Celebrating self-expression as a basic human right essential for the
healthy growth of youth, individuals and communities
COMMUNITY ARTS ADVOCATES, INC.
Stephen H. Baird, Founder and Executive Director
PO Box 300112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-0030
MBTA Subways in Boston 2003....
by Stephen Baird © Stephen Baird 2000-2021
Subway performing artist and supporters who went to the Massachusetts State House to obtain political support from elected officials. Including: Michael William Wright, Mare Streetpeople, Jamie McLaughlin, David Fox, Pumla Bhungane, John Patton, Michael Sullivan, Dave Falk, Lisa Housman. Photo taken by Lauren Ingram.
- November 2003: MBTA enacted new guidelines developed in secret that eliminated all electronic instruments, banned horn and horn like instruments (Including flutes and wind instruments), banned all forms of amplification, also restricted artists to very bizarre locations and charged a $25 permit fee. The artists did not receive notice of these new regulations until November 13th and the new regulations were scheduled to go into effect on December 1st.
Resolved this issue after a heated media, legal, email/internet, and political lobby campaigns, plus a petition drive which received over 16,000 names in eight days. Compromise guidelines still banned trumpets and all drums. See details below:MBTA web site with the compromise guidelines: http://www.mbta.com/business_center/subway_performers/
- Transit Realty Associates, 20 Winthrop Square, Boston, MA 02110
- Contact Jack Wolfson, Asset manager, 617-482-2525 firstname.lastname@example.orgTwo Boston Globe article on September 5, 2004 with update on subway performances:
- http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2004/09/05/soundtracks/Tufts Daily "Underground, T musicians hear their calling" by Jessica Bal and Grant Beighley, Monday, October 6, 2008
COMPROMISE REACHED WITH MBTA
Subway Artists and Supporters
On December 3, 2003, at 3:30 PM, the MBTA held a press conference at Park Street Station, to announce the new Subway Performance Program. The press conference was attended by MBTA General Manager Michael Mulhern, Senator Jarrett Barrios and myself.
This announcement was made possible by an earlier meeting hosted by Senator Jarrett Barrios with MBTA Special Assistant Joe Pesaturo, MBTA Director of Subway Operations Jeffrey Parker, Classical Guitarist and Subway Artist John Bigelow and myself.
While the announcement focused on the broad overall agreement and good-faith intentions, this is a "Working Agreement/Work in Progress" that still needs to clarify lots of details, immediately and long-term. The new Subway Performance Program Guidelines will be posted on the web site shortly. I will also post some of the press stories links.
MBTA web site with the compromise guidelines: http://www.mbta.com/business_center/subway_performers/
Transit Realty Associates, 20 Winthrop Square, Boston, MA 02110
Contact Jack Wolfson, Asset manager, 617-482-2525 email@example.com
Here are the some of the highlights of the "Working Agreement/Work in Progress:"
1. Program starts on Monday, December 8th with the $25 permit and photo-ID. Artists will have until December 31st to obtain new yearly permit and can continue to use current valid permits until December 31st.
2. Artists may use amplification and electrical instruments at a limit of 80db measured at 25 feet.
3. Instrument ban has been narrowed to drums and trumpets. Other horn like instruments will be allowed including saxophones, trombones and flutes (We still feel all instruments should only be limited by the decibel volume limit and will appeal the instrument band).
4. Locations -- there will be a "good faith" effort to resolve location issues for the most important performance sites this week with new location signs posted by next Wednesday. Other location issues will be resolved through the Appeals Review Board process. (I am meeting with MBTA Director of Subway Operations Jeffrey Parker to review the sites).
5. Hours -- There are no current "rush-hour" limits. Any new time restrictions will be done with advance notice published on the site specific signs and will be subject to the appeals board process. The 11:00 curfew was put into place to allow line supervisors to close stations efficiently, because a number of artists did not leave on the last trains or leave the stations before closing. It is also a time all vendors are required to leave the stations. It is our position that artists should be able to perform to closing and if an artist(s) fails to leave a station on the last train or exit a station by closing time it would be grounds to revoke the permit. We will appeal this rule after a trial-period with the new guidelines.
6. The appeals will be heard by a MBTA subway line chief, a representative of the Transit Reality Associates (administrators of subway performance program), and a representative from the arts community. The MBTA added the last person upon our request for review of artistic issues and for a third-party independent oversight.
This compromise is not perfect, but it is a vast improvement over the first draft of the new guidelines. It is our hope that an ongoing, mutually respectful relationship, develops that celebrates the cultural assets subway performers bring to the urban environment and honors the artists' efforts and perseverance to help create a humane community.
Our profound thanks, to the general public for their loud voice for "fairness."
Sincerely, Stephen H. Baird
Associated Press article on the agreement which has been nationally distributed -
Two quotes from the Washington Post story written by Jonathan Finer on the MBTA and Subway Performers conflict published on Monday December 8, 2003. See this link for the full story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A44306-2003Dec7.html
Said Michael H. Mulhern, MBTA general manager, "We got more calls and e-mails in a couple of weeks than in seven or eight months of public process on our proposed fare hike. We had to find a middle ground."
"We understood we would get some push back from the arts community, but we had no idea it would be so significant," said Mulhern. "They were a lot more organized than we thought."
Subway Artists and Supporters
Today 12/4, with Lisa Housman and David Fox, I met with Director of Subway Operations Jeffrey Parker and Superintendent of Training Kathleen Motyka to review the designated performance locations.
It was a generous spirited meeting and we mutually reviewed and resolved the important subway performance locations for six stations. The locations resolved or status:
We appreciated the immediate "good faith" effort by the MBTA to resolve these performance locations issues.
Sincerely, Stephen H. Baird
November 13, 2003 -- Artists who perform on MBTA platforms received new guidelines that will seriously erode their First Amendment Constitutional Rights and devastate the artists economically. This plan goes into effect on December 1st (Artists are already being moved to different locations). The following page will provide background information on the issues including copies of the new guidelines, letters and responses, media coverage, legal arguments and public comments.
Please review http://communityartsadvocates.org/saahistorysubway.html web page on this site for the subway performance history in Boston and information internationally.
This page will be updated as the artists begin to organize resistance.
MBTA Delays implementation of some parts of new regulations for a week to December 8th. Artists with expired permits still need to obtain permits under new system, but ban of amplification and instruments, plus location and time restrictions will not go into effect until December 8th. Artists with current permits will still be able to perform with them until December 8th.
