San Francisco City Hall
On Monday, October 26th at 1pm in Room 263 of City Hall, a San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee will be hearing legislation to expand the powers of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. This isn’t the sort of thing we normally write about here, but it’s an important development and there are ways you can help.

Here’s some more background info from some Entertainment Commission supporters:

The Entertainment Commission (“EC”) was created in 2002 to take responsibility for the granting and oversight of Entertainment and Late Night permits. Before the EC, the granting, oversight and enforcement of these permits were all done by the police. Separating the authority was seen as a way to give citizen stakeholders a place in the decisions around entertainment. Enforcement remained with the Police and the granting and oversight was given to the EC.

Two years ago the Mayor’s office and the EC convened a “Nighttime Safety Summit” to hear recommendations from the entertainment community and the Police Department on how to strengthen the role of the EC in rewarding well managed venues and disciplining problem venues that were making the industry look bad. The legislation that is being heard on Monday the 26th comes from that summit and will give the EC emergency suspension powers to more quickly address a problem venue and the ability to write infraction tickets for lesser offences, like poorly managed lines in front to a venue or repeatedly leaving the door open causing a noise disturbance.

From where we sit, giving the Entertainment Commission more discretion to deal with club problems in a swifter, more dynamic manner seems like a no-brainer. Obviously, this change won’t completely solve the ongoing issues facing SF clubs, but, to us, it’s a common sense step in the right direction. More flexible power, entrusted to people charged with fostering SF’s entertainment culture, would be a welcome alternative to the heavy-handed use of lawsuits and club shutdowns that are all too commonplace.

We strongly encourage people to attend Monday’s meeting and voice their concerns about the need to protect and develop San Francisco’s nightlife. If you can’t attend, we’d also encourage e-mails to the Mayor and to members of the Board committee that will be hearing the legislation. Some standard talking points and details about who to e-mail are below.

How to Express Support for the Entertainment Commission

1) Send an email to the committee members of the Board of Supervisors who will be hearing our item at this special meeting on Monday the 26th at 1 PM and to the Mayor’s office asking that they support the legislation strengthening the Commission. A sample of that email is here:

Send emails to:


Honorable Mayor and Board of Supervisor Committee members;

I support the strengthening of the Entertainment Commission. I do not support the moratoriums that will restrict the granting of special event permits because there is no proof that those special events are any problem.

I am a ______(resident, employee, patron) and I think that the entertainment venues in the city are safe, well run and that the Entertainment Commission does a good job managing all of them. The couple of problem venues will be required to fix their problems faster if the commission gets this additional power.

I pay taxes, live, work and play in San Francisco and believe that well managed entertainment of all types is vital for a city like ours. It is one of the reasons I choose to live here and not in the suburbs.



I live in ______________ (part of town, like SoMa or Haight or Union Street)

2) We need you to show up on Monday October 26th at 1 PM at room 263 in City Hall and speak for a minute or two in support of the Entertainment Community and the Commission that was set up to regulate it. Here are some talking points to start from:

a) Every Week San Francisco hosts regional, national and international tourists who support our local economy. Hundreds of thousands of people come and go enjoying the sights, food and entertainment that this city is famous for with few problems. Keep that success and give the Entertainment Commission the authority to regulate the few problems that we do have.

b) I go out to ______(favorite place)________ several times a month. I enjoy my time with friends listening to music and dancing. I feel safe and secure and thank the Entertainment Commission for doing its job. If there ever is a problem, I want the commission to act quickly to keep the city’s venues safe.

c) I work at ___________ and have seen the positive work of the Entertainment Commission. An example is when this happened____________________. Keep the commission strong.

d) The EC gives venues enforceable steps to become good neighbors. The EC has mandated more soundproofing, plus fire, electrical and building safety upgrades than at any other time in the city’s history. Subsequent employment of thousands of contractors has been an ancillary boon.

e) EC has the only staff in the city that can test for sound complaints and ensure both compliance of good neighbor policy and fairness to venues. If anything, the EC’s staff should be augmented, not disbanded.

f) Fewer venues and fewer local jobs at a critical time in our economic history. Venues are labor-intensive, and almost completely locally staffed. Every dollar spent on labor in an entertainment venue returns over two dollars to the local economy.

g) San Francisco has more small and locally operated fairs than any city in the US. They employ thousands, entertain hundreds of thousands and bring millions into city coffers, plus massive hotel and restaurant income. The EC is part of the success of street fair culture.