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Kill the noise with kindness

When things go wrong, we call for government intervention. Perhaps some neighborly kindness can squelch the boisterous noise near Jewfish Key.

  • Longboat Key
  • Opinion
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Six years ago — in the June 25 edition of the Longboat Observer, the headline on the lead editorial said: “How to address the noise.”

It was the same problem as now: Longboat Key residents who live on the north end near Jewfish Key were complaining about the weekend boaters in the shallow waters in the bay and along the beach, playing loud music and otherwise making what residents consider excessive, annoying noise.

At that time, our take was to encourage Longboat Key authorities to be more forceful enforcing the town codes. We wrote:

“It wasn’t all that long ago when Longboat Key had the reputation as the one place you didn’t dare try to speed or challenge the law. It was well known Longboat Key just didn’t tolerate much in the way of errant behavior.

“The town police were vigilant watchdogs, with high visibility, seemingly patrolling every inch of the Key and stopping anyone who acted suspiciously. Mainlanders always accused the town police of profiling.

“They were just doing their job: being tough on crime.

“And it worked.

“When you write a lot of speeding tickets, tail ‘unusual’ vehicles and issue a lot of minor citations, the word spreads. The bad guys stay away.

“We remind you of this in light of the noise disruptions each weekend in the Intracoastal Waterway between Longboat Key and Jewfish Key.

“What happened to the enforcers? Where is the show of Longboat Key force and intimidation? Since when doesn’t the Longboat Key police force become a nuisance to the nuisance creators?

“After all, Longboat Key has a reputation to uphold: zero tolerance.”

That’s certainly one way of approaching the issue — deploying marine officers in a show of force during peak noise times to patrol and hand out citations with fines. That will definitely make the boaters angry and reinforce the image of Longboat Key as place full of cranky, snobby rich people.

And that appears to be what the Town Commission did recently when it enacted emergency ordinances that give the town’s law enforcement and code enforcement officers to enforce the town’s noise codes via fines.

Perhaps there is another way to address this: “Kill ’em with kindness” as the saying goes.

These days, it’s standard procedure in the U.S. that whenever people don’t like something, they turn to government for a new law, a fine, a punishment. Gone are the days of neighbors resolving issues among themselves.

Call this Pollyanna, but what about the offended Longboat residents banding together for a friendly campaign of “Be nice to your neighbors”? We could envision Longboaters grilling hotdogs and hamburgers at the south Coquina Beach boat launch, complete with signage urging boaters to be respectful of their surroundings and say the representatives of homeowner associations handing out fliers encouraging boaters to have fun but not too much fun.

Engage them and thank them for their cooperation.

Who knows whether it would work.

But you can be sure of this: People respond better to kind neighbors than they do to neighbors who always call the cops.



Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh is the CEO and founder of Observer Media Group.

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