POLITICAL SUPPORT -- State Senator Jarrett Barrios pledges his support for Subway Artists and will conduct meetings/hearings at the State House. State Senator, Stan Rosenberg, President Pro Tempore (Hampshire and Franklin County) sent a copy of his letter of support of subway artists to me that was sent to the MBTA on November 18, 2003. Letter of Support from State Representative Patricia Jehlen (click to see copy here). City Councilor Maura Hennigan passed a resolution in Boston City Council to support Subway Artists and ordered a public hearing with the MBTA. The Cambridge Arts Council sponsored a resolution in Cambridge City Council to support Subway Artists and ordered a public hearing with the MBTA. Somerville Community Corporation will support Subway Artists at the December Annual Meeting.
SUBWAY ARTIST ARRESTED -- Michael Williams-Wright, a subway performer, was arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away by MBTA Police after coming to the aid of a subway rider who was having a seizure. Judge ordered "no bail" and stated case would likely not involve any jail time. Next hearing December 17th. Looking for attorney and need help locating Witnesses (EMTs and subway riders). Call Governor Mitt Romney and ask him to remove MBTA General Michael Mulhern for this vindictive abuse of power. Read the story by clicking here. And see Weekly Dig article "Orwell on the MBTA," by Paul McMorrow http://weeklydig.com/dig/content/5290.aspx
OPEN PUBLIC DEMONSTRATION -- Friday, November 28, 2003 from 11 AM to 3 PM, Boston Common at Park and Tremont Streets. Informational picket and petition signature drive.
ACLUM American Civil Liberties Union - Massachusetts supports subway artists challenge of new MBTA guidelines. Contact ACLU-Massachusetts at 617-482-3170 or firstname.lastname@example.org We are still looking for attorney support to work with the ACLU and on individual issues or arrests.
MEDIA: BadTransit.com: Mark Richards, Editor, email@example.com alternative web site on MBTA, has posted links and story on subway performers at http://www.badtransit.com or story on http://www.badtransit.com/TheT/commentary/TheMusicDies.htm Cambridge Chronicle has written an Editorial supporting Subway Artists. Many letters to editors and host of articles form the Boston Globe to the Weekly Dig, WCVB to Boston Neighborhood Network News. Thanks everyone for your coverage of this issue. See media section father down on the page for expanded list and links.
MARTIN SEXTON pledges support for Subway Artists. He will make an announcement from the stage and collect signatures for the petition at his show at the Orpheum in Boston on Friday, December 12th. Contact Georganne Calyanis, email: firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 203.249.9327 to interview Martin Sexton about his support of the Subway Artists and the time he spent street performing in Boston.
What can I do?
1. Call the MBTA, your state legislators, and the Governor.• Governor & Legislature, State House, Boston, MA 02133. 617-722-2828
• Governor's telephone (617) 725-4005 and email: GOffice@state.ma.us
• Citizen's info website to determine your legislator: http://www.state.ma.us/legis/legis.htm
• Daniel A. Grabauskas, Secretary of Transportation, 10 Park Plaza, Suite 3170, Boston, MA 02116 Comment TEL: (617) 973-7000 Comment FAX: (617) 523-6454 email: email@example.com
• Note: Board meets on Dec 4th. Send letters as soon as you can! MBTA Board of Directors, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116 (617)-222-3799 firstname.lastname@example.org
• MBTA General Manager Michael Mulhern, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116. email@example.com
2. Join over 7,000 other people and sign the online web petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/Tmusic/ or download a petition from the web site and have friends and coworkers join over 5,000 people who have signed hard copies of the petition. We have a new easy to remember URL to access the on-line petition: http://www.saveoursubways.com Key words to help folks remember the site-- SOS Save Our Subways.
3. Volunteer to help save the Subway Artist from the MBTA's oppressive new policy.
4. Attend Open Public Demonstration, Friday, November 28, 2003, 11 AM-3 PM Boston Common
5. Contribute monies to pay for the expenses of this fight.
6. Visit the web site to download the petition, letters, guidelines, articles and updates. http://communityartsadvocates.org/saa-mbta-subway.html
Index (click on the blue headline to go to that section or page):
Action Alerts: Meetings, Committees, Press Releases, Telephone and Email campaigns, Wish List.
Petition: Text, jpg and pdf files for printing plus a new online petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/Tmusic/
Legal Arguments: including specific federal court case against MBTA for over broad restrictions on First Amendment activities based on exaggerated public safety concerns.
Subway Artist Arrested Michael Williams-Wright, a subway performer, was arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away by MBTA Police after coming to the aid of a subway rider who was having a seizure.
MBTA Guidelines: Text and PDF versions with comments
Letters and Responses: To and From MBTA
Artists Forum: Artists stories and comments
Media Coverage: Boston Globe Article 11/17, by Donovan Slack; WCVB-TV 5 News; Christian Science Monitor, Boston Metro, Fox 25 News, Cambridge Chronicle -- Press Release, Articles, electronic and Internet media coverage reports
Volunteer Help & Contributions (coming): Attorneys for Civil Law Suits, Media Campaign. Political Lobby Campaign, Artists Outreach, Internet Campaign, Petition Drive
Community Forum (New page): Letters from commuters and public
Action Alerts Meetings, Telephone and Email campaigns, Writing and ....
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To: News Departments; Arts Departments, PSA Departments
From: Stephen Baird, Executive Director, Community Arts Advocates 617-522-3407
Regarding: MBTA new guidelines which bans most subway performances
When: Open Public Demonstration, Friday, November 28, 2003, 11 AM-3 PM Informational picket and petition signature drive
Where: Boston Common, Park and Tremont Street, Boston, MA
Who: Subway performing Artists:
- Mare Streetpeople (guitar/singer) 781-316-0090 firstname.lastname@example.org
- John Westerfield (banjo) - 617-623-2618
- Gerry Mack (keyboard/singer)-email@example.com or 401-253-5121
- Michael Borkson 781-321-1720 (guitar/singer)firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tom Bianchi (bass player/singer) email@example.com
- Carlos Romero (classical guitar/latin music/singer) 781-397-2936
- Alfredo Valaskque (guitar/panpipes) 617-387-2032 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Lisa Housman (guitar/singer) 617-320-6202 email@example.com
- Meg Hutchinson (guitar/singer) firstname.lastname@example.org
- John Bigelow & Lorraine Saltre (classical guitar/singer) 617-731-3257JonLorPro@aol.com
On December 1st, without due process or public comment, the MBTA will put into effect discriminatory and unreasonable new restrictions on subway performances.
These new regulations, which overturn an 18-year working agreement between artists and the MBTA, will:
- Ban all, even modest, amplification and all electric instruments
- Greatly limit locations and hours of performance including rush hours 4-6 pm
- Totally eliminate certain types of instruments including all keyboards, horns, wind instruments
The new regulations violate constitutional freedoms of both artist and commuter, threaten the livelihood and safety of subway performers, and ultimately diminish the artistic and cultural quality of life in the Boston Metro area.
