Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wanted: Councilmembers with Courage

"The unwilling listener is not like the passer-by who may be offered a pamphlet in the street but cannot be made to take it. In his home...he is practically helpless to escape this interference with his privacy by loudspeakers except through the protection of the municipality.”

--1949 U.S. Supreme Court decision which upheld a municipality's right to defend citizens against amplified devices: KOVACS v. COOPER

The Washington City Paper reports that At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown apparently plans to cave to special interest pressure during today's vote on bill that would protect residents--inside their home--from amplified noise.

Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans's amendment provides zero protection for commercial areas of the city and raises the dB level from 70 to 80 in residential areas as measured INSIDE the home.

That's a freight train in your living room--a hollow victory at best.

In fact, that proposal would not even protect Councilmember Evans--inside his Georgetown home--from the amplifiers of March 2008. See the video.

To be fair, Brown and Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander withered under a barrage of special interest advertising which began running last week. She remains on the fence, apparently. But that's where the courage comes in.

And one last shout from the U.S. Supreme Court decision:

"The preferred position of freedom of speech in a society that cherishes liberty for all does not require legislators to be insensible to claims by citizens to comfort and convenience. To enforce freedom of speech in disregard of the rights of others would be harsh and arbitrary in itself."

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