“Creative Gainesville?” The late H. L. Mencken might call it the “Bozart of the South”
In an editorial, claiming “we do innovation,” it is unclear to me who “we” are, though it is certain that the writer claims that the activity occurs in Gainesville, Florida. Here, creativity is a way of life. It is well and truly understood here that innovation occurs when creative people of all disciplines and backgrounds are able to live, work, and play in close proximity to one another” says an editor may be a professional who has been sharing his opinion with us for decades.
According to the editorial, “we” may be what one software company president referred to as “you guys (who) came off with a message to us that was well-orchestrated, and everybody seemed to be on the same page.” What did we do to justify these accolades? We engaged in a “seamless recruitment effort that ultimately involved UF, the Chamber of Commerce, the city, the county, Santa Fe College, business and arts community leaders, and many more partners in innovation,” the editorial opined.
We, however, does not seem to include folks who hang out around a public square after 11:30 p.m., to exercise First Amendment rights of speech and assembly. Gainesville officials passed an ordinance which allows police to arrest those people as “trespassers,” although similar activity has been tolerated in other cities in the United States. They are free to walk about on the square during daylight hours–but please don’t smoke.
Food vendors may get permits to sell found on the square. You can get a paid lunch at a small City created venue on the square, but please refrain from any music unless you have a permit. But how about jugglers, mimes, or comedians who follow people to and from the courthouse and the city and county buildings during those daytime hours? In the nearly 20 years I have lived in this creative community, I have yet to see a single example of tolerance for entertainment on that square, it the activity is not licensed for certain restricted events. Of course, with the high salaries being given by new innovative companies, employees can fly off on their own time to New York City, or San Francisco, if they want to see such public displays in the open..
“We” apparently also does not include “graffiti” artists who are arrested, without being given any opportunity other than on a continuously revolving 34th Street Wall, to create murals and other wall art. Such creativity has resulted in well-regarded wall displays as well as unwelcomed scribbles in Philadelphia, San Francisco, at one time in Orlando, and other communities where the line between “graffiti” and art is not as clear as it is in our creative environment. If Keith Haring & Jean-Michel Basquiat found themselves alive in Gainesville, they might already be spending the night in jail. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdPYULJ4j0Y&noredirect=1
As for the musicians who think they can play reggae or rap or sing out loud in the early morning hours, in a residential neighborhood, there is a jail cell waiting for them too, if they do not listen to police enforcing anti-noise laws. After all, the making of music is a business as innovative Grooveshark has noted, even if you are going to download it for a small subscription. Pro bono competition apparently is not to be tolerated, even if it is a capella.
If this City gets any more creative, the rest of us may have to move away.