Thursday, September 17, 2009

Neighborhood Surrounding FVHS Complaining About After School Activities?

It was brought to my attention recently that the neighborhood surrounding FVHS has been complaining about after school activity noises, mainly the marching band and the metronome.

A friend of mine who lives in the neighborhood gave me this flier that he found on his doorstep on day, which was meant to rally people to a Huntington Beach Unified High School District meeting in what seemed like an attempt to quell after school activities due to noise pollution.

The flier (which I will post a picture of) had this say:

Fountain Valley High School is a play ground for outside activities which creates loud and continuous noises. There has been an effort to work with FVHS with little being accomplished. (…)

On September 15th at 7:30pm there is a monthly meeting of the Board of Directors of the Huntington Beach Unified High School District. (…) We will be presenting our information on our grievances and use code violations and pictures showing the offending activities.

Our grievances are mainly related to the band and metronome activity, non-school sporting events, annoying light devices, code violations and general disregard for the well-being of the surrounding residents.

We need to persuade FVHS to discontinue activities after school hours and not allow activities from other areas to intrude in our privacy and well-being. Non-school activities should be held at Mile Square Park since their $20m renovation included areas for the non-school activities.

We need your support!!! Please stand up with your neighbors in taking back our neighborhood. These non-school activities wish to control our environment without regard for their negative influence on our community. (…)

When I read this flier I was pretty shocked. I thought, “Who on earth would want to discontinue after school activities?” Obviously you have a bunch of uptight people who knew they were going to be living near a high school with it’s own marching band and football team and they can’t stand it.

My friend made a good comment when he told me about this story. Why would people want to stop after school activities just because they make noise? Would it be better if there kids were tagging your walls and smoking drugs in front of your house?

And what the hell counts as a non school activity, and how do they make enough noise to disrupt anyone’s well-being? A non-school activity sounds like an activity in which students who are not on a school team go and play a sport with friends on one of the open fields.

FVHS has their own Soccer team, their own Baseball team, their own Field Hockey team, their own Football team, Swim team, Track and Field team, Cross Country team…the list could go on. There are so many students that use this field after school, and practices are occurring just about every day. So tell me, what are these non-school activities that are causing more of a disturbance than any of the school teams I mentioned above?

In the flier they claim that their main grievances regard the marching band and the metronome, non-school sporting events, and code violations? What are these code violations?

A lot of these questions are still unanswered. I did call HBUHSD, and I was told to call Principal Hertzfeld at FVHS. The Principal was not in to take my call, so I decided to call the band teacher directly.

I reached Gary Wampler, the FVHS Marching Band Director. He informed me that obviously the HBUHSD board meeting was already held two days ago, and that many things were cleared up.

Mr. Wampler is trying to keep the noise from the band as low as he possibly can. He told me that they have been playing as soft as possible and that they are pointing the metronome away from the neighborhood. He went on to say that they have been doing even more to curb the amount of noise that gets heard every day after school.

They usually hold practice at a stadium on Wednesdays at 8:30pm. When they play at the school they usually start at 6:30pm. They don’t always have access to the stadium though, so they have to play out of on field on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Mr. Wampler told me that being a band director you want to get the best sound possible. And that the best sound is the loud sound. They try to keep it down and respect the neighboring residence, but it’s a marching band and sometimes it’s going to get loud.

He also informed me that it wasn’t just the band that caught this flak from the residence. They also complained about the football team due to yelling and the whistles that are constantly being blown. And the swim team of all teams is also at fault apparently for playing music by the poolside to loudly. The pool is much further from the neighborhood…

Either way, Wampler said that the band program has not been affected and that they are doing their best to not disturb the residence.

But come on, you live next to the high school. Did you just think that they’re would never be any noise at all? And what sits across the street from the high school? The FV Fire Department of course. The fire trucks come out of there with sirens blazing all the time, so are you going to start to tell them to keep it down?

That whole area around the high school is a noisy area anyway. The 405 runs right through there, the high school is there, and the fire department is there. Just a street over from all of that you have the hospital.

But that’s not all of the information...

On the flier there is a number you can call to get active and support this whole no after school activities thing. And it’s a 323 area code phone number which means in mainly a central Los Angeles area code.

OK, obviously someone here in Fountain Valley could have an LA number. I’ve known a few people who live here and have out of town area code cell phones. That’s what this number seemed to be, because when I called it I was taken to what sounded very much like a normal cell phone voice mail message that wasn’t personalized.

I left a message and asked whoever gets it to please call me back. I really want to know who this person is and where he lives. And I would really like it if I could get in contact with Principal Hertzfeld.

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