Nudity ban eyed in San Francisco

Demonstrators gather at a protest against a proposed nudity ban outside of City Hall in San Francisco, 14 November 2012

Protesters disrobed in front of San Francisco city hall in protest last week

San Francisco lawmakers are set to vote on whether to ban nudity in public places, in an escalating fight against a group of nudists.

(from BBC News)

The proposal would make it illegal for anyone over five to “expose his or her genitals, perineum or anal region” in most public locations.

Exceptions would be made for certain street fairs and events.

A federal lawsuit has already been filed arguing the proposal infringes on free speech rights.

Scott WienerDistrict supervisor

The ordinance plan follows complaints about a growing number of naked men who have been gathering in a public plaza in the city’s Castro district, a hub for the gay community.

Earlier, the city passed a law requiring a piece of cloth between a nude resident and a public seating place, but after that proposal was passed, the number of nude men who flocked to the plaza increased.

“I don’t think having some guys taking their clothes off and hanging out seven days a week at Castro and Market Street is really what San Francisco is about,” district supervisor Scott Wiener said. “I think it’s a caricature of what San Francisco is about.”

A first offence would carry a maximum $100 (£62) fine, but prosecutors could also penalise offenders up to $500 and hand down a year in jail.

Last week, about two dozen people undressed in front of San Francisco city hall in protest at the proposed ban.

One demonstrator, McCray Winpsett, 37, told the Associated Press the ordinance went too far in undermining a tradition “that keeps San Francisco weird”.

In Back Alleys and Basements, Video Arcades Quietly Survive

by Kat Bailey

SAN FRANCISCO — The Stockton Tunnel, excavated in 1914, lets San Francisco drivers get between downtown and Fisherman’s Wharf without having to ascend the scarily steep grades of Nob Hill. The tunnel is bordered on the west side by the famous cable cars and on the east by the Chinatown gate, so no tourists need ever walk near it. Accordingly, the tunnel entrance is a dingy block crammed with aging tenements and seedy shops. Junkies tweak out on the sidewalk; a grimy massage parlor called The Green Door advertises “A Touch of Ecstacy.”

Late every Saturday evening, the massage parlor, the tiny taqueria and the assorted other shops all close up, but one is still bustling. A gaggle of young men wearing Street Fighter T-shirts and toting their own massive arcade-style game joysticks mingle inside the tiny Southtown Arcade, jammed wall to wall with arcade cabinets. They’re throwing down in friendly matches for now; later tonight they play for cash.

Here in this dingy alleyway is the leading edge of what Seth Killian, director of online and community strategy at Street Fighter maker Capcom, calls the “second wave” of video arcades — run not by businessmen looking to make a buck, but by those with a passion for communal gaming.

“The second wave was the people that grew up in the arcades and dreamed of starting places of their own, maybe a bit like Flynn from Tron or something, or just because they — like me — had so many intensely happy memories of that kind of place,” Killian said.


In the late ’70s, during the heyday of Atari, one of its sales managers trumpeted the new family-friendly video arcade: “Many arcades used to be in rat-hole locations. Now they have turned into family amusement centers where you can take your wife and six-year-old daughter,” he said, as quoted in the book Replay.

Now, the big family arcades are closing and the gamers are moving back into the rat-holes. In San Francisco, New York, Austin and elsewhere, these gritty little storefronts hearken back to the days when arcade cabinets mostly lived in bars, pool halls and run-down amusement parks. They are a place for gamers to test their skills against like-minded enthusiasts, a digital Fight Club for those looking for something more than Skee-Ball and Dance Dance Revolution. It’s in these packed alleyways and basements that video arcades are staying alive.

“You can always drink a beer at home, but that’s not what you’re looking for, right? You’re looking for that communal interaction,” says arcade owner Myung Kim.

