Cypress Park ringing with controversy over loud church bells

Shortly after Rev. Marco Ortiz took over the Divine Savior in Cypress Park five years ago, the Catholic church on Cypress Avenue installed new loudspeakers in the church bell tower. But being blasted by the recordings of clanging bells – as many as six times a day – was too much for Susan Rocha, who lives across the street from the church. Rocha, a member of the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council, and her battle over the bells was detailed in a 2007 story in the LA Times. But relations between Rocha and Divine Savior continued to deteriorate, leading Rev. Ortiz to seek a restraining order against Rocha, according to a story in this month’s issue of the Boulevard Sentinel:

“Stating in the request for an order that Rocha honked her horn,
made obscene gestures, said insulting words, removed signs advertising future events, intimidated people coming in and out of religious services, and caused diminished attendance and loss of revenue at their fundraisers, Father Marco Ortiz asked for an order that Ms. Rocha stay away from the church property, church personnel and not disrupt religious services there.”

The church’s request for a temporary restraining order was denied but a hearing was scheduled, according to the paper.

Photo from Google Maps


  1. I won. First amendment rights prevail. Fighting against the most powerful is extremely difficult. But the truth prevails and so does the first amendment.

    And, shame on Councilmember Ed Reyes for giving the Catholic church a letter of support and “encouraging” them to bring a legal action. And, better yet a letter that is on city letterhead paid by taxpayers. Shame on Ed Reyes for not supporting first amendment rights to freedom of speech.

    • This woman needs to get a life.

      Have you seen her house there on Idell and Cypress St? It’s one of the worst houses in the neighborhood all run down and is an eyesore. She has overgrown weeds in front of her yard

      Everyone in the area likes the church or just doesn’t give a dang about it. It’s only crazy Rocha who cares. She stands on street corners protesting and flicks off people. No one cares about the bells. Some people might like them. Rocha has no life and should fix up her ugly house if she wants to improve the community instead of complaining so much.

    • You are truly an inspiration. I am living with the same irritating bullshit every day and I’ve hated it for 34 years. I have often thought of bringing legal action against the church, but in this small town where I live I fear it would make me a pariah. Why should I be forced to listen to their irritating crap every single day? Loud as hell, you can hear it across the entire town. Seriously, you’re my hero.

  2. ReformedNoisemaker

    Noise has reached a tipping point in society, and something will need to change to avoid much worse conflicts. It is simply a matter of respect for one another, and for society as a whole. It is not OK to make annoying noise just becase we can, or because we are being allowed to get away with it. We seem to be giving our neighbors less and less respect each day. If I understand the facts in this case properly, the problem is still there, and Mrs Rocha is still experiancing the nuisance. Unless the authorities actually deal with the problem we will be reading about this again one day, and it wont be a peaceful resolution.

  3. pissed in Glassell Park

    If Ms. Rocha doesn’t like the bells then I guess it’s time for her to move! I am sick of these big mouthed people thinking they can call the shots in our neighborhoods! Just like the morons in Eagle Rock that complain about the nuisance stadium lights will cause for the homes surrounding Eagle Rock High. If you don’t like it, move! Divine Savior has been around for a lot longer than you have. Invest in earplugs, I hear they sell them at home depot. Divine Savior will continue to exist long after you are gone!

  4. Maybe “pissed” should check their facts. I was there BEFORE the amplied sound system came in. And, I am sure that the Eagle Rock residents were there BEFORE the flood lights.

    And, the problem here is called “Qualify of Life” issues. Sad, but this has been lost.

    The City of Los Angeles has thousands of laws the help protect the “quality of life” that others would take away. Knowing our laws is especially important in keeping our “qualify of life” such as noise laws, air pollution laws against gas leaf blowers, illegal modified muffler laws, laws against illegal street vending, laws against posting signs on city poles and there are thousands of others.

    So, “pissed” please educate yourself our on “qualify of life” laws or ask your local Senior Lead Officer.

  5. You missed the best story of all with ABC7.


    This is why the restraining order was asked for in the first place. It was in retailiation for doing this story.

  6. Ms Rocha is yet another nutball receiving her one minute of fame in Northeast L.A. Currently she is receiving advice from rather dubious sources in Eagle Rock. She neither understands nor respects what happened here. She dumbs it down to “I won” when, in fact, this was not a victory for her or free speech. So she and her Eagle Rock advisor wrap themselves in the flag and announce that democracy has been saved — thanks to THEM, of course. All it amounted to was that the court decided the church didn’t have enough evidence to secure a restraining order against her. That’s all.
    This case amounts more to abuse of free speech, taxpayers’ dollars, and the fact that Rocha’s advisor is a well-known “vexatious litigant,” a person who uses lawsuits and our courts indiscriminately — and to hell with the taxpayers. In the end I suppose that the First Amendment covers a nutbag screaming obscenities at churchgoers, driving around and around the block in her car giving everyone the finger, and rushing up to innocent families exiting the church, shouting “F— you! F— you!” in the presence of their kids. Some patriot.

