Going to a club -- or boarding an airplane?
Civil libertarians and many club owners call this a blatantly unconstitutional invasion of privacy. [...] the proposals also come in the wake of overzealous policing of nightclubs and parties -- including improper personal property destruction and seizures, wrongful arrests and violence by police, harassment of disfavored club operators, and even dumping booze down the drain -- mostly led by SFPD Officer Larry Bertrand and his former partner, Michelle Ott, an agent with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Those actions [...] are the subject of multiple ongoing lawsuits by nightclub owners, patrons, and employees, including a racketeering lawsuit alleging that officials are criminally conspiring against lawful activities.
Yet rather than atoning for that enforcement overreach, Newsom and SFPD officials seem to be doubling down on their bets that San Franciscans will tolerate a more heavily policed nightlife scene in the hopes of eliminating the possibility of random violence.
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."
"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.