The Board of Supervisors will decide today whether to pass legislation regulating nudity in The City, but don’t expect a parade of naked protesters to storm the hearing. Nudity is strictly forbidden inside the hallowed chambers of City Hall.
Aimed at the so-called “naked guys” who roam the Castro neighborhood on sunny days, Supervisor Scott Wiener’s legislation — introduced in early September as a public health measure — would keep naked people out of restaurants and require that towels be placed on public chairs and benches before nudists sit down.
The proposal has drawn national media attention, most of which centered on how San Francisco could allow public nudity to be legal in the first place. Wiener did an interview with CNN in which he had to twice correct a questioner’s premise that he was trying to ban nudity in The City.
That’s a discussion for another day, Wiener has maintained.
George Davis, a former mayoral candidate and unabashed Castro naked guy, said Wiener’s proposal will do little to change nudists’ current behavior. Putting down towels is already part of nudist etiquette and most restaurants tend to cover any nudity problem with common “no shirt, no shoes, no service” policies, he said.
“I sent out a letter with my opinion opposing it, but if it passes, it isn’t going to make much of a difference,” Davis said, adding that framing nudity as a public health issue is questionable. “Fecal matter is nasty stuff, but not relative to somebody coughing on you or going to Safeway and buying factory farm meat.”
Currently, California state law says anyone offended by a nude person can make a citizen’s arrest, but police have no recourse to detain people parading around in the buff unless they are aroused or being otherwise disruptive, according to information Wiener used in drafting the legislation.
The law would allow a $100 fine for a violator’s first offense; $200 for a second offense within a year; and a $1,000 fine, and/or up to a year in jail for a third offense. The proposed legislation passed the board’s Public Safety Committee without incident earlier this month, and Wiener expects it to pass muster with the full board.
One week after he introduced the legislation, the supervisor came into the regular Tuesday meeting to find a small towel draped on the seat of his chair as a joke.