This demonstration is a response to the threat posed by the MBTA regulations to the tradition of diverse expression in the subway. The MBTA is obligated to include community input on decisions affecting performance. It is our hope that the MBTA will rescind their new policy and allow the artists to continue to perform.
For more detailed information -- including copies of the new MBTA regulations, correspondence to and from the MBTA, the legal and cultural history of public subway performance, and stories from the performing and listening community -- please visit the SABA website: http://communityartsadvocates.org/saa-mbta-subway.html
# # # # #
1. Volunteers (2-3/day) needed to work at Stephen Baird's office to coordinate (email me if you can help)Artists OutreachMare Streetpeople -- email@example.com 781-316-0090
John Patton -- Jamaica Plain
Michael Sullivan 617-216-0273
Michael Borkson -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Ingram -- L_honu@yahoo.com
Roland Tumble -- 617-921-3223
Open Public Meetings Additional meeting space needed (Berklee, Emerson, Very Speical Arts, area churchs?)John Bigelow and Lorraine Saltre -- JonLorPro@aol.com will look check if Wentworth has space
Tom Bianchi -- email@example.com will contact Middle East, Burran, Jimmy Tingle
Stephen Baird -- contacted Old South Meeting House, Arlington Street Church
Legal Campaign -- Attorney Search (ACLU Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, Boston Bar, Law Schools)Fish Fishman firstname.lastname@example.org
John Patton -- will contact Harvard Law School
John Bigelow and Lorraine Saltre -- JonLorPro@aol.com
Stephen Baird -- filed request with ACLU sent email to Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts
Mary Hebert -- email@example.com
Brandon Mickman firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis N. Schulze, Jr. email@example.com
Political Lobby Campaign (Letters and emails to Governor Romney, Legislature and MBTA; Public Hearings, Resolutions and Visits to State House, City Councils and Towns)David Fox -- firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 413-4675
John Bigelow and Lorraine Saltre -- JonLorPro@aol.com
John Patton -- contacted Boston city Councilor Maura Hennigan and developed City Council Resolution supporting subway artists
Mare Streetpeople -- email@example.com 781-316-0090
Bassan Habal -- firstname.lastname@example.org 617-389-6942
Alfredo Velasquez -- email@example.com 617-387-2032
Michael Willams-Wright -- firstname.lastname@example.org 781-643-7898
Michael Sullivan -- 617-216-0273
Lisa Housman -- email@example.com 617-320-6202
Jonathan Fixler -- firstname.lastname@example.org 781-894-5031
Lauren Ingram -- Lemail@example.com
Dave Falk -- firstname.lastname@example.org 617-834-3161
George Hardin and Jody Hardin -- email@example.com 857-498-0302
Jonathan Marsh -- 857-829-0713
Jamie McLoughlin -- 617-661-6622
Media Campaign (Press release, press package, photographs, artists stories) To join the Media Email Group contact Meg Hutchinson or send email to firstname.lastname@example.orgMeg Hutchinson -- email@example.com (617) 298-1801
Lisa Housman -- firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 320-6202 WERS, WUMB, NPR, newspapers, maybe TV
Alfredo Velasquez -- (617) 387-2032 Alfredo_JV@yahoo.com Fluent Spanish speaker/translator Spanish Media 1600am Boston papers Mundo Perfiles Chelsea, JP, Everett, Boston etc...
Michael Borkson -- email@example.com has contacted the Boston Globe for story in Metro section on Monday. His email letter is in the Artists Forum section. Also WMBR
Lauren -- firstname.lastname@example.org Belmont Citizen-Herald and the Hampshire Gazette; stories, photographs
Jess Mcdonough -- email@example.com www.jessmcdonough.com (Fitchburg, Gardner, Worcester papers & Radio)
Melissa Li -- firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 818-0787
Rob Wilson -- email@example.com (617) 448-0218 (film student - access to large supply of video/audiotechnology... currently filming a documentary on street musicians)
Ryan Montbleau -- (617) 899-2537 firstname.lastname@example.org (Salem Evening News connection, all over North Shore,U-mass Collegian?)
Keith Cornella -- email@example.com
Sarah Woolf -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Danielle Miraglia -- email@example.com (Malden, Everett, Saugus papers)
Jonathan Fixler -- firstname.lastname@example.org (481) 894-5031 Can write articles
Naomi Mower -- Naomi.Mower@Tufts.edu (857) 928-4545 She edits the news section of the Tufts Observer...could pursue other college papers
Nick Zaino -- (617) 393-9702 email@example.com (Watertown connections)
Peter Malagodi -- Peter@Melodeego.com (617) 327-1260 (Newton ... Newton Tab/Graphic)
Pete Mellor -- firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (781)424-5753 Internet Indie Media
Jamie McLaughlin -- firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 661-6628
Dave Piper -- email@example.com (857) 998-0127
Christopher Hwang -- firstname.lastname@example.org (617) 669-9576
Technical Campaign (Sound engineers; Video and Audio documentation, Polls, Surveys, Office Support)Tom Bianchi -- email@example.com www.24hourtom.com 617-256-4527
Jonathan Fixler -- firstname.lastname@example.org 781-894-5031
Sergei Alexeeu -- 617-474-9782
Scott Bowdin -- 617-416-1802
Dave Piper -- 857-998-0127 email@example.com
Katt Hernandez -- 617-354-2320 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Bastoni -- lisa@lisabastoni
Jonathan Glancy -- email@example.com 617-492-1980
Josh Buckley -- firstname.lastname@example.org 617-254-1959
Lauren Ingram -- email@example.com
Petition: On-line version, PDF version, text version and jpg version -- The Street Arts and Buskers Advocates will collect and send the petitions to Governor Romney; Secretary and MBTA Chairman, Daniel A. Grabauskas; and General Manager, Michael H. Mulhern as well as used in the public forums.
We have a new easy to remember URL to access the on-line petition:
Key words to help folks remember the site-- SOS Save Our Subways.
Click for a pdf version of the MBTA Petition
HERE (document is one page 40k)
Text version below:
SUBWAY ARTISTS PETITION
Performances on subway platforms are an important cultural asset to the MBTA and
the community, and are an expression of constitutional First Amendment Rights
On December 1st, without due process or public comment, the MBTA will put into effect discriminatory and unreasonable new restrictions on subway performers.
These new regulations, which overturn an 18 year working agreement between artists and the MBTA, will:
• Ban all, even modest amplification
• Greatly limit locations and hours of performance
• Totally eliminate certain types of instruments
We, the undersigned, support the tradition of diverse artistic expression in the subway. The MBTA is obligated to include community input on decisions affecting performances. We petition the MBTA to rescind their new policy and allow the artists to continue to perform.
