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Feedback on Small-Toney column, advice from tour guide
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I can only say that I hope you’ve been getting an appropriate amount of positive feedback for breaking the ‘unwritten rules’ of Savannah news publications, your piece “When a puff piece goes poof” was necessary, refreshing, and a light of journalistic hope in a city that too often finds it necessary to put forth a false sense of politeness.

I found myself pulled into a leering balk when I picked up the recent issue of The South to find yet another parade of absurd self–aggrandizement from the people in the city who are least in need of support and exposure, and was really pleased to find a shared sentiment about the flaccid, self–serving, and often pointless motivations of journalistic PR in Savannah.

Your piece is the sort of piece that will make the city a safe place to have a real conversation about what is going on and what the people of the city think, and I really only hope to see those unwritten rules broken underfoot as soon as possible.

The people who would like to see things stay simple and circuitous as far as public discourse is concerned may be the ones in positions of power and influence at the moment, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a huge majority of people in the city who find it exciting to know that there are voices standing up for positive change and the pride that comes with it.

PM Goerner

Tour guide says tours have gone too far


As a resident of the Historic District and tour operator in the ’Hostess City,' I feel the time has come to say enough is enough. The tours downtown are out of hand after dark!

Savannah is a laid back town. The inhabitants, residents and tourists alike, enjoy the peace and quiet after dusk. This city is a unique and thriving tourist destination and we do not want to hinder the visitor’s experience but I know from my patrons that even they are shocked by the excess after dark.

Some in the hospitality industry have said there are too many tours offered but competition is good and keeps the quality of the narrative fresh. We should not adopt policies that hinder free enterprise.

Charleston has banned trolleys altogether except on the perimeter, New Orleans uses an annual lottery system to determine which company operates each year and Key West has essentially one tour operator which happens to be one of the companies in business here.

Having been a tour operator in Savannah since 1997, I feel the inherent greed and the amount of money that can be made because of the sheer number of visitors has undermined the quality of life and goodwill of the residents toward the tour companies.

The city is responding with enforcement that frankly should have been carried out years ago.

I propose that the Landmark district be cut in two. A residential boundary that lies south of Liberty and east of Habersham in the NE quadrant with a commercial district encompassing mostly the NW quadrant. Forsyth Park would be considered commercial.

The residential area would allow tours until 8 p.m., and the commercial area until 2 p.m. This would alleviate most impact felt by residents.

Tourists would be free to traverse these residential areas but the tour companies would operate elsewhere after dark. All tours, whether they be horse, hearse, trolley or foot not to mention the segways, bicycles and theme vehicles, should be conducted north of the Hilton Desoto after dark. This would give every operator plenty to showcase at night.

This must be done in order to keep the Landmark district status intact.

Imagine the number of tours if and when a cruise ship docks and unloads 2,000 passengers. As soon as they step ashore they will want a tour. These visitors won’t eat in the restaurants or spend the night at inns and hotels because that is provided abroad ship.

They will, however, take advantage of the fact that you can walk with a drink in the Historic District, which will help the owners of bars which employ lots of locals.

This is my humble proposal and I am only a voice, as there should be input from everyone involved in the economic and cultural wellbeing of this wonderful area.

Robert M. Edgerly