(By Brandon Hansen/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent and a graduate of Eastern Washington University. If you’d like to send Brandon a Letter to the Editor, shoot him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A noise ordinance in a small town is nothing to sneeze at. With the Chewelah City Council considering an ordinance that would put a cap on how loud you can be during the evening hours, plenty of people are all riled up.
These so-called “sound patriots” have already been on our Facebook page thinking that perhaps the city is overstepping our bounds. Since I’m no noise expert and I basically just sit in my apartment with the blinds shut playing Call of Duty every day, I really have no idea how loud my neighbors are.
That being said, having lived in a bigger town at one point – I can tell you that having neighbors stinks sometimes. I’m blessed to have the coolest neighbors now, but back in Centralia I once had somebody knock on my floor because apparently watching a YouTube video of somebody playing Mario Paint and talking at just above a whisper was too loud for them (Also if you combine a weirdo like me and a weird thing like YouTube — these are the viewing habits you get — watching somebody play Mario Paint). This person would also listen to their own TV at the same volume as a Boeing 747 taking off.
I do get the sentiment, we don’t want to greet people who have moved into town with somebody blasting Whitesnake at 11 p.m. while working on their Camaro and yelling at their cousin over who is better: Russell Wilson or Matt Hasselbeck. This is the dark seedy underbelly of the town that needs to be taken care of.
I must applaud Council members Payton Norvell and John May for pointing out issues with the noise ordinance concerning mowing the lawn, car repairs and snow removal. I’d also like to point out that there are still questions on how this could be enforced (just call 911 when your neighbor is playing their Nickelback too loud? Actually I’m for this. We need to really buckle down as a city and make Nickleback and Creed illegal within city limits, it is not 2001 anymore, folks). And what about our town’s semi truck drivers that park their rigs at home and have to wake up early to start their big rigs and go to work?
Questions aside, here are some sounds I would like banned from town…
People complaining about the Mariners
Usually we have to wait for June before people realize the team is bad but here it is the first of May and fans have come to the conclusion that Seattle is awful. People yelling at their TV because the M’s pitching is a wet paper bag has gotten out of control.
The Air Raid Siren
My goodness, everytime this goes off I feel like I’m in a Red Dawn movie. Is Colville attacking? Are they mad their baseball team isn’t good as ours (Go Cougs)? Be honest with yourself: the noon siren gives you a mini heart-attack every time it goes off.
Anyone blaring Florida Georgia Line
This isn’t country music.
Somebody’s duct-taped car speeding through town with a tissue-paper muffler
Do you ever hear a RAT-TA-TAT-TAT-TAT and look over expecting to see a hot rod and instead see a rust bucket Toyota that smokes out the back. Not only should the city outlaw the noise of these cars, they should outlaw these cars. Why is this the official car of Stevens County?
Apparently if you decide to take a stroll around town, be prepared to awake every canine in a four-mile radius, causing them to rain down a steady supply of barks in your direction as if you’re trying to run off with their master’s safe. I’m pretty sure Chewelah has the highest per capita ratio for small yippie dogs. I counted once I had four — FOUR — small dogs following me on an evening stroll through town. To be fair I was carrying an Oasis burger but that’s beside the point.
That being said, I just want to point out that it’s very easy for us all to complain about city government and their ordinances. It’s very hard to be the people that compile, consider and vote on the ordinances. People had valid concerns but understand that governing is always complicated and contentious. I hope the city considers all the angles before voting on this.
Now if you’ll excuse me I have some Whitesnake to go blast from my car radio.