Tuesday, April 24, 2018

St. Pete’s bar noise can cause irreparable harm to residents

St. Petersburg Fl
Public Opinion by author: Robert Neff

The article, Why restaurants became so loud — and how to fight back, describes the restaurant transition that started in the 90s. However, there has been a pushback against the "Great Noise Boom”.  
Being exposed to noise levels above 70 to 80 decibels — which many restaurants subject you to these days— causes hearing loss over time, Gail Richard, the president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, told me. This kind of hearing loss is “preventable, but it’s also irreparable,” she added.
Today, more people are choosing conversation over noise. People want to hear the conversation, but they have a choice. They can decline to go or not go to a noisy restaurant. However, when your home is subjected to noise, you do not have the same option.


Let's take a look at the word, irreparable (adjective). According to Merriam Webster dictionary, this is not capable of being repaired, regained, or undone. Thus, living next to a loud bar, and being exposed to loud music and thumping bass, can cause irreparable harm to your hearing.

The police have also stated that they do not want to issue a noise citation because they would be called upon by the bar to defend their actions in court. Then why didn't the Police, Mayor and Council work to change the noise ordinance to protect residences? My response is, this was a failure of leadership. The only conclusion one can make is, the Mayor and Police Chief chose to protect the bars over residents.

One thing is for certain, Mayor Kriseman and Police Chief Holloway and a few City Council Members have been gaslighting residents! But now residents have the City's noise data and some of the emails. Residents have been readily debunking City and Police comments. The City is  unsure how to side-step the resident’s data and research. 

Every new angle the city puts forth, residents debunk the argument. Bottom line is, the city is backing the bars, but the City has not realized how a noisy city will impact hi-rise development or after residents move into the $1 million dollar condo. 

Will the City require new buildings to include expensive noise abatement in their new designs? This will be passed onto the buyer. If the City does not require noise abatement, then new buyers will move in and be pummeled by the bar noise.

If the City is unsure, they need to research the bad press and court battles between Miami luxury condos and the bars. The City is enthusiastic that there are two new hi-rises going on 400 Central and One St. Petersburg. They will be right in the middle of the downtown noise. Let's see how those residents react when their multi-million dollar condominiums are pummeled with bass and audio. Those two hi-rises will soon join the residents in the other hi-rise condos complaining. How long before the police labels them as "re-occurring complainants". 


Current Noise Ordinance is Flawed

The current noise ordinance has a several flaws. First, the current noise ordinance is based on distance and not decibels. Second, the ordinance relies on the police officer's ability to hear the noise. What may be plainly audible to you or bother you for eight hours, is not a concern to the officer, who is there for a minute or two. This observation is based upon reading over 180 Police Call for Service Reports at the Flamingo Resort in the Skyway Marina District—some of which I personally experienced, and over twenty reports downtown. 

While, the noise ordinance specifically includes low frequency (bass), See 11-47, 
Plainly audible means any sound produced by a source, which can be heard by any reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities using his or her unaided hearing faculties. Measurement standards shall be the auditory senses. Words or phrases need not be discernible and low frequency sound reverberations are included.
the police have not trained officers on how to differentiate between audible and low frequency sound. Nor have they been trained on low frequency noise and how far it can travel, how it can penetrate walls or how it impacts your health. Thus, the police look at you and think you are crazy. Some officers had stated they are tired of responding to the address.

Many residents are subjected to the thumping inside the home for 2-8 hours at a time. You can’t escape. Yet, the responding police officer, who is there for one to two minutes, will probably not consider the noise to be an issue, even if they feel the vibration. 
When there have been noise complaints, officers have responded and stated the volume does not rise to the level of being a plainly audile or a nuisance. Yet, the officers have no issue asking the bar to turn down the music. In fact, from 2009-2016, the police asked the Flamingo Resort in the Skyway Marina District to turn down the music 66 times they responded to noise calls in over 160 calls since 2009.
Third issue is the bar, business or homeowner is not fined, just the most senior person on site. So one can say, the City has fined no bars!


