30-Jan-2008 (Wed)
Wherein we find Slim's under attack.

This week's Guardian has an article up about the harassment Slim's has been subjected to recently.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, this same person is the only neighbor on record as opposing our application to convert our liquor license so that we can do under-21 shows.

Slim's slimed: A lone spoiler may bring down the venerable concert spot.

One of Slim's neighbors tipped me off last month that the hall -- which has consistently passed all sound tests conducted by the city's Entertainment Commission -- was being besieged weekly by a lone complainer living in Juniper Alley. All of this came to a head in December 2007 when the accuser ordered citizen's arrests of two of Slim's night managers on three occasions -- after, Entertainment Commission industry representative Terrance Alan says, police refused to issue noise-violation citations of their own because they couldn't hear any violating sound issuing from Slim's. The arrests have led the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control to bring an enforcement action against Slim's liquor license, which may close the club for 15 to 25 days after an April hearing.

"She has been threatening to do this for a while," Slim's co-owner Dawn Holliday told me. The complaining neighbor and her partner have been registering noise complaints for the past two years, Holliday added, though no other neighbors have complained, and in 2000 all of the area's condo and live-work residents signed a deed restriction making it clear that the district is a mixed-use neighborhood subject to noise, odors, and other industrial activities 24-7. Nonetheless, Holliday continued, "she calls the police on average four nights a week. The Entertainment Commission has gone into their house and done readings in the house, done readings out in front of house, and we do readings in front of their house every night with a decibel meter on the most sensitive reading you can get, and we are always compliant. It didn't satisfy them."


19 Responses:

  1. revglenn says:

    i don't understand why people move somewhere and then try to change it. when i go back to my home town i see how all these city jerks are moving in and trying to expand the place and bring in change and turn it into a city. when i go to s.f. i see all these fuckers who move to what is arguably one of most important cultural hubs in both the state and country, and try to remove all the culture from it.
    can't these people just find a place they like and move there? i don't live in s.f. because i wouldn't want to live in a place with that much noise. i wouldn't want that much noise coming into my neighborhood. but i sure as shit wouldn't move into s.f. and try to chill it out just because i have my preference. this bitch needs to move somewhere else in the city, or somewhere else in the state. she can go to all sorts of other places that would be more her style, and probably pay less to live there.
    nothing pisses me off like one jerk trying to take down something so beloved by so many.

  2. strspn says:

    Since when would California cops even accept private person's arrests -- three times -- for infractions? California Penal Code § 415 requires malice, so whatever this "noise-violation" is, it's no misdemeanor.

    • jwz says:

      I have no idea what the legality of this is. I guess we'll find out once those poor saps get dragged into court next month...

    • pdkl95 says:

      You know, I was under the impression that a private person arresting someone was a highly dangerous action as you risk "false arrest" charges. You could potentially get away with it if you are right, but don't have the protections that cops have.

      So, if an actual arrest (detainment) happened, can the Slim's people get a successful lawsuit off at the harassers? I suspect that they are reluctant to engage in such legal annoyances, but it sounds like it may be necessary in this case to get the harassers to shut up...

      Also:

      Nonetheless, Holliday continued, "she calls the police on average four nights a week...

      Wow. That's some pretty heavy neurotic behavior there, even for troublemakers like this.

    • ilcylic says:

      I was confused by the "ordered citizen's arrests" bit. Does that mean she didn't really do it herself? And if not, and these guys weren't breaking the law, why did the police accept the request?

      And if she is doing it herself, why aren't the employees arresting her right back? I mean, if you can just make up reasons to arrest someone, and the police will go along with it, I say toss her in jail for "being a cunt" or some such. I suspect she'd have a hard time proving to a judge that the arrest was under false pretenses.

      • strspn says:

        Believe it or not, you can sign a form to arrest someone in California. Then the police have to either cite them, take them in for booking, or do nothing. But they have still technically been arrested.

