by Sarah Kai Acker
A contentious battle—and an endless hearing—came to a possible close last night as the lawyer for Club Six and the lawyer for the disgruntled residents of the Lawrence Hotel atop the club compromised on a 120-day probation.
For the low-income Lawrence Hotel tenants, this means that if Club Six violates the decibel cap set by the city (it’s 88.1 decibels, for any audio geeks wondering) and if the vibrations from the bass thump their rooms, Club Six will be considered in violation of their probation. Then another hearing (promised to be short) will be held that will likely lead to the threatened 30-day suspension.
A suspension that long could put the club out of business and would create a financial hardship for the 50+ people employed there, many who are struggling financially themselves. For Club Six’s owner Angel Cruz, this means he has a grace period to perfect the soundproofing.
“We’re close, we’re so close,” Cruz told the Guardian. “A lot of [soundproofing the building] is trial and error. There’s no clear cut science.”
So many people showed up at City Hall in support of Club Six that the hearing had to be moved to a larger room. A diverse procession of DJs, employees, artists, promoters, and residents of Sixth Street filed in front of the commissioners to give impassioned one-minute speeches on why they believe Club Six and its owner Angel Cruz are so vital to the area and their lives. As Julius Countryman, a long-term tenant of the Lawrence Hotel, phrased his appreciation, “Club Six keeps me rockin’. It keeps me movin’.”
Only a few residents of hotels in the area voiced opposition to Club Six in front of the commission, and one cited intimidation as a factor in the low turnout of tenants. The movement to shut down Club Six was spearheaded by Lawrence Hotel tenant Jim Ayers. His champion, Paul Hogarth of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC) and the managing editor of www.beyondchron.com, said: “It’s a residential neighborhood, and the tenants on Sixth Street don’t live there because they want to. They live there because they have to.”
But in actuality, the neighborhood is classified as mixed use, and residents need to make compromises with business owners. Which hopefully will continue to be the case. So the beat will go on, at least provisionally.