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Tampa City Council approves controversial noise ordinance despite business-owner pushback




Council members promised amendments before the rules go into effect in six months.

The Tampa City Council Thursday passed a controversial new noise ordinance that eliminates outdoor amplified sound in the city after midnight, reduces acceptable noise levels after 1 a.m. and gives police more freedom in citing noise violations.

The new rules don’t go into effect for six months. And some council members said they only approved the ordinance with the caveat that city staff will reach out to communities concerned that the rules could have a negative impact on the already-beleaguered entertainment and hospitality industries.

During nearly three hours of debate and public comment, the City Council mostly heard pushback on the ordinance from residents and business owners in Ybor City. The Council could have added carveouts in the ordinance for certain areas like the Channelside District, Ybor City and the arena area. But Carole Post, administrator of development and economic development, said that would go against the uniformity staff hoped to achieve with the ordinance.

“The Council actually initiated this almost two years ago to update what we believe is a tangle of rules and regulations that have become confusing and have not really kept pace with the needs of our evolving city,” Post said.

Tampa doesn’t have any defined entertainment districts. But Ybor City’s main drag, Seventh Avenue, and the ancillary streets around it developed into a bastion of nightlife and a major draw in the city. It’s home to myriad bars and nightclubs with outdoor patios or rooftops like Prana, Gaspar’s Grotto, the Dirty Shame, Crowbar and many more.

Christopher Lanahan spoke while representing a number of Ybor businesses including Mama Rosa’s Pizza and Dueling Piano Bar.

“Over the decades, Ybor has constantly been an entertainment district. Defined by law or not, it is,” Lanahan said. “This is not Wesley Chapel. This is not Lakeland. This is not Tarpon Springs. Ybor is what it is. Do not take away the soul of the city.”

While the city began working on the ordinance in earnest two years ago, Council Member John Dingfelder said he recalled talk of amending the noise laws to cover the whole city going back nearly 20 years. He said crafting a citywide ordinance has been an issue largely because the city is not a monolith, with many unique and diverse neighborhoods requiring different needs.

“I don’t think one-size-fits-all works very well,” Dingfelder said. “But it’s a huge quality of life issue.”

The issue is further complicated, Council Chair Orlando Gudes said, by the fact that Tampa has pushed to build live-work-play communities that commingle residential and entertainment elements. And with Tampa’s status as one of the largest growing metropolitan areas in the country, the problems could only get worse.

“People wanted a walkable neighborhood with food, entertainment and dancing. But now with our house situation we’ve had an influx of housing in these districts,” Gudes said. “So now people are complaining about music. Sometimes when you move places, you’ve got to know where you’re moving in. Now it’s becoming a problem to change.”

The ordinance at first seemed unlikely to pass. Dingfelder said he anticipated changes that would’ve sent the bill back to the drawing board. Gudes said he thought it was too problematic, and Council Member Guido Maniscalco said he wouldn’t support it because it doesn’t solve the actual problem.

“I’ve sat outside cigar lounges and whatnot and the noise is from the street,” he said. “I don’t hear so much the music or the bass from clubs. I hear the traffic on Seventh Avenue…just the cars sitting there that creates so much of the noise. It’s not always the bars and the clubs. We have to take that into account.”

With Dingfelder, Gudes and Maniscalco voting no and Council Member Luis Viera absent, a vote could’ve ended in a tie, or with the measure being defeated.

But council members wrestled with how to address the competing needs of residents and business owners. The COVID-19 pandemic has sent more entertainment and dining outside. Venues like Crowbar that rely heavily on concert tours and events on its patio have taken a massive hit during the pandemic. Crowbar owner Tom DeGeorge said cutting outdoor music after midnight could kneecap businesses like his that are still grasping for survival amid COVID-19.

“I’m about 60% of my usual business revenue. Bands get sick and tours get postponed. I just rescheduled 20 concerts that would’ve taken place in January and February for the spring and the fall,” DeGeorge said. “We as owners and operators, we’re barely holding on. And I know that the strictest ordinance I’ve seen in 20 years that I’ve worked in this city is not the answer for most of our small businesses, which have already struggled so much while development continues and big box stores have record breaking years.”

Another controversial aspect of the ordinance is the elimination of a five-minute warning police give when someone violates a sound ordinance. Tampa Police Captain Frank Owen said the warning makes noise ordinances almost unenforceable. He said police received more than 7,500 calls for service in the last two years and only issued 17 citations.

