San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar has a problem with the Grammy Awards, and he's introducing legislation before the city's Board of Supervisors that would make it the San Francisco's official position to also have a problem with them too.
On the agenda for Tuesday evening's Board of Supervisors meeting, tucked between an item appropriating just under $200 million for earthquake safety and another regulating how many pooches a dog walker can have under his or her command at any one time (eight), is a non-binding resolution that would put the city officially on record regarding the "Biggest Night In Music."
Mar is introducing a motion that would make it the city of San Francisco's official position to urge the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to reinstate the 31 categories that were eliminated from Grammy consideration last year.
Although, because the resolution is non-binding, NARAS isn't actually required to actually do anything if it passes.
"As a former jazz trumpeter myself, I am concerned about the negative economic impacts the NARAS decision may have on our local artists," said Mar in a statement to the Huffington Post, "especially those that make a living performing Latin Jazz, Hawaiian, Native American, blues, gospel, folk and Mexican American music."
Mar argues that eliminating those categories deprives local artists making music in the affected genres of the post-Grammy Awards sales bump that inevitably comes with a win or even just a nomination.
Mar's sparked his proposal after the San Francisco Arts Commission, which unanimously passed a nearly identical resolution last November, asked him to get involved. The push to get the categories reinstated has been vocally supported by Bay Area musical luminaries such as Carlos Santana.
The Grammys either ditched or consolidated about one-third their of their over 100 categories last year in an effort to both tighten up the famously lengthy broadcast and make the awards seem less out of touch with the tastes of mainstream music consumers--something that was brought into sharp focus when relatively unknown jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding beat Justin Beiber in the "Best New Artist Category." (Which was totally deserved, by the way).
Local artists and politicos aren't the only ones upset with NARAS about the cuts. Many in the music community around the country have complained that the changes to were done without outside input and, because the majority of the cuts were directed at various ethnic music categories--particularly Latino music--that they are also discriminatory.
"This is terrible, beyond my comprehension, an insult to our genre and many others," pianist and two-time Latin Grammy winner Eddie Palmieri told the New York Times about the cuts. "We fought for 17 years to get this recognition, and then they turn around and take it away without informing anybody what they were up to."
As of press time, the Board of Supervisors was still debating the America's Cup Environmental Impact Report and hadn't yet taken up the resolution, which needs a unanimous vote to pass and isn't open for discussion.
The 54th annual Grammy awards air on February 12th. Sadly, the TuNe-yArDs were not nominated.