August 1, 2007
Noise Free America
For immediate release
State Senator Joe Zakas
Madison: Elkhart and South Bend, Indiana have won this month’s Noisy Dozen award from Noise Free America for allowing the area to drown in a sea of noise.
Bradley Vite, an area anti-noise activist, says that “the audio terrorists have free rein over the streets in Elkhart and South Bend. Some are gang members, dope dealers, thugs, and punks. Some are wanted on outstanding warrants. Unless and until our elected representatives and appointed officials make noise enforcement violations a priority, they will continue to allow the worst in human nature. They are condoning an activity that is illegal, physically harmful, and mentally torturing.”
Medical data supports the idea that noise is physically harmful. Crime statistics indicate that noise violations are tied to quality of life. Bob Kronemyer, an Elkhart resident, states that “it is a sad commentary that after all these decades, Elkhart politicians continue to turn a deaf ear to noise pollution. Our community leaders have resisted efforts to aggressively curtail noise. A quiet community would increase safety, health, and happiness.”
Sue Woznicki, a resident of South Bend, noted that “after having rented a noisy condominium for years, I decided to purchase a home to remedy the situation. I found a decent neighborhood and moved in. It’s very frustrating because I now listen to obnoxiously loud boom cars thumping from my neighbors all hours of the day and night. The city’s noise ordinance is not being followed and the problem is getting worse.”
A neighborhood in Elkhart is next to the largest Mega-Shredder in the world, with tremendous noise blasts and vibrations. “This roar is incredibly loud and aggravating, and can be heard more than a mile away, affecting thousands of city residents,” states Darrin W. Snyder Belousek, president of Residents for Environmentalism Stand Together (REST).
One elected official does support reducing noise pollution. State Senator Joe Zakas stated that “noise is a real quality of life issue. I strongly support efforts to provide relief from noise pollution.”
However, Elkhart’s mayor, Dave Miller has not made noise a priority issue. Bradley Vite states, “enforcement of the city’s noise ordinance is casual at best–even though noise is the number one complaint of Elkhart citizens. Noise pollution has dramatically affected not only the quality of life, but property values as well. ”
Vite has proposed a quality of life officer for the city of Elkhart, funded solely from the fines generated from noise violations. “This is a concept that has worked in New York City,” he stated. Vite conservatively estimates that the officer could raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from noise violations fines.
“The Census Bureau reports that noise is American’s number one complaint about their neighborhoods, and the main reason they wish to move,” said Vite. “Will our politicians do anything to address the problem? Not if we, the people, don’t make enough noise to have things changed. Our officials need to make noise enforcement a priority in order to reduce crime in general.”
Noise Free America is a national citizens organization opposed to noise pollution. Its web site is www.noisefree.org. Past “winners” of the award include Governor Jesse Ventura and the Massachusetts Department of Education.