Judge Orders Tire Company To Stop Blasting Music At Homeless Encampment

A San Rafael tire store has been ordered by a judge to cease playing loud music directed at an adjacent homeless encampment after a lawsuit was filed by one of its residents. Bruce Gaylord, who lives at the Mahon Creek Path encampment, claimed the music from East Bay Tire Company was a form of “psychological warfare” that exacerbated his mental health conditions and left him sleep-deprived.

Gaylord, confined to a wheelchair, said the music blared continuously for three consecutive nights, reaching decibel levels between 51 and 118, according to homeless advocate Robbie Powelson. The noise far exceeded San Rafael’s nighttime limit of 55 decibels for commercial zones.

East Bay Tire assistant manager Robbie Derho denied targeting the homeless, stating the music and security announcements were intended to protect employees and deter criminal behavior spilling over from the encampment. Derho claimed staff had witnessed illegal drug use and prostitution at the encampment.

However, Marin County Judge Sheila Shah Lichtblau issued a temporary injunction preventing the store from playing music that exceeds city noise ordinances. The judge’s order seems reasonable, given the extreme volume and duration of the music, which the United Nations Human Rights Council has identified as a method of psychological torture.

While the tire store’s frustrations with the encampment are understandable, blasting loud music is not an appropriate solution. The court’s decision strikes a balance between the rights of both parties until a more permanent resolution can be reached.