The Devil’s Messenger


Sarah Huckabee Sanders

 

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said it didn’t matter whether the anti-Muslim videos President Donald Trump retweeted on Wednesday morning were real.

These his retweets were widely condemned in the US but especially in Britain

Britain’s Prime Minister Teresa May condemned Trump, staying he was “wrong” to share videos by a group that “seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

Trump in a tweet response .@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!

Some 1.8 million people in Britain have already signed a petition urging the government to rescind the invitation May made to Trump just weeks after his inauguration last January.
State visits are typically characterized by pomp and ceremony, and generally include a banquet with the Queen but one by Trump is unlikely to prove popular in Britain.
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The Operating Hours of the Boys Club may change without notice


Image result for al franken

 

If your over 50 and currently employed your nights are a bit restless.   The world you knew changed a few months ago.   Women are coming forward with memories that spanned decades.  Their memories are clear and often detailed.   So you wake up in a small panic, was I inappropriate?  EVER?

The face of 66 year old Minnesota Senator Al Franken best represents a lot of baby boomers.   Did I?  Are there others?  How do you defend a brush or a touch (not grab) that took place 30 years ago ?

As a manager, I can clearly remember two female employees telling me they did not  want to be touched or hugged. I respected their wishes and there was no retaliation. Women rarely came forward in my years in management.  Are there women out there who feel that I was inappropriate in the 90’s or 2000? and what it the appropriate response?

There were members of the Boys Club who abused their power.  Everyone knew who they were and while you may not have been comfortable as they boasted about conquests you remained silent .

Throughout the years if a female staffer had a complaint you took it seriously.  But that was before the fall of 2017.

The question for many is why now?   If there was a problem in 2010 why wasn’t addressed in 2010. 

 

1991

It was sometime after the Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas hearings.  I was given a directive.  I was to personally spend the next few days speaking directly to employees about the company’s new sexual harassment policy.   There were no real directions, just a box of brochures and business cards.  This was the nineties, there were no smartphones or laptops.

My words brought confusion and concern.   Uttering those words “Sexual Harassment” resulted in many red faces. What do you mean sexual?    Is this from the union ?   No.  Should we contact the union?  You can if you like.   “If you ever feel uncomfortable for any reason by anyone you can call the number on the card 24 hours a day.

No one was quite sure what to do, one thing was clear, the company was serious.    Locations had five days to respond to any complaint and to forward all complaints to headquarters.  Failure to follow the new mandate would result in disciplinary action.

Before the mandate, there really wasn’t an official response to an individual who said he or she was being sexually harassed.  Quite often she was told someone would keep an eye out for her.   Yes, there were outdated guidelines from human resources  but the truth was no one was was equipped to respond to questions of sexual harassment.   It was my experience the victim wasn’t taken seriously.

2000 something

It has been a Boys club since the beginning of time.  The club had long resisted female members.   Once  you  became a member you quickly learned when to speak in the meeting and when to simply go along.

While you have never been inappropriate with a female, you know managers and professional who were.  In fact all the managers knew who the perpetrators were as many boasted about their actions.   As a member you may have participated in the banter as your male colleges have made comments about women who work for the company, you have laughed in the presence of female managers who seemed okay with the shenanigans, boys being boys.

A common question is why didn’t women speak up.  Why now?  

I was a black man wanting to move up.  I don’t speak for all black men or women.   When you a minority or a women the dance is very delicate as you move up the ladder.  Most clubs are filled with white men, with an occasional minority or woman. If your objective is an office upstairs, you played the game. You smiled when the boss or the majority of the room is being inappropriate.  Objecting could result in a delay in your ascension or halt it all together.

At a business dinner to honor our clients.    My boss loudly announced they were serving watermelon and which should make me happy!   Many of my colleagues  and clients were embarrassed.   Inside I was hurt and embarrassed, outside I was professional,”oh that guy”

I could have complained , could have sued the company, there were more than one hundred witnesses.   But it would have ended my career.   From that moment on, I would have been branded.   Nice guy, but!    Didn’t he sue? Didn’t he file a complaint?  I’ve been in those meetings,so I knew what the consequences were.

