San Francisco's slippery slope is chafing

Cops, politics, and nudity don't mix well.
SF Newspaper Co.

By Nato Green

This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed a ban on public nudity on a party line vote. By “party line,” I mean the Supes voting against nudity are the ones who never go to parties with lines of coke or conga lines. I'm not saying every single one of the progressive supervisors could be found in the naked suntan lotion massage yurt at Burning Man, just that it's conceivable.

The ban was proposed by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, and supported by the “moderates,” who are Very Serious about sensible governance. First of all, anyone who ever made fun of Supervisor Eric Mar's happy meal ban owes him an apology. Second, obviously all other problems in the City have been solved, which has freed up the Supes to kowtow to the whims of the gayeoisie.

People are worried about the effects of aggressive nudity on children, but fortunately we've gentrified all the families out of the City. Now we'll have to export nudists to Solano County if we want kids subjected to them. At any rate, during a nippy San Francisco winter it's vitally important for children to learn about shrinkage.

Nudity doesn't necessarily harm children. I grew up in San Francisco. In the '70s. Naked people were everywhere, bare and unshaven. I didn't see a fully-clothed adult until I was nine. I didn't see nakedness as sexual, so much as simply covered in naked. Partly because then, as now, the specific naked people were not easy on the eyes. Not to promote normative body images, but if Christina Hendricks and Ryan Gosling showed up naked, the ensuing celebration by all sexualities would make the Giants Victory Parade look like a tupperware party.

Worst of all, nudity was banned in the Castro. If there's one neighborhood that arguably draws its spirit from the brandishing of genitalia, it's the Castro. Harvey Milk did not march so his grandchildren could sequester the penis. It's almost as if the City wanted to abolish hippies sitting on the sidewalk in the Haight-Ashbury. (Damn you, sit/lie.)

If we're going to ban sitting on the sidewalk in the Haight and nudity in the Castro, here are more options for possible legislation to achieve the goal of draining our neighborhoods of their distinguishing features.

We should also ban:

  1. Bernal Heights—dykes with dogs.

  2. Mission—fixed-gear bicycles, ironic mustaches, and salvadoreños.

  3. Marina—entitlement.

  4. Richmond—Irish pubs with actual Irish people.

  5. Noe Valley—strollers and handmade baby food.

  6. Western Addition—Black people. Whoops. Too late.

Comedian Nato Green (writer for “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell” on FX) headlines the San Francisco Punchline December 19 and 20. Tweet him @natogreen


We can't have different laws for each zip code.

I did like your line about the Supes who supported this are all "boring" though. Kinda like rich people, huh?

You lost, and rightly so. Give it up and move on.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

Yes, we can have different laws for different neighborhoods, it happens all of the time.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

something west of, say, Sanchez, then the illegal activity will just migrate to 50 yards east of there.

There are straights and families in Castro and gays in other area's. We've already created too many homogeneous ghetto's in SF - separate laws for each zip code would just accelerate that discriminatory process of balkanization.

Anyway, it's done. Scott listens to his constituents - such a radical political idea huh?

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

You really don't know whether the urban nudists would move 50 yards away from Castro between Market and 18th because the main driver of their exhibitionist conduct is the presence of a constant flow of people to watch them in the Castro and Upper Market NCDs.

Conduct controls like no skateboarding on the sidewalk often follow zoning districts, this is not unprecedented.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

told him it was important. If even people in Castro want to ban nudity, it is safe to assume that all other area's of the city would too.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 3:07 pm

The problem with this lie that you and others keep promoting is that others of "his own constituents" told him they OPPOSED a nudity ban. He ignored those "constituents" in order to help advance his political career. And that's what this is about. But many are too gullible and naive to see it as such. And of course his conservative disciples (might you be one?) never would be admit that's what this about.

Also, you wrote:

>>>If even people in Castro want to ban nudity<<<

That should read if one is being truthful and objective versus having an agenda:

>>>If even SOME people in Castro want to ban nudity<<<

Because I'm in the Castro and opposed the ban. It's not as black/white as you and other conservatives insist on presenting it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

The consensus both among my (gay) neighbors and from what Scott says that he is being told locally, is that the residents are sick and tired of these exhibitionists disgusting people, and that they add nothing to our community. Indeed, they detract from it.

When even gays in the Castro want these guys gone, you KNOW you're on a losing bet.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

Oh you're going by what "Scott says." Isn't that wonderful. This is the same Scott that said that the naked guys were "taking over" and "invading" the Warner Plaza for his conservative agenda. A local blog site went to the Warner Plaza at the warmest part of the day for 2 weeks. They found that on average there were 2 naked guys in the Plaza.

TWO. Two is "taking over?" Two is "an invasion?"


