Campaign leader Les Targonski, a production manager for concerts in Jacksonville, Florida, is one of millions of people in the world that enjoys live music every year. Earlier this month, Les learned that a councilman in his city proposed a bill to end ticketed concerts at Metropolitan Park, one of the havens for music in Jacksonville. Les, passionate to save an epicenter for culture in the city, launched a campaign on Causes.com to help defeat the bill…and won!
Les created his campaign in advance of a public hearing to discuss the bill. He told us in an email last week that “the city councilman that was pushing this ordinance to be passed, was flying below the radar. I actually caught wind of this through a conference call that I had with festival promoters. It seemed that the city was holding up forward progress on the event permits until this bill was voted on. They were doing this after making earlier agreements in good faith, prior to the last event held in the park.” According to Jacksonville.com, bill 2013-8 would have “deleted a city law that allows waiving the city’s noise ordinance and some alcoholic beverage rules at a dozen concerts per year.”
Metropolitan Park was built in 1982 and is home to dozens of concerts each year. A consequence of repealing permits for live music would mean a potential loss of millions of dollars for the city. ”The return to the city via taxes and business revenues from hotels, restaurants, bars, parking, tent vendors, stagehands, equipment rentals, fuel stations, etc… was calculated somewhere around $6,000,000.00 for a single 2-day concert,” Les said.
After two weeks, Les’ campaign gathered 6,400 signatures and he presented them during a public hearing on January 23. On the ground, people were encouraged to call and email officials to voice reservations about the bill. “We wanted to shake up all of the City Council members with our opposition. That is why we were urging everyone to bombard their offices with phone calls and emails…One councilman stated that they were having trouble getting anything done due to fielding all of the emails and phone calls.”
In the end, the bill’s author (councilman Don Redman) withdrew his submission. “I felt very proud that 6,400 petitioners felt as passionate for this cause as I did. Local media outlets picked up the story and had links to our cause, which made a huge difference,” Les said.