Guest Column: Welcome to the Jungle

Guest Column: Welcome to the Jungle
Special to Historic City News

Jason Smith
St. Augustine, FL

Last month the iconic lions returned to the Bridge of Lions in historic downtown St. Augustine. The marble sculptures stand proud and majestic along the Matanzas, and they also stand silent. Or do they?

At the beginning of April the lions, named Firm and Faithful started tweeting. @staugleftlion and @staugrightlion as they are known in the make comments, often times sarcastically, in 140 characters or less, about the local scene. Sometimes humorous, the lions also have teeth, and have been known to lash out unexpectedly like any wild beast could. The organization First America leading the upcoming 450th festivities probably won’t be following them anytime soon.

Firm and Faithful are not the only lions in town making noise. It turns out that a real live lion in a nearby neighborhood makes enough noise to be in violation of the counties noise ordinance. The recent story in the local newspaper, The record, written by Peter Guinta, about possible changes in the county ordinance speaks volumes, the opening lines of the story speaks loud volumes:

Fire engines, garbage trucks, railroad trains and military aircraft may legally make as much noise as they like — and your neighbor’s dog may bark for 30 straight minutes — but don’t let your lion roar.

An ordinance drafted to enforce noise from venues with loud music at gatherings in areas near residential neighborhoods could quietly creep into enforcing peace and quiet everywhere all the time. Not a peep, neighbor. Not a single peep, OK? No more mowing your grass at 8:00am on a Sunday, and no more loud wildlife, please.

A five acre wildlife refuge in a residential neighborhood has a single lion, named Mufasa, which roars on occasion; which seems to have taken the center ring, in what could turn into a three ring county circus involving plenty of lawsuits as citizens arm themselves with shotguns and decibel meters from Radio Shack.

Roosters on a farm would probably be exempt from the measure, but what about the other animals? It’s a jungle out there St. Augustine. We even have a farm filled with alligators and monkeys, and law enforcement has nothing better to do than write citations for noise; so unless all the animals start tweeting like old Firm and Faithful, everyone needs to keep it down … to a dull roar.

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