Women know this all too well.  They are outnumbered in the Boys clubs. So when one of the boys comments on the tits on the new girl in the mail room, they may smile uncomfortably or  look away.

Fall 2017

The abuse of power in the Boys Club is well known. Abuse comes in many forms, it is fueled by power.    From the fast food manager asking for  sexual favors in exchange for hours.   To department heads who s access to slush funds to pay for and elected members of our government who have made it very difficult for someone to complain.

The abuse by some of the members of the Boys Club was tolerated  if the member was generating income for the organization.   Beginning with the 100+millions in payouts from the Fox News Corporation followed by the  Weinstein scandal the stakeholders /shareholders declared there weren’t  any sacred cows.  NBC’s  Matt Lauer was being fired today.

Some members of the Boys Club are in shock.  The abuse of power is  so deeply ingrained in the culture.   After Donald Trump infamous Access America tape was released. some of his supporters dismissed it as being simply locker room talk.  His son, Eric, said it’s just what happens when men hang out together.  Its simply, Boys being Boys.

There are many men who believe while these actions against women were wrong.  They view the punishment to severe.

The Mee too movement is a beginning, however real change will not take place until the Boys Clubs becomes the Boys and Girls Club.  The institution has to change.

  There needs to be more than just one or two women setting policy.  One or two women in a sea of men.  This change needs to take place today.  The irons are hot!

CityFella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heroes


Image result for john mccain jeff flakeFormer U.S. President George W. Bush speaks at a forum sponsored by the George W. Bush Institute in New York, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (Seth Wenig/AP)Image result for bob corker

Senators Jeff Flake & John McCain   President George W Bush & Senator Bob Corker

 

You have THAT family member. Charming, well liked, the family member who has consistently helped other members of the family.  The family member is financially successful and wields considerable influence in the family.

This family member is manipulative, they have hurt many members of the family.  No one has challenged the family member because of their wealth and influence.

Anyone who challenges the family member risks expulsion and being shunned by other family members.  The abuse is well known and no one is exempt from the abuse and yet no one wants to fall out of favor with the family member

Teetering at the edge ( activist overload )


 

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I’m a baby boomer from the San Francisco Bay Area.  I’ve been involved in politics since I was fifteen years old.   I was fascinated by the students who attended UC Berkeley.  At 15, 16, the students treated me like an equal. Their passion was contagious. I participated in protests throughout the Bay Area.    I became that person who believed if you want change you have to get involved.   One can get a addicted,  Your in one group with a cause you feel passionately about and  someone from that group invites you to a meeting then another meeting and before you know it, your life is a series of meetings.

Its  7am Tuesday morning and I’m leaving work.  On the way home, I thought I stop by 16th Street Donuts and get my final Cinnamon Roll and maybe a final Chocolate raised because this week, unlike last week and the week before, I’m gonna buckle down and leave this white sugar shit alone!

As I drive into the parking lot, my cell rings.  I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone but this is dear friend who has always has a funny story and right now I need loads and loads of  laughter.   As we are talking my phone is ringing,  calls from Colorado, Virginia, and Texas.  I look down and say no, not today.   I have a meeting in Stockton at 11 that I’m dreading.    An hour has passed,  I’m still in my car in front of the donut shop chatting. My friend is in good form,  I love his tales from the plant.  But it time to go….They are going to sell my Cinnamon Rolls and all the donuts are growing stale by the second and I need to go home and  change into something comfortable before the drive to Stockton.

Something’s wrong,  has been wrong for days maybe weeks.   I’m feeling anxious and close to depression accompanied by a dull pain in my stomach.     World War 3 with Korea is looming ,Putin was weighting in on the conflict asking for diplomacy.   This is serious!  I’m a world class talker, but I haven’t really wanted to talk to anyone,  and I’m isolating myself ,which is a clear sign of depression.

