My friend and Cornell fraternity brother Steve and I were having lunch at Le Petit Four sidewalk cafe at Sunset Plaza, as we had been apt to do every other week. We were sitting next to a couple of older guys.
I was telling Steve about my recent experience with a neighbor. We lived up the hill from Sunset Plaza on the mountain part of Hollywood Blvd, in the back of a canyon that was like an amphitheater (like the Hollywood Bowl setting) where sounds echoed in the canyon. It was normally very quiet and peaceful, with just the sound of birds…
The house next door had been recently sold to a fellow who wanted to fix it up and flip it. He had hired some Spanish-speaking laborers who came 7 days a week, from 6:30 or 7 am, and stayed until sunset, blasting their salsa, mariachi and other similar music loudly all the time. My wife and I had asked them to please quiet it down. This was November, so we figured we’d see if they quieted down by Thanksgiving. When I got up at 6:30 Thanksgiving morning to start our turkey, I was greeted by the noise blasting. It continued all day. I figured… “They have to take off this Sunday…” Sure enough, all through Thanksgiving Sunday, they were blasting the music – even worse now as they had started working on the roof!
That Monday morning, I called my City Councilman’s office to describe the problem. The aide referred me to the LAPD Noise Abatement Unit, and even offered to call them to advise them that a constituent would be calling. When I called the direct line to the LAPD Noise Abatement Unit, the officer was very receptive, took down my address and my noisy neighbor’s address, and said that they would send out a unit to investigate.
Sure enough, later that week, a couple of officers came twice – both early morning – and we were advised that they had ticketed the owner with a $50 fine – which he ignored. The Noise Abatement Unit (Noise Police) returned several times over the next few weeks, until the accumulated fines were now $5,000. Then my wife called me one day to tell me that the owner-neighbor had screamed and cursed at her for bringing these fines upon him. That was, for me, the final straw.
I called OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration). OSHA soon fined him $50,000 and shut down the job. He became very friendly. It was once again quiet and peaceful in our canyon.
As I completed describing this experience to Steve, the older guy sitting next to me turned to me, raised his right arm up with his elbow well above his head, in a kind of exaggerated motion to shake my hand – which I offered. And we shook hands, as he exclaimed:
“My name is Mel Brooks. I have a neighbor who is making so much noise that it’s making me crazy!! It’s killing me!! Can you please tell me how to contact the NOISE POLICE??”
I responded, “Yes, sure, Mel, I’d be happy to.” I wrote down the direct number of the Noise Police, and my own number for reference, and said good-bye and good luck!
Some weeks later, I got a brief call from Mel thanking me.