The Proposed Regulations of Las Vegas Street Performers

It is confirmed loyal Clear Counsel Legal Blog reader; the City of Las Vegas is as much of a fan of our humble blog as you are. Only a couple days after we published our expose on obscene street performers in Las Vegas, the city announced  that it will be introducing ordinances to regulate street performers on the Fremont Street Experience.

Following the recent pattern, the city worked with the ACLU of Nevada to ensure that the regulations were not overbearing or violate the 1st Amendment rights of the performers1)Source. In turn, the ACLU has endorsed the ordinances, which one has to imagine, lowers the odds of a §1983 action2)the parlance used by attorneys to describe civil rights lawsuits tried in federal court, 1983 refers to the Section of the U.S. Code where the right of citizens to sue over civil rights violations is located against the city.3)I love when folks work together!

 

But what do these ordinances for street performers say?

A hat tip to Sergio Avila4)of Channel 3 for tweeting out a picture of the ordinances soon after the announcement. You can see the picture below.

https://twitter.com/SergioNews3LV/status/626424016350281729/photo/1

 

The city published a summary of the new ordinances on its tumblr page5)What an age we are living in.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • The city will designate 38 performance zones for performers to use between 3p.m. and 2a.m.. The little material that is available is silent as to how performance spaces are regulated between 2a.m. and 3p.m.. I am happy to speculate, if that tickles your fancy. It will either be that no performances are allowed6)that seems like a like quite a bit of pressure on Metro to keep a fairly large area clear of performers, or during the off-hours, Fremont will revert back to the wild-west of street performances, as it is currently. The performance spaces are 6 feet each in diameter, 40 feet apart from one another.
  • The performers must register with the City of Las Vegas or with the Fremont Street Experience. They do not plan on charging a fee and the registration will be good for 180 days. The city should consider charging a fee, even if nominal7)it does not have to be $37 like Santa Monica, even $5 or $10 will do as a means to keep the most disreputable folks away.
  • There is a prohibition against open flames, flying projectiles, and sitting/laying on the ground.

If you take a quick glance at the pictured tweeted out by Mr. Avila, you will see that the city plans on adopting the noise regulations used by the Santa Monica Promenade, yet they do not make explicit which regulations they are referring to.  Not to fret loyal reader! I dug them up for you to see:

 

6.116.030 Allowable noise levels on Promenade and Transit Mall.

Individuals and businesses shall comply with all of the following noise levels and standards of this Section:

(a) The following maximum noise level (Lmax) shall apply on the Third Street Promenade and the Transit Mall during the times indicated:

Time Maximum Noise Level (Lmax)

Mon-Fri 9 a.m.-7:00 p.m. 75 dBA*/97 dBA**

Mon-Thurs 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. 85 dBA*/107 dBA**

Friday 7 p.m.-midnight 85 dBA*/107 dBA**

Saturday 9 a.m.-midnight 85 dBA*/107 dBA**

Sunday 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m. 85 dBA*/107 dBA**

Sat/Sun 12:01 a.m.-1:30 a.m. 65 BA*/87 dBA**

* When measured at a minimum distance of twenty-five feet from the source of the noise.

** When measured at a minimum distance of one foot from the source of the noise.

At all other times, the City-wide noise standards as reflected in Chapter 4 of this Code shall apply except the Lmax standard shall provide the basis for measuring the dBA level.

(b) No person or group shall create any noise, or allow the creation of any noise on the Third Street Promenade or Transit Mall which causes the noise level to exceed the Lmax standard established in this Section.

(c) No business on the Third Street Promenade shall utilize any speaker or sound reproduction system at a volume that can be heard inside the premises of another building or structure while the doors and windows to the premises are closed.

(d) No person shall interfere with or resist the taking of any noise measurement authorized by this Section.

(e) No person shall use a speaker on a public sidewalk, street, or right-of-way unless it is placed on the ground and is no more than three feet in height.

(f) Amplified sound shall not be unreasonably loud, raucous, jarring or disturbing to persons of normal sensitiveness within the area of audibility. (Added by Ord. No. 1888CCS § 6, adopted 10/28/97; amended by Ord. No. 2009CCS § 3, adopted 5/22/01; Ord. No. 2047CCS § 8, adopted 7/9/02; Ord. No. 2075CCS § 6, adopted 5-13-03; Ord. No. 2145CCS § 5, adopted 11/23/04; Ord. No. 2337CCS § 5, adopted 12/14/10)

 

What’s that? You cannot eyeball8)earball? 75 dBA? Multiple sources state that a passenger car passing you from 25 feet away will do so at a volume of 77 dBA9)Source. Decibel levels are measured using logarithms10)do not click away! I promise there will be no more math!, so from a starting point of 70 dBA, a noise measured at 80 dBA is twice is loud, relatively, and a noise measured at 60 dBA is half as loud as 70 dBA.

When the statement reads “to match Promenade rules,” one must presume all of the rules or they would have used a different verb. Will no noise be permitted afrer 10:30p.m. Monday-Thursday? What about after 1:30a.m. on the weekends? Our city stays up a bit later than most, I would be surprised if they used these time limits.

 

What about the obscenity issue in reference to street performers?

Last time, we talked extensively about the difficulties in regulating the obscene acts of street performers in Las Vegas. Nothing I have found regarding these new ordinances addresses this pressing issue.  Just because the issue is difficult does not mean it should be ignored. It sounds11)from afar like the city of Las Vegas and the ACLU have a nice working relationship; now would be the time to try to address these problems. Granted, the noise issue on Fremont Street needed to be addressed, however, it is the lewdness of a few of the Fremont street performers that would be far more likely to perturb a new tourist into not returning. I am not saying that we need the same social norms applied when folks visit a European church or anything12)covered shoulders, no hats, etc., but there has to be a way to enforce a modicum of decency in the areas where the public is free to roam.

As the Downtown Las Vegas project continues to try to attract new business to the district, this type of obscenity hurts the cause. Why would a company want to relocate to an area where its more conservative employees are uncomfortable to walk the neighborhood? As I have said previously, the lewd street performers also bring a bad name to the rest of the folks working hard down there. There is no reason the city should not continue to provide adult entertainment, but there is a proper time and space for such activity.

I commend the city of Las Vegas for taking on this tough issue of regulating street performers; let us hope it is only the first step. I look forward to hearing what the City Counsel has to say at the 2 September meeting.

 

Watch the press conference here.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Source
2. the parlance used by attorneys to describe civil rights lawsuits tried in federal court, 1983 refers to the Section of the U.S. Code where the right of citizens to sue over civil rights violations is located
3. I love when folks work together!
4. of Channel 3
5. What an age we are living in
6. that seems like a like quite a bit of pressure on Metro to keep a fairly large area clear of performers
7. it does not have to be $37 like Santa Monica, even $5 or $10 will do
8. earball?
9. Source
10. do not click away! I promise there will be no more math!
11. from afar
12. covered shoulders, no hats, etc.
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