Most people would look for a quiet place to decompress or maybe a lively place.   I went on social media and found a obscure meeting in a rural area north of Sacramento. The community is poor and is concerned about the Affordable Care Act .  They feel they’re aren’t being heard by their elected representative.  This was in my wheelhouse, however like most meetings, this meeting deteriorated into we hate Trump.  After 30 minutes I took my leave.

Its the holiday weekend and I was looking forward to working my late night shift. Holidays and the week that follows are typically slow.  During the quiet moments I read the news or I blog.   I’m a news junkie.  I read everything.  Its important  to hear all points of view.  In some circles just the mention of Fox News or MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow will place you in the center of a storm.  People who have never seen either show attempt to place you in the L or C box.   I find this frustrating and unproductive as I listen to one group villianizing another and I’m often attacked at meetings trying to  present the other side.

Another source of my frustration is the fragmentation.  In the 60’s it was civil rights, which  includes rights for women as well as people of color.   When women marched in the 70’s in many parts of the country it included gay rights.   There are currently so many groups, marching for so many things I think its confusing for the public.  Many of these groups are not supporting each other and some of the reasons are petty.  You didn’t attend or confirm our event so we wont support yours.    Missing in this country is a single issue.  ACA united us, someone, somewhere knows someone, who is depended on the ACA.   No leader emerged, the Democratic’s party sang songs to the Republicans after the GOP voted to dismantle the ACA. .

There are some Democrats and Republicans who believe members of the other party are inherently evil. Who’s goal is to take away freedoms.  I’m of the mind unless we work together solutions will be difficult.

On route to the meeting in Stockton. I’m listening to Sirrus radio trying to avoid the news.  Switching channels I heard the news of  Trumps intention to end (DACA) Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  Within minutes I received texts asking all to protest in Tuscon and Los Angeles.  Truth is I know little about DACA, its just one more thing. In a series of THINGS!  My stomach is upset and my chest is hurting.  I just want to sit in my car with the AC on.  Its just too much, but I have a committeemen.

At the meeting, I’m not feeling anything, not hearing anything.  Someone grabbed  my shoulder and asks if I was alright?    Apparently, I’m crying and not aware of it.  I touch my face and its wet.  Suddenly, I noticed other people looking at me, some with tears in their eyes, FUCK!

I get up with the intention of regrouping in the bathroom.   But  I walk instead, to the parking lot to my car.  I realize I left my notes on the chair, it doesn’t matter.   I’m going home.  I get in my car,  I meant to turn right onto on Pacific to get to March Lane, but I turned left on Pacific by the Mall.   I started crying, and pulled into the parking lot.

I drove home and started crying again, now feeling sorry for myself.  Am I having a breakdown?   I lay on the sofa and drift off to sleep. When I woke up I went on social media.

To my friends, comrades I will not be attending any meetings for the next few days . Needing a few days of ME time . Sent emails out this morning. Perhaps a couple of days in the mountains.. I need BIG injections of humor #thenanny#Ilovelucy In a few days I’ll be ready for the next round. #DACA#Northwestend #resistence #projectkings next week. Keep marching. Sending Love

Crying brought clarity.  I’m overwhelmed, I’m associated with 11 groups, which is beyond crazy!   I’m frustrated and most of all I’m sad.   I’m usually comforting people at meetings at work, who are overwhelmed by the daily news.  I didn’t realize the events had taken a toll on me.    This has been a contentious eight months.    I decided to leave all the organizations to reset.    I thought about writing letters, but I’m a volunteer.   I have to find THAT single issue where I can be helpful.

As I told a friend, I’m not gone, I’m simply taking a break!

Activist never die, they’re simply waiting for the appropriate cause.

For now its about humor. After tonight’s viewing of Steven Kings “IT”

If you see a large black man screaming like Jamie Lee Curtis. well…..

