|With local music-friendly venuse closing, it's time to take the scene into your own hands.|
Khayree Billingslea has some pretty strong feelings about the Tempe Police Department's Safe and Sober Campaign, the city's annual zero-tolerance crackdown on parties, underage drinking, and impaired driving. "The city of Tempe turned this place into a police state for three weeks under the guise of preventing people from drinking and doing stupid shit," Billingslea says. "But, really, it's just to collect as much money from residents as possible in a quick amount of time, before people feel so repressed they end up lashing out."
Then he adds: "It feels a little like a blitzkrieg with [some] justifications, but it's not [entirely] about what they say it's about. It's complicated, but I hate how it affects my neighborhood."
Billingslea's words aren't necessarily hyperbolic. In 2013, Tempe police made more than 1,300 arrests during a three-weekend stretch. This year, during the campaign's first weekend, almost 400 people were arrested. So what makes Billingslea, in particular, so irked? He sees these tactics as threatening to the already struggling underground music scene, a DIY collective that's helping keep art and music alive in the Valley.More »