A few weeks ago, a group of Isla Vista’s finest Foot Patrol officers served and protected our community by issuing my roommate a citation for violating the infamous midnight noise ordinance. Why do I have to pay money for playing music on my property without disturbing anyone? Why can’t we be left alone unless someone complains?
My roommates, my neighbors and I are adults. And, if we are all adults with the rights of adults, then our ability to listen to music on our property after midnight should not be restricted. I understand people must have their right to peace and quiet. However, a different system could better preserve the peace without restricting musical gatherings.
A desirable level of peace and quiet could be preserved by allowing music or noise to continue unless there is a complaint. When there is a complaint, the IVFP could then instruct a household to turn off the music. With this system, people would have an increased right to enjoy music while others could assert their right to peace. Then, when my roommate and I are having a party at 1 a.m. with the stereo turned up and without disturbing our neighbors, we will be free from unnecessary citations.
But the law has drawn a concrete, finite line in the sand. All music that is heard from at least 100 feet will be shut off by midnight. There is not much we can do about it. Or is there?
Knowing that I most likely cannot change Santa Barbara County Ordinance 40-2, which will soon extract its toll of $108 from my household, I have devised another plan: to lengthen the span of time we play music on weekend nights. This is a plan for those people who just aren’t ready to stop listening and dancing to the band, the DJ or the stereo at a thriving party that has been going for only one or two hours. Many bands don’t start playing until at least 10 p.m. The streets and parties don’t get fully filled until after 11 p.m. And on the nights when I’m ready to face this I.V. party scene and when I find a good party where I’m really enjoying myself, I am disappointed when everything quickly dwindles at that midnight hour. This Cinderellan deadline is a momentum killer, allowing previously motivated people to call it a night.
We can’t change the music cutoff, so we start everything earlier instead. Pre-partying should begin anywhere from noon to 7 p.m. We should have kegs tapped, bands playing, DJs spinning and people partying by 8 p.m. The streets should be filled by 9:30 p.m. By the time we have to shut off the music, we will be ready to shut off the music.
With this system, we will have long nights out with plenty of time to enjoy music and the general atmosphere. Also, we will have the opportunity to spend significant time at multiple locations in a single night. I know that I have wasted away many nights searching for a good spot or just visiting friends at different places just to arrive at a good destination in time for the last song. The new system will solve that problem and will accommodate everyone. Those who want the peace and quiet after midnight will have it. Those who want multiple hours for partying with music will have them. And, people will no longer pay $108 in exchange for some extra minutes with music.
It’s in our power. All we have to do is rally in numbers, and we can shift our entire weekend system.
Constantine Economides is a senior communication and sociology major.