Monday, June 21, 2010
Krisitn Plamer on Music Ban, & My response.
About a week ago (June 17th) I wrote to Kristin Palmer regarding the sudden enforcement of the curfew on street music. Her public statement at that time was a verbal shrug. "The ordinance is as it stands." That letter is available, here. What follows is her response to me, and my answer. I post these only to keep interested parties informed, offer complete transparency regarding my actions, words and bad manners, and allow others to accurately monitor the same from her. Except the bad manners. It's easier being nice when you don't really commit to anything. And I don't have to worry about running for office. I'm usually in mine, hiding under the desk, anyway. Anyway, here goes: Cm Kristin Gisleson Palmer June 20 at 5:33pm Hi David, to follow is the statement that I am sharing with all of those concerned with the noise ordinance, Please be patient, we are working as hard as we can to find a solution to all those impacted. New Orleans is the Cultural Capital of the World, and we have an obligation to protect and support the very things that make our culture so authentic. It is possible for musicians, residents and businesses to co-exist in the French Quarter and across our city. It requires having ordinances that make sense, that are clearly communicated to the public and that are properly enforced. I will work with the Landrieu administration, my fellow City Councilmembers and the New Orleans Police Department to review the quality of life ordinances to ensure that they best serve the needs of our community. I will continue to fight for the sustainability of the French Quarter, one of the main economic drivers of the city. In order to sustain a rich culture in an extremely fragile area, there must be smart regulation that is fairly enforced. My response to Ms Palmer, of about an hour ago, June 21st, 2010: Dear Ms Palmer; That's a great form letter, filled with wonderful superlatives and a resounding & emphatic "hooray' for the French Quarter. It's also very late in the game, and mostly repeating what many letters have been telling you all week. I know you're new at this, however. It takes time to get the momentum of the street in to one's life. There are many constituents in your district that are not property owners, members of neighborhood associations, or affiliated with some collective group, be it non-profit or clergy oriented. They are actually the majority of your voters & supporters. Many of these people work in the service industry, or in support of it, and a great deal of them are musicians, artists & writers who maintain their day to day lives through these jobs. They, like much of the City of New Orleans, rely on tourism and "the sustainability of the French Quarter, one of the main economic drivers of the city." The efforts of some, like the French Quarter Citizens Association, to shut down street art & music, not only ignores the equal & valued opinions of this majority, but seeks to remove the source of much of their income, as well as a truly rare & beautiful aspect of life here, found nowhere else in the country. Where then, would we find our bartenders, cooks, bus boys & bar backs, bicycle delivery people, grocery workers,retail shop attendants, etc? Literally hundreds of these people live & work in the specific neighborhoods of District C BECAUSE they can support themselves with these jobs and pursue their true calling in the same neighborhoods. Besides losing tourist trade over these issues, one must realize that many returned New Orleanians might move to Atlanta or Austin should they find their options closing here. It certainly happens now, and more than I'd like to admit. The French Quarter Citizens Association has this as it's Mission Statement: "To preserve the quality of life in the Vieux Carré neighborhood, to preserve its historical character and architecture, and to work with other organizations to focus attention on the problems confronting our neighborhood." When their president appeared on TV, saying that 'street musicians' were a deterrent to "those who live here or want to live here" I believe that mission statement was violated. There have been street musicians and street artists in New Orleans for over a hundred years. The idea that they should be done away with for "those who live here or want to live here" is ridiculous. If someone wants to live here, the concept of changing the very nature of our lives to accommodate them puts us all into the service industry, as their Disney Characters, happily waving as they change our neighborhoods in to the image they had back home in Nebraska. It means we are to be bought & sold. I know their money speaks loudly. Please be aware that the same people who marched on City Hall, 5,000 strong, speak loudly, too. In all fairness, it would seem a simple task to plot out specific areas for street music, just as Jackson Square has done for artists, myself included, at one time. Royal Street, from The Square to Canal street, is prime location for street music, without bothering any street level homes. The same is true of Bourbon, from Conti to Canal, Decatur from Margueritaville to Esplanade, and Frenchman, from Decatur to Royal Street. Please take this idea, or one like it, into consideration, as you meet with Mayor Landrieu for these discussions. Obviously we face greater emergencies right now, but with the loss of seafood and oil industry work, tourism is about all we have left. To eliminate such tourist friendly activities would seem like shooting ones self in the foot. In closing, please be aware that we're counting on you. Some proactive contact, like seeing what it is your Constituency values, might lend itself to that, rather than responding to smaller organized groups who control money & property. I'm guessing few of them tend bar, wash dishes or cook a mean blackened red fish for a living. And those things matter a great deal, here. A very great deal, indeed. Lord David Marigny New Orleans cc: everybody