Chiu proposes new nightclub regulations in SF

April 6, 2010 1:30:48 PM PDT
San Francisco could soon be tightening its grip on the city's nightlife. Following a fatal shooting at the Suede Nightclub in February, supervisors are now taking a closer look at how clubs are regulated, and might soon consider changing the law.

One teenager was killed and four other people injured outside the Suede lounge in February.

As a result, the Fisherman's Wharf area nightclub's entertainment permit was just suspended for 30 days, but the city's Entertainment Commission, which regulates clubs, does not have the power to revoke the permit even if it wanted to -- a fact that surprised Supervisor David Chiu.

"On the one-hand its good thing the Entertainment Commission moved to suspend club Suede's license for 30 days, but I think it needs to be a permanent closure," Chiu said.

So Chiu is thinking about introducing legislation to increase the commission's power. He says Suede has been a chronic threat to public safety, and the shooting has revealed toothless regulators.

The move to possibly increase the commission's power comes at the same time the mayor says he wants to get rid of it altogether.

Commission Executive Director Bob Davis answered questions from Chiu and other members of the Public Safety Committee on Monday.

"The mayor is the mayor of the city and I respect the mayor and his attitudes, and the things he feels are best for the city. I do feel the Commission can be effective," he said.

Commission inspector Vajra Granelli says a better relationship with the San Francisco Police Department would also help.

"I've built a private web of phone numbers, cell phones and text messages which I have worked with a bunch of units all over the city, but if it's their night off I lose that asset," he said.

Chiu wants to address irresponsible promoters as well, but one San Francisco promoter is afraid of the effect on his business.

"It's a lot about criminalization of nightlife and shutting down venues without outreach to the promoter community," party promoter "Anaconda" said.

The commission will be making it recommendations for legislation to Chiu's office by the end of the week.


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