Joint meeting would address club hubbub

Residents of North Beach and other nearby neighborhoods experience the peals of laughter along Columbus Avenue as well as the shouts of drunken aggression on Broadway.

The raucous behavior could be the topic of the first-ever joint meeting between the Police Commission and the Entertainment  Commission.

That proposition was put forth by Police Commissioner Yvonne Y. Lee on Wednesday night during a meeting held within the Central Station area, at the Longshoreman’s Hall.

The area covered by Central Station district — which has more than 100 bars, 300 restaurants, 350 beer and wine licenses and 45 liquor stores — sees an increased crowd on the weekends when people from all across the Bay Area come to party, according to Central’s police chief, Capt. James Dudley.

Keeping fights from breaking out is always a priority, but never easy, according to police.

Punishing clubs’ bartenders who overserve is difficult, Dudley said. Club owners who cooperate with police and the Entertainment Commission, however, say they’re at a disadvantage, he said.

But others point the finger at The City, not the entertainment venues, for the problems.

“The City’s lost control of that block,” said bar owner Sam Young, who has been operating a club on Broadway since 1994.

Young said despite police efforts, there are more gang members, prostitutes and drug dealers than ever before.

Dudley said police have conducted a concerted effort to stop violent crime.

One recent effort is a permanent ban of parked cars along the 400 block of Broadway between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m. on weekends. Before the ban, there were only paper signs posted to prohibit parking.

Some merchants, however, said the parking ban is affecting business. At the same time, other merchants said that for every business that’s negatively affected, there are hundreds of businesses that are positively affected.

bbegin@examiner.com

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