        The deal is that police can't arrest for a misdemeanor unless they personally witness it. If you witness it and they don't, they can take the suspect in, but you sign the form and you are liable if there are any false arrest-related charges (there's three big ones: battery, false imprisonment, and kidnapping.) If the arrest is judged unlawful, then any person making an arrest, including law enforcement, can potentially be liable.

        Except the D.A. will never file criminal kidnapping charges against law enforcement. The D.A. might file charges against you, however. The civil liability issues are similar, where a jury will never hold a police officer responsible, but a private person's arrester is another story.

        It turns out that these arrests were for C.P.C. section 415 (noise misdemeanor.) Even though it requires malice to convict, apparently nobody cares about malice when it comes time to make the arrest.

        Cops can refuse a private person's arrest. They can refuse to cite or book someone. I think that's new since 1998 or so.

  3. g_na says:

    If we lived in a reasonable city the cops and the ABC would tell this complainer to cease and desist. A reasonable city would also allow music, dancing, drinking, and under-21 people to all be in the same room at the same time, and wouldn't take two years to issue a building permit for a homeowner to replace their crumbling deck. Of course, this is not a reasonable city.

    Can't Slim's file some sort of complaint against this person? Or else, maybe her name and address needs to be published to "solve" the problem.

    • ammonoid says:

      "A reasonable city"

      San Francisco doesn't qualify.

      I don't get it - SF has tons of unsolved murders, property crime, etc, yet the police spend all their time harrasing regular people who just want to have a good time, legally. I guess the police are too afraid of getting shot at by the real criminals.

  4. as a slight update, the person in question has put their unit on the market, and it is sadly not even getting a lot of interest due to their asking price. The person has already taken a few hundred thousand off what they were asking, but is continuing their fight against the club(s) in the neighborhood as a personal vendetta. They are just being absurd.
    If you are moving into SOMA, especially on Juniper, you have to expect the following:
    • noise
    • stench of urine and feces
    • the occasional missing car window

    if you can't live with it, then live in the sunset...

    • xinit says:

      I'd hazard a guess that they put the place on the market with no interest in selling (hence the high price) solely to help show the court that they're so distressed by this situation that they created themselves. Selfish dicks.

      If you're buying a condo or house anywhere, you need to spend some time in the neighborhood; stay in a hotel for a full week if need be so that you can hear the club noise, or see the stream of crazy that only ever happens after 2:30 AM on Thursdays or whatever...

  5. Just because people are bitter about paying way too much for a crappy loft that was out of style a year before it was built..

    Bad news though. One neighbor can close a whole venue. Coco club anyone?

    • ammonoid says:

      KIMOs. Crappy venue, still doesn't deserve what happened to them.

      • omni_ferret says:

        Um, what's going on with Kimo's? A change of ownership?

        • ammonoid says:

          No, thats not what I meant. They used to have shows upstairs, until someone who lived near there started complaining, so they had to shut the shows down. Kinda stupid that a venue that has been there 20+ years had to stop having shows because of ONE person. And it really was just one person, too. I used to live on that block, but far enough away that the noise from Kimos didn't bother me.

  6. bramcohen says:

    Yeesh, she's been issuing consistently wrong complaints four times a week? Sounds like a really, really good basis for a harassment lawsuit, possibly resulting in a restraining order.

  7. zapevaj says:

    I remember the first MEAT; we held it at a loft space in soma owned by a friend of Devon's. Some chick came in- while we were still doing sound rigging and setup, I think- and claimed that she lived across the street and that the noise emanating from the loft was keeping her awake (and that we were heartless bastards because she has chronic fatigue syndrome and were keeping her awake), and the vibration from the bass was actually shaking her plates off the walls.

    We did not take meter readings that night, however, you could barely hear the bass from outside the place. Which raises a few questions:

    1) If the club was really that disruptive, why did most of the neighbors not even know an event was happening?

    2) Who the fuck lives in soma and expects to get a night of perfectly uninterrupted sleep?

    3) Who the fuck lives in soma and hangs plates on their walls? Someone's extremely hip grandmother?