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McAllen: Reconsider the bans on "amplified music outdoors" and people under the age of 21

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City of McAllen: Reconsider the vote to ban "amplified music outdoors" and people under the age of 21 from Downtown McAllen.

We the undersigned demand the City of McAllen reconsider their vote to ban "amplified music outdoors" and to repeal their decision to ban people under the age of 21 from entering businesses in the downtown area.

We believe these two pieces in Item 4 of the Public Hearing addressed in the City Commission meeting that took place on Monday, May 23rd, 2016 are based on incomplete information regarding the Entertainment and Cultural Overlay District (referred to as ECOD in the ordinance). A compromise should be met: a curfew on amplified music may be a reasonable solution, in contrast to an outright ban. This considers surrounding residents, as well as the live music community as a whole.

Addressing the ban on "amplified music outdoors": this ban hurts the live music community that thrives primarily in downtown music venues (most of which are designed for outdoor entertainment). The following venues would be greatly affected by this ban: Yerberia Cultura, Cine El Rey, Thirsty Monkey, Space 16th, and The Flying Walrus. These establishments are the main stages on which musicians, comedians, poets, writers, actors, independent wrestlers, and filmmakers express their creativity. The live music community of McAllen alone has seen significant growth in the past 10 years. 

McAllen’s live music venues have helped empower and solidify an entire community of creative minds. By forcibly closing these venues, the City of McAllen is contributing to the notion that as an artist, one is expected to move to a bigger city to find success, respect, and value for their art. This should not be necessary when the means and spaces in which to create and perform can be provided on the very soil in which the artists are born. McAllen no doubt values its cultural development as much as it values its economic development, and we can assure you that if you were to bear witness to these events, to this community, you would swell with pride at what has been birthed and sustained within our city limits. 

McAllen has recently gained national recognition for live music in the state of Texas with the work that venues like Cine El Rey, Yerberia Cultura, Thirsty Monkey, Space 16th, and The Flying Walrus have done to book artists from around the world. This further supports our local artists by giving them the opportunity to perform alongside these established performers and earn money for their hard work, while also developing their art and taking it upon themselves to travel to communities around the world. These establishments have made it possible for our city to be connected with the rest of the world through Art. 

These affected establishments also provide local grassroots and non-profit organizations with a means of fundraising for a wide variety of causes through benefit concerts. These organizations would be forced to move their fundraising efforts out of McAllen, or delay current fundraising concerts. McAllen's artists want to have pride in their city, and have built this community from the ground up because they believe that what they do is more than just entertainment; it is their personal means of artistic expression. If McAllen's live music and performance community is to be sustained, artists must retain the ability to perform within these spaces and establishments.

Addressing the ban on people under the age of 21 from downtown establishments: this ban would prevent students and other patrons under the age of 21 from not just live music events which many young people enjoy, but various forms of safe entertainment over the weekend such as live wrestling at Cine El Rey. Furthermore, these venues consistently host films and educational programs by non-profit and grassroots organizations which are used as extra credit by high school and university professors. With this ban, students under 21 would be deprived the opportunity to gain extra credit and gain knowledge from these educational events.

These are our demands, the undersigned.

If you agree the city should reconsider their votes on said bans, please sign this petition.

#keep17amplified #allagesallvoices

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