James Dudley, the infamous Captain of Central Police Station, the largest station in area in the city which covers North Beach, Union Square and parts of the Embarcadero (among other neighborhoods) has been promoted to Commander of Field Operations of the City of San Francisco. That means he is the boss of all of the stations and their Captains.
Dudley is best known for his continuous and relentless crackdown on night life in North Beach, turning the Broadway corridor into a virtual police state. He is responsible for the large presence of police officers, including those with riot helmets. He was responsible for the actual closing of Broadway Street so that taxis were unable to pick up fares when the clubs closed. The environment created by Captain Dudley made North Beach and the Broadway corridor so unfriendly to night life that many of the clubs are near bankruptcy, for sale, and barely holding on. He has expanded his tactic to other neighborhoods within his district, and blames night life for all crime in the area, regardless of whether those crimes have anything to do with the clubs. He is relentless and uncompromising, and wants all alcohol sales to be stopped at midnight -- MIDNIGHT! -- especially during the week. He wants after-hours venues to be done away with completely.
On August 18, Captain Dudley was on KQED's "Forum" radio program (mentioned previously) where he made some truly outrageous claims. Dudley expressed his opinion that nightclubs and night life cost San Francisco more in police expenses than they bring in benefits. His view is that the clubs need to be shut down, and that's what he has been attempting to do. Here's the transcript of the last few minutes of that show. (Listen there or here):
Ezra: I just wanted to respond to a comment that you made about the extra cost is takes to the city to patrol the nightclubs. And I just want to point out that, not only do we pay a lot of sales tax and fees to the city and the state, but also we -- my club employs about 30 people, all of which live in San Francisco and turn around and spend their money in San Francisco and the sales tax, etc., think that the net impact of having these clubs is better for the city. And it's, in fact, a big source of income for the city, not to mention the fact that the tourisplement of sheriff's vans that helped with the -- the drunks. Officers are often asked to stay beyond their shift on overtime to stay for the unruly clubs that are letting out at 2:00. But people hang out till 3:00 and 4:00 because of the after-hours places. And when the overtime dries up, we bring in people from all over the city. Sometimes, we have 30 officers from neighborhoods that still need policing.
This is the SFPD view of SF night life: that it is a burden that has no benefit because of the police resources that have to be used for a few clubs. The entire purpose of giving the Entertainment Commision enforcement authority is to bring those clubs into line without the SFPD having to get involved.
And that's why we hope you will show up this Monday to support that legislation, and tell the SF Board of Supervisors that this War on Fun won't stand. The hearing is Monday, October 26 at 1PM, City Hall room 263. RSVP on Facebook.
Here's the press release:
Members of the San Francisco night life community including clubs, bands and customers, will be rallying their support for the Entertainment Commission on Monday Oct 26th 1PM before the Board of Supervisors.
The Entertainment Commission has come under attack of late by those groups who seek to limit the variety of entertainment venues in this world class city. The night life industry is a significant economic engine driving the San Francisco economy and that industry along with its talent and customers are rallying to show support for the Commission.
The legislation before the Board will empower the Entertainment Commission to enforce its own permits. The industry feels strongly about the Commission that regulates them and intends to demonstrate to the board of supervisors and the police that they too have a voice.
Performing on the steps of City Hall will be the Jazz Mafia, an acoustical jazz group. Performing inside City Hall will be the night life industry and their customers who too are citizens of this great urban metropolis.
For more information: supportentertainment.com
If you can't make it to the hearing, please email the Mayor and Board of Supervisors. Details on what it would be helpful for you to say are in my Oct 14 blog post.