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Thursday, October 22, 2009

'Friends of Entertainment Commission' Web Site Traced to Controversial Entertainment Commissioner

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 at 1:10 PM

The San Francisco Entertainment Commission has been having a rough go of it lately. The seven-member board of political appointees, tasked with regulating the city's nightclubs, has presided over a local nightlife scene that has become infamous for its violence. The commission has also come under fire for its often cozy ties to the industry it is supposed to be watch-dogging -- as we reported in a July cover story, five of the seven commissioners (two have since stepped down) had direct financial ties to entertainment interests.

click to enlarge Terrance Alan, friend to himself
  • Terrance Alan, friend to himself
The commission's foes have picked up steam, and now have the ear of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, whose district is home to some of the city's most crime-plagued nightclubs. Chiu has amended a piece of legislation in order to establish stricter oversight of the Entertainment Commission, and establish limits on the number of permits it can dole out. Reacting to this onslaught, politically connected nightclub-industry advocates have launched their own propaganda campaign, declaring that Chiu's efforts are part of a "War on Fun."

One of the outlets peddling this line is the Web site At the top of the site's heading is the line, "Friends of the San Francisco Entertainment Commission." It features a rallying cry for nightlife supporters to lobby supervisors to kill some of Chiu's amendments, as well as "suggested points to make" during public comment at upcoming meetings on the legislation. In other words, the site is indeed friendly to the Entertainment Commission -- in the way most of us are inclined to be friendly toward ourselves. Because it turns out the site is being administered by a media company run by Entertainment Commissioner Terrance Alan.

According to the domain-tracking site, the domain name is registered to SequelMedia. Alan -- an industry representative and one of the commission's more controversial members, who has attracted attention because of his ownership stake in the notoriously violent Pink Diamonds strip club -- is listed as the site's "administrative contact." Financial-interest disclosure forms filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission also identify Alan as SequelMedia's president and managing owner. Alan did not return calls for comment.

Does any of this matter? John St. Croix, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said he's not aware of any ethics law Alan might have broken by hosting the Web site. "What he does with his own resources is essentially his own business," St. Croix said. "This sounds like a First Amendment issue. He can't use city resources for stuff like that, obviously."

Alan and the commission's other industry representative, Audrey Joseph, have made no secret of their disdain for Chiu's efforts to bring them to heel. But Entertainment Commissioner Jim Meko -- a neighborhood representative, and one of two commission members without ties to the entertainment business -- said Alan's veiled involvement in the advocacy site made him uneasy. "Being an entertainment commissioner, for God's sake, I think he should be on the record," Meko said. "There is no attribution posted anywhere on this site." He said Alan's apparent role in the site was "not judicious."

Meko quipped, "With friends like these..." We know. That one's hard to resist.

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Peter Jamison


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