, you can do this any where you'd like. Fenty's house, Graham's house, Williams house, where ever you'd like.

2:39 PM  
Blogger Klav said...

The group does not need a permit. Amplified non-commericial free speech is permitted anywhere in the District. According to the Office of Attorney General, daytime is defined as 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused. I've called 1d several times about these guys and was told that they apply for a permit each week. On one occasion, the officer actually read me that particular week's permit application. Again, I think that, at least at one point, they were filing permits. Maybe simply because they erroneously thought they had too.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Klav said...

Welcome to the other frustrating half of this saga...dealing with the various D.C. departments.

At first when MPD officers would respond to 311 calls about noise, the preachers would allegedly show the officers a "permit." This wasn't actually a permit, but a "permit application." The MPD officers didn't know any better, accepted it as a valid permit, and drove away.

In the year since, the city has determined that these fellows don't need a permit.

When was the last time you called the First District about it? There probably still is some confusion at the MPD 1D.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I probably last called late summer. I can't remember precisely when. However, with regard to permitting, I assume that some type of permitting is required. While a permit may not be required to speak or amplify their message, perhaps there a permit required to stage a public assembly or demonstration. I'm certain the larger protests and demonstrations that happen all too frequently downtown are subject to some type of permit requirement. Does anyone know what, if anything, triggers an assembly/demonstration/protest permit?

9:20 AM  
Blogger Klav said...

I believe they're supposed to have a permit for having a "stage" on the sidewalk. Believe me, we've made this point to MPD. Then the preachers quit using the stage for awhile. Then they start using it again. MPD seems reluctant to enforce these things unless the residents complain. So for now, I'm focusing on the blog. The photos are plenty of evidence.

9:39 AM  
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