Houston Skyline

Imagine for a moment a musical saturday night in Houston: there’s a highschool senior that is a trumpet player. He and his friends, also brass players, decide to go out and play for tips and maybe sit in at a local jazz bar. Meanwhile, a garage band nearby is also warming up – after all they have their first gig in a few weeks, so they must practice. In a nearby bar, a more seasoned rock rock band plays on. Meanwhile, a police officer is on patrol. As he and his partner are patrolling the neighborhoods, he hears all this various kinds of music. The cop has had a bad night with keeping the city safe. He hears the music outside the bar booming. He is not a fan of this genre. So what does he do? He pulls over, goes into the club and fines both the owner and band with a whopping $2000. The cop completely ignores the other bands that are playing nearby – including the brass band who has decided to not only get drunk but also play their musical instruments outside – but they are ignored by the cop.

This is what could happen if the police enforce this new city ordinance that will allow them to hand out tickets to anyone within a residential area or commercial area that goes over the new decibel limit: 65 decibels. According to the Houston Press Rocks Off blog, the police now do not need a sound meter to test the decibel limit – making it subjective according to what the officer sees.

This ordinance impedes on small businesses. I liken this to public intoxication and DUI’s: it’s unlawful for a cop to catch someone for suspicion of public intoxication or a DUI without giving them a blood test or a breathilizer. Why is it okay then for a cop to fine someone for suspicion of breaking the decibel ordinance without hard evidence?

Also, I have another question in regards to the claim made in the Houston Chronicle about the city not having enough money to even get the sound meters to test the decibel level at these venues – then tell me this Ms. Mayor, why the hell are you even bothering with this issue? 

Ms. Parker, this is like a cheap shot at the Houston music and bar scene. In a recession like this, we do not need to be shooting ourselves in the foot and putting more regulations upon businesses. Also, you are spitting on the legacies of some of the greatest musicians that got their start in Houston: R&B superstar Beyonce, country singer Lyle Lovett, contemporary christian artist Susan Ashton, rockers ZZ Top, and plenty more.

If you as a citizen want to have your opinion heard there will be a town hall meeting at Fitzgeralds on Tuesday, December 20th at 7pm. Fitzgeralds is located at 2706 White Oak Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77098.

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Comments
  1. […] then tell me this Ms. Mayor, why the hell are you … … Go here to see the original: New city ordinance in Houston threatens to silence the up-and … ← A Town Without […]

  2. Thank you very much for your well written article & support. Having just returned from SXSW and seen the mammoth financial contribution that festival provides to Austin (actually the highest revenue producing event for Austin), this law is an embarrassment.

    We ARE hosting a Q&A session at 8PM (not 7PM) at Fitzgerald’s next Tuesday (20th). It is not quite a “town hall meeting” as it is intended for those within the industry that are directly impacted financially & artistically by this new ordinance (bar, club & venue owners and their staff, dj’s, musicians & sound engineers). However, supporters of our cause are more than welcome to attend.

    Thanks again!

    @ghec_pac

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