SFPD and BoS finally come to terms on after-hour club permitting laws; Entertainment Commission: “Those dudes hanging out outside clubs and shootin’ shit up? Not our fault, not our fault.”
It only took about 15 months, but legislation altering the laws governing extended- and after-hours permits for nightclubs and other places wishing to party (but not serve drinks) after 2 a.m. appears to have at last won support from the San Francisco Police Department — and all it took was a supervisor promising more paperwork and a potential future hearing.
Offered by Supervisor David Chiu, the amendments to the nightclub laws would require the Entertainment Commission to prepare detailed reports on each and every after- and extended- hours permit granted (where it was, what happened, what the security plan was and if it was a total sausage-fest or not if any neighbors or other party-poopers complained), and would also provide for what Chiu called a “way for us to call a timeout”: if permits for after hours entertainment go up by 15 percent or more in the first year of the law a moratorium can be called and a hearing held; and growth for one-time permits (a club asking to stay open past 2 a.m. on a holiday, for example) could be capped at 10 percent.
Readers may recall that only a few weeks ago, supervisors and the SFPD were far, far apart on the matter: while the SFPD has never quite been happy with allowing the Entertainment Commission to police club permitting, an SFPD captain went as far to testify that the reality of a Saturday night on Broadway — no explanation needed — would be the reality on every SF commercial strip if the laws were to pass.
Not only did Deputy Chief Kevin Cashman, commander of the Field Operations Bureau, take a liking to the amendments, he offered a suggestion of his own: that the EC be able to impose a 1-to-100 ratio of security guards to patrons for any after-hours event during the week, not just on weekends as the law currently reads.
That was welcomed, heartily, by committee chairman Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who may have declared himself a candidate for Mayor in 2010 on Sunday (though there’s no election currently scheduled for that year) and who did state that a shooting in the Excelsior over the weekend, stemming from a hip-hip soiree at the Sons of Italy event hall, could have been avoided if the laws were in place.
Further discussion on the nightclub laws will have to wait for June, while the City Attorney reviews the language, but let us leave you with words from Entertainment Commission chairman Bob Davis. Crime is not the nightclub industry’s fault, he said.
“Crime is cyclical,” he said. “Crime goes up and crime goes down… it has nothing to do with who is administering the clubs.”
Or whether or not we can stay in our barstool past 2 a.m. for the purpose of eating pretzels and chili, presumably, but we will see.