Along with dog parks and speed bumps and sink holes one of the most rancorous topics available for Moragans to sink their teeth into like a Rawhide Chew Bone from time to time has been – noise.
What noise, you might ask. Roosters and cows and the occasionally boisterous owl courting a love interest in yon distant tree? Moraga is a semi-rural environment, after all.
That’s true, and the town curries that idealistic vision of citizens living side-by-side with barnyard critters amidst rolling green hills and winding country roads. Looks good on the brochures.
But what they don’t tell you is that the town’s leaders are also fond of revenue, money they can use to pay for things they think the town needs, and sound systems and noise generate excitement and a sense that Moraga is a happening place. That’s fine unless you’ve invested your life savings in a home adjacent to one of these chosen venues.
The latest fight over noise levels is shaping up near the beloved old Hacienda de las Flores – bounded by neighbors living on Devin and Donald drives to the north and south and by Moraga Road to the east. In recent weeks neighbors have complained to the police and council about noise from weddings currently being held on site.
At a recent meeting of the Moraga council one member, after semi-apologizing to those affected for what he said were rogue deejays delivering music to their customers at the levels their customers had asked of them, said a lease agreement with a wedding organizer approved by the council that evening should prevent future decibel transgressions.
And then he said:
“We’re not going to stop having affairs at the Hacienda… we’re going to continue to have weddings and other functions and there is going to be music because we as a council have a fiscal duty and responsibility to look for ways to create revenue for this town…”
Making sure he was not misunderstood, the council member went on to say: “You have no reasonable expectation that it (noise) will be eliminated…”
Ooh. Okay. We guess it just remains to be seen how that goes down with the neighbors.
But past squabbles over noise have shown that the one or two townsfolk who dare speak out are usually told: “But it’s festive,” or “you’re the only one complaining” or “what did you expect, you moved in next to the airport – you should have known it was going to be noisy.”
It takes a while for the disgruntled few to realize they are actually one of many unhappy with 5 a.m. construction noise or endless repeat plays of “Happy!” There’s a lot of divide and conquer strategy to it, that last “airport” argument among the most galling for the simple reason that when we moved here the “airport” was an open field, and the generators, jets and other aircraft were moved in much, much later.
It’s not as bald-faced as the “you can always move” response a council member from a neighboring hamlet gave aggrieved citizens besieged by noise when they asked their local leaders what could be done to solve their problem, but, well – it almost is.