Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Civil Grand Jury Report on San Francisco Entertainment Commission

A civil grand jury has been looking into the policies and effectiveness of San Francisco's Entertainment Commission, and judging from the title of their report, "The San Francisco Entertainment Commission: A Work in Progress," they've not been too impressed with their findings. I skimmed through the report on the SFGov site and it generally seems that no one (including the commissioners) is sure what the commission does, what authority it has over clubs, or what its relationship with the police department is supposed to be. Additionally, they haven't been filing their progress reports, so no one else in the city government knows what's going on, and they don't have performance reviews of the staff or the Executive Director, so there's no accountability either.

This a real shame, since the Entertainment Commission was formed to support clubs and nightlife in San Francisco by taking their permitting and regulation away from the police, who had a vested interest in shutting everything down. As it now stands the Entertainment Commission seems, at best, to have no sense itself of what it can and cannot do, and has not been at all effective in dealing with major issues like the Eastern Neighborhoods zoning proposals, Halloween in the Castro, dealing with issues surrounding street fairs, or even helping to manage situations like the Club Six and Hole in the Wall controversies I reported on some weeks ago. Let's hope this civil grand jury report will shake things up and get the commission to be an effective part of the San Francisco city government.

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