Sometimes the doings of municipalities when trying to find a solution are slightly comical. It started with this which is floating across social media:
Could this ACTUALLY have some basis in truth? Well the short answer is unfortunately it does:
And apparently there is a power struggle going on in West Chester and there is the guy who runs that BID (Business Improvement District) who is most unfortunately playing law enforcement in this video:
So yikes it seems not just the temperatures as in the weather that are heating up in the scenic Borough of West Chester!
Apparently there is a public hearing on this and other things (including BYOB restaurants) on Tuesday July 26, 2016 from 6 pm to 9 pm at West Chester Borough Hall.
I am not familiar with this website PhilaNet.com and I found the above video in this post:
WEST CHESTER, PA — The West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) executive director, Malcolm Johnstone, was observed in illegal activities at the corners of Gay and Church Streets in West Chester.
Malcolm was filmed approaching a street artist and forcing him to stop painting. He also implied he had the authority to stop a street musician from playing the guitar. All in all, it appeared Malcolm was committing hate crimes and civil rights violations.
Ok I am not an authority on civil rights violations, but I do question the authority of a civilian being able to just walk up and down the streets of West Chester and say to people what they can and can’t do. That is what borough personnel like police officers are for.
And on YouTube a bunch of videos:
So I don’t know what is going on, but maybe it’s time West Chester Borough talks about this? Or they won’t if it is pending litigation? Is it because of this situation that there is now this proposed busking ordinance? Does that mean for street festivals in the borough where there is music or even just regular First Friday celebrations there will be extra permits and such that will have to be purchased even if performers were invited to come to the borough if this is passed?
I am not taking sides. But I can tell you as someone who worked to bring music to the streets of a community for many years by working on First Friday Main Line celebrations, it makes me sad if people are fighting over what should be a nice thing.
I have to be honest I was a little surprised by the West Chester BID guy Malcom Johnstone on the video. I say that as someone who is a fan generally speaking of all this BID (Business Improvement District) has accomplished over the years. But I think he made a misstep by whatever he was trying to do that ended up on video. I am sure he was just trying to mediate a tough situation.
I will also say that music is expression, but West Chester is essentially a big small town. It is not Nashville or New Orleans or New York…and I do think that street performers in those locations need to have a permit. Which leads me to my looming question: if West Chester passes this ordinance will that stop whatever this musicians versus whomever pissing match is all about?
NOTE TO BOTH SIDES: I am trying to be fair here, but I am struggling. I am struggling because to me music should not represent ugliness and fighting.
Maybe the Daily Local will take this on and hash out the issue.