DN Editorial: Hooray for Made in America! Next time, more openness

Posted: September 21, 2012

WEDNESDAY, Mayor Nutter brandished a report detailing $10 million in spending in the city that the Made in America concert generated over the Labor Day weekend. He also brandished a check from Live Nation covering in full the $500,000 in costs for the city's production of the concert.

We're not sure, but we thought we also heard a faint "Nyah nyah, nyah" coming from the mayor, who had been put on the defensive in August, when he announced that the Made in America festival would be a ticketed event on public space and that the city would be sharing some of the costs with the concert promoters. In August, he had refused to spell out exactly which costs we would be sharing or any details of the arrangements he had made with promoters. He said that he and the city would release details when they had them. This didn't sit well with other groups that have been told by the city that they must pay the full freight of costs for events taking place in the city's public spaces, such as the Mummers.

The concert has come and gone, and the details are finally revealed: The city is not on the hook for any of the $500,000 in costs. And according to an Econsult report commissioned by the mayor, the economic benefit to the city was a boon in spending - for hotels, restaurants, souvenirs and the like. It packed hotels, which are normally quiet on Labor Day weekend.

Clearly, the concert was a success - no violence, no disasters, and national glory for the city. But we never questioned the potential for success and glory. What we did question was why the mayor was so mum on the details of what costs might be shared, and so cagey about exactly what arrangement the city had with the promoters. This is important particularly given the type of event it was - a private, commercial, ticketed event held on (and restricting access to) public space for three days.

The mayor has expressed enthusiasm for having similar events in the future. The rest of the city might share more of this enthusiasm if he was more open about the details, the costs and the debate about how we use big public spaces like the Parkway. For example, does the success of Made in America justify turning over public space for private events more often?

The mayor should be headlining these kinds of discussions, rather than treating these events as exclusive parties to which only a few are invited.

Mrs. Jesus?

Archeologists are poring over a 1,600-year-old piece of papyrus in which Jesus of Nazareth makes a reference to His "wife," prompting renewed debate among historians and theologians and Dan Brown fans regarding Jesus' marital status.

It's just a scrap. We'd like to see something more comprehensive, perhaps an excerpt from a typical evening at home:

"Did you stop and pick up the bread and fish liked I asked?"

"I'm on top of it, dear."

"And the wine? I suppose you think you can just turn water into wine."

Was Jesus married? Certainly it would explain why He was out of the house so much, and spent so much time with His buddies.

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