CRIME: AN EYE ON CRIME:
That's entertainment?

It couldn’t happen here, right? A gang murder in the Marina – surely not. But it did happen here on Monday, Nov. 1. Chestnut Street was busy with crowds celebrating the Giants win in the World Series. There was a lot of celebratory drinking, and the crowd became quite boisterous, but most remained good-natured and followed the law. What happened in the Gravity Room club at 3251 Scott Street was something of an entirely different nature: an alleged gang member was shot several times and killed just before midnight.

This is the latest in a series of shootings at City nightclubs. In February, one man was killed and four others wounded in a shootout at the Suede Club near Fisherman’s Wharf. In July, a man was killed at a club near AT&T Park. The San Francisco Police Department estimates that it has to spend about $500,000 per year to police a two-block stretch of Broadway where there are over 20 clubs.

So who licenses these clubs to operate? They are licensed by the San Francisco Entertainment Commission, which has assumed responsibility from the police department for issuing entertainment-related permits. The commission is supposed to include one member to represent the interests of neighborhood associations. As far as I am aware, the commission has never contacted the Marina Community Association about the permit for Gravity.

The police department has the power to suspend an entertainment permit when the club has been operated in a manner that has harmed public safety or has failed to take adequate security measures. Since this incident, the entertainment permit for Gravity has been temporarily suspended by the Entertainment Commission.

The Marina is a family-oriented residential neighborhood. It is not like Fisherman’s Wharf or the neon section of Broadway. If you feel strongly about a nightclub in the Marina, then contact the Entertainment Commission at City Hall and let them know how you feel.

One last thought. Our City government (in its infinite wisdom) is proceeding with a plan to spend over $9 million to house 24 at-risk young adults at the King Edward II Inn at 3155 Scott Street, which is half a block from the Gravity Room.

Alan Silverman is a Marina resident and a board member of the Marina Community Association. E-mail: alan@marinatimes.com