A player’s fingers fly across a fighting game controller during a Southtown tournament.
Photo: Brian L. Frank/


Occupy San Francisco gets down to business

After a brief hibernation, a refocused movement takes aim at corporate America

Warren Langley: from stock exchange chief to occupier

SAN FRANCISCO–Act II of the Occupy Wall Street movement, San Francisco version, kicked off on a rainy, blustery Friday in the heart of the city’s financial district. Targeting specific corporations like Wells Fargo and Bank of America and emphasizing real, tangible issues like home foreclosures, affordable health care and education as well as broader ones like the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, several hundred protesters – the exact number was impossible to estimate – fanned out across the city, snarling traffic, getting arrested, holding sidewalk teach-ins, and generally serving notice that after its brief winter hibernation, the Occupy movement was back and kicking.

Occupy’s first act, the Tent Phase, ended in early December, when city authorities raided its urban camp at Justin Herman Plaza near the Ferry Building. But even before the tents were removed, it had become clear that the movement needed both to develop new tactics and deepen its strategic vision.

[read more]

Occupy Wall Street West Plans Day Of Disruption, Activism In S.F. [Livestream]

At around 6 a.m. Friday, Occupy Wall Street West began its day-long, rain-soaked protest, which, if all goes according to plan, will disrupt business as usual in San Francisco’s Financial District. First on the agenda, at least according to the OWSW itinerary, was to fry up some squid in front of Goldman Sachs. Why? Well, as OSW points, “[b]ack in 2009 Matt Taibbi referred to Goldman Sachs as ‘a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.’ ”

Today’s protest, as OWSW notes, “will stop business as usual in the San Francisco Financial District and the Federal Courts that protect corporate interests.

Other events planned for the day include: a sit-in in front of Bechtel (45 Beale Street), something called a “carnival against capitalism: im/mobile street part” (Market and Drumm), “creative action” at Wells Fargo (420 Montgomery) featuring “street theatre and high energy chanting,” and more. Visit Occupy Wall Street West’s schedule of events for more details.

Alert SF sent out the following message this morning: “Occupy Wall Street West demonstrations will take place throughout the day in the Financial and South of Market Districts; culminating with a march from Justin Herman Plaza to the United Nations Plaza this evening. The San Francisco Police and Sheriff’s Departments will be on-hand to ensure the event is peaceful. It is unknown how many people will take part in the demonstrations. The demonstrators have the potential to disrupt the evening commute along Market Street. Please consider alternate commuting routes.”

If you are at work or at home and cannot attend today’s festivities, please check out SFSU Journalism School professor Justin Beck’s live video stream the Occupy Wall Street West demonstrations. So far we see a band playing, fire trucks and cops, and loads of protesters holding signs and chanting, “We are the 99%” and “We are Occupy, We are never gonna die, Every time you beat us down, We are gonna multiply!”

Mirkarimi faces jail time over abuse charges

The new sherriff surrendered into custody after appearing at his own news conference, vowed not to resign

By  on January 13, 2012 – 7:58 p.m. PST

San Francisco Police Department

Less than a week after he was sworn in as San Francisco’s new sheriff, Ross Mirkarimi faces a possible year in jail on charges that he physically abused his wife in front of their young son.

Mirkarimi faces misdemeanor charges of domestic violence battery, child endangerment, and dissuading a witness, all related to an incident that occurred over the New Year’s weekend at the family’s home in the Western Addition. If convicted, Mirkarimi could face a year in jail, said District Attorney George Gascon.

Gascon also requested a protective order requiring Mirkarimi to stay away from his wife, Eliana Lopez, and son, preventing him from returning home while the order is in effect.

Mirkarimi surrendered into custody shortly after appearing at his own news conference, in which Lopez was at his side. He said he would not resign, and would contest the charges. His bail was set at $35,000.

“The charges filed today by the District Attorney are extremely serious and troubling,” Mayor Ed Lee said Friday evening. “As Mayor, I must now review the facts and options available to me under the City Charter, but I must also ensure that we do not take steps that undermine the integrity of the criminal justice proceedings underway.”

Lopez, in a statement to reporters, said she was not abused.

