Loud and legal -- or just a noisy nuisance?
An ongoing problem in Oakland is attracting national attention -- pitting the freedom of expression -- against a community's right to quiet.
Late Wednesday, nearly people gathered at an Oakland public meeting to discuss noise complaints.
The NAACP said it wants to know more about citations and warnings being issued to local artists and churches. People from the two communities are fighting back.
"The issues are impacting the churches are the same issues impacting the arts and culture community," said Anyka Barber, an artist and activist. "It's not separate."
In late September, two performers were cited for assaulting a man while playing drums at Lake Merritt.
"This guy was in a total lather about what we were doing and then it got physical," said Monica Hastings-Smith, one of the performers. "And then false charges were filed against us."
Another noise-related issue involved a church. No charges were filed in the incident, but warnings from the city have been issued, claiming their musical instruments may violate the city's public nuisance ordinance.
The issue has gotten the city's attention.
"One of the things we hear about people moving from the West Bay, they want to be where it's authentic and it's real," said Lynette Gibson McElhaney, Oakland's city council president. "So we're addressing those issues very seriously, making sure our regulations are keeping pace with the demands and needs of our city."
The NAACP is also playing close attention to the issue.
"Economic development is very necessary and we support that," said George Holland, NAACP Oakland president. "But you can't forget about people that are already here, whose idea of Oakland may be different than yours."
Local newspaper editor Paul Cobb is planing a movement in response to the issue. Groups plan to sing gospel songs and drumming throughout Oakland to let people know they are not going away. No word on when that event will take place.