Signature Name Address Telephone Email
Daniel A. Grabauskas; and MBTA General Manager, Michael H. Mulhern as well as used in the public forums.
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates, PO Box 112, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 Telephone: 617-522-3407
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web site: http://communityartsadvocates.org
JPG version below:
98 K jpg file (Click on image for larger version and to download)
Legal Arguments: Three case law quotes for review
"For many persons who do not have easy access to television, radio, the major newspapers, and other forms of mass media, the only way they can express themselves to a broad range of citizens on issues of general public concern is to picket, or to handbill or to utilize other free or relatively inexpensive means of communication. The only hope that these people have to be able to communicate effectively is to be permitted to speak in those areas in which most of their fellow citizens can be found. One such area is the business district of a city or town or its functional equivalent....
It would not be surprising in the future to see cities rely more and more on private businesses to perform functions once performed by governmental agencies. The advantages of reduced expenses and increased tax base cannot be overstated. As governments rely on private enterprise, public property decreases in favor of privately owned property. It becomes harder and harder for citizens to find means to communicate with other citizens. Only the wealthy may find effective communication possible unless we adhere to Marsh v. Alabama and continue to hold that "(t)he more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his private property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it."Justice Marshall from his dissenting opinion in Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner
"The evidence at trial showed that, within the paid area, several activities occur other than those directly related to the running of trains. The scope of expressive and commercial activity varies, however, depending upon the individual stations' physical characteristics. For example, some stations, such as Government Center and Park Street, have kiosks in the paid areas that sell food, drinks, newspapers and magazines. On the other hand, defendant permits no other activity on Kenmore station, because of its small size. In a number of stations hawkers sell papers in the paid areas during rush hour. Non-commercial activities include musicians performing, with and without solicitation boxes, in the paid areas of many stations plaintiffs leafleted in the paid areas from 1983, apparently with defendant's permission at times, until the disputes giving rise to this litigation. 2 In addition, passengers engage in a range of first Amendment activity throughout the stations, including talking and greeting one another.
Defendant's absolute ban on passengers greeting others or distributing literature for political or non-profit purposes burdens substantial speech unrelated to defendant's legitimate pubic safety objectives. Similarly defendant's ban on leafleting within the paid areas suppresses large amounts of speech that endangers no one.
The factual circumstances that transform plaintiffs' activity into a threat to public safety exist only in specified stations at specified times; most stations during most hours of operation are not so crowded. Moreover, the range of transit activities occurring within defendant's stations rebuts its contention that leafleting threatens public safety. Indeed, the arguments defendant advances apply with similar force to permitted activities, including the newspaper hawkers and the musicians."Jews for Jesus v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (1991) (Click to read complete case)
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Wed, Apr. 16, 2003:
"Just four months ago, the cash-strapped transit agency had to pay the jazz sax man $15,000 in damages for arresting him in 2001 for playing in a subway concourse.
Yesterday, SEPTA agreed to fork out $18,000 more for not learning its lesson. It arrested Lancaster, 60, again in July.
The settlement agreement in the civil-rights suit that Lancaster filed against SEPTA in October was signed by U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter and filed yesterday in federal court..
"Under no circumstances shall a street musician be arrested or told to leave a location merely because that individual is playing a musical instrument or singing," the agreement reads."http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/front/5641901.htm
The Legal Court Citations section of this web sit refers to the New York City subway Federal Court Cases and also includes the Boston subway Federal Court Case: Carew-Reid v. Metropolitan Transportation Auth., 903 F2d 914 (2nd Cir. 1990) (Subway) Jews for Jesus v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (1991) (Subway)
SUBWAY ARTIST ARRESTED --This letter was sent by Michael Williams-Wright to Street Arts and Buskers Advocates. Michael is a gentle and generous soul, a talented musician, and an artist who plays in the Subways. He was a member of the group of subway musicians and concerned citizens from S.A.B.A. who visited with Legislators and their staff this past Thursday, November 20th. Friday night, November 21, 2003, Michael was arrested, handcuffed, and hauled away by MBTA Police after coming to the aid of a subway rider who was having a seizure.
And see Weekly Dig article "Orwell on the MBTA," by Paul McMorrow http://weeklydig.com/dig/content/5290.aspx
Please email the Governor and ask for the removal of MBTA General Manager Michael Mulhern for this abuse of power...• Governor's telephone (617) 725-4005 and email: GOffice@state.ma.us
Here is Michael's email via Mare Streetpeople:
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 10:18:35 -0500
Subject: MBTA Police Arrest Musician!!!
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 08:11:59 EST
To: email@example.com, Coolreeder1@aol.com
Subject: MBTA Police Arrest Musician
Good Morning Stephen
My name is Michael Williams-Wright and I spoke to you at the Middle East during the meeting you organized for the Street Musicians.
You might remember me from playing Harmonica for Kevin Macnamara.
Last night about 8:30pm I was breaking down from playing a few hours at Downtown Crossing T stop on the Orange Line, when I noticed a young man having what, seemed to me, convulsions of some sort and losing his equilibrium. He started falling backwards, and I rushed over to him to help break his fall. At that point I realized that he was having a seizure. I ran over to the T booth and yelled for them to get help.
In a surprisingly short period of time the EMTs were there to examine him. About 5 min. after the EMTs arrived the MBTA Police got there. (This is where it gets good!)
I at that point continued to pack up my equipment, and as I was packing I mentioned to the T officer that this was a perfect example of how we (street musicians) were an asset to the security of commuters in the T, and not a security risk. He looked at me with a very unsympathetic glare, at which point I continued to speak to a commuter who was sitting next to me as I packed. I told the commuter that we had an online web site if he was interested in signing our petition online (I realized that asking him to sign the petition I had with me might not be the best idea at that time). The officer overheard our conversation, and told me I couldn't tell commuters about our online petition on T property!!
At this point I reminded him of my "Right to freedom of speech," at which point he ordered me out of the station. I responded by telling him I paid a dollar to come into the station and was taking the train to go home. I then proceeded to the Red Line. He followed me and told me I was "Trespassing" and had to leave the T immediately, and escorted me from the station. As we left I asked for his badge number, which he gave me.
I live in Arlington and being that I paid my fare to get into the T, I decided to walk above ground to "Park St. Station."
As I started to lug my equipment down the stairs at "Park St.," I heard yelling and noticed that the same officer had followed me to Park ST.!! (Aren't these guys supposed to be looking for criminals?)
He was very upset that I was attempting to get home by way of T and put me under arrest for........you guessed it, Trespassing!!!!
