Outrage against Philly City Councilman Mark Squilla went viral Wednesday after reports broke suggesting his bill on "special assembly licenses" would require musicians and performers to be registered with the police.
Squilla said it isn't true Wednesday night after the story went viral, 4,600 people signed an online petition opposing the bill and his public Facebook page was swarmed by commenters writing messages such as "impeach this walking garbage mound." Philebrity even posted posted specific instructions on how to contact Squilla to complain.
"The bill now contains a provision that venues should obtain performers’ contact information to share with city officials should the need arise, but there is no city approval required for any events nor is a registry of performers being created," Squilla's office said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening. " This provision is NOT intended to restrict artistic expression or any kind of entertainment but rather is aimed at addressing public safety and quality of life issues."
That might seem contradict the bill itself, which includes language stating that venues will be responsible for providing the "full name, address and phone number of all performance acts scheduled to perform during the promoted event or special event."
The bill was introduced at City Council last week. It gives the police department veto power over special assembly licenses (SAOLs) for music and entertainment venues based on "crime, traffic, litter, noise, parking and hours of operation; as well as any community concerns."
The story broke on Billy Penn, which quoted promoter Sean Agnew of R5 Productions as saying, "I’m just trying to think of a situation where the police want the addresses and numbers of the 10+ members of Arcade Fire ... Seems really intense.”
BillyPenn cited a murder last year outside the TLA club, which is in Squilla's district, as a possible motivation for the bill.
But the tide of anger continues. Even after Squilla posted his defense on Facebook, attacks kept rolling in.
"Don't you have anything better to do? This city has so much corruption going on. Why don't you go after L&I?? Leave musicians alone," one wrote.