So in Scott's mind, 2 naked guys is "an invasion" and "taking over the plaza" and "taking over the streets." Sigh. I think I would take with the value of a speck of dust anything that "Scott says" (to advance his conservative agenda).

The few naked guys are only "disgusting" (your word) to people with body-image issues that they like to project on other. Your "disgusting people" [sic] hate speaks volumes about you and your agenda. And unfortunately I know there are other haters like you in the Castro as the Castro becomes more and more conservative and gentrified.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

You're probably not even gay, yet you claim to know what's best for us.

Take a hike.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

I do live in the Castro and I'm Queer.

"yet you claim to know what's best for us."

You seem to be doing that. What I've done is challenge your lies and conservative bull shit. Apparently you're not used to that.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

constituents have is not muni, or fixing the streets, or crime.

It is the naked guys.

He responded to that anger. That's his job and he's done it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 7:52 am

"When even gays in the Castro want these guys gone..."

Again, SOME gays. The word SOME doesn't seem to be in your vocabulary.

And some gays can be as hateful as anyone else. One's sexuality orientation doesn't stop one from being hateful. You're a perfect example of that.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

Some gays want the compulsive exhibitionists gone from the Castro and the response to that was to ban non-exhibitionist, casual nudity citywide for everyone?

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

The voters have spoken, our representatives ahev decided, and the issue is not resolved.

You don't like it? Ask me about all thing things I don't like. Then grow up.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

There was occasional nudity for decades without incident before the urban exhibitionists arrived on the scene. Now all of that is criminalized by those who want a smaller, less intrusive government. Makes perfect sense.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

the voters and residents of the Castro for wanting them banned.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 7:53 am

Of course the exhibitionists picked a fight that they could not win and that gave Scott Wiener an opportunity to legislate in a way that not only solved his small problem but punished other non offensive people for not doing anything wrong.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:29 am

A small minority abuse things and so a law gets passed to deal with that tiny minority. Laws are essentially reactive and get written only for the exceptions and the minority that spils things for the rest of us.

The gay community itself could have dealt with this internally, but were not inclined to do so. That made a legislative ban was inevitable.

It's always the fringe that messes things up.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:39 am

There is no gay community central board that asserts authority over anyone. Several of the "urban nudists" are hets. The law should limit itself to restricting problem conduct and go no further. In this case, the conservatives legislated a radical solution to a limited problem, belying their claims to support a limited government that stays off of peoples' backs.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 8:55 am

"Scott listens to his constituents"

Reality: He "listens" to the ones he agrees with for his (and your) conservative agenda.

And it's not done, because the lawsuit is in progress. You must not keep up. Typical. Even if the lawsuit is struck down, the ban doesn't go into effect until in February. And how will this ban be enforced? When we have bans and laws against others things and they aren't enforced. For example, there's an ordinance against smoking in the Warner Plaza. Yet I see people smoking in or around the Warner Plaza. The ordinance is not enforced.

But I guess the conservative loons (they call themselves "moderates" to fool the gullible) think that nudity is much more harmful than second-hand smoke.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

"not enforced". I think Ross discovered that is not true.

You sound bitter about this and losing is never easy. But it's really a struggle to come up with a rational argument why people should be allowed to strut naked when a clear majority of Castro residents clearly don't want that.

And Scott is popular here in the Castro (I've no idea where you live but I'll guess not here) because rather than impose his own ideology, he acts as a representative. Crazy idea, huh?

You should pick you battles, dude, and right now you're not picking well.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

Deliberately missing the point I was making is what trolls do, and that's what you are. You're a troll for your Scott. I've seen the Scott trolls on other message forums, or are they all you? So you and your Scott can find someone else to give you the attention you both crave.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:51 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 7:54 am

The lawsuit is going to go nowhere. Berkeley has had an anti-nudity ordinance for over 20 years and when it was enacted the nudists tried suing on First Amendment grounds as well. The courts ruled in favor of the city. Other cities have anti-nudity ordinances and the courts have consistently ruled that the bans do not violate a person's FA rights. You must not keep up.

How will this ban be enforced? Simple. A cop sees a naked person walking around, he goes up to him and gives him a ticket. It's the same as if someone were driving around with their music too loud, or had tinted windows, or were jaywalking. Is it always enforced? No. But it can be. Just like the anti-smoking ordinance.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

It would be really great if the liberals in this town could find something more worthy and noble to fight for than the "rights" of some fat, old, bald queen to expose himself.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

My point was that sit-lie is (fortunately) not enforced, if only selectively. So why would THIS ban be enforced? My point was that we have these ordinances/laws/bans which are often UNenforced (that means not enforced). They are just feel-good, reactionary laws/ordinances to pacify the right-wing (like you?) who want them for their hateful reasons. The cops have nothing better to do with their time than give a citation to a naked person? No crimes to be solved anywhere? That was my point which went way over your head.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

We get you're angry about this law. Hey, there are laws I don't like either. But don't make the mistake of thinking this new law won't be enforced. Many of my neighbors will make very sure that it is, even if we have to execute a citizen's arrest.

