A Call To Defend The Helix High Band

Originally submitted by LaMesaToday.com member Cori Garrod:

Attention all Helix parents, students, alumni & La Mesa citizens! Our beloved marching band program is under attack!
In the past 4 weeks, the police have come to the band office at least 4 times. With each visit there is a new complaint against our program. First it was the evening practices and the use of the metronome, then 4th period marching band, now its percussion class, pipes and cymbal noise. Each time we rehearse outside, they file a complaint. The police revealed that there are now two neighbors who call in on an almost daily basis to complain about the noise. These residents have found a loop hole in the system to use to their advantage. Their complaints are not for “noise ordinance” which has limitations on volume and hours, but rather “disturbing the peace” which does not have these restrictions. The police also shared that there have been similar incidents in other neighborhoods where these types of complaints have escalated to the point of law suits and court. We do not want this to happen.

You can imagine how upsetting and disruptive these complaints and visits from the police have become. The staff and students should not be subjected to this type of harassment simply for trying to play music. We have tried to accommodate all the requests/restrictions they have placed on us, but when are we suppose to rehearse? We want to be able to practice without the fear of confrontations with irate neighbors, visits from police and pressure toward our school administration. If we are forced to cancel outdoor rehearsals and classes then the marching band as we know it will cease to exist.

If the complaints of two people can cause this much commotion, imagine what a group of unhappy parents, relatives, friends and neighbors can cause. We can’t let them damage a program that has been around for over 60 years! Please show your support as we “band” together to come up with a solution to this situation, before these two individuals poison the remainder of the neighborhood against us.


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Comment by Steven S. Kane on September 9, 2011 at 12:14pm
There is only one word for these obnoxious curmudgeons and it is "jerks."  The Helix principal and the band leaders should meet with the police department and request that this harassment be brought under control.  There is no possibility that any judge will characterize band practice at a high school as "disturbing the peace" as defined by the Penal Code Section 647(f) if it does not violate the noise ordinance and takes place during normal hours.  I say this with 37 years of law practice to back it up.  This is pure baloney and the police should not become a tool of these awful neighbors.  Why would the police department take this seriously to the extent of interfering with the school band program?  If any such formal charge is made, I will personally defend the band and the school without charge.  An alternative would be frequent peaceful picketing by parents in front of the homes of these absurd people.  This will advise them of the community's opinion of their reprehensible actions!
Comment by Charles Anacker on August 28, 2011 at 10:37pm
The band has been practicing for 60 plus years in the same neighborhood. These two bad neighbors moved in, knowing this. They should shut up or move. A friend of mind was being harassed by a neighbor for a long time about his house remodel and it finally became apparent, even to city hall that the neighbor was abusing the legal system to abuse him. The city finally told the obnoxious neighbor that if he didn't stop harassing my friend, then they would take legal action against him. Perhaps, the La Mesa Police and the City Attorney, should not let themselves be used as a tool by these two bad neighbors and find a creative way to use common sense and the law to stop these complaints. As a La Mesa taxpayer for over 20 years, I'm shocked that the police department would let it resources be wasted by these two obnoxious, bad neighbors.
Comment by Lisa Hamann on August 28, 2011 at 8:58am
I live in the Eastridge area of La Mesa and love, love, love the sounds that echo through the hills from both La Mesa Middle School and Helix Charter High. They are sounds of our future generation of musicians or at least music appreciators. They are sounds of children being exposed to one of the great pleasures in life - music. Voices of teachers and administrators giving playground instructions can be heard. I can even make out the names of Helix graduates at graduation.  Thank goodness we have schools in our neighborhoods and all the joyful sounds that emanate from them.

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