Just one thing….  If your wearing a clown suite,  Don’t just Don’t  We don’t need to be the lead story on Fox 40 News

See you at the next protest

CityFella

 

The More things change, the More they stay the same.   Listen to this 40 year old album  featuring the Brilliant Lily Tomlin

OF GODS AND THEIR MEN


Image result for Dera Sacha Sauda
Dera Sacha Sauda followers torched buildings and vehicles in Panchkula after the court verdict against their chief
From: MumbaiMirror
I must admit, I’m a bit jealous of god men. In India, they have a parallel nation where their followers will do anything. If they say, “Today I want you to stop using Indian currency and start using goats as money”, the followers would do it. Common sense suggests government would put their foot down and say, “These people are stark raving mad”. But no, the government’s job then would be to beg the god man to tell his followers to stop doing that and use currency RBI has given.

During the Swachh Bharat campaign, one request from a god man in North India had 5 lakh followers show up in South India on a particular morning to show support. Then there’s my India where I can’t convince five friends to watch the movie on a Whatsapp group. By now, every person in this nation and other countries, and several creatures from the animal kingdom that are fans of Republic TV, know of the arrest of a certain sect leader and the ensuing violence.

The urban educated upper middle class reacted logically – they couldn’t believe that a mob would take the rule of law hostage – was the state machinery useless? What kind of a country are we becoming? We look ridiculous to the world watching, etc etc. I was far more fascinated by a simpler fact. That lakhs of people would take to the streets and become violent just at the idea of their leader being incarcerated.

Just at the thought. Not stopping for asecond to think, “Could this conviction change my opinion of how I feel about my Guru?” or, “How do I as a person, regardless of my devotion, feel about non consensual sex?” Naturally, I am assuming that this god man’s followers are voluntary. I assume these aren’t just mobs or mercenaries paid to be violent. I assume these are people that have jobs and families, that gave all that up and congregated outside a court house to burn things, and will presumably, when their anger has satiated, return to their jobs and incomes.

That’s tremendous faith. I can’t point to one thing in my life that I care about that much (outside family ties say) that would make me burn unrelated city infrastructure. I was really mad when we lost to Pakistan in England in that final but all I could do was break a coffee mug. Which I felt guilty and replaced the next day. It also makes me question how individuals process basic common sense when in a mob.

When one sees thousands of people on any street in our crowded nation, any person would think, these are normal people with normal lives, concerned about income, abiding the law and making do with fate and hard work. This could be me, one thinks. And then in seconds, they could become a group that believes so strongly in something, however bizarre or illiterate, that no tear gas, judge, or law has any meaning.

And then you think to yourself, “Who are these people?” The same people seconds before you thought were just like you. Of course, how burning empty railway carriages and turning over media OB vans is payback for a judgment against your hero is of course another matter (unless you really, for some reason, hate news footage beamed up to a satellite). Faith will always be impossible to understand and no education, law or reason will stop a believer from doing something they believe in. There was once a collective in the former Soviet Union that worshipped Charlie Chaplin.

It worked like any other religion and nothing you could say to them would convince them that he wasn’t God, even when the real Charlie Chaplin came out and said, “Look I’m an actor”. And when you have that kind of belief, followers will listen to anything. I couldn’t get my cook to listen to me, and that’s one person. To have crores of people not only listen to you but be willing to be violent and go against the nation state without exercising any individual thinking – clearly, that means whatever you’re saying to them is working. And clearly, this god man, or any god man, must mean a lot to their followers.

I have a lot of friends who follow Game of Thrones for example. And they are quite upset that a lot of it is censored on television. Could I, however, get 5 of them together outside the Star TV English channel office to shout “Down with cuts” or even burn a poster of John Snow? No. I guarantee you fifteen minutes before, someone would cancel saying they got late at Yoga and someone else was waiting for their Kale salad. Here, 5 lakh people walked twice the length of Mumbai all the way to a court house convinced a man was innocent no matter what evidence, laws, or civilization said.

And when they weren’t happy with the verdict, the enemy was everything surrounding them. Sure one can build digital India, clean India, you can send a thing to Mars and try to teach people evolution and physics but you cannot change fundamental belief. If you’ve decided the man that sang a song about a love charger is your almighty, then that’s what it is. And for this, when a digitizing nation will co-exist with Guru worship, waking up in India one day could feel like the year 2020 and the next day, the year 1529.

