Natarus Targets Street Performers… Again

By Amy Hart in News on Dec 5, 2005 5:04PM

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Today’s modern world presents us with problems that we can’t even begin to fully comprehend. From scares ranging from bird flu to terrorism, we often find ourselves lost and seeking comfort. Fear not, dear Chicagoans. Help is on its way. Alderman Burton Natarus (42nd) is here to spare us from a plague that seeks to threaten all that is good in this world. That’s right, street performers.

Because Chicago has run out of real problems to solve, for the second time in six years Natarus has proposed an ordinance to cut down on the noise and activity of street performers. The Sun-Times explains the details of Natarus’ proposed ordinance:

The cornerstone is a volume of street music that is four times lower than the current limit…

The new standard would be nothing more than an average conversational level from 50 feet away.

Street performers would also be required to pay a $150 permit fee, wear a photo identification tag at all times, steer clear of the "highly congested area on the east side of Michigan Avenue" between Delaware and Superior, and stay away from Randolph between Columbus and Michigan, and Columbus between Michigan and Monroe whenever concerts are under way at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.

In addition to those restrictions, the stricter ordinance would allow the Department of Cultural Affairs to have control in “governing the time, place, manner and duration” of street performances.

In 1999 he wanted to ban performers completely from Michigan Avenue and State Street, but later compromised to limit their volume after some performers accused him of “urban cleansing.”

Mayor Daley has called street performers a “part of urban life,” but Natarus says he is just standing up for his constituents’ right to live in peace and quiet. Apparently his constituents also hate panhandlers, cell phones, and smoking bans.

Chicagoist is taking Daley’s side on this one. Even if the noise can be a little annoying from time to time, wouldn’t you miss the street performers? Kind of like how you will miss the sweet, sweet smell of delicious chocolate? If the performers are bothering you so much, then maybe Naperville is more your speed.