On Saturday morning, my wife and I were at the River Market Farmer's Market and enjoyed watching a few street performers entertaining the crowds. One was a "machine man/drummer" combo of some type (sorry to my street performing friends for not knowing the jargon). A couple of guys were jugglers. Crowds gathered, ogled, smiled. It was fun -- watching the performers, and watching the people watching the performers.
There are several in KC that want to put some pretty major restrictions on street performers -- and passed an ordinance late last week (without more than 2 hours of public viewing) to limit this part of urban street life. We spend so much time trying to IMPROVE street life in KC, why would we now try to kill one of the good things we have going on -- which is a lot of the talented street performers in our city.
There is a great conversation on the topic at BlogKC.
I want to point out that this ordinance:
a) doesn't get rid of aggressive panhandling -- which is everyone's complaint anyway. There is already a law on the books now about aggressive panhandling, and it's not enforceable.
b) puts a damper on quality street life in this city and part of what gives the River Market, Westport, Crossroads their charm.
c) violates the first amendment right to free speech for street performers and panhandlers.
The Street performers are working on stopping this ordinance from passing. I encourage everyone to sign the petition -- you can get more details here.