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Best Corporate Capitulation

Mayor and City Council’s Ticketmaster Fail

It started out inauspiciously: At Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s request, Councilman Carl Stokes introduced a bill to exempt Ticketmaster (and similar companies) from the city’s ancient anti-scalping law, which criminalized charging more than 50 cents above the ticket’s face price. Supposedly this was just to buy a few months to remake the law more in-tune with modern times. As revelations mounted about how Ticketmaster works (kickbacks to venues, etc.), that effort seemed to harden, and a bill emerged that would have prevented the kind of gouging that concertgoers have endured over the past generation. And then, at the last minute (as is SRB’s style), the bill was amended to allow commercial ticket resellers (but not actual people, of course) to charge unlimited “convenience fees”—just as they had been doing, in violation of the city’s law. “It was, I would say, 90 percent amended,” Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said after she and Stokes voted against the amendments.

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