In my last column, I wrote about the boom box music in Ocean View Park and a seemingly excessively loud live jazz band impacting the peace and quiet of residents at The Shores apartments and the Sea Colonies condominiums. The good news the issue resonated given that I received more reader emails than usual. The not such good news is much of it wasn’t terribly flattering. (You’d think after fourteen years I’d be used to it.)
The best news, however, is there appears to be some progress on a compromise which would thankfully afford some music in the park but with limited hours. In this era where everything is confrontational, apparently including emails to columnists, at least the discussions are taking place in a civil manner and an agreement may be reached soon. (Just not in time for this column’s deadline. Grr.)
During the decades during which I’ve lived in Santa Monica I’ve only been what some would call an “activist” on two issues in a city famous for activism. For example, Jerry Rubin at 77 has made being an activist his life’s journey. (Go to smdp.com and type in “The Tale of Two Rubins.”)
One “cause” that motivated me was recycling. Because the Shores’ 532 unit complex is so huge, rather than schlepping my recycling to Michigan Avenue and using up gas etc, I wondered why couldn’t we be the first apartment building in the city to have our own bins. We eventually got them but it took 18 months of my collecting signatures and making myself a pest to city staff. (The Shores recycling program has been a huge success from day one and led to other complexes getting bins and following suit with excellent results.)
Next on my sparse but ultimately productive “activist agenda” was getting a Farmer’s Market in Ocean Park rather than wasting gas driving up to Arizona Avenue and battling the crowds. As it happened, those in charge of our Farmers Markets had been considering a Sunday one in O.P. but needed a resident to collect petition signatures and talk up the idea. I was their guy and believe it or not 18 months later the market finally opened. The problem was, at least in the beginning, there were more farmers than customers. Yikes!
With befuddled city staff wondering where were all those people whose signatures I had collected, it was so embarrassing for me I used to sneak in and out of the market. Eventually the market became more popular but shortly thereafter staff added music to make the event even more so. However the music was so loud that neighbors who signed my petition blamed me for the noise. Ultimately, however, the problem was resolved when the Farmers Market banned the use of amplifiers. This brings me back to the Ocean View Park music mayhem. (Hmm. Maybe no amplifiers at Ocean View could be a solution?)
When my column didn’t generate solutions to the noise issue or even bring the parties together, I reached out to City Councilman Phil Brock who graciously agreed to see what he could do. The first thing he did was go down to Ocean View Park and calmly talk to the people playing the music. (Everyone had just assumed any such conversation would be confrontational.)
By far the noisiest for the residents was Mike who was dubbed “10 Speakers” as he would set up a semi-circle of speakers and blast away recorded music. “He was actually a very nice, gentle guy,” Phil said after the meeting. Mike was under the misguided impression that his music was much beloved to which Phil pointed out that while, for some of the people in the park it might have been appreciated, but for a considerable number of residents adjacent tot he park, it was quite the opposite.
To Mike’s credit, he took Phil’s suggestion of playing his music in parks not abutting residential areas and volunteered he wouldn’t return to Ocean View with his speakers. In reply Phil said for public events requiring his type of music he would consider Mike.
Put it this way the exchange couldn’t have gone better. In fact it reinforces Phil’s view about good politics being the art of compromise. (Though he laments that we’ve been such a divisive country for so many years most people don’t even listen to those with different views, much less compromise.)
What appears to be left of the Ocean View Park noise issue is for Phil to again meet with the jazz group this time with the suggestion that they perform only three hours a day. If they agree, which hopefully isn’t a big “if” then residents and musicians will likely be happy. And, with this hopefully being my last column on the subject that might make some of my readers happy.
Jack is at: facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org