“The five-minute warning isn’t doing us any favors,” Owen said. “The concern is, we issue the warning, we go away and an hour later the noise goes back up.”

Council members agreed they had to give police the ability to enforce the law, but there too wrestled with how to do so. Dingfelder suggested modifying the five-minute warning to be applied once a month, with officers mandated to record issuing warnings.

But those changes could still come. Gudes and Dingfelder only agreed to vote yes if the City Council also passed a motion directing city staff to engage with concerned communities and come back at an April 28 workshop to present the Council with ways to modify or supersede the noise ordinance. That would give the City Council three months to change the ordinance before it becomes law.

First Amendment attorney Luke Lirot warned council members that the ordinance in its current form could violate freedom of speech laws and set up costly and problematic legal battles for the city. He said amplified music has been established by Supreme Court precedent as a protected form of speech and expression.

“I think (it) has some grave unconstitutional aspects to it,” Lirot said. “We actually have cases in county court here in Hillsborough County and we filed motions to dismiss just because of the same unconstitutional characteristics that we have in the ordinance that has tried to have been amended for your purposes today.”

Under the new ordinance, any amplified sound — including playing music or watching tv in one’s own yard or porch — would be banned citywide. Sound up to 85 decibels coming from an establishment is lawful until 1 a.m., then drops to 75 decibels until 3 a.m. After 3 a.m. sound must be below 65 decibels. It also removes the requirement that police give warnings before issuing a citation.

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Gonzaga Suspends Legendary Alum John Stockton’s Season Tickets over Mask Refusal




Former NBA star John Stockton, Gonzaga University’s most famous alumni, has had his season tickets revoked by the school because he won’t wear a mask at home games.

The famed Utah Jazz point guard recently told the Spokane, Washington, Spokesman-Review that the school canceled his season tickets because he refused a demand that he wear a mask because, as a prominent spectator, his mask refusal is conspicuous.

#Gonzaga has suspended the season tickets of its most prominent alum, John Stockton, for failing to comply with the school’s mask mandate.

What’s next for Stockton and his alma mater?

“I’m sure we’ll get through it, but it’s not without some conflict.”

— Theo Lawson (@TheoLawson_SR) January 23, 2022

“Basically, it came down to, they were asking me to wear a mask to the games and being a public figure, someone a little bit more visible, I stuck out in the crowd a little bit,” Stockton said. “And therefore, they received complaints and felt like from whatever the higher-ups – those weren’t discussed, but from whatever it was higher up – they were going to have to either ask me to wear a mask or they were going to suspend my tickets.”

Stockton reported that Gonzaga Athletic Director Chris Standiford let him know of the school’s decision to bar him from the stadium. Still, he also noted that several officials had asked him to wear a mask.

John Stockton is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009 in Springfield,...

SPRINGFIELD, MA – SEPTEMBER 11: John Stockton is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on September 11, 2009, in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Standiford would not comment on the situation with Stockton but did say that the athletics department is only adhering to rules set forth by the school and the state. Standiford also cited the closing of concessions as an example of the school’s efforts at COVID mitigation.

Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh also noted that masks are required, telling the paper, “it is imperative that we commit to wearing face coverings while in indoor, congregate settings. Masks are required in all classrooms, labs, and common areas such as offices, study lounges, hallways, library spaces, and places where others are present (with obvious exceptions, such as dining and certain fitness center activities). Students, ticket-holders, and all those attending basketball games at McCarthey Center and sporting events indoors are required to wear masks at all times.”

Stockton did say that while the masking and vaccination demands have put stress on his relationship with the school, he does not consider it a deal-breaker at this time.

The famed NBA player is known as a vaccine skeptic. Even in the Spokesman-Review interview, he claimed that more than 100 pro athletes had died immediately after being vaccinated. He also said that tens of thousands have died from taking the COVID vaccine.

The CDC claims it has received reports of 11,468 deaths of Americans in the weeks following vaccination. However, the agency has not determined if any of those deaths are related to the various coronavirus vaccines themselves or are from other causes.

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Dr. Robert Malone Claims COVID Vaccines Can Permanently Damage Children’s Brains, Hearts, Immune Systems





 By Andrew White

 January 23, 2022 at 5:50pm

Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of modern mRNA vaccine technology, issued a stark warning to parents in America and across the world about vaccinating their children for COVID-19 during a powerful speech at the Defeat the Mandates Rally in Washington DC today.

Banned-yet-popular mRNA vaccine technology inventor Dr. Robert Malone issued a grave warning to American parents today who are considering vaccinating their children for COVID-19 during a powerful speech in front of thousands of protestors at the Defeat the Mandates Rally in Washington DC.

