Santa Monica City Hall (File photo)

City Council is set to discuss a slew of medium-sized topics on Tuesday, including the naming of two large civic projects and the reworking of the city’s noise ordinance.

As covered in the Daily Press, city officials are recommending the name “Breeze” for bikeshare that could launch as early as this summer.

Also slated for naming on Tuesday is so-called “Buffer Park,” which is being built on Exposition Boulevard to shield residents from the noise created by the incoming Expo Light Rail’s nearby maintenance facility.

City officials aren’t making a recommendation on the naming of this park.

The Recreation and Parks Commission put forth “Gandara Park” and “Heroes Park” while in a resident survey, the most common suggestions were “Toypurina Park” or “George Ishihara Memorial Park.”

Joe Gandara grew up in the Pico Neighborhood, just blocks from the location of the proposed park, and was killed protecting his comrades in Amferville, France during World War II.

He was passed over for the Medal of Honor, likely because he was a Mexican-American.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama righted that wrong, posthumously awarding Gandara the medal.
Twelve survey-takers suggested honoring Toypurina, a Tongva/Gabrieliño medicine woman who led a failed uprising against Spanish colonizers.

There were six submissions for George Ishihara, a Pico Neighborhood resident who fought in the highly decorated Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II. Ishihara moved to Santa Monica in 1958.

“Heroes Park” could serve as a catch-all, including the three above-mentioned figures and more. Buffer Park is proposed to be long and thin — a row of smaller segments or pocket parks. It’s been described by city officials as a “series of garden rooms.” Each pocket could be named after a different hero.

Other suggestions from the survey included “Hobo Junction East,” “Cookies and Cupcake,” and “Too Damn Close to the Sidewalk Park.”

The naming of Tongva Park, the city’s most recently completed park, was not without its dissenters. Many in the community favored the name, which honors the indigenous people of the Los Angeles area. Members of the Kizh Nation spoke at the council meetings, claiming that the name doesn’t accurately describe all of the different tribes living in the area.

The name was approved in a 4-1 vote, with outgoing City Councilmember Bob Holbrook dissenting.

Noise ordinance update

Last year, after a protester at a local hotel was cited for violating the current noise ordinance, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) threatened litigation. They asked that the ordinance be amended, claiming that it’s unconstitutional because the decibel limits are unreasonably low.

City attorneys believe the current ordinance is constitutional but are putting forth some changes “to improve the ordinance and respond to the ACLU’s concerns.”

“While the decibel limits would be retained, the proposed ordinance would alter the exemptions,” city attorneys said in the report to council. “They would be modified so that the decibel limits would not apply to activities on public property, including streets and parks. This would eliminate the issue of whether the decibel limits unlawfully interfere with the exercise of First Amendment rights in public forums. Instead, noise would be limited in public spaces by the new, general prohibition on excessive noise.”

Additionally, the new ordinance would prohibit “unreasonably disturb the peace, quiet and comfort of persons of normal sensitivity” and noise that is “so harsh or prolonged or unnatural or unusual in [its] use, time or place as to cause physical discomfort to any persons of normal sensitivity.”

City Council will consider these, and other changes to the law, on Tuesday.

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