    Ken Camp, Los Angeles

  7. First of all, it was the chuch that wasted the court’s time and taxpayers money. It was a case that was meritless. So, you can blame them for wasting the courts time and taxpayers money. I was not the one that bought this case, it was the church. It was them that wasted the courts time and money.

    The church also wasted their money getting an attorney for their case.

  8. I live across the street from Faith Baptist Church, Holly Hill, Fl & share your pain. This church plays chimes, bells & music every hr on the hr 9am to 8pm seven days a week. I’ve enlisted the help of the Mayor & City Mgr. Code Enf informs me the bells, etc are not “loud” enough to break local code laws even tho IT’S LOUD!”.

    My alternative —- move, which eventually I will do, reluctantly – I have a gorgeous old Florida Cracker home. The church will win – I lose.

  9. Boy did I get a smile out of this. I put “loud church bells” into Google and got this sight. WHY did I put “loud church bells” into Google? I live in a nice little farming town in the mountains of Michoacan, Mexico which is currently being overrun not by drug gangs but by……loud electronic CHURCH BELLS! They were broken for a long time and only the manual old-fashioned bells were rung during the day. Recently the electronic bells were fixed, and it seems the big shot who runs the church is trying to make up for lost time. Grimace-inducing volume every fifteen minutes, twenty-four hours a day. Incredible. Despite complaints from numerous people(there is even a petition circulating) Father Bigshot still hasn’t had the ‘bells’ turned down. Amazing how people will behave, given a little power. And I’ll bet they say “Peace with you” at the end of the service.

  10. No one should believe all the lies that come out of the mouths of those that attend Divine Saviour. Lies, lies, and more lies. They do not know the truth and do not want to know the truth. Most have no respect or concern for others that want peace and quiet. Even the employees are low enough to call me names but chicken to say them in front of Father Marco.

    The church surely shows it real colors in their bad behaviour.

  11. The church is a gem in cypress Park. I guess some people have ignored the fact the Cypress Park is a bad neighborhood. The church provides priceless services for the youth and older people of the community.
    I too am tired of the harassments., but the people will never stop attending Divine Saviour. She can complain all she wants, honk her horn, stand with a sign that says “noise.” Nothing that woman will do will keep away people from attending church. And stop attacking Father Marcos! I am so SICK and TIRED of seeing this woman throw personal attacks at the staff. Go do somthing better with your time! realize that you’ve wasted 6 years of your life fighting a fight that you can’t win, you are offeding the house of the Lord. Life is too short to be wasted attacking an innocent church.

  12. My kids used to go to catechism class. On the weekedn, before church, the woman, would flip off the families and the young children. My kids felt harrassed, and prejudiced. It is a very traumatic experience for any person to attacked so personally just because you supporting the church that has brought so much to your life. The woman might claim to be fighting over the so called “bells”, but I believe that it is something much deeeper than that. Any person who yells obsecenities at children is obviously disturbed.

    • Camila, your resposnse is typical. It is a bunch of lies. If anyone is prejudiced it is the people from that so called church. And, I am the one harrassed by insults and racial names and threats. And, your lies about children being yelled obsecentities are a bunch of lies.

      This shows a mob mentality. And, obviously it shows a lack of RESPECT for other people’s right to peace and quiet. If the people at the church including the priest cared about other people they would totally shut off the amplified sound system. There is no way it needs to be so loud and 6 times a day every day starting at 7:55AM. But, no, with the church it is my way or the highway, and I will do whatever I please, which is very selfish.

      And, to Jessica, I guess you do not know the staff that well. They have done nothing but harrass me and call me all kinds of evil names including racial ones.

      So, there are two sides to a story and you all just know all the lies you are told.

      Fighting for people’s right for peace and quiet including my own.

  13. What would Jesus do? If Jesus were to see the pain and suffering of any one of his children caused by an unnecessary part of his church, he would remove it. It is time for the church to behave in the manner of our Lord and not that of the Devil himself.

  14. Yvette, my thoughts exactly. I could not have said it better.

  15. Obviously this woman has nothing better to do with her time then harass parishioners and innocent children. What this lady needs is for the community to capture her bizzarre and dangerous behaviour on camera.. The video will prove that this wonan is guilty of everything she is being accused of…

  16. I have attended the church since I was little. I went to Divine Saviour Catholic School. I graduated from Divine Saviour Catholic School.The bells are very pleasing the only problem is (and I accept) the amplified speakers. Ms.Susan has continued to stand in front of the church on Sundays an recite the following: Church from hell. Stop the bells which I find highly offensive because this church is like a place of sanction and holiness. Every Sunday Ms. Susan waists a day of her life trying to stop a bell which has rung since 1922 and will continue to ring til the the end of Catholicism or Divine Saviour church

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