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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Will Club Suede Plead Guilty at Tonight's Hearing?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Supervisor David Chiu wants Suede shut down
  • Supervisor David Chiu wants Suede shut down
Frustrated North Beach neighbors and city officials have been gearing up for a permit suspension hearing tonight in response to a shooting in front of club Suede, at 383 Bay Street, where a 19-year-old Richmond resident died and three others were wounded this February.

But the owner of Suede might simply plead guilty, cutting the hearing short, Entertainment Commission vice chair Audrey Joseph told SF Weekly.

According to members of the Entertainment Commission, the worst penalty Club Suede  faces at tonight's hearing is a 30-day suspension for a first offense. Joseph said that the police code mandates that clubs have at least three chances to clean up their act, and that clubs can't be shut down unless they've first undergone temporary suspensions for 30, 60, and then 90 days. Suede, which has been voluntarily closed since the shooting, is only up for a first, 30-day suspension, Joseph said.

"It's not within our power to pull someone's permit and say, 'Sorry, you're a bad  boy, you have to go away now,'" Joseph said. "Everyone is entitled to due process." 

That doesn't satisfy some of the club's neighbors in North Beach, who have been organizing a shut-down-Suede  petition campaign, or the district's supervisor, David Chiu, who is also the President of the Board of Supervisors. Chiu told the Chronicle on Sunday that the hearing "represents a significant test case for the Entertainment Commission," and that "I think the Entertainment Commission has to shut Suede down."


Police Commander James Dudley told the SF Weekly  earlier this week that he was meeting with the City Attorney to document problems at Suede in preparation for the hearing.

But

in a phone interview yesterday, Joseph said, "I was under the

impression that they [the owners of Suede] were going to come in and

plead guilty and take the suspension.It's like any court of law: if

someone comes in and pleads guilty, there's no trial," she added.

Joseph

said she had not had any contact with the owners of Suede, which, she

said, would be inappropriate because of her position on the Commission.

But she said that she had heard from someone who does know the owners

that they were planning to plead guilty, and that "they just want it to

go away."

Joseph said she would be in Los Angeles tonight because of a previous commitment and would not be taking part in the hearing.

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Lois Beckett

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