Friday, July 13, 2007

No amplified advantage at public hearing on noise

Despite the sensationalized rhetoric spouted by labor unions and expensive lawyers, Monday's public hearing before the D.C. city council was an opportunity for all sides to be heard.

And that was because every witness spoke using the same amplified sound system installed in the D.C. Council Chamber.

D.C.'s current law violates the free speech rights of those without--or with small--amplifiers. The result: Those with the biggest amplifiers dominate public debate.

Unamplified voices are and should remain exempt from the noise ordinance. This protects large gatherings of people energized on issues of critical importance--like labor rights.

Meanwhile, residents are forced to endure hours of noise in their bedrooms.

A handful of neighbors from all over the city--including 8th and H St NE--H Street Main Street Exective Director Anwar Saleem, ANC6A Commissioner Joe Fengler, the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association, the D.C. Attorney General's office and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs testified to protect residents and and enhance free speech rights.

Labor unions, the American Civil Liberties Union, and a street poet group were among those that dismissed pleas for reasonable bedroom tranquility.

This week's edition of Voice of the Hill newspaper carries details of Monday's public hearing before a city council committee on D.C. pending noise bill.

The July 10 Roll Call and D.C. Examiner also carried stories this week.

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