– Anuvab Pal

You Didn’t BELIEVE him!


With the exception of CNN’s  Ana Navarro there was shock, tears and awe on cable news yesterday.   Donald Trump is A racist?

 

Let’s step into the Wayback Machine

Not that far…..

June 16, 2015, Trump Tower New York City.  “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

 Nov. 21, 2015, Birmingham Alabama: I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of Muslims were cheering.”   (The story was a bit of Trumps fake news)

Dec. 7, 2015, aboard the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier in Mount Pleasant South Carolina.   “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on. According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population.” (More fake Statistics)

2016 Primary: A  white supremacist super PAC called the American National Super PAC made robocalls in Minnesota and Vermont.

The white race is dying out in America and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist,’ says William Johnson, the leader of the white nationalist American Freedom Party. He goes on to bemoan “gradual genocide against the white race,” and how few “schools anymore have beautiful white children as the majority.” He signs off by telling recipients, “Don’t vote for a Cuban. Vote for Donald Trump.”

David Duke, the white nationalist and former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, encouraged his radio show listeners to volunteer for Trump’s campaign. “Call Donald Trump’s headquarters [and] volunteer,” he said on the “David Duke Radio Program.” At Trump campaign offices, he said, “you’re gonna meet people who are going to have the same kind of mindset that you have.”

One the news shows ,Trump denied knowing David Duke but he kept getting tripped up on those pesky vintage tapes of him talking about David Duke in detail.   For weeks candidate Trump would not condemn or disavow Dukes endorsement.

Are you still shocked for just forgot?

It sucks being this guy (the man looking down)

General John Kelly The President’s Chief of Staff, General John Kelly looks defeated as his boss goes off script and too the far left.  Kelly role was to keep 45 on the straight and narrow!  

Home General Didn’t Need This!

Kelly has a distinguished career before signing up  for the Trump-O-Coaster

A Marine Corps General the former commander of  United States  Southern Command. Responsible for American military operations in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Home General was appointed Secretary of Homeland Security on January 20, 2017, by President Trump. On July 28, 2017, he was appointed to replace Reince Priebus.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017  Trump Tower New York City 

“The Plan”

Our golden prez would  descend the golden elevators of Trump Tower and step to his golden lobby and there,flanked by his Treasury Secretary, his Transportation Secretary and his top economic adviser. He would highlight the infrastructure executive order he had just signed, and then he’d leave — head back upstairs and deploy his aides to handle any inquiries  slow fade.  Cable News Highlights.

Everything in the Box to the Left

I have a theory.  The Prez was reluctant to criticizes some members of his base.  Under mounting pressure, he was forced to name names.  “White Supremacists” “Klu Klux Klan”  “Nazi’s ”   “Sarah Palin and Kelly Ann Conway”  (Sorry got carried away, not Kelly Ann. )

It’s too late baby now it’s too late! 

After caving in ,the press and members of his own party of went into hypedrive. He was soundly attacked for the timing of his revised speech.   Our Prez has a history of holding a grudge and is unable or unwilling to control his emotions.  What we saw yesterday was an angry Prez who basically said FuckIt !   Dammed if I do Dammed if I don’t.

REPORTER: Why did you wait so long ?

TRUMP: I didn’t wait long. I didn’t wait long. I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement. The statement I made on Saturday, the first statement, was a fine statement but you don’t make statements that direct unless you know the facts. It takes a little while to get the facts. You still don’t know the facts. It is a very, very important process to me. It is a very important statement. So I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement. I want to know the facts. If you go back to my statement, I brought it. I brought it

While the Prez, concludes the  driver of the car was  a murderer, he’s not ready to call it a terrorist act. Now if it took place in Europe……………

He believe race relations are better or the same since he has taken office.

