Going to a club -- or boarding an airplane? - Page 2

The War on Fun continues with a proposal to electronically track every nightclub visitor

Jelly's was shut down after a shooting outside the nightclub in July

SFPD Inspector Dave Falzon, the department's liaison to the nightclubs and ABC, told the Guardian that he believes the data gathered from nightclub patrons would allow police to more easily find witnesses and suspects to solve any crimes committed at or near the nightclubs.

"It's not intended to be exploited," Falzon said, stressing that the recommendations are a work in progress and part of an ongoing dialogue with the Entertainment Commission — an agency Newsom, SFPD officials, and some media voices have been highly critical of over the last two years.

Along with the proposal for the ID scanners, SFPD proposed many other measures such as increased security personnel (including requiring clubs to hire more so-called 10-B officers, or SFPD officials on overtime wages), metal detectors at club entrances, surveillance cameras at the entrances and exits, and extra lighting on the exterior of the night clubs.

Though this may sound to many like heading down the dystopian rabbit hole with Big Brother potentially watching your every move, Falzon thinks it's the opposite. "It isn't that police department is acting as a militant state," Falzon said. "All we're trying to do is to make these clubs safer so they can be more fun."

Yet critics of the proposals don't think they sound like much fun at all, and fear that employing such overzealous policing tools will hurt one of San Francisco's most vital economic sectors while doing little to make anyone safer.

Jamie Zawinski is the owner of the DNA Lounge, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He has been a leading voice in pushing back against the War of Fun, including running a blog that chronicles SFPD excesses. He said the proposed regulations go way too far.

"It's gang violence happening on the street. The nightclubs are being scapegoated. You don't solve the problem by increased security in the clubs," Zawinski told us, adding that the lack of proper policing on the streets should be addressed before putting the financial strain on the entertainment industry.

"It's ridiculously insulting. I will not do that to my customers. It's not a way to solve any problems," Zawinski said. "It sets the tone for the evening when you start demanding papers."

It's also a gross violation of people's rights, says Nicole Ozer, the director of Technology and Civil Liberties Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. She said that recording people's personal information when they enter a public venue raises troubling legal issues.

"There are some real implications of tracking and monitoring personal data. The details of what you visit reveal things about your sexuality and political views," Ozer said, adding that the ACLU would also have issues with how that information is used and safeguarded.

In response to police crackdowns on nightlife, club owners and advocates earlier this year formed the California Music and Culture Association (CMAC) to advocate for nightlife and offer advice and legal assistance to members. CMAC officials say they are concerned about the latest proposals.

"The rise in violence has to be looked at from a societal point of view," said Sean Manchester, president of CMAC and owner of the nightclub Mighty. He noted that most of the violence that has been associated with nightclubs took place in alleys and parking lots away from the bars and involved underage perpetrators. "In many instances [the increased security measures] wouldn't have done anything to stop it," he said.


I think this is great idea......but what will they do about COM#.....??

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 11:28 pm

This does really raise the question as to how far they will take this whole invasion of privacy that they are doing all over the place. By just saying that it is to better protect you from violence of some kind they are already doing full body scans in airports and now they want to scan your ID just for going into a club... whats next? a tracking chip in your body for day to day life just to keep you from walking off a bridge and into the ocean?

Posted by Mike D on Dec. 07, 2010 @ 11:59 pm

will cause a lot more problems than it could ever solve. Having worked in bars and clubs, attempting to scan every customers ID isn't going to go over. I suppose it would kill off the clubs that are inviting to thugs, and maybe thats the idea?

It is odd that the Guardian is against more invasive "Orwellian" government. True believers have never really been known for a single standard so I guess its to be expected.

Posted by matlocker on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 6:40 am

There was no closed session on November 30 to discuss the city attorney's opinion, although it was distributed to commissioners at the November 23 meeting. ID scanning, as you mentioned, is the most controversial item among the proposed conditions. The fact that clubs might be able to attach anecdotal information to individual ID scans and the possibility that this information might also be shared among all clubs using the same network, is particularly troubling. This is on the agenda for next Tuesday's EC meeting.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 7:59 am

Humm. Genital pat-downs at the airport. US Government Fusion Centers, 200+ FEMA detention camps / "National Emergency Centers", ID swipes to enter a nightclub. Sure seems like a pattern to all of this.....
Next step? A trumped-up emergency used to declare martial law?

Posted by Tommy Gunn on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 3:31 pm

Night-club entertainment is not a vital part of San Francisco's economy, so get over yourself. Don't confuse binge drinking and vomiting in the streets with "urban life". Go build your cookie-cutter nightclubs in Walnut Creek and Hayward, so you can save most of your boozer customers some driving time.

Really, this whole issue pits a cabal of people in their 20's and 30's, largely from the suburbs, along with the alcohol-industrial complex, headed by SFBG, against the rest of the city. The police are taking these actions because that's what most people who vote and pay taxes in S.F. want.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 3:33 pm

First of all, 30% of San Francisco's population is in the 20-30 range, which makes a pretty significant portion of the population. Just because you cant take a sip of alcohol without "vomiting in the streets" doesn't mean that that is the case for then tens of thousands who go to nightclubs in San Francisco every night.

San Francisco has been globally known for being a center of live music and entertainment (you know, those things that happen at nightclubs) for over fifty years.

Anyone who thinks that the government tracking its citizens is a good idea needs to get the hell out of this country. If you really hate our civil liberties that much than maybe you should spend some time in North Korea or China.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

“Our nightlife economy is really important to San Francisco,” says Jocelyn Kane, the (Entertainment) commission’s deputy director. "
Measuring the Nightlife Economy
By: Garrett Peck
May 10, 2010


Tourism is the backbone of the San Francisco economy... San Francisco attracts the third-highest number of foreign tourists of any city in the U.S. and claims Pier 39 near Fisherman's Wharf as the third-most popular tourist attraction in the nation. More than 16 million visitors arrived in San Francisco in 2007, injecting nearly $8.2 billion into the economy—both all-time high figures for the city. With a large hotel infrastructure and a world-class convention facility in the Moscone Center, San Francisco is also among the top-ten North American destinations for conventions and conferences.


noun, verb, -balled, -bal·ling.
1.a small group of secret plotters, as against a government or person in authority.
2.the plots and schemes of such a group; intrigue.
3.a clique, as in artistic, literary, or theatrical circles.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 08, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

There will never be any real change in California until the voters stop electing dimwits to city and state government. San Francisco’s ban of the Happy Meal is symbolic of the idiocy that permeates every tentacle that government reaches out to us. Fight Back! Watch the video! One minute of your time can lead to serious change.:

Posted by Jim W on Dec. 11, 2010 @ 8:51 am

"It's not intended to be exploited,"

it never is ...

Posted by pooch on Dec. 17, 2010 @ 4:32 am
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