February 1, 2012

Noise Free America
For immediate release

Ted Rueter
[email protected]

Chapel Hill: Myron B. Pitts, a columnist for the Fayetteville, North Carolina Observer, is the winner of this month’s “Noisy Dozen” award from Noise Free America for suggesting that “noise is part of a healthy downtown.” In a February 19, 2012 column, Pitts dismissed the noise complaints of downtown residents, stating that “they’re overblown.” Pitts’ column shows a complete lack of understanding of the importance of noise control in a healthy economy and a healthy community.

In his column, Pitts discussed several sources of downtown noise. First, he states that “the trains are loud, but you get used to them. Then he argues that “the church bells are loud, but they’re beautiful.” Then he notes that “there’s the boom car stereo systems, whose noise is amplified in the narrow corridor of downtown.” (It’s interesting that there is no “but” following Pitts’ discussion of boom cars. Apparently, there’s no saving grace for constant thumping.)

Pitts’ perspective on downtown noise is very misguided and uninformed. Leslie Croo, a resident of Flint, Michigan, stated that “I’ve got a choice boom car we can strap on this guy, to see if he thinks that noise is just fine. Or we can put him next to an illegally-equipped motorcycle muffler and see how he likes it. Noise is not all right.”

Susan Rocha, a resident of Los Angeles, stated that “the Catholic church in my neighborhood put up an amplified sound system which blasts six times a day, every day. It is extremely loud and I do not appreciate it. I was there before they put up that awful system. Myron Pitts is very wrong to say that the bells are ‘beautiful.’ They are not. And the bells are not real bells. They are amplified sound from four bullhorns on top of the church.” Rocha also rejected Pitts’ claim that people “get used to” noise from train horns: “Wrong. You don’t. Millions of Americans have their sleep disturbed every night by train horns. That’s why many communities are seeking ‘quiet zones’ from the Federal Railroad Administration, to stop this incessant and unnecessary noise, and let people get some sleep.”

Dick McLane, from Springfield, Illinois, noted that Pitts’ column misses the point that “many cities see folks living downtown as a vibrant asset. It seems counterproductive to lure people to live downtown, and then chase them away with excessive noise. The ‘like it or leave it’ mentality becomes a dead end.”

And columnist Pitts does indeed have a “like it or leave it” mentality. In summarizing his words of wisdom, Pitts states, “If folks want the quiet of the country, let me suggest the novel idea that they move to the country.”

Apparently, Mr. Pitts is unaware of the fact that the American countryside is often a hotbed of noise, from loud car stereos, barking dogs, train horns, propane cannons, wind turbines, farm equipment, and loud motorcycles. Many people move to the countryside precisely because they want to make lots of noise. Increasingly, for those seeking peace and quiet, there is no place to hide.

And clearly, downtown Fayetteville, North Carolina is no place for peace and quiet–especially with people like Myron B. Pitts suggesting that noise is “healthy.”

Noise Free America is a national citizens organization devoted to noise reduction. Greensboro, North Carolina won the Noisy Dozen award in May 2006.