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Buffalo's city council is mulling a ban on after-market car stereos because some drivers play their music too loud. Never mind that you can do that even with sound systems that come pre-installed, or that car owners control their own volume knobs and do not necessarily turn them all the way up, any more than they drive at maximum speed everywhere they go. Or that Buffalo already has legal limits on noise, regardless of whether it comes from a standard or customized stereo. The proposed ordinance also raises some practical issues. "What are you going to do?" asks the head of a car modification trade association that promises to challenge the ban if it's adopted. "Post large signs at all entrances to the city saying, 'Don't come here if you have a certain kind of stereo in your car?'"

[via Nobody's Business]

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  1. “What are you going to do?” asks the head of a car modification trade association that promises to challenge the ban if it’s adopted. “Post large signs at all entrances to the city saying, ‘Don’t come here if you have a certain kind of stereo in your car?'”

    ::shrug:: Why not, seems to work for guns in most people’s minds…..

  2. There goes my dream of opening a “West Coast Customs” in Buffalo.

  3. My 1993 Jeep came without a radio. I had to install one myself.

  4. Buffalo has one foot in the grave anyway.

  5. I hope this passes just so I can enjoy the inevitable news articles that will be written about a guy who goes to jail because his stereo broke and he tried to buy a new one.

  6. I have just gotten old. I wouldn’t want to ban these stereos. I just want that device that allows me to remotely change the music to Hank Williams or Lawrence Welk or anything completely anathema to the little homey driving the vehicle. Just let me push a button and blast Strong of Pearls through the dazed little bastard’s stereo as long as he is within 100 feet of me. It would be great.

  7. My stereo speakers can go to 11.

  8. I’ll bet that more likely than being a deterrent for noise, this will be another excuse for police to search vehicles. At minimum, they’ll be able to add an illegal audio equipment fine and maybe they’ll find some drugs too.

    I wonder if these cretins have bothered to “grandfather in ” after-market stereos already installed, of if people will be expected to switch back to the factory standard.

  9. John:

    I have the same fantasy, except in mine, my device is a gun and I use it to murder them.

    …Come to think of it, my fantasy isn’t quite the same as yours.

  10. Hell, I thought the last hangers-on moved out of Buffalo a decade ago. That was definitely one of those towns Eliot Spitzer was referring to when he said much of upstate NY looked like Appalachia (which, as it turns out, is gaining population, whereas – quite the opposite of the upstate/western NY trend).

  11. I would be satisfied with a simple shoot-to-kill policy of enforcement against the obnoxious rolling boom boxes. And as a bonus, the median IQ level would increase with each trophy, serving to brighten Buffalo’s tarnished image.

  12. buffalo has just admitted that it’s too old.

    i love reading the letters from the oldsters in the sound off section of my local paper where they denounce the “hoods” that play their bass too loudly – as if the hoods are reading the fogey sound off section of the sunday paper.

    hilarious!

  13. If that is all the Buffalo City Council has to discuss in Buffalo, might be good to just make them unpaid volunteers…………

    Most of the time, the loud stereos here in L.A. are only heard momentarily as the person drives by. If the person does stay put, 99 times out of a 100 he will turn it down if asked to do so.

  14. Why does Reason hate Peace and Quiet?

  15. I just want that device that allows me to remotely change the music to Hank Williams or Lawrence Welk or anything completely anathema to the little homey driving the vehicle. Just let me push a button and blast Strong of Pearls through the dazed little bastard’s stereo as long as he is within 100 feet of me. -John

    You’re going to need a iPod and some accessories. But it looks pretty easy to do just what you’re thinking. Assuming that they’re listening to a broadcast radio station and not a CD, satellite radio, etc.

    http://www.engadget.com/2004/06/15/how-to-tuesday-make-your-own-pirate-radio-station-with-an-ipod/

  16. I’ve got an easier solution. On each block, find one responsible, upstanding citizen. Equip him or her with an RPG and instructions to eliminate loud cars.

  17. I was thinking a sound-activated RPG…

  18. On each block, find one responsible, upstanding citizen. Equip him or her with an RPG and instructions to eliminate loud cars.

    How is a roleplaying game going to convince someone to turn down their stereo? “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to turn it down, or I’m going to play Dungeons and Dragons with you.” 😉

    . . . Actually, now that I think about it, that threat might work.

  19. You have to go to Iraq for that stuff

  20. Mkae certain the sign’s in Spanish and French too, so the furriners can read it.

  21. My stereo speakers can go to 11

    Mine can go to 2 AM or later.

