Nicholas G. Green Esquire, Partner, Orrick Law Firm NY NY. Representing Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates at the July 28th, 2021, Tourism Commission meeting.
He was never allowed to make these remarks as the Tourism Commission members shut off his mic.
Comment to Tourism Commission
It’s a pleasure to appear before you again on behalf of my pro bono client, Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates. My name is Nicholas Green, I’m a partner in the law firm of Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, and a proud Wraggborough resident.
I took on this matter on behalf of CCHA for two reasons. The first is that I believe in free speech and assembly — and especially, the right to petition government for change. The second is that I believe regulation of this industry is desperately needed for the benefit of our visitors, residents, and yes, even my three young children who walk on sidewalks adjacent to carriages everyday as we go about our lives.
The simple fact is that the regulatory process for this industry is broken. Maybe hopelessly so. We don’t impose meaningful regulation before accidents happen. We don’t impose meaningful regulation after accidents happen. We don’t do anything; we pretend as though simple, common sense safety proposals would inordinately impact these businesses — when, in fact, the current state of affairs creates tremendous risks for the Charleston brand, prevents operators from enjoying a level playing field with each other and other tourism industry participants, and I fear underscores a lack of leadership at all levels of city government.
Just this week, we had an accident that involves injuries to a driver and passenger, transporting both to the hospital. A driver from another company apparently abandoning his or her carriage to tame a spooked horse. And a potential for a far greater accident. Yet, I suspect this commission will make no meaningful proposals to council.
Here’s the deal. We proposed a comprehensive ordinance. I believed and continue to believe it would benefit everyone to enact our ordinance. City staff and counsel spent a lot of time, to their credit, going through our proposal. And they came up with their own proposal — one that they felt as the regulators balanced safety with enforcement priorities.
And over and over, the subcommittees of this commission rejected even the city’s bare-minimum proposal. I urge you today: recommend the Livability Department’s proposed ordinance to city counsel for adoption. That is literally the least we should do. If we do not, we are sending a clear message that our regulatory approach to this industry is to impose no real regulations at all.
Or, if you are uncomfortable making policy decisions, here’s a thought: tell city council that this is their call. Choose to take no action, and defer to the will of our elected leaders to debate these important issues in an appropriate process that involves debate among them, proposed amendments, instead of the “process” I’ve seen play out in several meetings of this commission.
I welcome your questions. And I look forward to working with our elected leadership on this important issue.