Nicole Dial




Floyd Westerman Retrospective

You may remember him for his role in “Dances with Wolves” as Chief Ten Bears and as a country western singer/songwriter. But Floyd Westerman, a.k.a. Red Crow, was also an outspoken activist for Native Americans and the environment. A new documentary by Steve Jacobson explores his later life and activism. Along with the film, there will also be a social hour at 6:30 and a discussion following the film.

7:30–9:30 p.m., $5 suggested donation

Humanist Hall

390 27th St., Oakl.


Real Mercantile Holiday Bazaar

If you still have some holiday shopping to do and just can’t summon the will to hit the stores or feed the machine, you can get some great stuff while supporting the local arts community and underground economy at the Real Mercantile Holiday Bazaar. held at arts impresario Chicken John spacious home and performance space. Homemade gifts and food are all available in a festive and very San Francisco atmosphere.

5–9 p.m., free

Chez Poulet

3359 Cesar Chavez, SF


Festivus 2010

San Francisco’s legendary Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and pot activist Ed Rosenthal’s Green Aid unite to present a night of fundraising for the Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund. The bash features an airing of grievances, feats of strength, the annual meeting of Dessert First Club, and live music and entertainment including The Phat Fly Girls and burlesque. Creative dress and cross-dressing encouraged.

7:30–11:30 p.m., $50 presale, $60 at door


925 Brannan, SF



Get Your Spawn On

Join Brent Plater on a stroll through Muir Woods National Monument to learn more about coho and steelhead salmon and how to help them survive. The walk also features a search for endangered salmon in Redwood Creek. Make sure to wear something warm and bring your hiking boots.

10–12 p.m., free with RSVP

Meet at the Dipsea Trail trailhead

Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley


Castro Queer-in

Join concerned local resident ins protesting the recently passed sit/lie ordinance more formally known as Proposition L. Bring out any and all musical instruments, games, food to share, face-painting kits, and any items to barter. Everyone will gather outside of Harvey Milk’s former camera store.

Noon–2 p.m., Free

575 Castro

Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.

Going to a club — or boarding an airplane?


The War on Fun — a term coined by the Guardian in 2006 to describe the crackdowns on nightclubs, special events, and urban culture by police, NIMBY neighbors, and moderate politicians — continues to grind on in San Francisco.

The latest attack was launched by Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Police Department, which has proposed a series of measures to monitor and regulate individuals who visit bars or entertainment venues, proposals that the embattled Entertainment Commission will consider at its Dec. 14 meeting.

Perhaps most controversial among the dozens of new conditions that the SFPD would require of nightclubs is an Orwellian proposal to require all clubs with an occupancy of 100 persons or more to electronically scan every patron’s identification card and retain that information for 15 days. Civil libertarians and many club owners call this a blatantly unconstitutional invasion of privacy.

Driving the latest calls for a crackdown is a stated concern over isolated incidents of violence outside a few nightclubs in recent years, something Newsom and police blame on the clubs and that they say warrants greater scrutiny by police and city regulators.

But the proposals also come in the wake of overzealous policing of nightclubs and parties — including improper personal property destruction and seizures, wrongful arrests and violence by police, harassment of disfavored club operators, and even dumping booze down the drain — mostly led by SFPD Officer Larry Bertrand and his former partner, Michelle Ott, an agent with the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Those actions were documented in back-to-back cover stories by the Guardian (“The New War on Fun,” March 24) and SF Weekly (“Turning the Tables,” March 17), and they are the subject of multiple ongoing lawsuits by nightclub owners, patrons, and employees, including a racketeering lawsuit alleging that officials are criminally conspiring against lawful activities.

Yet rather than atoning for that enforcement overreach, Newsom and SFPD officials seem to be doubling down on their bets that San Franciscans will tolerate a more heavily policed nightlife scene in the hopes of eliminating the possibility of random violence.

A series of nighttime shootings this year has grabbed headlines and prompted calls to action by the Mayor’s Office and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, whose District 3 includes North Beach. In February, there were shootings at Blue Macaw in the Mission and Club Suede at Fisherman’s Wharf, followed by a shooting at the Pink Saturday fair in June, one outside Jelly’s in SoMa in July, and the high-profile murder of a German tourist near Union Square in August.

