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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.)