There is one areas where I actually agree with the Prez.  There was trouble on both sides.   I’m a veteran of sorts.   Not every White Supremacist and those of the extreme right were violent.  However, their are anarchist on either side. I’ve participated in peaceful marches that turned violent after  someone from our side broke a  large window of a business or threw a rock at a police officer.   Individual’s who are looking for a fight  to cause Chaos.  The right was heavenly armed in Chancellorsville, last weekend.  No one was shot.

The difference between to two sides, one side has historically killed people of color, and called for extreme acts of violence against Gays and other Cultures.  They would like to limit the freedoms of people who don’t look or believe as they do.

While President Trump and the truth are in different parts of the world, never to meet.

There was one thing he has never lied about.  His Racism!

 CityFella

Tourism is killing Venice, but it’s also the only key to survival for the Italian City


'Tourism is killing Venice, but it's also the only key to survival'
Throngs of tourists flood the streets of Venice. Photo: Venezia Autentica
By Catherine Edwards/The Local
Venice has topped travellers’ bucket lists for centuries, but in recent years the city has struggled to cope with mass tourism, while tension has grown between visitors and locals.

 

By the 17th century, a trip to Venice had become a rite of passage for upper class northern Europeans, who flocked to the lagoon city as part of the Italian Grand Tour. Writers and artists drank in inspiration from the city where imposing architecture was reflected in glittering waters and Venice became a symbol for Italian romance.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and the city is groaning under the weight of tourism.

Cheap flights, huge cruise ships, and the city’s Instagram appeal attract so many travellers that on a given day, there are more visitors than residents in the Veneto capital. It’s the type of tourism as much as the sheer amount that causes problems: the majority of visitors don’t stay overnight in the city, meaning most of them spend their time and their money in the same small areas.

Small businesses and artisans’ craft shops have been replaced by identikit souvenir stalls and fast food restaurants to cater to day-tripping bargain hunters. In recent years, Venetians have staged frequent protests against the mass tourism which has pushed up rents and forced many families out of their hometown.

But could the visitors hold the key to Venice’s survival?

“Venice is a one-industry city; it relies on tourism, like our bodies rely on food to survive,” says local resident Sebastian Fagarazzi.

“But in order to thrive, you need to have the right kind of food; the right kind of tourism. The wrong kind can mean death.”

Sebastian Fagarazzi’s family had to close down its textiles shop due to the pressure created by mass tourism; he says all his friends have left the city. Photo: Venezia Autentica

Fagarazzi and his partner, France-born Valeria Duflot, have launched Venezia Autentica, a social enterprise with the aim of promoting responsible tourism and supporting local business in the city.

Frustration with visitors has grown to the point that last summer, angry locals plastered the city with flyers reading ‘Tourists go away! You are destroying this city’, but the couple believe not only that tourists could help save Venice, but that a large number of them want to do so, and would if they were given the tools.

“Tourism is the problem, but it’s also the only solution,” Fagarazzi tells The Local. “Everyone protests [against excessive tourism], but no one has done much to try to have an immediate positive effect.”


Crowds mass at the Rialto Bridge. Photo: Venezia Autentica

Duflot met her partner on a visit to Venice before later making the city her home and remembers the difficulty she had in finding out about the real side to Venice, beyond the tourist hotspots and gondoliers.

“When I spoke to locals and met Sebastian, I learnt a lot about the city and enjoyed my time there much more. But at the start,it’s very hard to get that information and to know how to have a positive impact,” she says.

The 30-year-old came up with the idea for Venezia Autentica when walking down the city’s main street one day. To one side, she saw a crowd of cruise ship tourists; to the other, a group of young Venetians, carrying flags and singing local songs.

“In a flash, I thought, wouldn’t it be great if we could get these two groups to understand each other? I know other people care about the impact they have on Venice, and if just a small proportion of the visitors thinks like that, then we can have a huge impact, particularly as the Venetians now are so few,” Duflot explains.


Valeria Duflot first came to Venice in 2014 and now calls the city her home. Photo: Venezia Autentica

The pair are sceptical about recent measures introduced by city authorities aimed at protecting the city’s heritage, including bans on new hotels and takeaway food joints in the historic centre.

