Sunday, July 05, 2009

Fight in SF Fillmore: bouncer doing his job with patron

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Saturday July 4th was a great day to be out-and-about in the San Francisco Bay Area. A tradition shared by my friends and I - and thousands of others - is to attend the Fillmore Jazz Festival, which is a good 10 blocks of music, food, and fun. One of the favorite stops along the stretch is Harry's Bar, which serves up a great combination of beautiful people dancing and socializing to funk and rock music. After hanging with friends inside, a group of us ventured outside as it was just too hot. I came back later, but after perhaps a few minutes inside, determined that the outdoor weather was better.

I go to Harry's each year with the same group of friends - except we didn't see Monte Poole this year - so I'm used to the vibe during the festival. I give the staff a lot of credit for keeping the crowd at a manageable level; not that it was ever out of control in the past, or this year for that matter. But in past years one could not even pass through the place with ease; not so on Saturday. The relative calm of the party made the incident I'm about to explain all the more, well, weird.

There was a patron that was giving the Bouncer and the patrons inside a real hard time as the video will show; a guy with a "3" on his back. At first I ignored him and talked to my fellow Oakland friend on the curb, but given the way he was behaving - at first taunting the bouncer to fight, but then more and more relentlessly so - I could not do so. I activated my camera and just stood on the curb holding it up.

The Bouncer had told the patron to leave as he had too much to drink, was beligerent, and had been given a number of warnings. For a beat, it actually looked like "Number 3" (as I will call him) was going to just walk away. But something happened - for some reason it was really important for him to get back in the bar - and he started to ask the bouncer "Are you black or white" (the bouncer's black as is the patron), and he repeated the question again and again. The bouncer said "As long as you stay back away from the door you can say anything." For many of the onlookers, the patron was a source of comic relief; a woman walked up and started dancing sexily behind "Number 3". We kept saying "Turn around. It's more fun behind you." But he didn't. Number 3 was locked in on the person he believed to be his tormentor: the Bouncer.

There were several voices asking for someone to call the police, and another voice said "they've been called." (Don't know if there were any Twitter tweets at the time.) Still the police never came. The bouncer asked for the police to be called. Nothing. Not even security. At that point, "Number 3" decided to violate the space the bouncer told him to avoid and pointed his finger right in the bouncer's face. To me, it seemed like he was about to hit the bouncer. So the Bouncer took a look at his partner, and then kind of grabbed him and put him into a hold, and as soon as he had him on the ground said "I'm going to hold him until the police arrive."

The sudden, wild mix of emotions was dizzying: one man upset with the bouncer and another upset with the man who was upset with the bouncer, and a woman sitting on a stoop calmly looking at the weirdly intertwined pair only to ask "Are you going to kill him?" "No" the Bouncer said, "I'm trying to hold him until the police get here."

Festival security did arrive after a few minutes and they helped the Bouncer escort Number 3 away from the venue, and to the appalause of the onlookers.

On my YouTube page, the comments seems to run mostly to the defense of the bouncer. Someone took issue with the use of the hold - what someone called a sleeper hold - but the Bouncer seemed to take great pains to make sure Number 3 could breath. He was trying to hold him.

Personally, given Number 3's behavior, I'm not sure the Bouncer had too many choices; that guy was going to do something. If the Bouncer let him back in Harry's it's almost certain he would have got into a fight with someone there. Me? I'm not one for violence at all but I understand the actions the Bouncer took; I think festival security should have been there much faster to clear Number 3 away. Given that they were on call for that event, and the day was coming to a close, the Bouncer really should have had some help from festival security.

The new pattern of violence in Sf's bar districts

I and others have noticed a violent male patronage out and about in areas of San Francisco one would not expect to see them: the Marina District and Pacific Heights, where Harry's Bar is located are two examples. Just over a week ago a man fired a gun on San Francisco police at a Marina hotel, and over at one establishment on the corner of Fillmore and Greenwich known for its dance floor, some have complained that certain men are just there to start fights and its only a matter of time before someone pulls a gun. It seems the problems of nightclub violence that have plagued the Mission, Tenderloin, North Beach, and The South of Market, are now almost everywhere in San Francisco.


That's a good question I can't answer here. But I will return to do so in the near future.

Sarah Palin's former Alaska - Hot for Words

Sarah Palin resigns: thin skin did her in.

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As of July 26th, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will resign her post as Alaska's governor. I deliberately used the term "governor" twice, because even though I disagree with her politics, I always respected her as a governor of a state in America. Moreover, I root for women in politics, period. But I always believed Governor Palin - as I will continue to call her, much as some still refer to California Attorney General Jerry Brown as "Governor Brown" even though he's not been that since the 80s - had too thin a skin to deal with the new level of stardom she achieved after her time running to be vice president of the United States. A lot of this has to do with the life she crafted for herself in Alaska, which totally drove her and the GOP nuts when the media started asking her about her past.

