Dec 15, 2020
Letter about G&M French Café’s outdoor permit from Charleston County from Jean-Marie Mauclet & Gwylene Gallimard, founders of Fast & French / G & M French Café
Read about the history of Fast & French and the ongoing call for maintaining their outdoor seating, how you can support and empower this Charleston business, and sustaining this TINY business. Sign the petition here.
The chronology does not make sense and we need sense, transparency.
Fast&French – Gaulart and Maliclet, French Café – was granted permission, ……. to have tables on Charleston County grounds, behind the café because of the restrictions imposed by Covid19. This was a month after a riot downtown resulted in some broken glass at the County Court.
Permission to expand, granted by County Administrator Tuten, was seen as “a pilot”.
Today, this permission is withdrawn.
What did Fast&French do, not to pass muster as a pilot?
Fast&French, ex nihilo or rather from a hot and bare pavement, created a very comfortable serving area, surrounded with colorful vegetation growing from robust planters. Nothing temporary, flimsy, half-hearted there. Fast&French believed the pilot would morph into a renewable permit. It would extend a 37 year stretch of existence for as long as the Charleston community would support this little gem of a community builder.
What went through Mr. Tuten’s mind or fall into Mr Tuten’s ear, for deciding to transform a successful experimental pilot into a doomed attempt at urban bonification?
One of the café’s most ardent defenders, a long-established lawyer on Broad street, was determined to find out. He started feeling out the milieu. His quest came to nothing but one refrain: SECURITY. Now, we understand. This word, SECURITY, is code for politicians who do not see liberty as the practice of a universal right but as a field of human activities which needs to be fenced with stark authority, lest a law-and-order-driven society softens into an uncontrollable free-for-all.
It is very ironic, misguided, provocative, provoking, to bring the future of G&M to naught, after 37 years of practicing SERVICE: the necessary mission for TINY BUSINESS to treat patrons with all the respect patrons deserve and to take the responsibility of being a good neighbor so, so seriously.
Fast&French is threatened.
Should it shut up and go quietly? Or should it call on all its friends and supporters to petition, to protest, to voice – one way or an other – their discontent and demand that Mr Tuten come to the table and work towards a honorable compromise?
Gwylène Gallimard & Jean-Marie Mauclet, are provoked.
Creators ( May 1984 ) and former owners of the café, professional in/with community artists, built Gaulart & Maliclet as an art in/with community project! Their longest-lasting project, (they had to pay for it – they could not let go – they loved the consequences )!
They thank the City of Charleston for having always been supportive, opening, without hesitations, city’s sidewalks to more customer tables since Covid19. Mayor Tecklenburg is as aware as Mr Tuten that security is an issue and a responsibility. His citizens will respect the rules and its police will be ready to enforce them if necessary. How come an adjacent space, owned by the County, although wide open to the street, is about to become a no-man’s-land, a blot on Charleston’s map, despite its real possibilities as a pedestrian-friendly, Green Urban Space, linking Meeting and Broad street, for garden, leisure, a farm-why-not!
VISION will guarantee Charleston’s future, not SECURITY. Treating citizens (and tourists) with unusual urban experiences will make the city unsinkable.
As a matter of fact, Gwylène and Jean-Marie are presently working within the Charleston Rhizome Collective, ( artists, activists, educators and youth ), on an ambitious art in/with Community project, an Imagining.
TINYisPOWERFUL ( tiny as Fast&French ) is proposing a vision for Charleston’s future! It is also working on a project dedicated to the food-related sector of the Charleston economy, from farm to table, including distribution, equipment, front-line workers. For the sake of social justice for all.
We invite you to go to TINYisPOWERFUL.com, browse, discover what a WebApp is.
We urge you to visit FAST&FRENCH.com, order food, support the café, sign the citizens petition.
Y’all will see the indelible link there is between all the activities – social, economic, artistic, cultural – which make this whole 37 year civic effort worth lifting and multiplying.
See you wherever we all need to be to promote Solidarity and keep Security in check.
Gwylene and Jean-Marie