  22. Laws and ordinances are like prayers. They make the authors feel better, but inevitably cause a little pain to everyone else.

  23. Even if this law were passed, would it actually be legal for Buffalo to arrest or fine out-of-towners with after-market stereos who happen to be driving through the city, say on their way to Niagara Falls?

  24. Probably, and ignorance of the law will be no excuse. I wonder if they’ll have checkpoints?

  25. My car came from the factory with a Blaupunkt radio. How will I prove it’s OEM?

  26. I wonder if you can get around this law by keeping a gigantic boombox in the back seat.

  27. You lose a day’s pay going to court with the car’s manual.

  28. Even if this law were passed, would it actually be legal for Buffalo to arrest or fine out-of-towners with after-market stereos who happen to be driving through the city, say on their way to Niagara Falls?

    Only if they are transporting a woman from South Dakota to obtain an abortion.

  29. No, you get around this law by staying the hell out of Buffalo, which is pretty much a good idea anyway… the last time I was there, I found it to be a postindustrial hellhole on the Detroit model. Not as bad as Detroit, but working hard to get there.

  30. This is the funniest thread I’ve read on H&R in weeks.

  31. They have to pry my spinners from my cold, dead hands.

  32. Sorry, but playing your distorted bass-heavy car stereo so loud that the reflection in my rear view mirror shudders even though you are three cars back on the other side of the intersection, you are officially disturbing the peace.
    More importantly, you are disturbing my peace.
    Since I cannot match you in decibals, I’ll have to urinate on your car. Sorry, it’s just me
    expressing my nature…

    Seriously, if a house was pumping out the punishing sound levels I hear an increasing number of cars emitting, there would be police there in no time.

  33. …or that car owners control their own volume knobs and do not necessarily turn them all the way up, any more than they drive at maximum speed everywhere they go.

    *taking notes* don’t…have…to…drive…maximum…speed…all…the…time. Good to know; thanks.

    See, now there’s your solution, right there. Make special car stereos just for Buffalo that don’t have volume knobs. They can have special factory-preset-only chips in their car stereos, and call them…wait for it…

    “Buffalo Chips.”

  34. One wonders if the majority population of Buffalo is in retirement.

    What follows the “Turn down that racket!” law? Prune juice quality standardization? Municipal shuffle-board leagues? Legislation to ensure a pre 7pm bedtime?

    What a pile of crap the Buffalo city counsel must be. What an absolute pile of useless crap.

  35. Between this, the zero tolerance parking enforcement, and the “Shock and Awe” drug raid campaign, Buffalo is making Rochester look like a veritable libertopia by comparison!

  36. Of course, Rochester too has a stereo noise ordinance, but that is defensible in view of the your-right-to-play-your-music-as-loud-as-you-want-ends-at-my-ear principle. Then again, it also has a curfew law, which is not as defensible.

  37. So, if someone from Buffalo buys an aftermarket stereo in, say, Albany, will he be arrested?

    In something resembling seriousness, I really understand the motivation behind this law, even if I have no sympathy for the law itself at all. I’ve spent way too many nights dealing with a baby waked by some gangbanger wannabe blasting rap or heavy metal in my quiet neighborhood at 2 a.m. And I live ain a really nice neighborhood, too. I can imagine what other people endure. Obnoxiousness needs to be stopped, but generally not by the cops. If someone develops that machine that will change the song from rap to, oh, “Canon in D,” or “In the Mood” or “The Beer Barrel Polka” or whatever makes the faux thugs choke, I’ll buy three or four.

  38. Help me out here, in case I ever get lost and accidently drive through Buffalo.
    I have three cars. The first is an ’87 Saab that came from the factory with a 160 watt stereo. The factory stereo died and has been replaced with a 140 watt aftermarket unit. So I’m in trouble, right? The second car is a ’96 Saab that also came with a 160 watt stereo. I was able to find a stereo out of a diffent Saab that was 200 watts. So I upgraded. Since I increased the the wattage with an “OEM” stereo, I should be fine, correct? The third car would be a blatant violation of this law. Aftermarket head unit, upgraded speakers, multiple amplifiers, big honkin’ sub-woofer. Absolutely one of the cars this law is aimed at. If I drive through Buffalo with car number three and the stereo turned off, can I still get a ticket? One of the features of all three radios is a method for adjusting the output level. The volume is adjusted with a rotary control that is very simple to understand and use.
    Meanwhile, the Harley next to me in traffic is perfectly legal. Even though it couldn’t be made quiet unless you launched it into outer space.