Chiu responded with legislation to give the Entertainment Commission greater authority to close down problem nightclubs and, more recently, with legislation to require party promoters to register with the city so that officials can take actions against those who act irresponsibly.

In September, Newsom asked the SFPD for its recommendations and he received a laundry list of proposals now before the Entertainment Commission. That body held a closed session hearing Nov. 30 to discuss a confidential legal opinion by the City Attorney’s Office on whether the identification scan would pass constitutional muster, an opinion that has so far been denied to the Guardian and the public, although officials say it may be discussed in open session during the Dec. 14 hearing.

“Everything is being considered,” Jocelyn Kane, acting executive director of the Entertainment Commission, told the Guardian. Her office already has looked at the different types of scanners that clubs could use and has discussed the idea with several technology companies.

SFPD Inspector Dave Falzon, the department’s liaison to the nightclubs and ABC, told the Guardian that he believes the data gathered from nightclub patrons would allow police to more easily find witnesses and suspects to solve any crimes committed at or near the nightclubs.

“It’s not intended to be exploited,” Falzon said, stressing that the recommendations are a work in progress and part of an ongoing dialogue with the Entertainment Commission — an agency Newsom, SFPD officials, and some media voices have been highly critical of over the last two years.

Along with the proposal for the ID scanners, SFPD proposed many other measures such as increased security personnel (including requiring clubs to hire more so-called 10-B officers, or SFPD officials on overtime wages), metal detectors at club entrances, surveillance cameras at the entrances and exits, and extra lighting on the exterior of the night clubs.

Though this may sound to many like heading down the dystopian rabbit hole with Big Brother potentially watching your every move, Falzon thinks it’s the opposite. “It isn’t that police department is acting as a militant state,” Falzon said. “All we’re trying to do is to make these clubs safer so they can be more fun.”

Yet critics of the proposals don’t think they sound like much fun at all, and fear that employing such overzealous policing tools will hurt one of San Francisco’s most vital economic sectors while doing little to make anyone safer.

Jamie Zawinski is the owner of the DNA Lounge, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. He has been a leading voice in pushing back against the War of Fun, including running a blog that chronicles SFPD excesses. He said the proposed regulations go way too far.

“It’s gang violence happening on the street. The nightclubs are being scapegoated. You don’t solve the problem by increased security in the clubs,” Zawinski told us, adding that the lack of proper policing on the streets should be addressed before putting the financial strain on the entertainment industry.

“It’s ridiculously insulting. I will not do that to my customers. It’s not a way to solve any problems,” Zawinski said. “It sets the tone for the evening when you start demanding papers.”

It’s also a gross violation of people’s rights, says Nicole Ozer, the director of Technology and Civil Liberties Policy for the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. She said that recording people’s personal information when they enter a public venue raises troubling legal issues.

“There are some real implications of tracking and monitoring personal data. The details of what you visit reveal things about your sexuality and political views,” Ozer said, adding that the ACLU would also have issues with how that information is used and safeguarded.

In response to police crackdowns on nightlife, club owners and advocates earlier this year formed the California Music and Culture Association (CMAC) to advocate for nightlife and offer advice and legal assistance to members. CMAC officials say they are concerned about the latest proposals.

“The rise in violence has to be looked at from a societal point of view,” said Sean Manchester, president of CMAC and owner of the nightclub Mighty. He noted that most of the violence that has been associated with nightclubs took place in alleys and parking lots away from the bars and involved underage perpetrators. “In many instances [the increased security measures] wouldn’t have done anything to stop it,” he said.

While there are plenty of ideas to combat crime at nightclubs, nightlife advocates say the city is going to have to look beyond club venues to address what can be done to combat crime without infringing on any civil liberties or damaging the vibrant nightlife. Or officials can just listens to the cops, act on their fears, and make the experience of seeing live music in San Francisco more like boarding an airplane.

The Entertainment Commission meets Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m., Room 400, City Hall.




Local hiring hearing

Sup. John Avalos’ San Francisco Local Hiring Policy for Construction ordinance, which mandates that construction projects that get city money hire more San Franciscans, has its first hearing and vote before the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee.

Noon, free

City Hall Room 250

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, SF




Young Workers art auction

Young Workers United, the SF-based advocacy organization behind mandatory paid sick days and other progressive reforms, is hosting an art auction and fundraiser. This event features speakers, dancing, food and drinks, a raffle, and a silent art auction.

