Sarasota Noise Ordinance Update
Ok so at tonight’s meeting Twinkle was invited to speak to the commission about the noise ordinance. the noise ordinance IS NOT on the agenda tonight but the discussion about a PUBLIC HEARING concerning the noise ordinance IS! so when we are on the agenda we will get proper advance notice so as many as possible of us can attend. Here is her prepared statement (unedited):
“My name is Twinkle Yochim, I am here representing THE LIVE MUSIC ALLIANCE with over 2300 members ,We formed this group just over a month ago in response to the city’s noise ordinance and we are growing daily! We have the legal representation of Morgan Bentley and we the full support and backing of the American civil liberties union. We do not wish to go to litigation over this, we love our community. We do not wish to be bad neighbors. We have ideas and solutions .so we need to get together and talk. The noise ordinance has cost me personally $1200.00 a month in income due to one venues fear of persecution. And, that’s just me, there are over 5,000 pro musicians in the Sarasota area. Please recognize that here in the City of The Arts, Live Music, including outdoor live music, is an integral part of our community and our tourism revenue. This recently enacted db limit is scientifically and physically IMPOSSIBLE In its current form. Please revisit this issue and reform the sound ordinance. We suggest 10 db over ambient noise, readings should be taken from complainant’s property line only, no anonymous complaints and random spikes cannot be included. (Doors have to open). And please call it what it is, an Anti- Music Ordinance.
Your arbitrary choice of an impossibly low decibel limit in the recently enacted noise ordinance is making it impossible for me to do my job. In fact your decision has made Live Music an Illegal Activity. Since ambient noise is over the limit, (us right here right now are all over and above the legal limit) we, the musicians are guaranteed to be over the limit, so citations continue to be written at every show, which, if this continues, will make it fiscally impossible for venues to continue hiring bands. This is bullying. If your desire is to kill Live Music in Sarasota, you will succeed, and with it end thousands of jobs. In a time of great economic uncertainty, you would remove the jobs of so many to placate the whims of a handful of people. This is short sighted and unrealistic. Live Music must be played at a level to reach the people. What you’re asking is not only impossible, but removes any impact, or feeling from the music, which leaves the audience with a lukewarm impression. Not to mention makes the use of drums impossible. You’re effectively saying you may paint, but not with too vibrant of a color. Truly live music, not one man bands set at a conversational level, is what drives the tourism of this town, in addition to the local fan base, who choose to go out and listen to the stellar bands we have here while they spend their money on food and drink. Our local economy depends on the live musicians and you are killing us. I was born here, and educated here. I was trained in our very own school system to be a performer. An education I used to garner a recording contract with Warner Brother’s Records (Still to this day, the largest ever for a previously unsigned artist) at 25. I’ve been called the greatest soul singer by Jerry Wexler, Toured the country singing for Dickey Betts of The Allman Brother’s, recorded on Rod Stewart’s Broken Arrow, entertained all over the world, and have had many successes. Yet Sarasota is my home, and my family’s home. And I have to work just like everyone else. Ironically, the very City Of The Arts that trained me, has now rendered my trade illegal.
The strain of singing while officers hover with meters is affecting my work, my reputation, and my health. I’ve been doing this a long time, I’m very good at what I do. I am focused and I get in my groove, but when this happened it was like having the rug pulled out from under my feet. Then I refocus, and then they’re back again. I can’t work like this, under these conditions, and it makes the audience uncomfortable as well, many leave, which endangers my job, the jobs of the other musicians, the servers, the bartenders, managers, the chefs, cooks, line cooks, valet boys out front, the cleaning crew, the employees of Fogt’s Music, Guitar Center and Sam Ash, (The live music scene here is why those chains deemed it a good area for Big Box Music Stores) We are the WORKING musicians, we contribute to our community, we participate in EVERY benefit asked of us, and we bring revenue to our town. In tourism magazines, this area is consistently voted in the top ten. We have actually helped make this a tourist destination. This is how I feed my family, this is how I keep a roof over our heads. I need you to act. We need you to act. The end result of this arbitrary ordinance is disastrous, Please change it. Call in some experts, come out and see for yourself, do whatever you have to do, but fix this. Calling music ‘noise’ is inflammatory and diminishes the expertise of performing musicians. In my band alone, we each have 30 plus years of experience and education perfecting our craft and plying our trade. “Noise’ refers to traffic and yelling and jackhammers and the roar of airplanes. Kill Music, kill the town. This can’t be legal, we have the right to work, and to gather together, un-harassed by local law enforcement. We just did a benefit for the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and were cited $500! Please stop this vendetta.