A proposal to ban public nudity in San Francisco is set to have its first hearing at City Hall early next month.
The Board of Supervisor’s City Operations and Neighborhood Services committee is expected to take up the rule change at its November 5 meeting.
As the Bay Area Reporter has been reporting, gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced legislation in early October that would ban nudists from the city’s sidewalks and public plazas. What has been dubbed “Wiener’s Law” would amend the city’s police code to require people be clothed on public streets and parklets as well as on transit vehicles and at Muni stations.
The proposed legislation would allow for exemptions of the policy at “permitted parades, fairs, and festivals.” Violators of the law could face fines ranging from $100 to $500 with repeat offenders looking at a year in county jail.
The issue has become a hot button topic in the city’s gay Castro district since nudists began gathering at a parklet created several years ago on 17th Street. The growth in their numbers and reports of lewd behavior brought the issue to the fore in recent months, with Wiener deciding it was time for city leaders to act.
His move has attracted international media attention and sparked heated debate on the issue. Nudists and their supporters are holding a rally to oppose the ban at noon, Saturday, October 20 at Jane Warner Plaza and have an online petition that has drawn more than 1,330 signatures.
The supervisors on the committee that will hear the matter are Carmen Chu (District 4), Christina Olague (District 5), and Sean Elsbernd (District 7). Since Elsbernd is termed out of office this year, it is expected that Wiener will fill in for him on the committee.
The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. in Room 263 at City Hall.
Scheduled to take place a day before the November 6 election, it will once again put Olague in the center of a controversial vote. Of the three committee members, Olague is the only one up for re-election this fall.
Asked by the B.A.R. in a candidate questionnaire if the city should ban nudity in public, Olague simply answered, “No.” Her stance is the same as a majority of her opponents in the race, who all told the B.A.R. they see no reason to tell people to keep their clothes on outdoors.