Malone warned that the controversial COVID-19 vaccine injections can cause permanent harm to American children, urging parents to get informed about the risks before making the decision for their child.

“As a parent, those that are parents or going to be parents, it is ultimately your responsibility to protect your children. If they’re harmed by these genetic vaccines, you are the one who will have to take care of them. And you will carry the burden for the rest of your life and theirs. On average, between 1-in-2000 and 1-in-3000 children that receive these vaccines will be hospitalized in the short-term with vaccine-caused damage. Only the passage of time will we know what long-term damage may occur to these children,” Dr. Malone said.

“The vaccines do not protect our children from becoming infected with Omicron. They do not prevent infected children from infecting others. In contrast, the pharmaceutical companies and the government are almost fully protected from any damages these products might cause them.”

“If your child is damaged by these vaccines, you will be let alone with both your grief and the burden of care. These genetic vaccines can damage your children,” Dr. Malone said.

“They may damage their brains, their heart, their immune system, and their ability to have children in the future. Many of these damages cannot be repaired,” he continued. “So I beg you, please get informed about the possible risks. Your children may be damaged by these experimental products.”

You can watch Dr. Malone’s full speech here.

Are you getting vaccinated?

About the Author:

Andrew White is a Northern Virginia native. His work here at National File has been previously featured on Alex Jones’ Infowars and Revolver News. White is a constitutionalist Patriot, who focuses on social issues, election integrity, globalism, US politics, as well as general corporate and government corruption.

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Minneapolis Restaurants File Lawsuit Against Democrat Mayor Jacob Frey’s Vax Mandate




Numerous Minneapolis restaurants are suing Democrat Mayor Jacob Frey over the city’s vaccine mandate that went into effect on Wednesday.

The mandate, issued on January 14, requires that “everyone entering an establishment that serves food or drink in Minneapolis must show proof of either being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or having a negative PCR or antigen test taken within three days.”

Seven establishments have filed a joint lawsuit against Frey’s order, according to KMSP. The complaint was filed Thursday in Hennepin County Fourth Judicial Court.

The complaint, obtained by KMSP, states the order “is calculated and purposed to attempt to prod the general public toward vaccination.”

The lawsuit later reads in part:

48. Minneapolis bars and restaurants are being used as pawns to further Mayor Frey’s agenda of pushing for and convincing the public to get vaccinated. Whether the end being sought is noble, the scheme is forcing restaurants and bars to lose additional patrons and business that have already been reduced over the past two years and incur new costs and burdens to enforce the requirements of Emergency Regulation 2022—5.

49. These actions constitute misuse of mayoral power aimed to further at best long-term public health policy, and at minimum personal agenda item of Mayor Frey, and are certainly not the intent or purpose for which the emergency powers outlined in Minneapolis Code of Ordinances §§ 128.50 or 128.60 or Minn. Stat. 12.29.

One of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Francis Rondoni, spoke with KMSP regarding the lawsuit.

“Jacob Frey does not have the power to do what he did. You cannot just act by edict or fiat, as they say. There’s a legislative process that has to occur and he bypassed that,” Rondoni said. 

Rondoni made clear to the outlet that his clients are not against vaccinations, adding they want to be treated the same as other Minneapolis businesses. 

“To put bar owners in a situation where they are arguing with patrons about whether they can get in or not is also a safety issue,” Rondoni stated. 

The plaintiffs include: 

Bright Red Group, LLC (d/b/a Smack Shack), 90’s Minneapolis, LLC (d/b/a The Gay 90’s), PJ. Hafiz Club Management, Inc. (d/b/a Sneaky Pete’s), Urban entertainment, LLC (d/b/a Wild Greg’s Saloon), Urban Forage, LLC (d/b/a Urban Forage), and MikLin Enterprises, Inc. (d/b/a Jimmy John’s), Inc. (d/b/a Bunkers Music Bar 8t Grill)

Frey’s Office sent a statement to KMSP:

Mayor Frey’s approach is straightforward: keep our hospitals from being overwhelmed and keep our valuable small businesses open. That is precisely why he moved forward with this temporary and flexible approach in anticipation of the rising case numbers and hospitalizations. Doing nothing in the face of clear public health data was not an option.

“A hearing on a temporary restraining order is scheduled for Monday,” KMSP reports.

The case is Bright Red Group, LLC (d/b/a Smack Shack) v. City of Minneapolis, No. 27-CV-22-867, in District Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota.

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