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Council Din Nearly Drowns Out Finn's Crusade for Quiet

July 31, 1986

City Councilman Howard Finn decided that the public should be warned about noisy places. But he quickly learned that his proposal might hit closer to home than he imagined.

The San Fernando Valley councilman on Wednesday introduced a motion asking the Los Angeles City Council to pass a law requiring loud establishments, such as discotheques, to post signs warning of the noise inside.

The measure was inspired, Finn said, by a recent visit to a restaurant, where a band started playing and he found himself shouting across the table and unable to hear a dinner companion.

"Patrons of establishments which amplify interior sound in excess of 65 decibels may unsuspectingly be subjected to discomfort and potential hearing loss," Finn said in proposing the noise warning.

But Officer Chuck Massar of the Los Angeles Police Department's noise enforcement team said the noise level proposed by Finn, 65 decibels, could be reached in normal conversation.

In fact, Massar said, referring to shouting in the council Wednesday over a controversial redistricting plan, "it was probably up to 80 decibels in council today."

Besides, the city already requires signs outside establishments if the noise exceeds 95 decibels inside, the officer said. The signs must read, "Warning: Sound Levels Within May Cause Hearing Impairment," and are often found outside bars where live music is offered, he said.

Finn's motion was referred to the council's Public Health, Human Resources and Senior Citizens Committee for a hearing.

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