Jul 1, 2010 - Issue 382
Saving the African Marketplace in Los
Summer is a time to be outdoors and to experience the wonders of new things, including the diversity of others. Summer festivals bring education, socialization and family enjoyment. Even in momentary economic recessions, festivals bring a much needed relief where families can affordably entertain themselves.
Many cities are
known for their culture fests.
It brings millions
of dollars into the local economy, taxes and fees into the city budget
and offers a diversion away from the violence, the unemployment and the
hardships we are facing in the city of
The City of
Taxpayer money is not just to run government. It is not just to pay for services, as crucial as services are. Some parts of the city budget do go for constituent enrichment. In this instance, monies for cultural affairs are considered “non-essential” to the operation of the city. Those services have been the first to go. The African Marketplace has found a way to exist with the reduction or elimination of city funds. All they need is the space. Space that wouldn’t be otherwise used to the extent it would be by the festival. Most of our public spaces throughout the City are underutilized. But when we finally do want to use the parks for something of cultural benefit, the city bureaucrats want to overcharge people. It doesn’t cost $180,000 for city Recreation and Parks personal to staff the park for five days. It doesn’t cost $180,000 to put up section barriers.
What does it cost $180,000 to do? Fill some department’s budget shortfall? The politics of the “ask” for the African Marketplace stinks from the very notion that the City would try to profiteer on the backs of the people. For the people of the community to have to be denied the use of a public park because the city wants to overcharge festival organizers (who also work for the city) is bogus. It would be different if the festival was costing the city $180,000. If the money’s not there, the money’s not there. But if the money’s not there, the actual cost to the city is affordable for the festival, and the organizers come up with the money, it is not right, nor proper, for the city to then make the festival unfeasible. Its wants to charge so much that it makes the proposition unaffordable.
We shouldn’t let
the City of
Contact the Mayor, members of the City Council and the City Comptroller (who wants to be the next Mayor), and tell them our community WANTS the African Marketplace this year and we want a significant fee reduction. Tell the Mayor to buy a ticket (since we can’t give him one - but since he’ll probably bring proclamations). We know they’re watching him on the free ticket thing. But he needs to understand what this means to our community.
He needs (and
we need) to help save the African Marketplace in
We cannot let the City be the one to kill our cultural festival. Not now, not ever.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, PhD is a national columnist and author of Saving The Race: Empowerment Through Wisdom. His Website is AnthonySamad.com. Click here to contact Dr. Samad.