Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Mr. Softee's Rules

In today's NY Times Winnie Hu is reporting on the noise code hearing scheduled for this morning and the main focus is on the pass that the amended bill gives to the Mr. Softee ice cream truck jingle: "The Bloomberg administration will allow the ice cream trucks to continue playing the sprightly ditty while trolling for customers. But under a compromise with the City Council, the jingle must be halted when the trucks are not moving."

This is a major victory for YNY, the lobbying firm that we have been critical of in the past. In essence, this YNY client was exempted from the major provisions of the new code while the multi-billion dollar night life industry remains very much under the gun.

The most disturbing feature, one that we have already pointed out in the previous post today, is the "plainly audible" provision that "would allow police officers and noise inspectors to use their own ears to judge excessive noise instead of relying on cumbersome meters to measure decibels." This is precisely the kind of subjectivity that scares the daylights out of the night life industry.

It also paves the way for the kind of regulatory excess that we have been complaining about with this administration for the past four years. Small neighborhood businesses are suffering both from this regulatory burden as well as the city's onerous tax policies. The new noise code promises to be more of the same.