7–11 p.m. $10–$25 suggested donation

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts

2868 Mission Street


AK Press Holiday Sale

Buy independent books, zines, and anarchist lit to your heart’s content at this holiday sale, which offers books as low as $1 and a discount on everything. Drop into this warehouse, located minutes away from the 19th Street BART Station.

4–10 p.m., free

AK Press Warehouse

674-A 23rd St., Oakl.





How could thousands of Santas be wrong? Come find out how wrong — oh, so very wrong — this annual flashmob bar crawl can be. In the last several years, SantaCon has grown from dozens to hundreds to thousands of people dressed as Santa Claus, sexy elves, and all manner of XXXmas characters (so many that it’s now broken down into several groups that try to converge a few times during the long, sloppy afternoon).

Noon, free

Throughout SF and the East Bay

Check online for meet-up locations


Sea Watch for Endangered Sea Creatures

Come down and search for sea creatures like the humpback whale, stellar sea lion, and southern sea otters while enjoying the views from Fort Funston. This event is part of the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year, which seeks to help save the parks’ endangered species. 9–11 a.m., free RSVP required Fort Funston Observation Deck

Skyline Blvd., SF



Wavy Gravy and his movie

Wavy Gravy is known as the emcee of the Woodstock festival, a hippie icon, activist, clown, and even a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor. Wavy Gravy and filmmakers have created a documentary of one man’s quest to make the world a better place. Playing in theaters for one week only with a talk from Wavy Gravy and filmmakers on Dec. 4.

2, 4, 6, 8, and 10 p.m.

$8 (before 6 p.m.) $10 (general admission)

Landmark Shattuck Cinemas

2230 Shattuck, Berk.

(510) 464-5980




SFBC’s Winterfest

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the city’s biggest grassroots advocacy organization, holds its annual winter fundraiser and membership party. Come bid on bike-related art and merchandise, hear from leaders of the carfree movement, and party down with more than 1,000 of the tightest butts in town.

6-10:30 p.m.

$15 for members, $40 for nonmembers (includes one-year membership)

SOMArts Gallery

934 Brannan, SF 

Mail items for Alerts to the Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., SF, CA 94107; fax to (415) 437-3658; or e-mail Please include a contact telephone number. Items must be received at least one week prior to the publication date.


Why selling state buildings is so dumb


To stem the massive hemorrhaging in the budget, the state of California has authorized the sale of 24 state-owned office buildings across the state to private investors. The state would then rent back the office space.

It’s a classic case of short-term thinking: In the end, the state will end up paying more money in rent than it will gain from the sales. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office reported in April that over the next 30 years, the lease payments will likely cost $5  billion more than if the property had stayed in the state’s possession.

But it would provide an immediate injection of $1.2 billion into the state’s general fund.

But there’s an interesting twist that hasn’t been reported on: The state buildings are currently exempt from local property taxes. Once they’re in private hands, county assessors can put them on the tax rolls.

And the way the deal is structured, the state — that is, the taxpayers — will be subsidizing the private owners to cover the local property tax bills. In effect, the deal means that the state will be shifting more money from its general fund to local government — a good thing for counties, but not a terribly good deal for Sacramento.

According to Eric Lamoureux, spokesperson for the Department of General Services, if the local cities decide to tax the new owners, the rent state agencies pay would increase to make up the difference. The private owners would pay nothing.
“The [cost of the tax] is built into lease terms. Ultimately, the state would be paying that.” Lamoureux said.

And while San Francisco City Attorney’s office is still unsure of the exact terms of the sale-lease back agreement, they plan on looking out for the city’s best interests.

 “The city attorney is going to be extremely diligent with the recorder-assessor to collect all the taxes that are owed,” Matt Dorsey, press spokesperson for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, told us. And by collecting property tax, the local city governments would get a nice boost in revenue.

The sale to California First LLC, a partnership between Hines Interests and Antarctica Capital, has already been met with opposition including a lawsuit and an injunction trying to prevent the deal.