I was handcuffed (much to tightly! My left thumb is still numb from him putting the cuffs on me sideways!!) and brought to the police station, where I sat for about an hour and a half.
I posted bail ($40 dollars, $20 of which a commuter gave to me as I was being escorted from Downtown Crossing)
WHAT THE HELL CONSTITUTES TRESPASSING???
Can any T officer say your trespassing because he has a personal problem with the way you look, talk, walk, smile, whistle...........!!!!
I am due to go to court Monday morning, 11/24/03 at 8:30 am. (B.M.C. 90 Devonshire St. Boston, Ma.)
You might want to keep track at what happens in this case. I believe that I was discriminated against due to the fact that I'm a street performer. I also feel there were no grounds whatsoever to impose an order of trespassing on me.
I am interested in your views about what happened. I also would like any info you can give me related to obtaining legal counsel in this case.
Please call me at my home: 781-643-7898 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org I have a pager number for emergencies: 781-567-4219
Thanks for your time, Michael Williams
MBTA Guidelines: PDF and Text versions with comments
NEW Compromise Guidelines at MBTA web site: http://www.mbta.com/business_center/subway_performers/
Click for a pdf old version of the MBTA guidelines HERE (document is eight pages 509k)
Text version below:
TRANSIT REALTY ASSOCIATES, LLC
November 12, 2003
Dear MBTA Subway Performer:
The MBTA has developed a new Subway Performers Program Policy, a copy of which is attached to this letter. Please read this information carefully as it affects your ability to continue performing on MBTA property. Transit Realty Associates, L.L.C.. ("TRA") is the MBTA's designated representative managing the new Subway Performers Program Policy. Effective immediately TRA will be your contact for this program at the following location:
Transit Realty Associates, LLC
Jack Wolfson, Asset Manager
20 Winthrop Square, Floor 2
Boston, MA 02110
Effective December 1, 2003 the new Policy will go into effect. Subway Performers will be required to obtain a permit and carry a badge identifying you as a licensed Performer. In addition, approved locations for performances will be identified by signage. Performances in other areas will not be permitted. If you wish to continue performing after December 1. 2003, you must obtain a new permit and badge prior to that date.
To obtain a new permit and badge please follow these steps:
1. Obtain a passport sized photo.
2. Complete Permit application.
3. Bring completed permit application, photo, 2 forms of positive identification, one piece of mail with a cancellation date within the past 30 days showing current address, and a check or money order for $25 to TRA at the above address during business hours.
4. Your permit and ID will be mailed to you within ten (10) days.
If you have any questions, contact Jack Wolfson at 617-482-2525 or email at email@example.com.
Transit Realty Associates, L.L.C.
as designated representative for the MBTA
Lorna J. Moritz
MBTA Subway Performers Program
POLICY: The primary mission of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ("MBTA") is to provide safe, convenient, timely, cost effective and reliable public transportation services to over 1 million people daily. Any noise levels or activities that interfere with service announcements, train arrivals and departures, berth and platform locations, schedule changes, emergency announcements or security alerts will not be allowed. Similarly, passenger circulation routes and station "lines of sight" must remain clear and unobstructed. Controlling the activity of subway performers is an essential element in completing this mission.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this policy is to promote safety by establishing procedures that ensure a well-managed and coordinated Subway Performers Program.
SCOPE: The policy applies to all individuals applying for and being issued an MBTA Subway Performer Permit.
• The MBTA allows Performers to perform at designated Performance Areas throughout the transit systems ( see attached list of station locations) on a daily basis ("Performance Areas"). Each Performer must cease performing and leave the station by 11:00 pm, or posted station closing time, if earlier. In addition, certain Performance Areas may be limited to certain hours.
• A sign on the wall that states that the Performance Location is reserved for Performers with an authorized MBTA permit identifies the designated Performance Areas. Performance Areas are available on a first-come, first-serve daily basis.
• Each Performer must obtain a photo permit from the MBTA for a fee of $25.00 prior to any performances. Group Performers must apply individually. Each permit is good for twelve (12) months beginning on the date of issue. The permit expiration date is noted on the permit. In order to obtain a permit, each Performer must sign the MBTA Subway Performer Licensing Agreement and General Release. Each Performer applying for a permit must be at least 18 years of age. Each applicant must provide two forms of positive identification, one of which contains a recent photograph (e.g., drivers license, passport, or other government issued identification). Name and address shall be verified against the documentation shown by the individual submitting the application form. In addition to two recent forms of identification, the applicant must produce a piece of mail with a cancellation date within the past 30 days. The MBTA will mail the notification to this address, and the applicant may return to be issued a musician's photo identification permit. Applicants who are not U.S. Citizens must provide proof of legal residence or visitor status. Applicants must first call #617-482-2525 to schedule a time to apply for permit (no walk-ins). The MBTA's designated representative E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
• A penalty fee of $25.00 will be charged on all requests for replacement of missing photo permits, and a thirty-day waiting period is required before replacement permit is issued.
• A Performer's permit cannot be used to gain access to a station in lieu of paying the appropriate fare.
• The use of amplifiers by Performers in the subway system is strictly prohibited.
• The MBTA reserves the right to limit or restrict the use of specific instruments / accoutrements.
• The MBTA prohibits trumpets or trumpet-like instruments, or other horn instruments, electric guitar/bass, drums, or any electric instruments, as they are no longer instruments suitable to the subway environment. Note: the use of a keyboard to simulate these instruments is prohibited.
• During the twelve-month permit period, any Performer whose performance is deemed of "no entertainment value" as supported by frequent complaints by passengers, other station non-MBTA personnel (e.g., vendors, cleaners), MBTA station and other employees, will be so informed in writing. The Performer will be given an opportunity to address performance issues. Should the complaints continue to be made concerning said individual, the permit will be rescinded and future permit requests will be denied.
• In the event that a Performer violates the terms of the agreement (e.g., blocks passenger flow, disturbs commuters, etc.) the Performer's permit may be rescinded immediately by an MBTA Official (e.g., MBTA Police Officer, Station Official, Manager). The permit will be confiscated at that time. The Performer must cease performance activity, give the permit to the requesting MBTA Official upon request, and leave the station. Failure to do so could be considered trespassing. Confiscated Performers permits will be forwarded to the administrator of the Performers' Program.
• At the end of the twelve-month period, each Performer is required to obtain a new permit according to the procedures outlined above. The MBTA makes no guarantee as to space and availability when renewing a permit.
