[Vision2020] Noise Ordinance Modifications last vote: Monday, 12/17 7 pm

Garrett Clevenger garrettmc at verizon.net
Wed Dec 12 21:15:45 PST 2007

As many people depart Moscow for the holidays, our
City Council will be voting for the last time on the
Noise Ordinance Modification (NOM) on Monday, Dec. 17
at 7 PM.  Consider this a Christmas present to those
who want to give police the ability to ticket anyone
at anytime for any "noise" an officer deems offensive
without being given any warning or there being anyone
bothered by the "noise."   It seems the city is not
too concerned that most of the students (whose
Senators unanimously passed a resolution asking the
council not to vote for the NOM) have left town and
you may be gone, too, while the city contemplates the
fate of our rights.

The city has dragged its feet for almost three months
"rewriting" the amendment, and although they have
eased the unconstitutional language of the original
proposal, it still abridges our First Amendment right
of free speech.

The timing of this last vote is a cherry on top of the
lack of serious effort the city has put into writing a
reasonable law.  To give you a recap of what it is
like to defend yourself from City Hall:

I've had hostility from law enforcement and a council
member, evasive answers to legitimate questions from
city officials, lack of feedback from council members
John Weber and Bill Lambert who support the NOM after
repeated pleas to answer questions , unreasonable
arguments from Kit Crane who supports the proposal
(someone appointed, not elected, to the council), no
serious feedback on the compromise I proposed, a lack
of leadership in directing City Attorney Randy Fife to
make appropriate changes, and from the way this is
heading, basically the same overbroad NOM that we
started with. 

This all started when Chief of Police Dan Weaver and
Randy misled
Aaron Ament and Tom Lamar, who voted to bring the NOM
to the city council, by saying that the reason for the
proposal was to solve the party house problem.   Now
Randy says that's not the case.  Both Aaron and Tom
are now against the proposal that allows
police-initiated citations.

I don't think the city takes writing laws very
seriously.  In fact, it is a wake up call that there
needs to be some accountability held for
our city officials.  

The city council will have 2 versions of the NOM to
discuss on Monday, one that allows police-initiated
citations, the other that does not allow that
(although it has a potential of being interpreted to
allow police-initiated citations).  The council vote
could go either way.  Mayor Nancy Chaney may end up
being the tie-breaking vote if they vote.

The current wording says this:

"The following acts, among others, are declared to be
unlawful nuisance noises in violation of this Code
Section, but said enumeration shall not be deemed to
be exclusive; these acts may constitute a violation
even when the noises created are within the decibel
limits contained elsewhere herein"

Landlords can also be ticketed for tenant violations.

The fine is $159 to $369 (a misdemeanor).

Noise ordinances from other cities I've been
researching are not nearly as broad as our NOM.  It
seems ours in anomaly.

The compromise I suggested defines "noise" more
narrowly by specifying "party-house" type sounds, at a
set decibel limit between the hours of 10 pm and 7 am.

If you would like to testify but will be out of town,
you can email me your comments and I will make sure
they are heard at the meeting.

If you can come in person and bring some friends, that
would be even better.

Thank you for taking the time to act on this.  City
official emails:

Aaron Ament  aaronament at moscow.com
Bill Lambert  blambert at ci.moscow.id.us
Linda Pall  lpall at moscow.com;
John Weber  jweber at moscow.com
Tom Lamar  tlamar at moscow.com
Kit Crane  kcraine at ci.moscow.id.us
Mayor Nancy Chaney  nchaney at ci.moscow.id.us
Randy Fife rfife at ci.moscow.id.us
Gary Riedner griedner at ci.moscow.id.us
Dan Weaver dweaver at ci.moscow.id.us
David Duke dduke at ci.moscow.id.us

For my Written Record for Moscow's Noise Ordinance
Modification visit:


How ironic is it that the city needs to get permission
from the legislature to regulate guns, something that
kills people, yet the city thinks it is alright to
pass a law that represses our free speech rights,
something that we are sending our soldiers to defend
with their lives?

I don't think the risk this law has, such as a
potential court challenge, potential police abuse and
just the chilling effect it creates, is worth having
since there are more reasonable ways to solve the
problem the city said it was trying to solve: party

Take care,

Garrett Clevenger

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