Bans

Long Beach Goes after Ice Cream Truck Muzak

Won't somebody not think of the children?

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"Do you take requests?"
Credit: Dean Terry / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Really, few people enjoy listening to a loud rendition of "Turkey in the Straw" that sounds like it's being played on a Simon game from the early '80s, but is it really necessary to get city government involved? Apparently it is. In Long Beach, the City Council has asked its attorney to draft an ordinance requiring ice cream trucks to stop playing their awful kid-magnet music while idling, due to noise complaints. The Los Angeles Times reports that the city meddling has caused confused truck owners to worry that they're going to be kicked out of Long Beach entirely:

A proposed city ordinance that would require vendors to obey noise ordinances and prevent them from playing music while their vehicles idle has led them to believe they were being banned from the city.

"What else can you deduce when you read news reports about the last days of an ice cream man?" said Nestor Zea, 61, of Long Beach. "We were really worried."

Zea said he had trouble sleeping when he learned about the proposed ordinance Monday.

"My wife was asking: What are we going to do? I said, don't worry, God will watch over us," he said. "But deep down inside, I was panicking, too. There's not a lot of jobs out there."

Councilman Dee Andrews is seeking to include ice cream truck music in the city's noise ordinance after receiving complaints from residents in his district, which includes the Sunrise, Whittier, Wrigley and South Wrigley neighborhoods.

"It got so misconstrued," Andrews said. "The issue here is the amplified music. Once you stop, please turn it off. That's all, nothing more and nothing less."

Except this will likely cause ice cream trucks to pick up and move the moment they stop getting new customers because nobody will know they're there, and they'll need an excuse to start playing the music again. I'm not entirely sure that's entirely a good thing for a vehicle whose primary customer base consists of small children with a still spotty understanding of road safety. The ice cream truck vendors are worried about what this will mean for business:

Nearby, Ismael Hernandez of Long Beach said many of the vendors he has spoken with aren't too happy about the possible restrictions.

Hernandez said he's worried that if vendors are parked but no one can hear the music, customers won't come. 

"The music is what brings the children out," he said. "If they take that away, our businesses are going to be affected in a negative way.

"And it doesn't end there," Hernandez said. "The ice cream suppliers are going to be affected by this, too."

But who cares about that as long as some cranky constituent isn't annoyed by loud beeping?

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  1. “The issue here is the amplified music. Once you stop, please turn it off. That’s all, nothing more and nothing less.”

    This applies as well, of course, to vehicles other than ice-cream trucks.

    Right?

    1. If only. Many fantasies of running a spike strip out in front of the douchebag in the dropped Civic with a wing on the trunk blasting his subwoofer at 120dB, as if everyone wants to listen to his shitty “music”.

      Get off my lawn.

      1. Spike strip? Mine usually involve a TOW II or at least a LAW.

      2. If you pop his tires, then you’ll have to listen to the music for longer, since he’d be immobilized. You have to think these things through.

        1. EMP pulse. Blessed silence until emergency services get there.

          1. See, now here’s someone who thinks things through.

        2. Not if you put the strip down in front of the guy down the block’s house (who you don’t get along with).

          Two birds with one spike strip.

  2. Could we get an ordinance to make the squeaky wheels STFU?

  3. When you can no longer hear the music, that means that the truck is gone and there’s no point in going outside and running down the street to catch the truck.

    I haven’t been a kid for 30 years and even I still know that.

    So basically this ordinance means that once you stop for the first kid, you’re done selling ice cream on that street.

    1. Does this mean that a clever driver will keep driving with a pack of children chasing down his truck until he feels he has enough fish in his nets? This might actually be fun to watch until one of the kids gets run over by someone and they bad ice cream trucks entirely. For the children!

  4. Is any limitation on my ability to generate noise permissible? Am I allowed to stand on the street in front of your house at 3am blaring AC/DC at 250 decibels if I want?

