Novoselic Supports Proposed Seattle Dance Ordinance

Sonicnet Music News

Ex-Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic urged Seattle City Council members on Thursday night to override a mayoral veto of a proposed dance ordinance that he and others say would help revive the city's music scene.

"Why do some civic leaders continue to link music to social problems?" Novoselic said as he told the council to maintain its support for a bill it passed by a 7-to-1 margin on August 21.

The All Ages Dance Ordinance, proposed after a year of research by the local Youth and Music Task Force, would eliminate age restrictions at dance events that are open to people younger than 18, a switch from the current Teen Dance Ordinance, which requires that attendees be between the ages of 15 and 20. The new law would also ease security and insurance requirements, and would require promoters to undergo a criminal-background check to obtain a license.

Mayor Paul Schell vetoed the bill August 24, proposing several amendments,

such as a curfew and insurance requirements, that supporters of the bill say are onerous and could hamper the local scene.

Pearl Jam singer Eddie Vedder also appeared at the meeting, although he did not address the council. Death Cab For Cutie singer Ben Gibbard, along with representatives of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and the Joint Artists and Music Promotions Political Action Committee (known as JAMPAC and headed by Novoselic), also spoke for the bill. The existing Teen Dance Ordinance is widely recognized as poorly written and ineffective.

The council is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to override Schell's veto.

A number of teenagers took the floor at Thursday's meeting to express their concerns about the restrictions on raves and all-ages dances. Some suggested that the Teen Dance Ordinance, because it isn't enforced, is preferable to a new law that could encumber the dance-music scene.

The new ordinance "will cripple

our scene; it will not stop it," the night's first speaker, Sean Williams, said. "Kids will continue to do what they want, and if it is underground, more people will be at risk."

Supporters did not address these criticisms, focusing instead on the mayor's veto.

Angel Combs, executive director of JAMPAC, which supports a veto override, said Friday, "I think a lot of people fear [the AADO] because it's new... but I think it will foster a thriving dance scene."