  39. I have a factory casette deck. That could be remedied with a visit to Buffalo for their next police auction.

  40. If ever anyone doubted that the northeast’s best days are behind it, here is proof positive.

  41. So if someone steals your stero in Buffalo, you will only be allowed to replace it with an OEM model? Or else, if you can’t find one, you will have to do without a radio?

    This will essentially encourage theft of car radios in Buffalo, because there will be an enhanced market for OEM models after the theft.

    Also, does this mean that you won’t be able to bring a long a boom-box that is not permanently installed and play it in the car?

    The more the nannies try to micromanage people’s lives, the more absurd becomes the society they are trying to create.

  42. One wonders if the majority population of Buffalo is in retirement.
    One also wonders if youth and vigor equates to annoying the shit out of everyone around you as you seek more status among the pubescent herd.

    The law is stupid. Nearly as stupid as boom car drivers.

  43. I am surprised it has taken H&R so long to discover Buffalo as a rich source of raw material. In addition to bazaar legislated solutions to social problems they regularly put forth bazaar ideas to revitalize the city. Recently it was proposed that the vacant former State Lunatic Asylum be used to house presidential libraries for Millard Fillmore, William McKinley, and Grover Cleveland. If one half, nay one quarter, of the Fillmore scholars and Clevelandphiles were to visit then Buffalo will become a major tourist destination. I exclude McKinley because it was his curse on the city that is responsible for Buffalo?s problems and decline.

  44. One also wonders if youth and vigor equates to annoying the shit out of everyone around you as you seek more status among the pubescent herd.

    The answer is… yes.

    If ever anyone doubted that the northeast’s best days are behind it, here is proof positive.

    Overgeneralize much?

  45. Recently it was proposed that the vacant former State Lunatic Asylum be used to house presidential libraries for Millard Fillmore, William McKinley, and Grover Cleveland.

    Why not? It’s a gorgeous landmark worth saving somehow. Wandering around the grounds at night while tripping on acid is an experience not to be missed (or so I’ve heard…). The State College next door has also proposed taking it over.

  46. Next thing you know they will outlaw laying the smack down on bitches if they are all up in your shit.

    Racist pigs.

  47. The question has to be asked:

    Can I get combat boots and a digital camera if I promise to install a new stereo in my car?

  48. “How is a roleplaying game going to convince someone to turn down their stereo? “Sir, I’m going to have to ask you to turn it down, or I’m going to play Dungeons and Dragons with you.” ;-)”

    Saving throw vs. Directional HERF Gun!

  49. John Said:

    I have just gotten old. I wouldn’t want to ban these stereos. I just want that device that allows me to remotely change the music to Hank Williams or Lawrence Welk or anything completely anathema to the little homey driving the vehicle. Just let me push a button and blast Strong of Pearls through the dazed little bastard’s stereo as long as he is within 100 feet of me. It would be great.

    I want one of those. I will, depending on the mood I am in

    a) use to make him play classical music. Nothing like Bach or Mozart to cher up your day.

    b) “I love you, you love me, we are a big happy famil” ad nauseam to convince him to play so low as to be undetectable to Barney pipers…

  50. Would a city law like “no after-market stereos” apply to the section of Interstate that runs through Buffalo, or would that be under Federal or state jurisdiction? I ask because the Canadian side of Niagara Falls is a fine place to have a wonderfully tacky good time, but from where I live if you have to drive around Buffalo you’ll add at LEAST an hour to your trip.

  51. Rhywur

    Your right it is a very nice setting – as a kid we use to cut through the place to get to Delaware Park – and that was when the place was populated with real live lunatics. The problem is that Buffalo wants someone else (federal and/or state government) to fund and maintain the project. Just as they expect a Seneca Indian casino and the Bass Pro bait-n-tackle shop to bring in millions and millions of tourist dollars to the waterfront area. How many people are going to choose Buffalo over Las Vegas as a vacation destination, especially in winter (which runs from November through April in a warm year)? Money for nothing …..

  52. from where I live if you have to drive around Buffalo you’ll add at LEAST an hour to your trip

    You don’t have to go thru Buffalo to get to Niagara Falls. From the east you would take the Youngmann which swings around the suburbs but doesn’t enter the city.

    The problem is that Buffalo wants someone else (federal and/or state government) to fund and maintain the project.

    Well, the city is broke and it can’t compete with sunny, easy-motoring “edge city” for private enterprise – not for that site, at least – so what’s left?

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