Never under-estimate an angry populace. And their ability to get the cops to do their job.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

"No, your point barely registered at all."

Well I can believe that. There has to be something there for it to register with.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 7:20 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 8:19 pm

You're right. Cops also shouldn't pull someone over for loud music. Or for tinted windows. Next time I'm smoking at an ATM or in the park don't complain to a cop because they should have better things to do than hassle me. Those are just feel good, reactionary laws/ordinances to pacify the left-wing who want them for hateful reasons. There are murders and robberies that they should be dealing with.

But I bet you weren't complaining when the supervisors put in that idiot bag fee or banned toys from Happy Meals that didn't fit their nutritional standard. Or trying to force gun legislation that makes it illegal for a person to store a gun in their house without a lock. Don't the supervisors have better things to do than pass laws to satisfy people like you?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

I voted against the gun control law, having grown up in Texas I'm not one of those anti-gun nuts. The Happy Meals thing was just silly.

But we've got to cut down our waste stream and bag fees are one way to move in that direction.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 9:42 pm

but somewhat disagree about the happy meals. Remember the outcome was that due to national media attention McDonalds reduced the unhealthy quantities of fat and salt in the children's portions.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 10:37 pm

My kids have never been uncomfortable by seeing nudity in San Francisco before. In fact, I have only ever heard adults take issue with it, so when you say "there are families" what you mean to say is, there are stuck-up, puritan parents in the Castro.

This article is snarky, and antagonistic. Still, I agree with its author more than not.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

and you certainly don't speak for their kids. Nobody cares what you personally like and don't like, but when even gay men in the Castro want this nonsense to stop, why doesn't that matter to you?

Anyway, you lost this battle. Move on.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

disagrees with your kid. So there. She is very uncomfortable with the nudists. Can't really blame her, when walking down Castro street, some freaks penis is right at your eye level.

Posted by Guest too on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:14 am

On the plus sized side, at least the penis is well hidden beneath the folds of fat.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:39 am

Fuck families. Fuck children. They're not what San Francisco has ever been about.

I should know. I was born and raised there and turned out fine.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 7:21 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 8:20 pm

Except that when you were born here you were a child. Right? Or did you, like Athena, emerge fully grown from your father's head?

Posted by tim on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 10:49 am
Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:14 am

I loved this piece, humorous and insightful (oops I almost wrote inciteful), and I learned a new word, "gayeoisie."

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

It's actually Christina Hendricks, not Hendrix.

Posted by Jason on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

fixed above!

Posted by marke on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 9:49 am

Thanks for your article.

I've been wondering: So what's next on this conservative supervisor's agenda who came up with this nudity ban nonsense as he runs for another city (mayor) or state office (Ammiano's job?). I would imagine that long ago he dreamed up a whole list of shit that he wants changed (in a backward direction and/or banned) in SF. Wouldn't he be more comfortable in some small, backward, hick town somewhere? I think so. Although unfortunately when that's the case, the person usually doesn't have the intelligence to move there.

Also, I hope this puts an end to the ridiculous assertion that many people have held to for some time that David Chiu (who voted with the conservatives) is a so-called "progressive." HA!

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

San Francisco IS a small, backward hick town - this thread proves it.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 9:53 am

That is reflected in it's petty politics - why isn't it just part of a larger, unitary Bay Area jurisdiction that might actually carry some weight nationally, rather than being a laughing stock.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

When I contested the notion that David Chiu was a liberal or a progressive based on his support for this conservative legislation, one enviro advocate asked me if the definition of progressive was agreeing with whatever I had in mind at that moment.

The absence of social liberalism and in the presence of economic conservativism can be described as many things, but liberal and progressive are not amongst them.

Posted by marcos on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 11:37 am

futile pursuit. The best Supes, IMO, are those whose votes are NOT predictable, kneejerk, ideological and pre-programmed, but rather are authentic, deliberated votes based on taking each situation on a case-by-case basis and being independent and pragmatic.

On that basis, Chui is a good supervisor, along with Kim, Wiener and (I expect) Breed. The identity-politics Supes on both sides are far less interesting and effective. It's the independent center that gets things done.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 07, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

that there are only a handful of people who are protesting the new ordinance. 812,000 people live in SF and it appears that 0.003% of the population are upset enough about it to protest in person.

That should be your clue to give it up.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

and that makes zero difference to anything.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 06, 2012 @ 6:14 pm