• The Real Estate Department and its designated management representative controls the administrative activities for this program. Operations, the MBTA Police, the Safety Department, and other appropriate MBTA departments will monitor Performer activity in stations. From time to time, the MBTA, because of operational concerns, public safety concerns, emergencies or other contingencies, may require performers to relocate or to evacuate the station, at which times Performers are required to follow MBTA orders pertaining to relocation or evacuation.
I have received a copy of this MBTA Subway Performers Program Policy.
Subway Performers Program
Rules of Conduct Governing Performers' Performance
The continued success of the Subway Performers Program is dependent upon each Performer following the rules and regulations that have been established by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ("MBTA").
1. Each Performer must be neat in appearance and wear proper clothing, including shirt, pants and shoes, at all times while performing.
2. Each Performer must play in the proper location. Performers playing in non-authorized locations will have their permits revoked. If another Performer is already in the Performance Location reserved for Performers, the second arriving Performer must leave and go to another reserved unoccupied Performance Location in either that station or another station before beginning his/her performance. Only one Performer (lone performer or group) at a time is allowed in a designated Performance Location.
3. Each performer must keep the designated area clean and free of clutter. Each Performer must remove all trash from the performance area after the conclusion of each performance.
4. Each Performer is prohibited from impeding the safe flow of passengers entering, existing, or moving within the stations.
5. Each Performer must cease performing while station and/or train announcements are being made. Performers must be aware of noise level and activity in the station environment and not allow their performance to interfere with service announcements, train arrivals and departures, berth and platform locations, schedule changes, emergency announcements or security alerts.
6. Any noise levels or activity that interfere with passenger, vendor and/or employee comfort will not be allowed.
7. Each Performer must wear a Photo-lD as prescribed by the MBTA. Each permit must be clearly visible while the Performer is performing.
8. Each Performer may display and sell recordings of his/her own music while performing. The name of the Performer printed on the MBTA issued Photo-lD must be clearly printed on all items being sold.
9. Each Performer must refrain from active solicitation and harassment of customers.
10. Each Performer is strictly prohibited from playing his/her own music or the music of another artist on a "boom box" or other electronic device for the sole purpose of generating cash sales. This does not constitute a "musical performance" for which a permit is granted.
11. Each Performer is prohibited from using drums, trumpets or trumpet-like instruments, horn instruments, and electric guitars, or any electric instruments, as they are no longer instruments suitable to the subway environment. Note: the use of a keyboard to simulate these instruments or drum sounds is prohibited. In addition, the use of amplifiers by Performers in the subway system is strictly prohibited.
12. Performers are not allowed to use any MBTA power source.
13. Each Performer must follow the orders of MBTA station officials at all times, especially orders to relocate or evacuate the station.
14. Each Performer must cease performing and leave the station by 11:00 pm, or posted station closing time, if earlier. In addition, certain Performance Areas may be limited to certain hours. All musical instruments and other equipment must be removed from the station by that time.
15. Each Performer is strictly prohibited from using or carrying illegal drugs and/or alcohol while on MBTA property.
16. Each Performer is strictly prohibited from smoking while on MBTA property.
17. Each Performer is strictly prohibited from carrying or storing firearms while on MBTA property.
18. Group performances are limited to an appropriate number of Performers. The number of Performers to be determined by the MBTA.
19. In the event that a Performer's permit is rescinded, said Performer will be informed personally by an appropriate MBTA Official (e.g., MBTA Police Officer, Station Official, Manager) that his/her permit has been rescinded and that the permit will be confiscated at that time. Upon notification that a Performer permit has been rescinded said Performer must cease Performer activity, and give the permit to the requesting MBTA Official. Failure to do so could be considered trespassing. Confiscated Performers permits will be forwarded to the administrator of the Performers' Program.
20. IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION REMEMBER TO: Remain calm, follow the directions of station officials and public address announcements, and notify an MBTA official or the MBTA Police of unusual behavior (617-222-1212).
21. Every individual performing on MBTA property must have a secondary means of government-issued positive identification on his or her person. This secondary l.D. must have a current picture (e.g., drivers license, passport, or other government-issued identification) in the event that an MBTA Station Official or Police Officer needs to verify the validity of that individual's Performer's photo identification badge.
22. All station Performers must be made aware that the MBTA Operations, Police and Safety Departments and other appropriate departments will monitor Performer activity in the stations. Such monitoring includes ensuring compliance with the MBTA's photo identification badge policy (i.e., that all Performers wear a badge that is clearly visible). Any Performer approached by an MBTA authorized employee shall, upon request, present his/her Performer photo identification badge and/or government-issued identification to the MBTA employee.
23. Any station Performer failing to produce his/her Performer photo identification badge and/or other government issued photo ID upon request of an MBTA employee shall be asked to cease Performer activity and leave the station until such time that they have the proper Performer photo identification on their person.
24. The Authority prohibits the transport of flammable liquids and combustible gases (e.g., cans of gasoline/propane, powered generators, etc.) in stations and on revenue service vehicles.
25. Any violation of the above rules and regulations could seriously jeopardize a Performer's permit, including the rescinding of the permit and the denial of any future permit requests.
26. The MBTA reserves the right to amend, modify or supplement these rules at any time without notice.
27. I have received a copy of these rules and regulations, have read, understand, and agree to comply with the above rules and regulations while on MBTA property. Should I violate any of the Rules and Regulations, I understand that the MBTA may terminate my permit.
MBTA Subway Performer Permit Application
City: State: Zip Code:
Telephone Number - Home: Business:
Date of Birth:
U.S. Citizen: Yes No If No, clarify:
All applicants must provide two forms of positive identification, one of which contains a recent photograph (e.g., drivers license, passport, or other government issued identification). Name and address shall be verified against the documentation shown by the individual submitting the application form. In addition to two recent forms of identification, the applicant must produce a piece of mail with a cancellation date within the past 30 days. The MBTA will mail the notification to this address, and the applicant may return to be issued a musician's photo identification permit.
Applicants who are not US. Citizens, must provide proof of legal residence or visitor status.
Musical instrument(s) intended for use:
Musical background (e.g., training and playing experience):
General musical repertoire jazz, classical, folk, country, blues, etc.):
References (must provide two; personal or business):
Name: Telephone No.
Name: Telephone No.
Applicant Signature: Date:
For Office Use Only
Date permit issued:
Date permit denied:
MBTA Subway Performer Permit
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority ("MBTA"), a body politic and corporate and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, with a usual place of business at 10 Park Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts, grants permission to ("PERFORMER"), with a usual place of business/residence at , Massachusetts, to enter upon MBTA property at designated locations, which are identified by a sign on the wall that states that the Location is reserved for Performers with an authorized MBTA permit ("Performance Area"). Note: Performance Area locations are available on a first-come, first-serve daily basis for the period of time commencing through for the sole purpose of .
