Bryant Tan’s job must be fun sometimes -- it certainly appeared to be last night, when the Entertainment Commission president oversaw the approval of three separate venues’ “place of entertainment” permits, and wished them good luck.
One of those was Mission District live-music venue Amnesia, whose permit was granted in an outpouring of support from commissioners and community members alike. Officer Parker from the SFPD's Mission Station came to the microphone to express excitement that the bar’s new owner Craig Wathen plans to continue to present “a diversity of live music.” And in terms of security, Parker was clear: as long as Wathen maintains the system already in place, “I see no reason to fix something that isn’t broken.”
In the chamber inside City Hall, it was clear from the onset via commissioners’ supportive comments and the packed house that the permit would be approved. However, public comment is usually opened anyway in such cases, and President Tan graciously allowed this. Before doing so, however, and “in the interests of time,” he called for a show of hands of those in favor of granting the permit. Every single audience member raised a hand. He then asked “Is anyone opposed?” No hands were raised.
A number of Amnesia regulars spoke during the ensuing public comment period, including the venue’s bookkeeper and close neighbor, Heidi-Jane Schwabe, who said she had passed a petition around the neighborhood. “And even someone who notoriously calls the police on everyone said ‘Oh, Amnesia?’ I’ll absolutely support that,” she said. She also noted the number of jobs created by the small bar. “This is the livelihood of a lot of people,” she said.
“Same house, same call,” in commissionese, means the six-member regulatory group is satisfied and expects to see a venue operating in a manner consistent with its past -- Amnesia’s large community of musicians, friends, and neighbors seems to hope the same.