Friday, January 12, 2007

Wells Engages Ministers, Unions to Craft Noise Fix

(CLICK TO ENLARGE) District of Columbia Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells at the Jan. 11 Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A meeting at Miner Elementary School. (Copyright © 2007. David Klavitter)

District of Columbia Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells is moving forward with a fix to the city’s noise law, which allows unlimited levels of amplified non-commercial speech between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m.

During Thursday’s Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6A meeting at Miner Elementary School, the freshman councilmember told participants he has opened a dialogue with community ministers and labor union leaders about his intent to balance free speech with the right to quiet enjoyment of homes and businesses.

Wells noted H Street’s long history of street preaching, a point illustrated by the several amplified groups that employ amplifiers at the northeast D.C. intersection. They include the Rev. Dallas Williams, Evangelist Woodward, the Nation of Islam and the Israelite School of Universal School Practical Knowledge. Their messages are as varied as their names.

Wells is a member of the council’s Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, which apparently has jurisdiction over the noise issue. He noted his involvement with the committee’s chair, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary M. Cheh in crafting a solution agreeable to residents, businesses, unions and religious organizations.

Those who live and work in and around H and 8th Street NE support free speech and welcome open dialogue in the free marketplace of ideas, but strongly reiterate our rights to peace and quiet. We want a livable and conversational community.

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