No Laws Requiring Diversity

Posted: April 22, 1994

So, you might wonder in the wake of the Dad Vail Regatta flap, do other city-supported special events have to worry about their ethnic or racial make up?

Will the Greek Picnic, a gathering of African-American fraternity students, or the Steuben Day Parade have to show diversity to get a permit?

Nope, at least not yet.

"We don't exclude anybody from the process," said Acting Managing Director Joe Certaine, "whether they're minority, majority, whatever, we don't get into that."

Certaine led a team that developed a new "special events policy" early in the Rendell administration. They looked into what other cities do, and developed 16 pages of guidelines that deal with permit requirements, fees, and logistical details.

They say not a word about community involvement or ethnic diversity.

The Fairmount Park Commission is considering new minority participation guidelines which would affect vending contracts and other purchased services for private events held in the park.

Such requirements would affect many large events, including the Dad Vail Regatta and the Greek Picnic. They would probably require private sponsors to meet the same minority and female participation goals established for city contracts.

Unless and until that happens, the requirements for special events on city property are straightforward.

You have to apply for a special events permit 75 days in advance and pay a $20 application fee.

For-profit event sponsors must reimburse the city for police overtime and clean-up costs associated with crowd and traffic control - charges that can run well into the thousands.

"But the great majority of our special events are by non-profit groups," Certaine said, so most don't foot the police bill. The Dad Vail is a non- profit enterprise.

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