18-Mar-2009 (Wed)

I was talking to one of the locals about how shocked I am to be in a city that cares about entertainment, and he said, "Well, it's not all great, sometimes the clubs are hassled over noise."

I said, "Oh, I'm sure you do have noise abatement problems -- in your own little way!"

"What do you mean?", he asked.

"Ok, just to clarify: around here, if a band is playing, it's normal to be able to hear them from a block away, right?"

He said, "Well yeah. How else would you know if you wanted to go in?"

10 Responses:

  1. insomnia says:

    So, you get to go before *another* ABC kangaroo court after this?

    Does it possibly come back to a local appeals board at some point, which would actually reverse ABC's decision, much like happened with your application to have concerts for those under 21?!

    Please tell me that San Franciscans do have a right to appeal decisions from a bunch of outsiders as to what the local community standards actually are, because I've seen plenty in S.F. that was... um... well, and yeah, alcohol was being served at the time.

    • strspn says:

      In legal parlance, this stage is what you call "exhausting your administrative remedies" and it supposedly serves the purposes of (1) getting another set of not-the-same-ABC personnel to take a look at the case and make sure the first administrative decision wasn't unfair -- which it clearly was in this case, and (2) to develop the administrative record (case documentation) to make further appeals easier. Let's hope the latter doesn't become necessary.

      This is the perfect time for citizens such as ourselves to take the initiative and start trying to influence the process through our constitutional (First Amendment) right to petition the ABC Appeals Board directly for the redress of the grievous and unfair prosecution of DNA Lounge by grudge-biased ABC underlings in retribution for their earlier appeals.

      We, as citizens, need to take a stand against the low-level ABC enforcement employees who have been unfairly persecuting the DNA Lounge in such a retributive, biased, and bigoted manner. It's our ethical responsibility. How do we do this? I recommend making the following points in a letter as politely as possible:

      1. The alleged transgressions were so minor as to be trivial and are certainly no reason to rescind the DNA Lounge's liquor license;

      2. The particular facts upon which the ABC has chosen to prosecute are incredibly biased and bigoted against the LGBT community, showing serious bias issues and lack of good judgment on the part of the low-level ABC personnel;

      3. The ABC is clearly only prosecuting the case because the Lounge had the audacity to appeal an earlier ABC decision;

      4. The DNA Lounge has an otherwise clean record; and

      5. The function that the DNA Lounge serves in supporting live music is vital to the cultural health of the Bay Area.

      When you think you can get all that in a polite letter, address it and mail it (on paper, with a stamp; yeah I know):

      Fred Armendariz
      Chair
      Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board
      30892 Steeplechase Dr
      San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

      RE: APPELLANT DNA LOUNGE, SAN FRANCISCO

      Dear Mr. Armendariz:

      ...

      Sincerely yours,

      [sign]

      [Your Name]

      Cc: Sophie Wong and Tina Frank, Board Members, and
      Allan Reniche, Chief Counsel and CEO, all by email to abcboard@abcappeals.ca.gov

      Then copy the text of the letter into an email to that address, with the subject line "letter for Ms. Wong, Ms. Frank, and Mr. Reniche".

      • strspn says:

        Also, you might want to mention that you consider the issue important enough that you intend to raise it with the gubernatorial candidates on the campaign trail (if you do; I do, but I usually don't get canvassed by gubernatorial canidates....) and please cc the ABC general counsel Matthew.Botting@abc.ca.gov on your email.

      • kimberley66 says:

        I'm going to write them a love letter of my own this weekend.

        Bastards. . . .

  2. ammonoid says:

    So how long in theory can this drag out until they actually give you a cease operating order? Are we talking years, months, or weeks? :/

  3. intoner says:

    ugh. what the fuck.
    I can't say I'm surprised, but this still sucks.

  4. whumpdotcom says:

    Well, San Francisco club owners should start looking to Wisconsin for organizing models, for there, everybody in the legislature knows not to fuck with the Tavern League.

  5. dasht says:

    It's a race. At this rate, CA and the federal government go bust within the plausible lifetime of the proceedings here. At that point, the ABC folks stop getting paychecks and start making do with MREs delivered by a resentful marine. They'll try to pull in their police connections for protection and with the aim of trying to corner the market on hooch whereas your business, although radically changed, is basically still a bar - just all hard currency (often specie) based. You'll have cop friends and employee friends and more society friends than you'll wish while. At that point, I don't think they'll make the mistake of coming around to bother you more than once. It's not guaranteed - it's a race -- you just have to drag it out that far.

    More seriously: a real suggestion here is to get your supporting community to call in (or earn) some favors with some elected pols up to the state level to look into this matter. The "Book of Values" shit ABC is coming up with here won't fly even in conservative communities if the issue is articulated clearly enough. There is no constituency in the whole state that will support what ABC is doing here except maybe, like .001% of Prop 8 yes voters.

    You can wrap this up pretty quick and efficient, I bet, if you can get some pols to make a call or two and the best part is you shouldn't personally need to be making campaign contributions or public endorsements for that - your "base" probably has enough cheap favors banked up to call in.

    Honest to pete, man -- you know there are REAL cases in CA where alcohol is distributed irresponsibly. ABC is hassling with you mainly to avoid doing their f'ing job.

    Really, it's empire building. And as you build up resistance with the fund and stuff? You're probably encouraging them a bit. Because the asshat driving it is looking at that and thinking "Yeah, I probably lose in the long run but meanwhile my budget is secure and possibly even growing to deal with cases like this - I'm the 'thin blue line' against the undoing of ABC by THE INTERNET". Said dude gets to spend extra on lawyers and proceedings and staff and all. It's a gambit. He's willing to lose to you just so long as it takes a long time and costs both sides lots of money: his career comes out better that way.

    You know all that, I suspect, but I have the freedom to actually say it.

    -t

  6. kyronfive says:

    Other that supporting this financially and joining the facebook group, is there anything else concerned citizens can do?