"The [city] planning department is rewriting the city plan right now," bassist Glen Fisher says, "and...I'm trying to make a lot of noise." Fisher, on Point Loma's Peninsula Community Planning Board, hopes to influence the City of San Diego General Plan Update.
"The notes from every [community] meeting are viewed by the city," says Fisher. "They get their ideas that way." The city's plan is slated for adoption by the city council early next year.
Fisher's ideas have centered on two issues. One is what he calls club owners' dependence on cover bands that generate liquor sales at the expense of bands that perform original music.
"It's ridiculous," Fisher says of playing cover songs. "I don't want to do it anymore. Otherwise, we'll all be playing 'Brown Eyed Girl' and 'Margaritaville' -- songs that make people drink. Bar income covers the band's expenses. But the guys that write their own music are doing something way more noble than a commercial band, and they deserve to be rewarded."
Incentive for bars to hire original music might come, Fisher theorizes, from relaxing the taxes and fees imposed on clubs that feature live music. Fisher thinks such a move would foster a climate that doesn't work to the exclusion of originals bands.
"Why do you need to have a license," he says, "to allow art?"
Fisher's other beef is with the city's current cabaret licensing laws. The police department, he says, issues cabaret licenses to venues that offer entertainment.
"There are venues that get harassed by the fire prevention bureau, the police department, by vice. The police have the authority to shut down an event based on their own judgment."
Fisher complains that cabaret licenses put limitations on art.
"For example, you can only have [live] music at the Tower Two [Beach Café] in Ocean Beach on Sunday and one other night a month.... Cabaret laws were made because white [lawmakers] didn't want black people messing with other white people.... The original cabaret laws were designed to bust black clubs. It's founded in racism."