How often have the police issued noise citations?

Next, how often have the police issued noise citations? That is, how many times has the City fined the individual who worked there. When you check the citations in 2016 and 2017, there were 24 citations and only three (3) bars cited out of 5440 noise calls. Yet, no one in the Police Department or City questioned this data point!



In 2013, Police Incident Reports spiked. Did the police consider why it spiked? Which addresses were involved? What changed?

Noise Ordinance revised in March 2016

Due to residents complaints, the next year the City revised the noise ordinance to mandate speakers must be turned inward and doors shut. City council declined to implement the decibels and kept plainly audible and the distance language in the ordinance. 

In 2017's 2nd Noise Ordinance Public Meeting, Kornell called me a liar when I shared my police noise experience. Kornell took exception that I had said the police had heard the noise and called me a liar. He was not there when the police told me they heard it. On one instance the two police officers responding after midnight issued an Ordinance Violation for the Flamingo Resort, located in the Skyway Marina District, and not a noise citation.  

If the City had implement a decibel standard and enforced it, there would have been fewer calls. Police manpower costs would have reduced. Resources could have been transferred to focus on high crime areas. In 2014, the City wasted resident's taxes for the next four years. 

However, in 2016, due to resident unheard complaints, they marched into City Council Meeting. The City struggled to revise the noise ordinance. In March 2016, Council approved the revised noise ordinance but omitted  meters. The revision had two changes, point speakers inward and close the doors.    

In the 2016 article, City Council Member Kornell state fought back criticism that he was pro-noise in St. Pete adopts changes to noise ordinance. Kornell said people wrongfully assumed he was anti-noise ordinance, but that was not the case.

Here is an example where the officer had responded to a repeat noise calls from a resident regarding the newly opened The Landing at Jannus. The Officer's Actions indicate the resident lived too close to the noise source. Thus, there was no violation of the noise ordinance. There are more instances like this. 

Why would any Council Member representing their district vote on an ordinance proposed by the City that requires a minimum distance before a citation can be issued? So a person living next door to a newly opened bar has no legal recourse. The bar would need to be farther away before it could be cited. 

The only conclusion is, the City and Council did not make a data or health driven decision. Rather, the decision was based on sentiment for the bars. City Mayor and Council did not seemed concerned the bar owner were telling the resident to move. That is the sad state of City leadership. in St. Petersburg, Florida.

City Council should ask the Mayor to have City Legal research and provide an opinion to determine if the City's noise ordinance violates the Supreme Court's KOVACS v. COOPER decision.
The US Supreme Court has stated with regard to amplified noise in the community and preserving the tranquility:  “The unwilling listener is [336 U.S. 77 , 87] not like the passer-by who may be offered a pamphlet in the street but cannot be made to take it. In his home or on the street he is practically helpless to escape this interference with his privacy by loud speakers except through the protection of the municipality.” KOVACS v. COOPER,  336 U.S. 77, 135 N.J.L. 64, 66, 50 A.2d 451, 452 (1949) (underline added)

Medical Research on Noise - To Read more click below


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

A bunch of reasons not to buy an engagement ring

The whole engagement ring thing started in the late 1930’s as a marketing effort to kick start diamond sales.


St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.

It is that time of the year when relationships bloom, heart's flutter and bride to be eyes light up with vision's things, that sparkle.

In the print media, electronic media, the Internet and just about everywhere else you look, there are ads promising the best deal on that much needed and desired engagement ring.

Before you plunk down a significant portion of your annual salary for an engagement ring here are a few things to check out.

First take a look at the number of engagement rings for sale on line.

I am not suggesting you buy one on line, although what she does not know probably won’t hurt her, but the real question is. Where did all those rings come from? The answer is they were bought by idiots who got caught up in the Diamonds are forever marketing ploy, and things did not go well. They are now for sale and usually NOT by the original buyer.

