Friday, January 09, 2015
"Tear down this wall": Time to repeal musician and artist suppressing Nuremberg Laws
Photo credit: © 2014 Historic City News/Michael Gold
Ed Slavin and Felicia Regan December 5, 2014, at reopening of Hypolita Street, with actual musicians performing at right, on a rare "blue moon" day, when the iron gates of the walled Spanish garden controlled by "St. Augustine Foundation, Inc. were actually open (although no one was actually allowed to walk inside)
There is so much to be proud of in our City of St. Augustine since Nancy Shaver became Mayor and John Regan became City Manager.
The list is long.
On Monday night, January 12, City Commissioners are being asked to end the "reign of ruin" of anti-music, anti-artist, anti-busker discrimination, exclusion and ignominy created by William B. Harriss, erstwhile City Manager. Enough.
These ordinances are addictive, and appeal to Tinpot Napoleon social dominators -- people who see the government as a bullet in their guns.
Let's tell the City's commercial landlords to stop creating problems.
Let's tell them they've ruined St. George Street and made it a dull, inauthentic t-shirt mall with loud recored music.
Let's tell them to talk to their neighbors -- to get along with the buskers, instead of stalking them with cameras.
Let's tell them to make requests if they don't like the musical selections.
Stop criminalizing art, music and entertainment.
A June 2014 unanimous Supreme Court decision makes it likely those efforts likely violate First Amendment rights (finding even a "content neutral" sidewalk regulation must be "narrowly tailored," which 25 foot limitation was not in Massachusetts abortion picketing law).
It's time to start solving problems instead of inventing them.
Stop referring to landlords and merchants as "residents" and buskers as "them" (or as "Gypsies" or "vermin," as in the recent past).
Stop listening to history-destroying building killer LEN WEEKS, who brought on these unjust laws (and destroyed 62A Spanish Street on September 25, 2014, a date that will live in infamy).
Stop dividing "us" from "them."
Stop dividing young from old.
Stop dividing rich from poor.
Stop dividing us.
Stop making St. Augustine look like a sick place that is still run by hick hacks -- the people who ruined our 400th celebration with racist bigotry seen worldwide.
As Bill Clinton said (in another context), "they're themming us to death."
We don't need "Jim Crow" laws attacking the First Amendment (again).
We don't need Nuremberg Laws that make it a crime to make a living as a musician or artist.
These are working people, and this is an anti-worker ordinance.
As the Supreme Court's Gay marriage DOMA decision proved, founding lawmaking on hatred is like building a castle out of sand in the tidal zone in a hurricane -- they lose.
The City of St. Augustine must make available City property, such as the courtyard of the Casa de Hidalgo, for buskers.
The City of St. Augustine must welcome buskers, as in then-Mayor George Gardner's March 24, 2003 plan (reprinted here).
No more discrimination and First Amendment violations, please.
Likewise, the hideously walled Spanish Garden, run by the St. Augustine Foundation, Inc. must at last be re-opened to the public, including street musicians.
It is public property, given to the people of Florida, and it has since 2000 been wrongfully fenced off as the world's dullest private park, selectively used as Foundation bosses desire, as are other properties formerly owned by our State of Florida. I have written the Foundation, which is under the wing of Flagler College and the "iron heel" of Dr. WILLIAM L. PROCTOR, Chancellor of Flagler College, arch-conservative former state representative and Republican lord of all he surveys.
It's time for healing. Or else. For as my mother said, "Time wounds all heels."
President Ronald Wilson Reagan said at the Berlin Wall, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall." In Ronald Reagan's spirit, our City must say, with one voice, "Messrs. Weeks and Proctor, tear down this wall."
Reagan and Gorbachev in front of piece of Berlin Wall on display at Reagan Presidential Library.
As LBJ said to a joint session of Congress after Selma, "We SHALL overcome!"