Life has become considerably quieter in the City of McAllen now that a new city ordinance is in place.
The city has added language to noise ordinance Article V, Section 46 that prohibits noise that would cause a disturbance, defining such as “noise as offends the hearing sensibilities or the peace, rest, quiet and response of an ordinary, normal person lawfully in the vicinity of the origin of the noise.” The ordinance prohibits such actions as yelling, screaming, and playing amplified music.
We took to the streets to see how the ordinance is affecting everyday life and found some surprising scenes. Soccer games with whole crowds cheering voicelessly. Parties where guests dance in silence. Frantic mothers whispering desperately for young children to behave.
Much of the city has adjusted to the new, quieter way of life.
“It’s been a little difficult but sooner or later you learn to just stay quiet,” says Hector Guerra of north McAllen. “I work in retail and love the fact that internationals can’t yell ‘joven’ to get my attention anymore.”
South McAllen however has had its difficulties.
Mary Salinas has received two warnings and one citation for violating the noise ordinance.
“I can’t keep my voice down–I’m Mexican! This is me whispering!”
She says family life hasn’t been the same since the ordinance took effect.
“You can’t have family conversations anymore. We used to all talk over each other to be heard. Now whoever talks first talks non-stop. None of us can afford the ticket if we interrupt.”
Hospitals located in the city are also hot spots for violations. We are told that at this time the city is only issuing warnings to new-borns in hopes they quickly learn to respect the new city code.
“We think the city is a much more pleasant place with the new ordinance,” says winter Texan turned full-time city resident Gertrude Weatherbee. “Our grandkids are all grown up. We’ve heard enough sounds of life and joy in our life times. We are ready for peace and quiet.”
About this piece:
This is a work of satire. The ordinance is not new, as far as I can tell. But I did just find out about it when McAllen police told us we couldn’t use a megaphone or even chant at an action against wage theft in McAllen last Thursday. Read about that action and the ridiculousness of the ordinance in this post.