Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Mayor Kriseman and Police use non-action and play on resident's fear

St. Petersburg Fl
By author: Robert Neff

A Tampa Bay Times story dated August 14, 2010 a Pasco man told the jury he killed his neighbor (over noise). While it is unfortunate and all the facts of the case are not known, this should concern City Mayors, Managers, Council Members and police. But more so, for cities that support noisy bars over residents, like St. Petersburg, Florida and Mayor Kriseman, City Council Member Kornell.  Mayor Kriseman and Police use non-action and play on resident's fear to get them to stop calling. Plus, the noise ordinance's "plainly audible" is way to deter residents. 

New Port Richey Noise Ordinance (66-Article IV) is a decibel-based system, unlike St. Petersburg, Florida, which is based on "plainly audible." 

The problem St Pete residents face is, if you live too close to a noise source such as a bar's outdoor amplified music, the police cannot enforce the ordinance, even if the your walls are shaking. 

Ask the residents near No Vacancy, located at 937 Central Avenue. The bar opened this spring. There is a pattern of repeat calls and the police and City are not monitoring the noise repeat calls. Since January 1, the 900 Block of Central has had 25 noise calls. 

Overall, the Central Avenue corridor has 78 noise calls and Beach Drive Corridor has 34 noise calls.

Residents near the now closed Flamingo Resort in the Skyway Marina District experienced a repeat call pattern with no citations, where the owner was also President of the Board for the Skyway Marina District.

No wonder residents are worried when they call, as stated by several callers. Fear from retribution or being called a trouble maker is a contributing factor why residents do not leave their name. Or the resident must live in fear of being sued by the bar. There have three residents sued. The Flamingo Resort filed a civil lawsuit against me for defamation. Judge dismissed this case. Then Edge Partners d/b/a as Flamingo Resort amended for noise nuisance and a Declaratory Act for LGBT discrimination.

The City and City Council Members have not educated residents. That is why the noise ordinance is the best-kept secret! Police Dispatch does not always tell you the noise ordinance can only be enforced if you leave you name and the officer confirms it from your apartment. 

This is contrary to a car boom box citation. Police are the witness and the distances are different for each outdoor amplified music, cars, and even resident on resident calls. 

However, the City does not understand that sound does not discriminate. Does not matter if the minimum distance is 100', 500', 1000' or more. Sound doesn't care! Nor does Mayor Kriseman and City Council Member Kornell— the noise is not in their home!

Residents are calling before 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturdays. On Central Ave, I have listened to audio of the calls and one resident said (paraphrased) the bar should not be allowed to play it that loud! But, according to the noise ordinance, the dispatch operator told the young person, that the code can’t be enforced at this time.

In May 2019, the City revised the noise ordinance, but kept the old ordinance with a few modifications to include boats, cafes, and penalties. 
The City did not change to the decibel standard. 

The City ignored the acoustic studies, which showed how bad the noise was! Worse, the City refused to have a medical expert on audible noise and low frequency (bass) noise review the acoustic studies and noise ordinance. Even though I had asked and quoted the medical reports and the World Health Organization reports that found low frequency noise had a negative impact on adult and kids health. 

The noise ordinance included a clause to reward the bars. “WHEREAS, the City intends to treat the commercial establishments who have helped the City prosper fairly and recognizes the right to free speech enjoyed by those establishments and their need to utilize amplified sound as a means of continuing their successful commercial endeavors; and” several clauses supporting noise medical impact. The City leadership has demonstrated a lack of concern for the medical impact to resident's health.  

From January 1 to August 27, 2019, there have been 2,286 calls for noise. In 2018, there were only 2,517 calls. 

Since the new noise ordinance was signed on May 23, 2019, there have been 728 calls in 97 days. Under the old noise ordinance from January 1 to May 22, there were 1,558 calls made in 142 days. 

St. Petersburg, the data and emails show Police and the City are not enforcing the noise ordinance. The Mayor and City Council Member Kornell are the City’s most ardent protector of the bar noise.

Mayor Kriseman won’t tell us why he asked the Police Chief to enforce the noise ordinance for two weeks because there is a revised noise issue and this would make the public feel like the City was engaged. See April 11, 2017 email below.

Kornell was Committee Chair for the PS&I responsible for the noise ordinance joked about the noise at a PS&I meeting when he whispered to to poke fun at the noise ordinance. Here is Kornell supporting the bars,

Council Member Kornell worked with Flamingo Owner and Skyway Marina Board President Jack Dougherty, and Community Service Officer Kelly to develop a strategy to deal with a resident who complained about the noise. I am that constituent and resident, see the email below.

In the City's defense (sort of), there has been at least one citation for a bar in the 1100 Central Ave area. One caller, said Tyrst had an infringement. A Public Request has been submitted to the City to confirm the noise warnings and citations to residents and bars.

Why is the Media silent?

The media is not investigating the noise issue! They are only publishing sensational articles to support the downtown bars. The noise issue outside downtown has been ignored. The Tampa Bay Times and news media are notably absent. The media feeds the City's myth that the noise issue is a downtown issue, when it is a city-wide issue.

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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