Helicopter Noise? The Bedtime Song for Many Boyle Heights Residents

Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association were protesting helicopter activity in their neighborhood at a town hall meeting Monday in Sherman Oaks. Kris Fortin/LAStreetsblog

At Monday night’s town hall meeting about helicopter noise in communities, residents from Sherman Oaks, Westwood, Torrance, Manhattan Beach and Rivera filled the  Burrill Hall at Millikan Middle School with more than 400 people.

Yet, during the public comment section, it was clear there was an absence of residents from South Los Angeles and East L.A./Boyle Heights. The residents at the town hall voiced concerns about how helicopters unsettled their pets, and  how phone conversations were interrupted by the noise. But in neighborhoods including Boyle Heights, residents have had it worse, and for much longer.

Law enforcement helicopters have the biggest presence in Boyle Heights, said Fredd Ortiz, a member of Corazon del Pueblo, a Boyle Heights community center.

Helicopters presence in the neighborhood, are so constant, he said, that sometimes feels like it’s a natural part of the environment.

“Get this idea that is the way it is. . . (even though) it shouldn’t be.”

Andrea Joseph, a Boyle Heights resident, said that she hears helicopters even at 2 in the morning.

“Kind of annoying at night, especially when you’re trying to watch TV or enjoy yourself with your family. You just hear “the bird” all the time flying around.”

Even though many residents are discontented with helicopters, Jose Calvario said that he doesn’t have a problem with law enforcement helicopters if it benefits public safety.

“If they’re needed then I have no problem with them,” Calvario said. He added that since he’s lived in the neighborhood for so long, helicopters presence have been a constant, especially in the 90′s when crime was higher.”You get used to (the helicopters).”

April Martinez said that the helicopters presence can also take an emotional toll on people, including children, because they can be associated with the presence of crime or an accident.

“It’s very hard on the kids, especially. And it’s a detriment to their well being to think that they are not safe in their own home.”

The meeting on Monday was the only scheduled meeting in the Los Angeles area. Rep. Adam Schiff hopes to schedule a meeting near the Los Feliz area, yet there are no meetings expected in any other areas, according to The Eastsider L.A.