Noise zoning compromise
Bob Livesay’s June 27 letter touches on a reasonable disagreement with a City Council decision, if you exclude the uncalled for ranting about the characterizations of the mayor and one of the councilmembers.
It is an age old problem of conflicts in views of acceptable behavior in the zoning of mixed use areas.
Noise restriction zoning is pretty straightforward and not too controversial in housing areas or industrial zones, but it gets a little dicey when you have mix area zoning of housing and commercial property. These areas are made for conflicting goals.
I dare you to propose that neighborhood parks, like the community park by Matthew Turner Elementary, allow amplified music from 10 to 11 p.m. See how the residents feel about it.
Yes, Bob, the restaurants and bars would probably have an increase in business if loud music at outdoor venues could go on into the night, but at the same time causing people with residence in the area a greatly reduced quality of life.
Adjudicating this problem requires the wisdom of Solomon. Well, the City Council might not be Solomon, but they tried to placate both sides with what seemed like a reasonable compromise.
Having lived in Benicia for only five years, I find it a pretty nice place to live. Not perfect, but what is?
If it has not been done before or at least not for awhile, the businesses should get together to draw up a list of what they think can be improved to increase their business and patrons’ experience and then meet with the City Council and see what is possible.
Not sure what will happen, but it’s best to approach it not as antagonists but as people who want the same goal: a better and more prosperous Benicia.
A mistake I made
I made a mistake at work the other day. I tagged a guitar for sale when it was a repair instrument owned by a customer. A woman came in and saw her guitar on the wall for sale and was extremely angry. She contacted me at my other store and, without giving me even a chance to explain, lit into me accusing me of being horribly irresponsible, exhibiting bad business practices and a slew of other below margin business ethics. As her tirade grew, she introduced the ‘F’ word. At that point, I knew I’d lost any ability to claw my way into the conversation and, wanting to end her rant, I said, “So you’ve introduced the ‘F’ word into the conversation, did you graduate from high school?” I’m told by my employees that she threw the telephone at the wall, grabbed her guitar and ran out of the store. Mission accomplished.
I will not be sworn at or demeaned or subjected to cruel comments or accusations. I am a decent human being who is proactive in his community, but like all humans I frequently make mistakes. Had the same thing happened with a calm and reasonable customer, I would have without hesitation comped her the entire repair bill. What troubles me most is that this person came in with an attitude of nothing more than wanting to “win.” Win what? She told me that, at the very least, she expected to be compensated for the cost associated with the repair, in other words, pay nothing and thereby financially “punish” me for my mistake which in fact had caused her no harm or loss. I tried to explain to her that it was my mistake, but she was more interested in making her multiple points regarding how poorly I ran my business. She kept insisting that she shouldn’t have to pay for the repair because I “F’d” up.
Winning at any price seems to be a mantra that is escalating throughout our culture. Issues be damned, it’s the win that counts. And the sidebar is that winning by lies, slander or fake news is perfectly justified.
I read a few days ago that the owner of a restaurant/bar in the downtown wanted to expand their outside live amplified music past our city’s time restrictions. Fair enough, but at the end of the city council meeting, the restaurant’s owner couldn’t resist demeaning a nearby homeowner who opposed the restaurant’s request. Shame on you. What right do you have in speaking negatively about anybody?
And I’m about done reading and re-reading letters to our editor published in our town newspaper about how our mayor and her “friend” on the City Council do such a pathetically low level job. That constant barrage comes from principally one writer week after week after week. Is there a “win” around the corner?