Pot competition survives SFPD crackdown


Prop. 19 may have been defeated last week, but marijuana is still the state’s top cash crop, and one where agricultural artisanship continues to flourish within the medical marijuana movement. The best of Northern California’s pot crop will be on display this weekend, Nov. 14, for the Fourth Annual Medical Marijuana Competition. The event features judging and awards in a variety of categories, from best bud to the best concentrates and edibles. The event, which will also feature information booths and entertainment, will be held at Terra Galley, 511 Harrison Street, SF. Tickets are $18.

But this was one party that almost wasn’t. Event organizers had to scramble for a new location after the San Francisco Police Department denied them a permit to hold event in the previous year’s location in Cafe Cocomo. According to David Goldman, a competition organizer and member of the Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the California department of Alcoholic Beverages Control even threatened to revoke Cafe Cocomo’s liquor license should they house the event. Café Cocomo has had recent problems, includng a shooting out front on Oct. 9, but club operators declined to comment on those incidents or the cops blocking their pot party.

Organizers say the ensuing scramble for a new location cost the event, which is a fundraiser for ASA, over $10,000. “It’s been a nightmare to throw this party,” Kevin Reed, co-chair of the event and president of the Green Cross, told us. But even with the cost of the move, Reed is hopeful about the new venue and the turnout. “Last year we had about 600 or 700 people and this year we anticipate 1,200 to 1,500.”

All of the proceeds of the upcoming competition will go to support ASA, a nonprofit group that holds weekly meetings at Bowzer’s Pizza that aim to educate patients on medical marijuana issues. “It’s amazing how pizza keeps it all together,” Reed said of the community that has formed up around these ASA meetings.

Why Prop. 19 went up in smoke


Hopes of legalizing marijuana may have gone up in smoke after Prop. 19’s defeat by a slim margin, but proponents are far from giving up. Groups such as Drug Policy Alliance, Just Say Now, and Bay Area proponents are already looking forward to 2012 to score more voters and support. But to win, they’re going to have to find solutions to the challenges they faced in this election.

While proponents are trying to rally people for 2012, others are scratching their heads and wondering what went wrong. Surprisingly, Prop. 19 failed to capture the vote in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, one of the most pot friendly areas of California. According to Mother Jones, the initiative failed there because the growers in the so called Emerald Triangle fear the loss of their own pot heavy economy.

But our neighbors to the north aren’t the only reason why the initiative failed. Government opposition also turned away the vote along with the worry of the Fed, especially Attorney General Eric Holder fighting California on future marijuana issues. People are also speculating on a few other factors such as the small turnout of the younger generation of voters. Even though many are in favor, they did not turn out en masse to show their support and the vote went instead to the older generations.

And of course there was the vocal opposition of the proposition. In a recent post by Ryan Grim on the Huffington Post, the opposition ad campaign verged into paranoia. “A new Chamber of Commerce radio ad warns that in a dystopian, post-legalization world a Californian could be maimed in a car accident caused by a stoned driver and then treated in the hospital by nurses high off their gourds — all of it perfectly legal if the proposition passes, according to opponents,” wrote Grim.

Even with the loss, proponents are still hopeful for the future and see Prop. 19 as a stepping stone towards a future victory. According to Oaksterdam University Richard Lee, who funded the drive to create Prop. 19, the measure demonstrated a shift in opinions and a trend towards approving legalizing marijuana. “While we didn’t bring in enough votes tonight to pass Prop. 19, we know that we have achieved an enormous moral victory, and that there are millions of people across the country who are prepared to help finish the job they started here today when we come back to the polls stronger than ever in 2012,” Lee said in a statement following the defeat of the proposition.

Election 2010: The Prozan party


Amid a packed bar of Giants fans and political supporters, Rebecca Prozan was greeted with fervent clapping and shouts. Whether or not she wins tonight, her supporters and fans still believe strongly in her and her campaign. Her supporters even sported paper hats with Prozan’s face.

“My base and my supporters is the people I’ve met on Muni or worked with at the mayor’s office, or at the dog park.” She said, excitedly shaking hands, posing for pictures and greeting the crowd.

Her supporters were upbeat about the election results based on her politics and ideals.” It’s easy to read the paper and have thoughts but harder to take action,” Asit Panwala, one of the election canvassers said. “I see her willingness to help people and how she engages with the public.”


Hotel plan revives old question: Can the Presidio Trust be trusted?


In San Francisco’s Presidio, one of the few national parks that is mandated to pay for its operations with the proceeds from development, historic preservation is often undermined by commercial concerns. And critics contend the proposal for a big new hotel at the Main Post is a prime example of that model’s shortcomings.

