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With some North End restaurant owners joining dwindling numbers of screaming anti-vaxxers, BPD says it's getting ready to enforce city noise ordinance

Bailey

With West Roxbury Municipal Court on alert, BPD will be monitoring sound levels outside Mayor Wu's Roslindale house when she leaves for work this week to ensure that if protesters keep showing up to call her names, they do it at low volume.

BPD Superintendent Gerard Bailey told a City Council committee on Friday that the department has coordinated with officials at the courthouse to deal with any potential violations of the city noise ordinance - which bars sounds above 70 dB before 7 a.m., roughly when the mayor leaves for work each morning.

To date, Bailey told the committee, police have not cited anybody for anything at the protests, during which demonstrators have called Wu "Hitler" and a child abuser, screamed at her children that their mother will be going to prison and tried to follow her and her two sons as she took them to school. The screamers initially claimed to be upset about Wu's requirement that city employees get vaccinated against Covid-19, but then began yelling about how mask requirements at Boston public schools constitute child abuse.

Bailey said police have used a similar tactics as at other "First Amendment" demonstrations by trying to defuse and de-escalate things rather than arrest people - and to protect the mayor.

He said police have asked demonstrators to put away drums and whistles and that when they tried to follow Wu and her sons, five to six officers made a point of standing between the two sides.

"The mayor's safety, her children, are paramount to us," he said.

But, Bailey continued, over the last two weeks, the protesters have sort of dribbled away - they haven't been showing up every week day and even then, sometimes only one or two have appeared. However, that ended this morning, when some North End restaurant owners, upset at a city charge to use public sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining, journeyed to Roslindale.

Bailey spoke at a committee hearing, led by Councilor Ricardo Arroyo (Hyde Park, Mattapan, Roslindale) on a proposal by the Wu administration to bar "targeted" picketing outside somebody's home between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., with fines of between $100 and $300 for violators.

Councilor Kendra Lara (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who said she remains concerned the new ordinance could be turned against others - for example, people protesting against an eviction or even just gathering to remember somebody shot to death - questioned why police have yet to use existing laws, such as against harassment. She and other councilors said the issue is not just the effect on the mayor but on her neighbor's as well.

"I think we've moved beyond the First Amendment and protest at this point," and into the realm of criminal harassment, she said.

Councilors Ruthzee Loujeune (at large) and Erin Murphy (at large), who said she has an 80-year-old aunt who lives near the mayor's house, also worried about the impact on other sorts of protests, even one-off demonstrations.

Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson (Roxbury), said she would prefer police enforce existing laws without the council having to pass a new ordinance and wondered how we've gotten to this point.

"If our mayor was a white man, would this be the situation?" she asked, answering, "I believe that had she been of other demographic, she would not be having to face this issue."

She wondered who's paying these people who show up every single morning, and added, "Who does this? ... This is not picketing, this is totally different."

Council President Ed Flynn agreed, but said that was reason enough to pass the new ordinance.

"This is intentional harassment against the mayor," Flynn said. "It's trying to intimidate the mayor, it's trying to intimidate a woman of color. ... That's all this is."

Arroyo said the proposed law would still provide "12 hours of the day for you to go and do this outside say my mother's home and make her feel unsafe."

Bailey acknowledged that in his 33 years with BPD, he has never seen this sort of sustained, day after day protesting outside one person's house.

Bailey said that police have yet to see enough "probable cause" to charge anybody outside the mayor's house - or more recently, outside Arroyo's mother's house, with criminal harassment. Wu or her neighbors could seek an anti-harassment order in court, if they could show three examples of such activity, but to date, none has done so.

Arroyo, who supports the proposed measure, said the new ordinance is not just about Wu - he noted that Flynn and his son have been targeted as well as his mother, and that family members and neighbors don't deserve to feel unsafe in their own homes. While the mayor has a complement of BPD officers protecting her, Flynn and his mother do not, he said. When the bucket bangers showed up at his mother's house - and then kept on yelling even after she told them he wasn't there and didn't live there, "she did not feel safe in that moment," he said. Police did eventually arrive at the scene.

The committee will continue work to fine-tune the language of the proposed ordinance before submitting it to the council as a whole for its vote. Louijeune asked Bailey to provide statistics on how many noise-ordinance citations BPD has issued across the city for all reasons in both the ten weeks since the protesters have been showing up at Wu's house and for the past year, the lawyers were also asked for details on how and where somebody could appeal a citation under the new ordinance and for guidance on some language tweaking in the proposed ordinance.

Watch the hearing:

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Comments

Good. Is there anything we can do for the BPD to enforce noise ordinance and fireworks laws elsewhere in the city? Also, traffic laws if they get a chance.

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Voting closed 87

Excessive noise from concerts at Fenway Park is the #1 violation that needs enforcement. It's hard to clamp down on fireworks and dirt bikes that appear and disappear. But over amplified concerts are persistent.

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That is all.

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Voting closed 35

Agreed. Moving the concerts to Foxborough is the best solution.

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And all those pesky baseball games too. They run way too late in the evening.

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Join a circus.

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nm

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.... as the protest now pivots to a "Free the North End" theme. The table with the red checkered cloth is a nice touch.

https://www.facebook.com/catherine.vitale.3/videos/1021308868809645

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Voting closed 35

So which one is it?

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Voting closed 51

Two minutes hate … after a lifetime of being a moron (and 41 minutes standing in the snow like an idiot).