As one who has had a number of engagement and wedding rings end up in a pawn shop case, the return on your investment is really poor. Example: a lovely blonde who pawned her(our) engagement rings (worth several thousand dollars) to make a $200 car payment. I know she was upset the wedding was off, but if she had called I would have probably made the car payment for her.

The whole engagement ring thing started in the late 1930’s as a marketing effort to kick start diamond sales. Since nothing says I love you like a diamond and diamonds are forever resonate, guys have been on the hook for ever larger upfront investments in their matrimonial future.

That is kind of interesting given that fact that according to the American Psychological Association 50% of marriages end up in divorce, and subsequent marriages are more likely to fail even if the engagement ring is bigger.

So, if she is sending you all those signals about getting married and suggesting an engagement (read that I want a ring) set down and have a long serious talk.

Right now, the “recommended” amount you should spend on an engagement ring is two months’ salary.

If you make $60,000 dollars per year that’s $5,000/per month or about $10,000 for a ring.

If you make $100,000 per year that is about $8333/month or about $16,700 for the ring.

These days you can finance that amount for up to eight years, and that number is interesting because the average marriage in the United states lasts about 8.2 years.

Think about your student loan. If that upsets you, think about how you will feel five or six years into a marriage that is slipping away, and you still have few years to go pay off what got you into all of this.

So, remember all this engagement and to some degree wedding ring stuff is a marketing creation of people who dig crap up out of the ground, polish it up, claim it is their own, establish outlandish prices in a closed market and take advantage of your situation.

The bottom line on all of this engagement ring hoopla, is it gives your beloved a symbol to wave about in the faces of her less fortunate friends who are still looking forward to reeling in a “ring” of their own.

See From BRIDES by Elizabeth Mitchel, 18 Things to Do as Soon as You Get Engaged

If a ring costing 20% or more of your annual salary is a required pre-commitment of endearing love do a little research, have a serious conversation with your partner and remember this: diamonds are not forever: they're just expensive.

E-mail Doc at
mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at
Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures:
Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate
Please comment below.

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Friday, April 20, 2018

Beware of the Blue Wave


There are some adept sensible Democrats out there, but none were present in this first debate.



St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin, So You Want to Blog.
   
A lot of political analysts and pundits are predicting that the Democratic Party will have a banner year in the upcoming midterms. Goodness knows the Republicans are doing all they can to help them.

Before you decide to change your voter registration from Republican to Democrat and show your displeasure with Trump, and the feckless bunch of Republican do nothings in Congress that would rather investigate Trump than represent their constituents take a look at what is happening around you.

The first debate featuring four of the Democratic candidates for Florida Governor was an interesting affair.

 If I had to pick a central theme(s) it would be let’s raise taxes, shut down funding of charter schools, raise some more taxes, put in some more social programs and continuing pouring money into a failing educational system even though none of them knew what the education budget was.

In other words, these candidates are proposing what Democrats do; replace governance with social welfare.

You can check out the debate at: FOX 13.

Florida has experienced phenomenal growth over the last eight years. The economic infrastructure that supports that growth has been carefully put together. Looking at the Florida economy as an apple ready for picking could quickly undo what eight years of hard work has accomplished.

Just electing a bunch of Democrats to offices from the school board to the State house and Governor will not cure anything. An old-line social programs Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and one or both houses of the Florida Legislature controlled by the Democrats will bring the current growth trend in Florida to a screeching halt.

There are some adept sensible Democrats out there, but none were present in this first debate.

The real questions are: can any of these candidates morph into someone who can actually run a government and not turn it into one massive welfare program and secondly are there any of these candidates you want to bet your small business on along with the education of your children?

The Republicans are up next will they do any better or get “Trumped?”

E-mail Doc at
mail to: dr.gwebb@yahoo.com or send me a Facebook (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on Facebook and follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.
See Doc's Photo Gallery at
Bay Post Photos.

Disclosures:
Contributor to: Rick Scott for Senate
Please comment below

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