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Toning down urban noise New measure is a plus for quality of life in city

The blare from a car radio system equipped with subwoofers of the sort typical on MTV's "Pimp My Ride" looks cool on television. Reality is another story.

By unanimously approving a stricter noise ordinance, the Common Council has put a dent in the ear-bending, window-rattling noise that frequently emanates from roaming vehicles. People who have been the target of these frequent quality-of-life breaches should approve.

The new law enables police to make arrests. Violators could face penalties of up to 15 days in jail and $1,500 fines.

The new law is part of a proven "broken windows" approach to urban problems, aimed at enhancing neighborhood quality of life and, in the process, creating an atmosphere that discourages other, more serious crimes.

Council President David A. Franczyk, who championed the measure, long has held that aggressive enforcement will lead to the discovery of other offenses, including drugs and weapons. While not everyone who turns up his car stereo is a gangster wannabe, Franczyk makes a point about loud car stereos being part of an ethos of lawlessness.

Ambient noise, especially in a city setting, is to be expected. But personal freedom doesn't mean irresponsibility. The Common Council has taken a step toward improving life for all citizens.

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