Jun 15, 2016

Letter to the County

For about five years, I kept data on my local sheriff’s department “work” regarding controling noise in my neighborhood and filed a report to the sheriff’s department. Yeah, I know, cops are lazy and arrogant and don’t like citizens to tell them how to do (or not do) their barely-qualifies-as-work “jobs.” Still, my property taxes were not insignificant and I thought an occasional nudge might, eventually, get the uniformed tax collectors off of their fat asses. It had, as you would expect, exactly no effect whatsoever. Not even a polite response. Since we were leaving Little Canada last spring, my “last” letter never got mailed. This morning, I was cleaning out the Drafts folder in Outlook and found this:

Sheriff  Bostrum,

Here I am again. Although since you haven’t responded to the last several letters I’ve written your office, you may not know or remember that I’ve been here before. I have been a Ramsey County resident and tax payer for 20 years. Since the first year I moved to Little Canada the Sheriff’s office bill to my city for what passes as law enforcement has gone from $90,000 per year to $1,338,276 in 2014. In fact, for the last five years, the annual cost increases have been greater than the city’s entire 1997 “Police”  budget.

I have been keeping a log of loud motorcycle incidents and the numbers suggest to me that Ramsey County's noise ordinance isn't working very well. Since April 8, when I began the log, through June 1, I have heard 301 violations. This is an average of about six per day which is a lot for such a small section of the city, especially for a city that enacted a noise ordinance about four years ago that was intended to curb this illegal behavior.

I believe that a very conservative estimate of the average number of violations in the entire city to be at least 15 per day from May through October which means that for the first three years of having the ordinance, there have been over 8,000 violations.

As you might know, since 1983 all motorcycles sold in the United States must have an Environmental Protection Agency noise compliance label attached to the chassis at the factory and a matching label engraved on the muffler. Replacing the muffler with one that lacks the label is illegal under federal law.

In fact, the city of Denver enacted an ordinance last summer that's based on the EPA label system. So far a number of bikers have paid a fine, and one has decided to dispute his violation by questioning the constitutionality of the ordinance. That's yet to be ruled on by a court. There are more than a few laws that could be used to return some semblance of public peace and quiet, if we had a law enforcement system that worked for that purpose.

This isn't only a quality of life issue, it's also a public health problem since medical research has increasingly found that exposure to loud noise is unhealthy.

I have no problem with quiet, legal motorcycles, just the loud ones.

So for the fourth consecutive year, I'm requesting that the sheriff’s officers consistently enforce our laws and ordinances to reduce the number of loud motorcycle incidents.

Thanks.

Thomas Day
Little Canada, MN 55117

Appealing to an American cop’s sense of duty is a pointless exercise. This group of “public servants” is so entitled that they believe they are above laws, beyond reproach, and only bother with enforcing laws that don’t interfere with their donut breaks or make them think particularly hard. Red Wing is even less inclined to pay attention to noise laws. Oh well.

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