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Screaming for ice cream is OK, but kill the music

Submitted by on Monday, 2 February 2009 2 Comments

ice_creamThe cynical reaction would be to think the Clark County, Nev., Board of Commissioners doesn’t have enough to do, but its 88-item agenda for Tuesday tells you that’s not true.

So instead assume instead that the county that’s home to Sin City wants its noise and merriment in the form of slot machines instead of happy children and tinkling music.

There can be no other explanation for Item No. 67 on the agenda: “An ordinance … placing restrictions on the use of portable audio equipment by mobile food vendor vehicles.”

That’s right: A county facing a $47 million budget loss and an 11 percent taxable sales loss in a state that recently topped MSNBC Money’s Misery Index is irritated by the ice-cream truck.

Seems people in Clark County have complained about trucks rolling through their neighborhoods late at night, so the commission wants to make the music die after 7 p.m. or a half-hour after sunset, whichever comes first.

Las Vegas already has such an ordinance, which has no doubt led to a glut of ice cream in unincorporated areas.

Tempting as it is to label this an outrageous waste of time, as a parent I can get behind the ordinance. In fact, I don’t think it goes far enough.

I think all ice-cream truck music should be banned nationwide, and if my congressman doesn’t introduce that bill I’m going to initiate recall proceedings. Put an end right now to the siren song of the Pied Piper of Tooth Decay.

I’m a little militant about the issue because we had our first ice-cream truck visit of the season this evening. That’s right, folks, Feb. 1. That’s early even for California.

I didn’t hear it, but Big Guy is to ice-cream trucks what a beagle is to a rabbit rustling in the brush. He can pick the sound up blocks away, and he won’t take “didn’t hear anything” for an answer when I feign deafness.

Usually, there are three possible outcomes once the sighting is confirmed, all of which leave someone miserable.

Most of the time, the trucks speed past. There are houses on only one side of our street and only two homes on the block with small children, so we’re not a very good return on investment. That leaves the guys crying at the corner.

When the one ice-cream man who’s not driving like he’s trying to qualify for Daytona passes through, he always slows hopefully in front of the house, looking to see if he’s getting Mommy Evil Eye. If he is, he slinks away. The leaves both guys crying at the end of the driveway.

On days when I’m feeling benevolent – or when the guys haven’t already OD’ed on crap – we’ll blow $1.75 on a hunk of frozen high fructose corn syrup and dye, because it tastes so much better than the fruit bars inside in the freezer. The guys always pick different treats, which leads to the Jolly Rancher pop quickly looking greener in the other’s hand. The leaves the envious guy crying.

Today, the truck sped past but there were no tears because the guys had just stuffed themselves with popcorn from Target. I know the people running the popper watch for us to get out of the car so they can start a fresh batch just as the guys walk through the door. Maybe we need tighter controls on popcorn aroma, too.

Clark County plans a public hearing on its ice-cream ordinance, and I’d love to testify. For a small fee, I could describe how noise nuisance doesn’t begin to touch the dangers of ice-cream trucks.

It’s mental torture that leaves obnoxious music stuck in your head. It destroys the peace and tranquility of a household when a parent is forced to say “no.” It encourages obesity by bringing junk food practically right to your door.

Problem is, the other side would then call the guys. They’re way cuter than I am, thus ensuring the defeat of the ordinance.

So I’ll simply have to support Clark County commissioners from afar and give them a big atta-boy for taking a break from things that really matter to end this plague. They’re a fine example for political leaders every where.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Vanilla Cokehead said:

    I love some cities that have scuttled ice cream trucks entirely.

    One of the snootier suburbs near Cleveland, Solon OH, has an ordinance banning them from city streets. I hear it’s officially a “safety issue” for kids but I think the real motivation is that the music is undignified and doesn’t fit a city of its level of haughtiness. Besides, I bet they think if they first allow ice cream trucks, mobile homes could be next, then cars up on blocks, then (whispers) men going to the grocery store in redneck-looking sleeveless shirts. ;)

  • Debra said:

    Followed quickly by their womenfolk in pink foam rollers.

    You’re right: This ice-cream truck menace must be curbed!