Dumbest City Policy Ever is Ended

It didn't effect the most people, and was not some life or death struggle, but the dumbest policy in recent times in the City- the banning of music in Rittenhouse Square- is over:

City Solicitor Romulo Diaz Jr. settled the rancorous controversy yesterday by re-interpreting a Fairmount Park regulation to allow casual musicians to sing and play in the square, so long as the music doesn't violate noise ordinances.

It went into effect immediately, he said.

No more arrests. No more threats of arrest. No more ridiculous clampdowns on the joyful sound of music in the park.

First of all, you can enforce noise ordinances. But, you can't just for the heck of it ban music. The policy was going to be overturned on First Amendment grounds at some point. So, that was the first dumb part of it- it was a heavy-handed, dumb policy, that was not even going to last.

Second, the City was setting up a class warfare type thing- where (whether they deserved it or not) the residents around Rittenhouse Square, sitting on the richest real estate in the City, were basically seen as trying to change the very public Rittenhouse Square cause they didn't like those scrubby kids singing.

Third, um, it is music. Seriously, uh, it is music. The policy reminded me of some futuristic movie that you would see on Prism in 1988. (Announcer: Fascism swept over Philadelphia in 2007. No one saw it coming... until they banned the music! DUM DUM! Then, Dolph Lundgren blows William Penn off City Hall by playing electric guitar.)

Anyway, so, the dumbest policy in the world has died. But, the City still has disorderly conduct charges pending against someone who... played music. If the base of that charge is that the music was the disorderly conduct, the City has to drop the charges, because their own Solicitor has now said that policy was incorrectly enforced.

(And kudos to the head of the PPD's Civil Affairs Unit- William Fisher- whose opposition to the ban apparently drove the City to reconsider.)

I believe that, a few weeks

I believe that, a few weeks ago, at the rally for music in the square, a bunch of us talked to William Fisher, who seemed to be very sympathetic to the issue. This is a great thing.

Great PRISM reference.

I am working to elect Larry Farnese to the General Assembly. Unless otherwise expressly stated, this and every comment or blog I post on YPP and any action I take hereon is solely attributable to me and not Farnese or Friends of Farnese.


I agree!


"yes adam gave some informative comments but he also seems to sprinkle a little adam dust on it." - merkin

Music In The Square

Dan's point is right on. This entire issue was ridiculous and had the potential to affect more than just our enjoyment of music in the Park. This so called "ban" had the chilling effect of prohibiting people from doing what they have come to love in Rittenhouse Square and other locations just like it throughout Philadelphia-gather to talk, play and listen to music. We met with the representatives from the police department early in May during the rally and demanded answers. Drew Gillis led the demonstration which featured some great solo numbers from Anthony Riley the young man who was arrested (yes arrested) for singing and playing music in the park, one of the main reasons people like myself spend so much time there. Drew Gillis has set up a non-profit to help ensure that this type of attack on our Constitutional rights does not occur again. If you are interested in making a donation, please get in touch with me and I will provide you with contact information for Drew.


No amps, though

At least ban amps, if they aren't already.
I don't know what the rule is now, but I've wanted amps banned from use by street musicians, especially singers, since forever. I remember when I lived in DC this guy who sang really irritating R&B with the weakest, tinniest voice, and he had an amp with him all the time. It was awful.
I'm sorry, but a lot of street music really sucks and you should at least have the option to go a little ways and escape it.

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Don't ban amps

That's silly. What if you play an electronic instrument? The amp doesn't need to be turned up loud, but it does need to be there. There are electric guitar players who play on the streets in Philly with amps, and they're a lot quieter than some of the non-amplified drummers and horn players.

Playing music so loud that it disturbs people a block away is something that can be stopped using noise ordinances, without affecting the ability of people to perform.

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