Who needs to head to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest when Westsiders can hit up Brü Haus for fresh-baked pretzels and authentic brews from Deutschland. (Photo courtesy Wen Yeh.)

Last Saturday was the world’s first Vegan Oktoberfest held right across the street from me. I gather it was extremely successful. I can attest it was painfully noisy.

How successful? Three-thousand vegans (or vegan curious) paid $20 to $45, for delicious food and unlimited beer. How noisy? The music was six hours of pounding, percussive and wall-rattling loud. I not only heard it, I felt it.

Why didn’t the city stage the event at the West end of the beach parking lot? There it would face the ocean rather than residents. Some will say I’m taking a cheap shot but 62 city employees earn $300,000 annually. I just hope none of them issued the permit for the Oktoberfest, which turned out to be a perfect storm (forget perfect, a nightmare storm) for residents.

To me, Saturday’s disaster was indicative of how badly quality of life has lost out to commerce. This trend has been growing for over 10 years or more but we may have reached the tipping point.

Even inside my apartment, the noise was so intense I phoned Council Member Kevin McKeown and left a voice mail. The music on his end came through so blaringly loud and he was so upset by it, he made a sound recording of my call.

By now that recording has circulated among top city officials. (Also available for $1.99 on I-Tunes. Just kidding.) Meanwhile, McKeown is spearheading a city-wide investigation to assign accountability and propose changes that is on-going as you read this. Hopefully I can report considerable progress by next week.

Adding insult to injury, the noise continued until 2 a.m., or 16 hours almost non-stop as, inexplicably, they began the dismantling. Workers in huge trucks with loud backup beeping sounds (beep, beep, beep, all night) and using jackhammer equipment to take apart the tents yielded pounding and steel hitting the ground well into the wee hours. (Couldn’t they have set the pipes down rather than letting them crash? Apparently not.)

The irony is I’m pro a vegetarian lifestyle and I love music. Just not pounding in my bedroom when the whole thing should have been staged toward the beach blasting the sounds harmlessly out to sea. But oh, no, that’s way too logical.

Foolishly, as the day from hell progressed, I went on the Vegan Oktoberfest Facebook page hoping that event organizers might read my post. I suggested the event might have been better staged in a commercial area i.e. down by the Pier. You’d have thought I had recommended meat pies to the vegans.

Oktoberfest patron Eric Hetzel’s posted that I was a “douche.” In another I was a “troll,” though he later said he merely wanted me to look up the word. Next he will be claiming that “douche” is actually a compliment.

I tried to point out to Eric that his name-calling was a form of bullying, so prevalent on the Internet. Feeling anonymous, people take satisfaction in how rude they can be. Inexplicably, Eric countered that I had bullied “legitimate rape” Missouri Senator Todd Akin when I called him an idiot in a column two years ago. First, I was stunned Eric had read it.

Secondly, Akin’s remarks were completely idiotic! In commenting about women who have been raped, he told an interviewer, “Doctors tell me the female body has ways of shutting the whole thing down.” Good grief. You could tell the interviewer kind of thought Akin was an idiot and the voters of Missouri certainly did, but evidently not Eric who insulted first and never asked questions.

Then came nasty posts from Lex Zurko-Potts, a young woman from Slovakia who lives in Van Nuys. She suggested “Turn down your hearing aids.” Fortunately I don’t need hearing aids, at least not until last Saturday. Lex later reluctantly admitted her comments were “low brow cheap shots” (her words) but excused herself because she “works with animals.” Aww.

Interestingly there were complaints on Facebook from actual Oktoberfest patrons furious that the event had been oversold and that lines were horrendously long. This was especially true for the featured attraction, beer. People bitched that you only got 5 ounces and then you had to get back in line again. In fact, there seemed to be more complaints for the organizers than compliments, which, hopefully will lead to changes on their part as well. (In fact, why didn’t Eric call them a douche?)

Back to my neighbors, dozens called the police but to no avail. Even worse, many complained they were treated rudely. Also unfortunate is apparently no one read the actual permit which specified part of the dismantling could be done Saturday but NEVER all night and that Sunday during the day was devoted to finishing. As facts come in it appears there’s no shortage of blame among many city agencies and event organizers. We’ll see about sanctions.

After all, what could go wrong with having 3,000 folks paying handsomely to consume vegan fried chicken and guzzling unlimited beer and music the sound level of a Stones Concert blasting into the bedrooms of 1000 residents on the hottest day of the year? I give you a perfect story.

The November election is less than a month away. While my neighborhood gets inundated with these raucous events (aren’t we lucky?) remember it could happen in yours, too. In fact, unless there are sweeping changes and soon, it probably will

Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth or jnsmdp@aol.com. If you are so inclined you can hear the deadly decibel level of the noise by emailing Jack who will send you the sound file. You’ll have to provide the earplugs.

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