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Concert Noise

December 24, 1988

I wish I could be writing to let you know that I enjoyed your lighthearted treatment of the subject of the Pacific Amphitheatre noise problem in the nearby residential neighborhood, but I cannot. ("A Sound Solution to Amphitheatre Feud," by Randy Lewis, Nov. 20.)

I lived in the Mesa del Mar tract from 1971 until 2 years ago. It was a wonderful neighborhood in which to live. When the bulldozers were lined up to begin construction for the amphitheater, I had no idea what was taking place. In fact, I was so naive that I thoug1752440944auction of large construction equipment at the fairgrounds! That someone would build an immense, open-air amphitheater in the middle of a residential neighborhood . . . believe me, most residents had no idea of what was happening.

And then the amphitheater opened. The sound level from the first concert cut right through our house. It was so loud that, at first, we thought that some neighborhood teen-ager was parked directly in front of our house with one of those loud stereo systems turned up full blast. Not only could we hear the music, we could feel it.

After 4 years of living with music to all hours (one concert was closed by the police at 12:30 a.m.); music so loud that we had to turn up our TV simply to hear it inside the house; music o1847621477the morning); music that turned our lives from that of peace and relaxation after a hard day of work into that of anxiety and stress, my husband and I sold our house and moved from the house I had expected to grow old in.

We were one of the lucky ones. Our children were grown, we were healthy enough to physically handle a move, we were young enough to still have an earning capacity to buy a new house.

I commend you for taking the time to drive through the neighborhood to learn that some sections get amazingly loud and clear sound. What I wish you had also done was to get to know what the people who live there are like before you made any pronouncements about residents who "don't want to move."

People I have in mind include the elderly widower who lived next door to us. Where would you suggest he go? And how would you qualify him for a new home loan? Or perhaps the couple who lived across the street from us. They are both retired and his health problems make it nearly impossible for them to go away for even a day trip. How would you qualify them for a loan on a new house?

Your suggestion (tongue-in-cheek though it may have been) that those owners who have the best sound reception rent out their lawn space for concert listening, flies in the face of reality. Any homeowner who finds concert sound levels intolerable would certainly not want to set up their lawn for a bunch of strangers to hold a party.

Even after 2 years of living in an area which is a peaceful haven, I still feel like a raw wound when I read or hear about the amphitheater.

I hope perhaps you now have a little more understanding about the people who complain. And compassion.



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