Free Speech: Posted and Spoken
Free speech is cool. Free speech with a beret is fashionable. Blasting residential homes with hours of amplified free speech is harassment.
Documenting a community’s quest for the right to peace and quiet near H Street Northeast in Washington, D.C.
“When you move into D.C., everyone has to expect some protest at some time, within certain reasonable hours and limits. I don’t believe David and his cohorts would be attacking us for so many reasons other than the sound device. Now the Big Guys have joined in because they want to see H Street changed.”
Currently, members of the Israelite Church of God and Jesus Christ, Inc. gather on Saturdays at the corner of Eighth and H Streets, NE to exercise their right of free speech. This group often uses an amplifier to deliver their religious message. The use of the amplifier projects the sound to the surrounding streets in all directions disturbing the peace, order and quiet of our neighborhood. Please see attached article that recently appeared in the Voice of the Hill newspaper.
We have no objection to the group or their religious speech. Our objection is the use of the powered amplifier. Over the last year, we have been working with the residents, Metropolitan Police Department, Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and the Office of the Attorney General to try to resolve this issue. We appear to be at a bureaucratic / legislative stand-off--the agencies state they can not act due to the law and the Council has yet to consider modifying the noise ordinance. In the meantime, the residents continue to suffer.
In close, we are appealing to the Council sense of propriety to adopt an amendment by March 31, 2006, to solve this problem. The continued silence of Council perpetuates the bureaucratic vacuum of indecision that denies residents the peace and quiet they are entitled to in a residential community.
In light of this article, what's the next step?
Why is the City Council stalled on this issue?
Will the Office of Attorney General take another look at the law?
Does the city need to clarify the statute?
If the law is unclear, can an injunction be issued to stop the use of the amplifier until the issue is resolved?