News Jun 26, 2013 at 4:00 am

Volunteers Blast Hales' Proposed Crackdown on Famed Street Fair


The concept of having an event virtually without rules scares the City. Charlie Hales is now the third Mayor doing his best to tame the event. In working with Sam Adams we found two areas of agreement that were implemented immediately. We agreed to close the event at 10 PM which was hours before it had previously closed. We also agreed on a zero tolerance on open containers. Neither was especially easy to implement but both were. By the time Sam got involved we had provided porta potties and trash removal for years and already figured out a way to close off the street to car traffic- maybe not quite by the rules but it worked.

At that point we wanted Sam to back off and call it good but he viewed those agreements as a mere beginning and spent the rest of his tenure trying to gain concession after concession. To us the plan was not an opening position but the structure we wanted for years to come. We've been fighting City Hall since. A short list of “demands” from the City we rejected was corporate sponsorship, charging the art vendors, screening the art vendors, registering the vendors, closing the event earlier and the list goes on. I used the frog in boiling water analogy often enough to where people started rolling their eyes each time I used it. I still think it's an appropriate analogy. For years we tried to create a plan that the City would sign off on once and for all to where they would stop asking for further concessions but we were never able to get them to agree to such a plan. They would agree to a one month plan but we'd always be back fighting next month when they'd want to modify what we had agreed to only a few weeks earlier.

Once again the City is trying to wrestle control away from the neighborhood group and have their cronies take the event over. There is a meeting scheduled by the Mayor for Monday July 1 where the event adversaries have been invited and presumably will be offered to run the event. FoLT is invited but more as an afterthought then as the group that is recognized as the official organizers. The key players invited are representatives from ONI and NECN. Those two organizations have have all along been the strongest adversaries to Last Thursday and the biggest proponents of “neutering” the event. Hopefully Charlie is somewhat naive thinking we'll just lay down and play dead. I keep telling City Hall that 1,000's of us will fight for this event. We're about to see if I've told the truth.
"The city wanted more security guards and toilets..."

I don't know about the security guard issue but the neighborhood's bushes and trees in the Alberta Arts District have been pulling toilet duty for as long as I can remember; why change now?

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