“They’ve basically closed the stable door after the horse has bolted,” says Fagarazzi. “It should be the city authorities who regulate tourism – you can’t expect visitors to do in depth research; after a 40-hour working week, you come on holiday to relax! But it’s meaningless political manouevring. The bans only apply to new establishments when there are hundreds already, and there will be exceptions when it suits the authorities.”

One thing missing from the new measures is any concrete proposal of support for Venetian-run businesses or local residents, such as tax exemptions for entrepreneurs or housing support for young people.

The two Venetians hope their business will offer some support to local entrepreneurs and artisans by highlighting their shops to visitors and educating tourists on the expertise and long hours that go into making a typical mask, for example.


A Venetian artisan works on a mask while a young girl watches. Photo: Venezia Autentica

Fagarazzi is acutely aware of the pressures local businesses face: in 2015, his family was forced to close its popular clothing shop in the city centre, after facing increasing pressure linked to the effects of mass tourism.

At the age of 32, he says the majority of his friends have been forced to leave because they can no longer make a life in Venice – “and it’s my generation that makes babies!”

“People worry that Venice could disappear because of flooding, but it actually could disappear much sooner,” Fagarazzi comments. “Without the Venetians, it’s not Venice. Time is running out.”

The local population has dropped below 55,000, less than half the figure of 40 years ago, as Venetians find themselves priced out of their hometown. What’s more, it has one of Italy’s oldest populations; despite the fact Veneto is the country’s second wealthiest region, youth unemployment is extremely high.

The couple hope that by supporting local artisans, they can help them stay in business and create opportunities for young Venetians to continue living in the city and carve out rewarding careers.


A lace-maker sits at work outside her shop. Photo: Venezia Autentica

On their website, they offer information about the city, guidelines for responsible tourism, and a selection of local restaurants and artisan shops that have the ‘Authentic Venice’ seal of approval. All have been personally tried and tested by the couple, their family and friends; as Fagarazzi says, “we need to be sure that it’s a consistently good experience -a business which makes Venice proud”.

Aside from following the online guide, there are a few clues tourists can look out for when hunting down a true Venetian experience. Duflot explains that there is no particular neighbourhood to go to for artisan shops, but there are some red flags to look out for.

“If you see someone standing outside a restaurant beckoning you in, or menus with pictures and flags of different countries, walk in the other direction!” she warns. “And in ‘artisan shops’, if you see any kind of massive sale or very cheap products, it won’t be good quality – which can be dangerous too.”

On the other hand, a true artisan shop will likely have a clear specialization in one kind of product; a craftsman at work – or signs that they’ve been working; and prices that reflect the fact that the simplest mask, for example, takes around seven hours to create.

“But the best litmus test is always to ask the salesperson about the craft. A seller of mass-produced souvenirs might badger you to buy things or repeat the same catchwords like ‘Murano glass’; an artisan will be able to tell you everything about what they do. Their eyes will light up,” says Duflot.


A mask-maker shows off her creations. Photo: Venezia Autentica

The pair say they hope that would-be visitors aren’t scared off Venice by the stories of anti-tourist sentiment, but also that they will take more time to learn about the city.

“It’s not a theme park to tick off your bucket list; it’s a real, living city with people and struggles which visitors should appreciate,” says Fagarazzi.

To get a glimpse of Venetian life and better understand the city, he advises visitors to venture off the well-trodden tourist trail and explore side streets and quieter piazzas. Not only does this ease the pressure on the city’s main thoroughfares, it’s also more likely to lead to a unique shop or experience.

“As a Venetian I’m envious, because I don’t get to experience the magic of getting lost and finding that incredible shop you’ll never find again. It’s like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter – sometimes you stumble across the very thing you’re looking for, totally at random,” he says.

“Venice has always been very welcoming to all kinds of people,” adds Duflot. “Here, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from – just treat Venetians and their city well.”