Hubbard honking hassle heats up
By Ashley Luthern
Although the mayor had plenty to say about enforcement of a horn-honking ordinance Tuesday night, he remained silent about his reasons for placing police Chief Martin Kanetsky on paid administrative leave.
“No comment,” said Mayor Richard D. Keenan, as soon as Kanetsky’s name was mentioned by reporters.
The chief was put on leave, effective Jan. 6, by the mayor, and Sgt. Louis Carsone is acting chief.
About 25 residents attended Tuesday’s two-hour long city council meeting. Many were there to speak out against the horn-honking ordinance.
Michelle Merold, 20, told council that she received a letter from Girard Court stating she honked her car horn in April 2010 on Liberty Street. She added the vehicle noted in the warning letter was “totaled” in December 2009.
“How did [the court] get my license information?” she asked City Law Director Jeffrey D. Adler.
Adler replied that someone can take down a license plate number and send a public-records request to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for a name and mailing address.
Council President William J. Williams said that he also received a warning letter from court for his car that is no longer in use. He said the car’s horn “didn’t work.”
Earlier in the meeting, Adler had addressed the ordinance.
“The ordinance basically says you shall not blow your car horn unless it is to warn pedestrians or other vehicles,” he said. “Contrary to news reports, this isn’t going to be enforced for someone tapping their horn to their neighbor, or pulling in their driveway and beeping twice to pick up a relative.”
Sandra Horforth of Hubbard told council she was concerned about snow piling up on sidewalks, and this subject also led back to the horn-honking ordnance. Horforth said it seemed that the mayor was picking and choosing which ordinances to enforce.
Keenan called the snow- removal ordinance unenforceable because city workers couldn’t cite every person who didn’t remove snow, and it would be unfair if they cited only some people.
“Isn’t that what you’re doing with the horn honking?” Williams asked to applause from the crowd. He also asked the mayor if the snow-removal ordinance needed to be changed to which the mayor said no.
Earlier in the meeting, Keenan read a statement saying he wanted to protect everyone with the horn-honking ordinance.
“To get to the meat of this issue, we have recently had a problem with a young man with a pellet gun. ... Immediately, I knew as mayor I must protect the East Hill neighborhood in every and any way I could,” he said.
Keenan was referring to a Dec. 18 confrontation at East Liberty and Creed streets between Garrick G. Krlich, 49, of 713 E. Liberty St., and Matthew Shelton, 19, of 80 Parrish Ave. Police reports state that Shelton was charged with aggravated menacing. The case is pending.
Krlich previously told police he set up video surveillance with audio to catch horn honking. Since July 2008, there have been some 70 police reports involving Krlich, many of them about horn-blowing incidents, according to Vindicator files.
“We have to take control of this situation and act like adults. I don’t want to see some young kid get run over by cars speeding through our town or someone chasing a car because it blew its horn,” Williams said.
Twice the mayor and council president exchanged sharp remarks and at one point, Williams reminded the mayor that he, Williams, was presiding over the meeting.