By acceptance of this PERMIT, the PERFORMER agrees to indemnify and save harmless the MBTA from and against any and all liabilities, losses, damages, costs, expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees and expenses, and all causes of action suits, claims, demands or judgments of any nature whatsoever ("CLAIMS") that is or may be attributed to the actions of the PERFORMER, its officers, employees or agents, while upon the Performance Areas at designated Performance Areas, which are identified by a sign on the wall that states that the Performance Location is reserved for performers with an authorized MBTA permit. During the term of this PERMIT, the PERFORMER accepts the Performance Areas in as-is condition. In addition, the PERFORMER shall save the MBTA harmless from any claims against the MBTA from its employees, officers or agents for injuries (including death) suffered by them because of the condition of the Performance Areas.
Performer agrees to abide by the "Rules of Conduct'' attached as Exhibit A. Failure to abide by Rules of Conduct may result in revocation or suspension of this permit, at the sole discretion of the MBTA.
By acceptance of this PERMIT, the PERFORMER agrees to restore the Performance Area to the condition that it was in at the time of the commencement of the performance.
The MBTA shall not be liable to the PERFORMER for merchandise, equipment of personal property arising out of the PERMIT hereby granted, or for damages suffered by PERFORMER while on the Performance Areas. The PERMIT at all times will remain the property of the MBTA.
I have read the above PERMIT and I agree, by signing below, that in consideration of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority granting permission, I am hereby assuming all risk of injury to myself (including death) and all loss of or damage to my property resulting from being upon or about the Performance Areas on behalf of myself, my executor or administrator or assigns and heirs at law and next of kin, hereby release and forever discharge the MBTA, its successors and assigns from any and all claims, demands, damages, actions, and causes of action which might in any way arise out of injury to me (including death) or loss of or damage to my properly resulting from being upon or about said Performance Areas, whether due in whole or in part to the acts or omissions, negligent or otherwise, of the officers, agents, servants, licenses or invitees of the MBTA or otherwise.
TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY PERFORMER
Printed Name Printed Name
Signature of MBTA Designated Representative Performer's Signature
Note: regular Permits printed on gold Paper, special permits printed on pink paper.
Open Public Meeting
Introductions: Name and one-three word description 15 minGoals, Objectives and Mandate of meeting
Subway Performance History Overview 5 min
New MBTA Guidelines 15 min
First Amendment, Private Property, Amplification
Action Plan Priority
Legal Campaign 10 minACLU-John Reinstein;
Brown, Rudnick, Berlack, Israel - Robert Dushman
Harvard, BU, BC, NE, Suffolk Law Schools
Political Lobby Campaign 10 minVisit State House with petition and media kit 11/20
Schedule hearing with MBTA 11/24-26
Public Opinion Campaign 10 minInformation Picket 11/28 (Friday after Thanksgiving)
Civil Disobedience 12/1
Media Campaign 10 minPrint, Radio, TV, Internet maintain and diversify
Local media Belmont, Winchester, Weston, Newton, Dedham, etc.
Technical Campaign 10 minSound engineers, video and audio documentation
Polls, surveys, office support
Fundraising/Benefit Campaign 10 min
Next meeting 10 min
Letters and Responses:
- 2003 -- Letter sent to MBTA and Legislators at the State House on November 7, 2003
From: Stephen H. Baird
Sent: Friday, November 07, 2003 12:58 PM
Cc: RTravagl@senate.state.ma.us; JBarrios@senate.state.ma.us; DWilkers@senate.state.ma.us; BJoyce@senate.state.ma.us; Sen.StanRosenberg@senate.state.ma.us; Rep.AliceWolf@hou.state.ma.us; Rep.LizMalia@hou.state.ma.us; Rep.ByronRushing@hou.state.ma.us; Rep.JeffreySanchez@hou.state.ma.us
Subject: Subway Performing Arts Program
November 7, 2003
Mr. Michael H. Mulhern, General Manager
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116
Re: Subway Performing Arts Program
Dear Mr. Michael H. Mulhern:
I am writing this letter regarding the Subway Performing Arts Program. I have been involved with subway performances since the first scheduled subway performances by members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the "Music Under Boston" program started by Governor Michael S. Dukakis.
The Subway Artists Guild was formed in 1987 to develop performance guidelines after the MBTA ceased funding the coordination of "Music Under Boston" by Articulture (now Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center). These performance guidelines negotiated at the State House in Senator Michael Barrett's office have been used for the past 15 years.
I have received two telephone calls from subway performers who were told new guidelines will go into effect on December 31st. The subway performers have not been informed about these changes. No public process was conducted before making these performance guidelines changes.
Artists from -- Peru to Russia, China to Denmark, India to Australia -- have enhanced the platforms with cultural sounds of the world. One artist created a recording at the Davis Square Station which was featured in the Boston Globe for the release concert at the Somerville Theater. Many artists have performed for over a decade and some for over twenty-five years in this public forum.
I urge you to honor and respect these artists by including them in an open public process before any new performance guidelines are enacted.
Stephen H. Baird
- Street Artists:
Here is the response from the MBTA--
I expect the new guidelines will cripple the ability of artists to be heard and survive. I will be looking for an attorney to challenge the MBTA in Federal Court. I have sent copies to Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts and ACLU.
Stephen H. Baird
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates
Community Arts Advocates, Inc.
PO Box 112
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Dear Mr. Baird:
Upon receipt of your recent letter regarding the new performers' Policy the General Manager immediately referred your request to me for my review and response.
Thank you for your letter regarding the new Performers' Policy. Please accept my apology if it appears that this policy is being implemented for any reason other than to increase the safety and security of our system. As Americans we suffered a rude awakening on September 11, 2001, when we all realized that our world was not as secure, as we once believed it to be. In response to those tragic attacks, the MBTA convened an Anti-Terrorism Task Force, of which I am the Chairperson. The Task Force consisted of members chosen for their skill and experience in the fields of security, safety, and criminal justice, as applied to transportation. Through the Task Force process, we conducted threat and vulnerability assessments. In addition, external security audits were also conducted. As a result, of these audits many recommendations were made in an attempt to reduce our weaknesses and strengthen our security procedures. Unfortunately, this process did not allow for non-Authority participation due to the confidential nature of security concerns.
Along with many other recommendations, a well-managed "Subway Performer Arts Program" was deemed to be a necessary part of making our system as safe and secure for our customers and employees as a public transportation system can be. Many managers contributed to the development of the new Performers' Policy and the main objective was to allow qualified performers the right to be in our stations in a space designated for them. The best spaces in each of the identified stations was chosen by taking into account passenger circulation routes and station lines of sight, which must remain clear and unobstructed for the safety of our customers and employees. Furthermore, clearly defining the rules that both performers and the MBTA are expected to abide by, I believe, will serve to enhance the Subway Performing Arts Program.