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Voting closed 33

My son and I heard them almost to the corner of Poplar and Canterbury. It seemed odd that the people opposed to masks and vaccine mandates were out there now that both were history, but I guess an new front has opened.

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these fart-suckers make me reconsider

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Voting closed 28

Anyone else down to haul a cooler of beers over and hang out with them each day and drink? Just ignore the harassing and pretend it's a cookout or something to lighten the mood? We can encourage the neighbors to join until the daily block party absorbs the unreasonable crowd.

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Voting closed 37

Kind of like Green Shirt Guy but with refreshments.

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Kind of like Green Shirt Guy but with refreshments.

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I'm not one of them (I'm a mile away), but I haven't gotten the sense they want more people there, even if well meaning, in part because there's nothing the screamers would love more than even more people to scream at.

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Remember when people went and protested outside Marty Walsh's house for weeks on end?

Me neither. I wonder what changed. I guess we'll never figure out this mystery.

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Voting closed 58

Exactly. I don't remember anyone protesting when Marty handed down rules based on whether your neighborhood or union voted for him.

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I don't remember a factual story when a mayor handed down rules based on whether your neighborhood or union voted for them.

Go jump off the Tobin (wait, sorry, you don't live here, so that's probably not convenient -- choose another tall, fatal bridge).

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Voting closed 39

Perhaps my memory is better than yours, but I can recall that the governor has had two different issue groups protesting outside of his house.

So, I'd love for you to give the conspiratorial link between Baker and Wu.

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Are you trying to confuse us with facts?

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to the question that was actually asked.

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Remember when people went and protested outside Marty Walsh's house for weeks on end?

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Next time the WWE comes to Boston, Mayor Wu hires numerous wrestlers to stay the night at her house. Then around 7am.....music starts playing and one by one, wrestlers come out of her front door to their individual music.

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With news that North End restaurant owners showed up this morning.

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Voting closed 35

There really is no shortage of gullible fools willing to show their asses in public on these people's behalf, is there?

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Voting closed 34

Nix the outdoor dining option in the North End. The owners can save their money plus whatever additional business the outdoor dining would have brought.

Enough of this nonsense.

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And continue to watch the high earners stream out of the city and stop spending their money in the city.

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I'd love if more of them left. My dollar would finally go further IN the city.

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I’m shaking in my boots!!!!!

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People have been claiming this for a few decades now but I'm still not seeing any affordable properties up for sale in the Back Bay. Surely this time they'll actually do it!

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70dB measured at what distance, and by an SPL meter calibrated to which standard? My guess is most BPD members don't understand inverse square laws, in which case they shouldn't be the ones to issue citations based on SPL measurements.

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Are you concerned that the cops will take measurements from too far away, and not detect any violations? It would seem that an excessive reading from anywhere in the area would be a violation, and I doubt that the noisy people would stop their clamor if a cop walked up to them holding some object.

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But since you asked, Per THIS,

Definition:

8. dBA shall mean the A-weighted sound level in decibels, as measured by a general-purpose sound level meter complying with the provisions of the American National Standards Institute,“Specifications for Sound Level Meters (ANSI S1.4 1983)”, properly calibrated, and operated on the “A” weighting network.

and

2.2 Noise in Residential Zoning Districts or Affecting Residential or Institutional Property
No person shall create or cause to be emitted from or by any source subject to
Regulation 2, any noise which causes or results in a maximum noise level, measured at any lot line of any lot located in any Residential Zoning District or in residential or institutional use elsewhere in compliance with the Boston Zoning Code, in excess of any level of the “Residential District Noise Standard”, Regulation 2.5; provided that if said lot is located in any Industrial Zoning District, the maximum noise level, measured at the lot line, shall not exceed any level the “Residential-Industrial Noise Standard”, Regulation 2.5.

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Any of these folks participated in the milquetoast controversy about "cultural appropriation" at the MFA a year or so back? My gut tells me that the primary motivation here is a need to shout, complain, whine about something. Anything. Just a matter of finding like minded and joining on a bandwagon.

At some point these folks will wander off to attack some other windmill. Or they will be vacuumed up into one of the current cults du jour (3 per centers, Q-Anon, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, rigthist religious cult, etc.). Or maybe they will go the way of Moonies, start a media empire ... wait, that already exists in Rupert Murdoch's Fox Propaganda business.

Or maybe they are searching for a different method to "Clear."

I pine for the days when the most controversial groups were Hare Krishnas. At least they were sweet, provided (and still do) fantastic dinners for anyone wanting to visit, and, as cults go, seem pretty nice.

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Tell us a story about you going to a Hare Krishna dinner and what did you eat?

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In my younger days, a transplant to Boston, I came to study the stodgy theology of some flavor of Protestantism. Alas that was a short study.

But arrived, open to what I could perceive (my lights dimmed by a grey Prebyterian background) I acquainted with an Indian friend. An amazing man. Exquisite drag and a doctorate from Harvard. Oh the world can be a place of sweet wonders.

As we negotiated living together he invited me to an ISKON dinner. Images of Ganesha, memories of fantastic savories of cumin, fennel, miracles of yogurt flash through my olfactory memory.

He invited me to ISKON (he grew up Hindu). Oh man was the food oh so good. As good as the blessed food offered at the Indian temple in Framingham. And it was free!

Friendly folks. No pressure to start worshipping a Hindu deity. A delightful and delicious memory. Who knows. Maybe there is a god waiting for me there?

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