Saturday, June 30, 2007

More New York Fascism

Two things are really pissing me off, Congestion Pricing and this that just came up: anyone who uses a camera of any kind will need to get a permit in order to shoot in New York City. Fuck that! These are the kinds of things that make living in NYC a total pain in the ass, make it hard to get any work done, or make it more expensive to work.

If I have to pay a toll to get into Manhattan, then I should be able to have free parking and NO METER MAIDS. If I'm paying for the privilege to drive in Manhattan, then I shouldn't be harassed by the parking Nazis. I WILL NOT PAY MONEY TO GET INTO MANHATTAN!

I own a small business and this adds the many fees and taxes that I already have to pay as a business person. I have to pay income tax to the City of New York. WTF?!!? I need drive into Manhattan because I have a lot of equipment and if I'm renting a truck it costs even more. Once in Manhattan, I think that there's only one bonded lot to park my truck in. There's no overnight parking on the streets for trucks. Here's an idea: get rid of the free parking tags that the Mayor's office issues each year to city employees who don't need it and you've just eliminated 47,000 cars right there.

Flood the Mayor's office with calls and emails denouncing this prospective tax. Mike's info is below.

More Kontrol: according to this New York times article the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting wants to regulate anyone with a camera of any kind. So, now anyone is subject to police harassment.

"Some tourists, amateur photographers, even would-be filmmakers hoping to make it big on YouTube could soon be forced to obtain a city permit and $1 million in liability insurance before taking pictures or filming on city property, including sidewalks.

New rules being considered by the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting would require any group of two or more people who want to use a camera in a single public location for more than a half hour to get a city permit and insurance.

The same requirements would apply to any group of five or more people who plan to use a tripod in a public location for more than 10 minutes, including the time it takes to set up the equipment.

Julianne Cho, assistant commissioner of the film office, said the rules were not intended to apply to families on vacation or amateur filmmakers or photographers.

Nevertheless, the New York Civil Liberties Union says the proposed rules, as strictly interpreted, could have that effect. The group also warns that the rules set the stage for selective and perhaps discriminatory enforcement by police.

“These rules will apply to a huge range of casual photography and filming, including tourists taking snapshots and people making short videos for YouTube,” said Christopher Dunn, the group’s associate legal director.

Mr. Dunn suggested that the city deliberately kept the language vague, and that as a result police would have broad discretion in enforcing the rules. In a letter sent to the film office this week, Mr. Dunn said the proposed rules would potentially apply to tourists in places like Times Square, Rockefeller Center or ground zero, “where people routinely congregate for more than half an hour and photograph or film.”

The rules define a “single site” as any area within 100 feet of where filming begins. Under the rules, the two or more people would not actually have to be filming, but could simply be holding an ordinary camera and talking to each other.

The rules are intended to set standards for professional filmmakers and photographers, said Ms. Cho, assistant commissioner of the film office, but the language of the draft makes no such distinction."

So, anyone is now subject to police harassment if they have a camera and can be prevented from taking pictures if they don't have $1million dollar insurance policy and a permit from the Mayor's office.

This whole mess stems from 2005, when an Indian filmmaker was shooting hand held footage in midtown and was detained by police who profiled him because he had dark skin. There are no rules on the books to haul in potential terrorists making research films of tourist areas, so they now need one so they can justify arresting anyone for taking pictures. While I can see the need to protect the public from potential hazards, this heavy handed attempt prevents photographers from documenting important events, including police misconduct and this abridges first amendment rights.

Support the ACLU in making sure this doesn't become law. If this law passes, the terrorists have won.

Call and, or email the Mayor's office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and have these ridiculous laws stopped. Contact info:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's contact information:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)

FAX (212) 788-8123


I will be contacting the mayor and the MOFTB and politely letting them know that I am against these two laws and that they should not be enacted. Please let him know too. Thanks!

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