In closing, please remember that the primary mission of the MBTA is to provide safe, convenient, timely, cost effective and reliable public transportation services to over 1 million people daily. Sound levels that interfere with safe service and/or emergency announcements or security alerts cannot be allowed. Properly managing the activity of subway performers is an essential element in promoting safety and in completing our mission. I have requested that Transit Realty Associates, the designated management representative that controls the administrative activities for this program, send you an information package when they are ready to be distributed. The Performers' Policy is slated to take effect on December 1, 2003. I think you will agree that the addition of designated performance areas, for performers with the proper permit, will add an element of safety and security for performers as well as for our customers and employees.
Robert Hayden, Assistant General Manager of Safety
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Mitt Romney, Governor; Kerry Healey, Lt. Governor,; Daniel A. Grabauskas, Secretary and MBTA Chairman; Michael H. Mulhern, General Manager
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Ten Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116-3974
- Received a fax copy of the guidelines and numerous emails and phone calls from disturbed musicians enclosed is a copy of email sent out to numerous artists, political folks, arts organizations and attorneys. Stephen Baird 11/14/03
As expected the new guidelines sent out by the MBTA seriously restricts and many instances bans subway performances.
- A total ban on all amplification and electric instruments including keyboards.
A total ban on horn instruments and drums
A total ban on people who do not have a permanent address or are traveling artists.
There is even a dress code
I will be contacting the ACLU tomorrow to review this document.
We should schedule a public meeting and set up a petition drive and media campaign. Email me if you are willing to help. Please forward this email to other street artists and friends of street artists. We will have to act very quickly to stop this outrageous policy.
My letter to the MBTA and their response is posted on the web site. The policy was developed in secret because of 9/11 they said....
http://communityartsadvocates.org/saahistorysubway.html is the web page on Subway performance issues and history.
- Artists Forum: Stories, notes and comments
Subject: subway ban... Michael Borkson
As a Boston subway performer, I'd like to pass on this information. Starting Dec. 1, the MBTA will institute new, repressive regulations for subway performers that will violate our 1st Amendment freedom of expression. In the name of subway "security"(post 9/11) and without any input from the subway performers,the MBTA is going to:
- 1. ban amplifiers fromthe subway(making musicians unhearable above the loud trains),
2.ban horn instruments such as saxophones,
3.deny permits based upon "lack of artistic quality",
4. make performers wear a photo i.d badge at all times
5. charge a $25 fee (before a permit was free).
These repressive measures will essentially eliminate subway performers from the T. This is also happening at Christmas time, the most profitable time of year for performers. The MBTA subway permit program is being sold off to a private company, Transit Realty(privatization of a public service).There may be a class action lawsuit against the MBTA on behalf of the performers to stop these repressive measures. Please show your support for subway musicians and artistic freedom by calling the MBTA general manager at 617-222-5000 and Jack Wolfson at Transit Realty at 617-482-2525 and express your oppostion to these repressive measures.It's bad enough the T is raising subway fares by 25% starting Jan. 1--now they want to violate the1st Amendment.
thanks for your support of free artistic expression, Michael Borkson 781-321-1720
Mare Streetpeople <email@example.com>
Steve, what can i do to help? i was approached by an inspector the other day- told to move to a remote area which felt unsafe & would definitely be unsafe for some of my blind friends who play in the subway. also no commuter traffic there & without an amp would be impossible to make tips. Commuters also complained that day to the inspector saying it was crazy. also no place to sit- i have major arthritis in legs & need to be able to sit at least once in awhile. inspector told me i need to bring my own chair when
I've been sitting on the bench for many years-seems unfair to have to drag around a chair when there are benches. want to know why they can't use decibel monitors as in harvard sq. instead of banning amps? new desgnated location is also directly across from the other designated spot (downtown crossing) which leaves commuters having to hear 2 artists at once. Having played for many years downtown-it seems bizarre that they can even say that it is safer...when we are in the public view it is also safer for us crime wise.
I have been instrumental in helping to fight crime (reported weopons etc) when I play. I believe our presence is more effective than that of the police as they are hardly ever there.
I have a scrapbook full of commuter appreciation notes if needed.
Let me know what you need from me,
hope you're well, Mare Streetpeople (781)316-0090
John Patton called me on November 15th
-- He told me he was an Ex-Marine who served in Vietnam and plays in the subway.
-- Uses a nylon string guitar which can not be heard without amplification.
-- Also plays French Horn that is now a banned instrument
-- That he was guest player with the Boston Bar Association Orchestra, Concord Symphony and North Shore Orchestra
-- If he can not play in the subway even for 30 days that he would become homeless
-- That he served his country so he could exercise his First Amendment rights
-- Asked What can he do?
-- Will ask Harvard Law School and Boston Bar Association to take on the legal cases
Tom Bianchi "24 Hour Tom" www.24hourtom.com firstname.lastname@example.org
I have no trouble saying that in the last 5 years I have become Boston's most beloved subway musician. I make people laugh, I make people happy. I walk down the street and people ask me when I'll be performing again underground. I get smiles all day, I get fan email constantly.
I just caught wind of this. I'm going away this weekend. Upon my return I will play my favorite spots every day up until and past Dec 1st. I will hand out any protest flyers that you have. I will put up this horrible change in MBTA policy on my website. I will contact every newspaper connection I have obtained since I started performing. My personal email list reaches over 1000 people.
I am the best musician I have ever been right now.... and I owe that success to subway performing and the people of Boston. This is complete bullshit.
Let me know what I can do.
Anything. Seriously, anything.
My database holds about 500 local singer/songwriters.... every single one of which has cut their teeth in the subway. Anything.
If there is anything that I can do, please let me know, and keep me informed...
This is insane. -- Dawn England
Hello Stephen, my name is Emily and I just saw your distressing post on Craigslist about the MBTA's proposed ban of street performance. Seeing as I consider street performers to be the only really refreshing break in my daily, humdrum commute on the T, I'm incredibly upset at the prospect of seeing them barred from sharing their talent. I'm currently a student at the School of the Museum of Fine Art and am willing to do whatever would be helpful in halting this awful crusade against the arts. I know that many students here would feel the same if the issue were brought to their attention and I'm more than happy to assist in promoting awareness.
I'm seriously concerned about losing the subway performers. They're an incredible blessing and have brought me and so many other's a bit of unexpected joy now and then. Please let me know if I can help. Thank you so much for the news. Take care.
All the best, Emily
Street Arts and Buskers Advocates
Copyright © 1999-2021 Stephen Baird