“I want to say this is unbelievable,” she said. “We are together and we are going to fight this. This is unbelievable and this is completely wrong.”

“No one is above the law,” Gascon said during a Friday afternoon press conference at the Hall of Justice. “This type of behavior is inexcusable.”

If convicted, Mirkarimi would be required to give up his department-issued firearm. If Mirkarimi were to step down permanently, Mayor Lee has the authority to name a replacement. The mayor may also move to suspend any public official from office.

Source: The Bay Citizen (

Mission Rape Suspect Pleads Not Guilty To 26 Felony Charges


Frederick Dozier, the man accused of sexually assaulting three women near 24th Street in the Mission over the past six months, pled not guilty to all 26 felony counts he’s been charged with at today’s arraignment. There is DNA evidence linking Dozier to the crime scenes, but according toKTVU’s courtroom report, Dozier’s assigned public defender expects the process of sorting through all the evidence to take several months.

Dozier is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, attempted rape, forcible oral copulation and other sexual assault charges in the three attacks. He is currently being held without bail. Dozier, who is a former employee of the San Francisco Unified School District and the Green Streets program, will appear in court again on February 23rd.


First S.F. Homicide Of 2012: Man Stabbed At 6th & Stevenson


The first homicide of the year occurred early this morning, at around 2:30 a.m., as a man of about 30 years old was found mortally stabbed at the corner of 6th and Stevenson. Police arrived on the scene after being called to do a well-being check on the man. This occurs just as uber-popular breakfast place Dottie’s True Blue Café is set to reopen shortly at that corner, in the former Passion Café spot, having moved down the hill from Jones Street.

There’s no further information about the crime or the victim, who was pronounced dead at SF General at around 3:30 a.m.

This is San Francisco’s first homicide of 2012. We hit a total of 50 homicides in 2011, up from 48 in 2010, but way down from the high of 98 in 2009.


Suspected Rapist Hits On Female Officer, Gets Arrested

handcuffs.jpgFile under: Men Are Pigs. An accused rapist with a warrant out for his arrest just couldn’t help himself Saturday, and he approached a police car at Third Street and Revere in order to chat up a uniformed female officer who was sitting in the cruiser with another female. He was “obviously enamored” with the officer, and asked her if she was married. She told him she wasn’t available, but she managed to get his full name anyway.

She ran the name, and yep, he had a warrant out for his arrest for a rape in Hayward. She then arrested the 26-year-old Bayview resident, and he’s being held without bail. That’ll learn ya!

[SF Gate]

Redistricting Could Force Supervisors To Actually Live In The Neighborhoods They Represent


As San Francisco redraws the borders of the neighborhood districts represented by our 11 city supervisors, a few members of the Board might want to start trawling Craigslist for new apartments. David Chiu, Board president and supervisor for North Beach, Chinatown and the Financial District, for example would have to move out of his Polk Gulch apartment, on the edge of his district if the latest draft of the district map passes. Chiu has already said he’s ready to pack up and move if his apartment ends up becoming a part of District 2, but the changes could also affect Supervisors Jane Kim and Malia Cohen — both of whom are only a year in to their terms.Exiled supes would still be able to represent their district for the remainder of their terms, but running for re-election in the same district will necessitate a cross-district U-Haul trip, unfortunately.

[read full article]

Banana Sam Back At SF Zoo



[from Monkey News]
Banana-Sam was resting comfortably behind the scenes at the San Francisco Zoo on Sunday, with staffers keeping close tabs on the squirrel monkey after his weekend kidnapping ordeal.

The 17-year-old primate spent New Year’s Day recuperating out of the public eye after a nearly 40-hour adventure that began with his abduction late Thursday or early Friday.

The 2-pound creature was shaking, hungry and cold when police returned him to the zoo Saturday evening, but he was relatively clean and with no obvious trauma, said Danny Latham, a zoo spokesman.

“We have no idea the conditions in which he was kept,” he said.

Latham said it was unclear when Banana-Sam would return to his exhibit with his 17 squirrel monkey friends.

Full story here.