Sunday, January 01, 2006

Wishing for a Quieter and Peaceful New Year

In September of 2004, the noisemakers use a microphone and amplifier at the southeast corner of 8th and H Streets NE. The amplified speech is projected south on 8th Street into the residential neighborhood. (Copyright © 2004. David Klavitter)

My wife, Kara, and I were out of the town the past two Saturdays (Dec. 24, 31), but I was disheartened to receive an email from a frustrated neighbor, whose day at home was spoiled by noise pollution. My neighbor sent the email—the text of which I’ve included below—to various D.C. council members and city agencies.

Our next step is for the city council to take action to fix the loophole in the law. We will work with our ANC commissioners, Councilmember Sharon Ambrose, and the other council members to make this happen. As a matter of fact, a Voice of the Hill reporter called me yesterday to follow up on the Office of Attorny General's finding and our next steps.

Finally, we need urgent relief. I’m always treated rudely anytime I try to interact with the noisemakers, but I may have made some progress. After I photographed the noisemaking group on Dec. 23 at the corner of 12th and G Streets NW, I was able to conduct a short, civil dialogue with one of the noisemakers who called himself "Yahanna" (he is the one pictured pointing at Santa).

Yahanna said his group did not have enough advance notice to attend our Aug. 29, 2005 community meeting, but would welcome a chance to talk again. I told Yahanna I would work with MPD Inspector Solberg to try and set up another community meeting in January.

In the meantime, we all must work together to push for a better-crafted D.C. noise law. Here’s the text of my neighbor’s Dec. 31 email:

Have had my fill in a big would seem that the Israelite's (or whatever they call themselves) right to assemble and amplify their message, already being yelled before amplification, trumps my right to live in peace w/out fear of noise invasion in the house we moved into and bought January 1991--to say nothing of the trash and litter lovingly dropped on the street and sidewalks here by those who frequent the bus stops and stores and assemblies at 8th & H streets, NE.

1--about two months ago, we buried my Uncle. We had our adult children from across the country, two cousins, one of their children, a 93-year old aunt, her 86-year old brother, the widow (also 86), and elderly relatives we met for the first time at the funeral for lunch at our house following the burial. The "group" was on the corner screaming and amplifying to its heart's content. We had the doors and windows closed, and turned on music to drown out the noise on the corner, but that does nothing for our guests and family when they enter or leave the house. What about our right to privacy? What about our right to assemble peaceably in our own house? What happened to a "man/woman's home is their castle?" Maybe we need to call our armies (knights) to protect us.....

2--Every weekend, regardless of what we, who live here and pay taxes to support our city government and services, have planned or are coping with (at least one of our neighbors is dealing w/a serious life-threatening condition), we are subjected to and bombarded by outsiders scream at us and anyone else who dares to come here to visit us and our home.

3--It is New Year's eve and the "group" has been at it all afternoon. I am sitting in my living room, a fire in the fireplace, low-key music on the CD player, tree lights glowing, writing thank-you notes--a nice image....leaving out the amplified yelling from the corner.

When is the District of Columbia going to do something for it's citizens/residents to make this a place where one's home is their haven anyway?

Happy New Year, ain't it great????


Blogger KOB said...

very interesting blog -- found it via a link at Frozen Tropics. Regards,

11:18 AM  

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