Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Entertainment Commission could gain two new out members

San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission could soon see two new out members.

Mayor Ed Lee recommended Department of Youth, Children, and their Families staffer Bryant Tan. Castro bar owner Tim Eicher has applied for the entertainment industry spot vacated by Timothy Benetti, who resigned.

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee today opted to move both candidates forward to the full board.

Tan received the board committee’s full support. Supervisors Scott Wiener and Mike Farrell both voted in favor of Eicher, while Supervisor Jane Kim, the committee’s chair, voted against recommending him. (Wiener was sitting in for Supervisor Sean Elsbernd.)

Tan was the sole candidate that Lee recommended, while Eicher was up against Steven Lee, whom Kim seemed to favor, and two others.

At today’s hearing, Tan, who grew up in San Francisco, said, “Entertainment has been a huge part of my life.”

He said, “As a queer person and young adult,” the city’s nightlife venues, especially those in the Castro area, have given him opportunities to seek out community and find safe spaces.

In his job with the city, Tan works directly with young people. He told the committee that “opportunities to have safe and accessible places after dark” for the city’s youth are “few and far between.” He’d like to look at filling those gaps, he said.

Wiener said the city’s faced problems with venues providing live music, as well as electronic dance music, for young people. Tan expressed concern over issues such as drug overdoses at clubs, and said, “No one has fun when people are dying or getting hurt,” but it’s important to be fair to all involved.

Eicher, who moved to San Francisco in 1989, said that he joined what’s now known as the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association as soon as he got his first bar in the neighborhood. He’s now co-owner of The Edge, Midnight Sun, and QBar.

He told supervisors today that he’s known that his bars’ long-term success “depended on me understanding the neighborhood concerns and being able to proactively resolve issues before they get out of control.”

Eicher also helped form the nightspot coalition Castro After Dark, where “I’ve been taking the lead on safety and crime reduction issues,” he said. That’s been especially important as many neighborhood clubs have seen an increase in phone and purse thefts recently.

He also said the nightlife industry is a “vital” part of the city and he’d like to see the industry promoted more than it has been.

Kim asked Eicher for his thoughts on staggering bars’ closing hours.

As did the other hopefuls, Eicher said he supports the idea. When “everyone is pouring out of the bars at 2 o’clock,” there’s more “potential for conflict,” he said. “Having staggered exit times would be a great idea,” he said.

Eicher also said he’d like to see more restaurants stay open later, since they’re “a great place for people to go and sober up a little bit before going home.”

Wiener, who represents the Castro and other neighborhoods as the District 8 supervisor, talked about several reasons he was supporting Eicher for a seat on the commission. He said he’s seen club operators respond to neighbors’ concerns in “incredibly unproductive” ways, but Eicher has gone “above and beyond” what he needed to do.

Wiener also said he couldn’t think of anyone from the Castro who’s ever been on the entertainment panel.

“Given that the Castro is one of the major nightlife entertainment zones in the city …  having a venue operator from the Castro would be appropriate,” he said.

Tan’s term would end July 1, 2015. Eicher’s would end July 1, 2014, since he’d be filing out Benetti’s four-year term.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, December 15, 2011 @ 6:28 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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