The Presidio Trust, a seven-member board that presides over the historically significant park, is considering a proposal by the Larkspur Hotel Group to build an 88,000-square-foot luxury hotel complex of 12 new buildings and another two current and historic buildings that would be remodeled as part of the project. Opponents say the project runs counter to the Trust’s mandate of protecting the historical and environmental character of the Presidio’s Main Post.

Originally, the Trust set out a management plan that allows for only minor construction projects at the Main Post, but the body is now seeking to amend the plan to include the massive new hotel development. When it announced its plans at a recent public meeting, it was met with overwhelming opposition from neighborhood and local preservation groups

Gary Widman, president of the Presidio Historical Association, sees the move to amend the plan as emblematic of the Trust’s refusal to work collaboratively with the community. “People are frustrated by what they see as the Trust trying to put this amendment into place in a ‘stealth’ move. The Trust is not holding hearings explicitly on its proposed amendments,” he said.

Widman was also concerned with the impact that the hotel and the changes to the Presidio would have on the environment, calling the changes “consumptive, anti-sustainable and not in line with them claiming to be a green organization.”

Another opponent of the plans for the hotel is Boyd de Larios, a representative of Descendants of the Anza and Portola Expeditions (DAPE), who expressed concerns about local heritage being lost forever if the trust went ahead with its plans.

“Presidio doesn’t need a hotel. People aren’t looking for another Coney Island,” he said. “They do some wonderful things but no one trusts the trust anymore.”

After the base closure in 1994, the Trust was set up to make the park self sustainable by 2013 through the use of real estate leasing and renovations to the post buildings to make the park more desirable for the private sector. Among the projects added to the park in recent years is the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Trust officials did not responded to repeated Guardian calls for comment on the issue and any additional future plans. Similarly, others have been unable to get the answers they are searching for from the trust. One community member, Richard Hanlin has been questioning the future of the Presidio for years but has still not found answers to his questions. Hanlon said he worries about the Presidio’s future.

“As it stands [the Trust] is in a very weak position,” Hanlin said, focusing on the ability of the trust to maintain and protect its valuable assets. Hanlin went on to predict the barracks buildings will be ensconced by fences and without any renovations by the end of 2013 when the federal subsidies of the Trust runs out. The lack of renovation and preservation of the old barracks buildings are particularly troubling to Hanlon, especially since they represent the roots of the Presidio as a strategically important military installation.

“History matters,” Hanlin said. “Lots of young men spent their last night there and never came back.”


Texas hotels more progressive than San Francisco’s?


Prop. J would increase San Francisco’s hotel tax of 14 percent – which is lower than such big cities as Seattle, Chicago, and New York — by 2 percent. Opponents of the measure, such as District 8 supervisorial candidate Scott Wiener, say they are concerned that San Francisco would have the highest such tax in the country and that tourism could suffer as a result.

Yet in the city that actually has the highest hotel tax, San Antonio, Texas – where the 16.75 percent rate would still be higher than San Francisco’s even if Prop. J passes – representatives of the hotels have been among the bigger supporters of the tax, unlike in San Francisco where hotels are leading the campaign to defeat Prop. J with help of Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Dee Dee Poteete, the director of communications at the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Guardian there are more than 25 million people that visit that city each year, a number that held steady even after the tax was put in place in 1999. The tax rate was reauthorized two years ago, with the hotels in support.

“Our city provides a very full and rich vacation or meeting experience that is an extremely good investment for [visitors],” Poteete said when asked about how tourism in San Antonio is affected by the tax, revenue from which is currently used to help support and promote tourism. And like San Antonio, San Francisco is a rich destination with a large tourism industry. Supporters of the tax believe the tax will also help keep San Francisco attractive to tourists.

“Money will go back into the general fund, but tourists use the same city services such as Muni and the parks so the money is also going back to them,” Gabriel Haaland with SEIU Local 1021, which helped gathered signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, told us. “City services have been so dramatically cut that it would undermine the tourism industry if the city degraded and that’s what would deter tourists more than the $3 a night [that the measure would add to the average hotel bill].”

San Francisco Controller Ben Rosenfield has estimated that the revenue generated by the tax would be $38 million annually.