This Week in Kingston Politics

The Great Ice Cream Man Debate of 2018: May's City of Kingston Public Safety Committee  Meeting

    You may be wondering about that title. Well, I was wondering too, when I saw a communication from Alderman Bill Carey in the agenda packet for the May Public Safety Committee meeting held on May 23 that read, “Please forward to a committee discussion about the ice cream truck in relation to noise ordinance. I was asked to talk to the council to see if this is problematic to residence throughout the city.” To be honest, I was a little baffled. Surely the members of our city council have more important matters to attend to than the sound of the ice cream truck approaching being a nuisance?

    I was apparently mistaken, for that was exactly what was up for discussion tonight at the Public Safety meeting. While Alderman Carey  is not a member of the committee, he brought the issue to the table where sat Aldermen Schabot (Committee Chair), Morrell, Scott-Childress, and Alderwomen Shaut and Worthington. To their credit, a few of the Aldermen appeared to be chagrined at the topic. Apparently, a city resident was feeling bothered by the sound of the ice cream truck that drives through residential neighborhoods, playing the time-honored tune of Mr. Ding a Ling and reached out to Alderman Carey to see if anything could be done about it.

    At the meeting, Carey reported that a possible “solution” he came up with was to ask the ice cream man to only play the music when he is driving and to turn the song off when he is selling the ice cream. Alderwoman Shaut brought up the fact that the whole idea of the song playing is to draw attention to the truck's presence and bring out the tiny, dollar-clutching customers running to grab their treat and that even when he's selling ice cream, the song continuing to play lets people know they still have time to run to their wallets and grab their cash.

    A more shocking response came from Ward 3 Alderman Rennie Scott-Childress though. He suggested that they ask the Mayor to call the ice cream truck “company” (I'm pretty sure he's a sole proprietor) and ask them to observe that practice, because he can “totally understand people being annoyed by it.” Would that be a government overreach? An abuse of power?  To ask the Mayor of the City of Kingston to personally intervene with a resident's business because one person in a city of nearly 24,000 doesn't like the ice cream truck song? You decide.

    In response to Alderman Carey's question, none of the Aldermen or women present could recall anyone ever complaining to them about the ice cream truck before, and when Carey polled the residents assembled in the conference room for the meeting, yours truly reminded the committee that they have no real authority to make the ice cream man change his business model if he is not in violation of the city noise ordinance. A man's gotta make a living after all.

    No motions were made or actions advanced, other than a general agreement to keep their ears open for complaints about the ice cream truck.

    Tell us, Kingston....Do you think this was a good use of the time of the Public Safety Committee? Should the common council even consider this level of micro-managing the lives of private citizens? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

                                                                                                      Signing off-Cassandra Burke