Sunday, March 18, 2018

Is St. Pete too loud for The Who and AC/DC?

St. Petersburg Fl
Opinion by author: Robert Neff

Rock 'n' Roll fans know noise is serious when Roger Daltrey of The Who declares himself “very, very deaf” in the Times article, I'm so deaf I have to lipread at gigs admits Roger Daltrey, by Geddes and Tucker, who added, AC/DC postponed their 2016 tour because of the singer Brian John Johnson risk of “total hearing loss.” Neil Young said, "I hurt my ears [Making the live Album Weld] and they'll never be the same again." Daltrey is advising fans to bring your ear plugs to the gig. 

According to the article, “Hearing degrades slightly with every period of sustained noise above 85 decibels.” Unfortunately the City of St. Petersburg didn't hear that! In the 3rd Noise Ordinance’s Public Meeting, the City proposed a separate noise level for the Downtown Core.
  • Jannus Block 85dBA/87dBC. 8a.m.-*11 p.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
  • Jannus Block 65dBA/75dBC. *11p.m.-8a.m.(1a.m. Friday, Saturday, before holiday)
Residents need to understand the difference between dBA (A-Weighted) and dBC (C-Weighted).
dBA is a measurement of audio, where dBC measures bass and subwoofers. 
Both 85 dBA and 87 dBC during the day is a serious cause for public health. Just ask Roger Daltry, Neil Young and Brian Johnson! Will the City issue ear plugs and noise cancelling headsets to downtown visitors and residents?

The City had a respected acoustical company measure the sound in several locations and areas. There were three studies, where one was a mechanical study and two were acoustical. Overall, the noise results were worse than expected for the downtown areas measured.
At the City's 3rd Noise Ordinance Public Meeting, bar supporters questioned the company's credentials without knowing who the City had hired. The audio engineer who asked the question could have used his cellphone to do a quick google search, but instead chose to question the City's selection. Here is Keane Acoustics' portfolio

The real issue is Mayor Kriseman and City Council, who will approve the ordinance, do not understand what the noise levels are, how they feel inside your home, and how they impact our health. Nor do the bar owners and patrons. 

They do not live near a bar or nightclub, so they have no real world experience. Saying 60 dBA is a normal conversation at 3 feet and thinking 70 and 80 decibels is not bad, is wrong. This is not a linear measurement. The sound keeps doubling every ten decibels!  That is, 70 is double 60 and 80 is double 70.

Where dBA measures audible, dBC measures  low frequency bass and subwoofer. Bass and subwoofers are low frequency waves. This is the thumping residents hear and feel inside their home. These are powerful waves and can bounce off buildings, impact one floor and not another, and enter buildings through the walls and glass. 

When they enter the building, the wall material acts as a filter, leaving only the thumping. How would you like to be subjected to thumping in your own home for 2 hours? How about 2-8 hours?

Noise impacts adults and kids health. This causes health issues with blood pressure, anxiety, heart issues, ringing in the ears, and sleep deprivation. Since the Mayor and City Council do not live with the noise, that is why they always seem happy and well-rested.

Unlike Mayor Kriseman and City Council, trapped residents do have real world experience. Yet, residents are forced to listen to the thumping inside the home because Police are not actively issuing citations. Many times, the officers just tell the repeat noise offenders to turn it down, again, and again, and again. 

Police can hide behind the current noise ordinance and say the noise is not clearly audible. So the Police who have had been to homes and felt the walls vibrating are not convinced the noise is clearly audible. Doesn't it seem odd that many times residents can give you the DJ's play list? 

Then to add insult to the injury, residents who complain, get to hear the bar owners or the offending resident tell them to move.  The bar owners will have you believe they are the victims, but let’s think talk at the bars in the City’s Top 50 addresses with repeat calls

There are approximately ten bars, but not all are downtown. One club blasts the music at the outdoor pool every Sunday per their advertisement on Facebook. You can see the 2016 map of addresses with repeat calls online.

Actually, the City has no idea how many bars and residents have repeat calls for noise. There is very little information on where the problem addresses are, how many are bars or residences, and how much crime comes with repeat noise calls

How can our Mayor and City Council make a solid decision without understanding how many addresses are repeat callers? What is the mix of residents and bar owners? What day of the week has the most calls? What time of day does Police dispatch get the most calls? How many calls are made during the allowable and not allowed times and where?What are the trends? 

Why haven't the the City and Police broke down the data for each bar and residence with repeat calls? Council needs to ask or the data, so they can make an informed decision.  

Mayor Kriseman and the Police have not provided the City Council with the data needed to understand the noise issue. This is a lack of transparency, and Mayor Kriseman excels at this! Or maybe, he can't hear you because he is wearing his City-issued earplugs and noise cancelling headset?

The opinions here are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bay Post Internet or the Blog Publishers where it appears.

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