So far, efforts to open up that dialogue have gone nowhere. Attorney Mark Webb, who represents some of the victims of harassment and brutality by Bertrand and Ott, publicly called on Newsom to mediate the dispute in March. But he was rebuffed, so last month he filed a racketeering case against the city, arguing that police shakedowns of legal activities amount to a criminal enterprise.
"I was quite disappointed at the reaction to this case," Webb said. "It's fallen on deaf ears in terms of trying to get Newsom or others in power to deal with it. Now it's just in the pile of lawsuits."
Last week the City Attorney's Office had the case bumped up to federal court, and Webb said he has subpoenaed police records and sought depositions from Bertrand and his supervisors. Another lawsuit, brought by promoter Arash Ghanadan after he was arrested and, he charges, brutalized by Bertrand in retaliation for filing an earlier complaint, is also being contested by the city.
"We are in a battle for Bertrand's personnel file," said Ghanadan's attorney, Steve Sommers, who is also seeking to depose Police Chief George Gascón about the matter.
State Sen. Mark Leno has helped to mediate the disputes and has been in touch with ABC chief Steve Hardy. "I think we're going to see some improvement," Leno said. "I don't know how aware he was of the activities at the local level."
Those activities include citing nightclubs for not serving enough food, repeatedly harassing customers at certain disfavored clubs, pursuing noise complaints on behalf of particularly sensitive neighbors, and announcing a crackdown on bars serving infused liquors.
Leno welcomed the creation of CMAC and said that it will be an important voice for a vital and under-appreciated industry, both in San Francisco and in Sacramento, where Leno unsuccessfully pushed legislation to extend the operating hours of nightclubs a few years ago.
"I applaud this effort," Leno said of CMAC. "There is great wisdom to advocating for this on a statewide basis."
CMAC LAUNCH PARTY
With DJs J Boogie, Motion Potion, and more
7–11 p.m., $10
444 Jessie, SF
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