Officials seek more authority to close venues 

The City wants to equip its oversight body for entertainment venues with the power to yank permits if public safety is a concern.

City officials have put pressure on the Entertainment Commission to crack down on troubled nightlife spots blamed for contributing to violence that erupts on residential streets.

Earlier this year, as the commission was dealing with one Fisherman’s Wharf hot spot, it came to light that the agency could not revoke the operator’s permit. A shooting outside the club left one person dead and four injured.

That lack of power was considered a big problem for a commission being asked to tackle problem venues.

On Tuesday, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu introduced legislation he said “would give the Entertainment Commission additional revocation powers with regards to establishments that have had serious public safety and public nuisance issues.”

Under the proposal, if the commission has concerns that someone could be harmed at a venue, it must weigh several factors in deciding whether to revoke the permit.

Those factors include its history of violence, other public safety problems associated with the business, if the business owner has a history of not following a security plan, the number of times The City has contacted the business about problems and the expediency in which the problems were resolved.

The commission has faced criticism for acting too much like promoters of nightlife and not enough like regulators. Some city leaders have said the commission should be disbanded altogether and a new approach should be taken to address troubled clubs.

Last year, the Board of Supervisors approved legislation to grant the commission more authority and disclosure. For example, the commission must now regularly report to the Board of Supervisors the complaints it receives about bars, nightclubs and music venues, and how it addressed them.

Chiu’s legislation builds on that effort, as others support giving the commission a chance to prove itself.
The legislation requires approval by the Board of Supervisors to become law.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

 

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