Saturday, July 7, 2012

Neighbourhood Petition

Now that summer is here, the police have started to frequent the borgo, as usual. Last Saturday a carabiniere came by in plainclothes at 1.35am, and stopped the music. It was an amicable encounter and the policeman even seemed to understand the difficulty of our situation - that no one comes up to the Borgo at weekends until well past midnight. So we end up paying the DJ and the hefty SAIE taxes (Music Performing Rights Society) all for one hour or so. At weekends, diners stay from 9.30pm to midnight, and the younger crowd come for drinks and the so-called movida from midnight until around 4am. In the summer there is little else for young people in Milazzo to do, apart from a disco by the sea on Friday nights. Many go to Messina or Capo D'Orlando, but that means taking the car ... Last night the Finanaza (tax police) came by to check us out - but all was in order. Later, three poliziotti came by at 1.42am and stopped the music. Mio marito had already asked the DJ to stop the music at 1.30am but he had forgotten. The policeman tapped his watch and said he would have to give us a verbale (a ticket), since it was twelve minutes past the time limit for music. It was the same poliziotto who gave us the verbale this time last year, and which ended up in a fine of €1 200. There was no reasoning with him: it didn't matter that it was a question of twelve minutes, or that we turned off the music immediately ... so on Monday mio marito will have to go down to the police station, like a common criminal, and have a riunione with the poliziotti who, depending on how they are feeling and whether the state could do with some money (ahem), will probably give us the same fine again. And tell us we are lucky to get away with that, because it is a criminal offence. The DJ felt so bad that he wouldn't take his pay. This little episode has been spurred on by a little petition that has been going around the borgo. Sixty-six residents of the Borgo have signed a petition to have all the locali closed , including our neighbour, who rents one of the locali! The mayor, warned us about this, as he said the residents have taken their petition to him, to the polzia, to the carabinieri, to the finanza - all places which could do potential damage to the Borgo bars. An article appeared in the local paper yesterday about this - with a picture of our restaurant, as if we were the main problem. In reality, our DJs play indoors, and the real source of the problem is a bar up the road which has very loud live music on a stage in between two rows of houses so that it reverberates and carries quite far ... A kind journalist came to interview mio marito and a couple of other bar owners yesterday for the counter-article, published in today's paper. Among the positive factors of the Borgo bars he mentions the tourism value, the employment it provides in these difficult economic times, and the fact most of us who work here have families to provide for. Also, it helps Milazzo's economy, since, without these bars, many more young people would drive to Messina and Capo d'Orlando for entertainment. The presence of the bars has also given a new lease of live to the Borgo, which, twelve years ago, was a rundown, forgotten part of Milazzo, despite being the most beautiful and ancient part of the city, with its Spanish castle found on the site of a Greek acropolis, and its winding, cobblestoned streets. The situation could improve, I think, if the council provided street cleaning on Sunday mornings. At the minute, the only cleaning on Sundays is that which we do ourselves in front of our bars (no small task - on Sunday mornings the street is full of cigarette butts, beer bottles and plastic cups - not enough bins around and even if there were, many people are not sure how to use them ..) This means that the skips opposite our restaurant are full to overflowing by Sunday evening, disgusting in this heat. Also, if the Milazzesi could leave their houses before midnight and make it to the Borgo a little earlier, they could enjoy the music until 1.30am. Last night people told me that they have a siesta after dinner and get up at 11.30pm to go out ... Mio marito is completely fed up and is considering putting a stop to the music - it's certainly not worth it at this rate ...

No comments:

Post a Comment