    1. Is any limitation on my ability to generate noise permissible? Am I allowed to stand on the street in front of your house at 3am blaring AC/DC at 250 decibels if I want?

      Yes. No. Coase.

      Just going ahead and answering the 3rd question.

    2. With the understanding that the next time you fall asleep I’ll be ready for you.

    3. I make 250 db equivalent to about 10 gigatons.

      There isn’t going to be a street if you try.

    4. Yeah, your limits are don’t make a fucking racket between sunset and 8 am during the week and between 1am and 8 am on Saturday’s, fuckstick.

      Don’t be an arse and over-rev your ricer with the exhaust removed when driving through a residential neighborhood, especially your own.

  5. Am I allowed to stand on the street in front of your house at 3am blaring AC/DC at 250 decibels if I want?

    Curses!

    Refuted again!

  6. Anyone, young or old, who doesn’t love the sound of the ice cream man coming down the street is a fucking monster.

    1. I’m your Ice Cream Man
      Stop me when I’m passin’ by
      See all my flavors are guaranteed to satisfy

      /DLR

      1. I got bim bam banana pops, dixie cups
        All flavors and pushups too

  7. That music is fucking irritating. I finally got sick of it in my old neighborhood and kept speakers on the window sill. Whenever the ice cream truck parked itself outside my house, I would just blast Slayer out the window until he moved on. He figured out within a few weeks to park on a different street.

    1. COMMERCE KILLER!

    2. Wait, no government involvement whatsoever? That’s unpossible.

  8. If it’s too loud you’re too old.

    1. If it’s too loud, the ice cream man may not get any older.

  9. Y’all are failing to see how important this measure is. The Ice Cream Man wants to profit by polluting our childrunz bodies with sugar, fat and unpronounceable chemicals.

    Bring back the paletero with his hand pushed cart to protect mother gaia, his fresh fruit popcicles to save our children from the scourge of obesity, and a hand bell to protect us all from the evils of “amplified music”!

    1. a big ball of ice to lick.
      gluten free!!!

    2. So the libertarian version of this would be a waif pulled cart, selling endangered species on ice, with a dancing orphan in a bell boy’s hat, right?

  10. Bring back the paletero with his hand pushed cart to protect mother gaia, his fresh fruit popcicles to save our children from the scourge of obesity, and a hand bell to protect us all from the evils of “amplified music”!

    And a dancing monkey in a bellboy’s hat.

  11. It would be nice if icecream trucks would update the electronic chimes a bit, but I contend that Turkey in the Straw is among the finest melodies ever created.

  12. This is a legit problem and I would like to see some market-based proposals. I have seen ice-cream trucks serving kids with music blaring for a solid hour in front of a house that happens to be near a playground. This is a regular occurrence throughout the summer. Do homeowners really have no recourse here?

    1. The invisible hand will reach into the truck to turn the music down. Free markets are amazing like that.

    2. Well, I would suggest that the owner go out and ask the dude to move down the road. Spread that shit out, park in front of my house for 10-15 minutes and then go bother someone else.

      And if he doesn’t agree, then get a dog and let it shit all over the area where the kids line up.

      1. On the other hand, this isn’t some new hazard of living near a park. Ice cream guys have been doing this for longer than I’ve been alive. If you bought the house you should have expected it.

  13. I’m just assuming that this is all part of the war on drugs.

  14. I do not understand the change in our culture over my lifetime.

    On the one hand, everyone acts as if children are in danger 24 hours a day and on the other, they act like they can’t stand the little bastards.

    Personally, I can’t understand why this ice-cream truck thing is even an issue. He’s only going to be there for 15 minutes, its usually during the early evening at the latest – so unless you work at night and the guy stops in front of your house every day to wake you up, what’s the big deal?

    Its like people complaining about school kids making noise at the bus stop – if you’re around to be bothered by it then I don’t want to hear your complaints because you obviously don’t have to work.

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