A third measure that Council approved yesterday would ban any volumes that can be heard at a distance greater than 100 feet. But Street said, "We don't expect anybody to have to take a tape measure. They're just going to use their common sense and their good judgment and they're going to be able to judge the distances."
The responsibility of keeping watchful eyes and open ears falls to city police, who can seize the offending music-makers as evidence.
Street said that although he wanted the police to start monitoring volumes immediately, he thought the task could be handled better by a new type of city law enforcement official: "Something less than a police officer but more than a citizen at large." He said such an official would be responsible for upholding boom-box, pooper-scooper, litter and other simple-offense laws.
Street, who is a lawyer, said the violations would be summary offenses and would not be a part of any criminal record. He said the alternative would be to arrest offending people under disorderly conduct charges, which would be a part of a criminal record.
Under Street's measure, the maximum penalty is a 90-day prison term and a $300 fine, the maximum allowed under the Home Rule Charter.
All three measures exclude city-authorized public assemblies. Each measure would go into effect as soon as the mayor signed it, or if it is returned to Council without the mayor's signature. Mayor Goode could not be reached for comment yesterday.
None of the measures specifically mentions radio size or boom boxes by name, simply referring to "a radio, tape player or similar device." But since he introduced the series of measures in mid-September, Street has made it clear that he wants to rid the city of boom-box problems.
Yesterday, Street told reporters that the new regulations were necessary
because "it is clear to me that something has to be done to deal with the radios."
Although the police will "have the discretion to take the radios," Street said he did not expect that to happen much if city residents and business owners cooperate with police by identifying the offenders.
"If Joe Blow across the street has a radio and is a regular offender, there's nothing to stop the police from making a personal call on him and saying we want you to turn it down and keep it down or else we have the authority to confiscate the radio," Street said.
In other action, Council unanimously approved a $15.3 million transfer measure that shifts money among various city departments. The largest chunk of the transfer is a $11.4 million appropriation for pension payments for city employees. An additional $1 million is designated for overtime for employees in the city Department of Streets, who worked extra hours to haul the city's trash to distant landfills.
Also yesterday, Councilman David Cohen introduced a measure, backed by the Goode administration, that would allow the city Water Department to negotiate new contracts with its three suburban water and sewer customers: Bucks County, and Lower Moreland and Springfield Townships in Montgomery County. Each will expire next year.