Indeed, with the spotlight on Palin came a set of issues so great in number, I predicted she would be forced to resign in the middle of her run with John McCain and said so in this video:

Here's the list:

1) TrooperGate, where Gov Palin is accused of using her position to fire a state trouper, who's still on the job as of this writing.

2) The news that Palin was part of a group that wanted Alaska to leave the Union.

3) Palin was fundraising director for Senator Ted Stevens' 527 committee.

4) Palin was almost recalled as Mayor of Wasalia, Alaska.

5) She says the Iraq War, costing over 80,000 iraqi lives and several thousand American lives is a war for oil -- she's right, but Republican, so she should not say that.

6) She took earmarks totalling over $197 million, while saying she did not.

Then there was her family. The role her husband Todd Palin had in acting almost as a "shadow governor". Her daughter Bristol Palin, who's on-then-off relationship with Levis Johnston became a media circus itself (and now Johnston's writing a "tell-all" book about the Palins.)

Then there was Sarah the character: the wink, the nasal accent, the dress skirts, the pumps, the boots, and especially the "you 'betcha". Add to that Palin's constant stream of factual errors on federal government operation as she's trying to convince voters she's ready to run the country, and you have what we saw: a media train wreck in slow motion. The process evolved into one where Palin was constantly in front of a camera talking not about Alaska, but putting out some kind of media fire about her family or herself; there was the Bristol / Levy issue, the Bristol / Letterman joke, and the snipping about the McCain campaign staffers. Nothing about Alaska and all that from its governor.

Not good. And it's worse now: she's on Twitter! Yep. Palin's taken to the Twittersphere to attack her critics. Take this latest tweet:

Attached is my "thank you" sent yesterday to express gratitude, & smack down lies at same time
about 2 hours ago from web

Indeed, Governor Palin's used Twitter to deny whatever guess has surfaced about her reason for resigning, particularly those surrounding the charges that Palin steered contracts to build the Wasilla Sports Complex to the company that built her home. (In this, the FBI stepped in and said there was no investigation of the issue.) Take a look at this list of tweets:

Trying to keep up w/getting truth to u, like proof there's no "FBI scandal", here's link Thanks, AK!
about 2 hours ago from web
so I'll make attempt to keep up w/attaching corrected info. I head 2 West AK villages today, look forward to their busy comm fish activity!
about 5 hours ago from TwitterBerry
Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again....
about 6 hours ago from TwitterBerry
To see full text of the letter from my attorney on baseless allegations of past 24hrs check
about 15 hours ago from web
See letter from my attorney on baseless allegations of past 24hrs @
about 17 hours ago from web

Oh, here's the letter:

Happy 4th of July from Alaska!

On this Independence Day, I am so very proud of all those who have chosen to serve our great nation and I honor their selflessness and the sacrifices of their families, too.

If I may, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the last 24 hours and share my thoughts with you.

First, I want to thank you for your support and hard work on the values we share. Those values led me to the decision my family and I made. Yesterday, my family and I announced a decision that is in Alaska’s best interest and it always feels good to do what is right. We have accomplished more during this one term than most governors do in two – and I am proud of the great team that helped to build these wonderful successes. Energy independence and national security, fiscal restraint, smaller government, and local control have been my priorities and will remain my priorities.

For months now, I have consulted with friends and family, and with the Lieutenant Governor, about what is best for our wonderful state. I even made a few administrative changes over that course in time in preparation for yesterday. We have accomplished so much and there’s much more to do, but my family and I determined after prayerful consideration that sacrificing my title helps Alaska most. And once I decided not to run for re-election, my decision was that much easier – I’ve never been one to waste time or resources. Those who know me know this is the right decision and obvious decision at that, including Senator John McCain. I thank him for his kind, insightful comments.

The response in the main stream media has been most predictable, ironic, and as always, detached from the lives of ordinary Americans who are sick of the “politics of personal destruction”. How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country. And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it’s right for all, including your family.

I shared with you yesterday my heartfelt and candid reasons for this change; I’ve never thought I needed a title before one’s name to forge progress in America. I am now looking ahead and how we can advance this country together with our values of less government intervention, greater energy independence, stronger national security, and much-needed fiscal restraint. I hope you will join me. Now is the time to rebuild and help our nation achieve greatness!

God bless you! And I look forward to making a difference – with you! Sarah

If you think about it, Palin declared her independence from the State of Alaska. But a run for President would be completely stupid. I can see and hear the comments now: "Palin quit on Alaska; she'll quit on America." No. I really think, just looking at her tweets, that something "snapped" perhaps after the detailed and far-less-than-flattering Vanity Fair article by Todd S. Purdum. Palin just signed a book deal herself, one that makes her a millionaire, so she doesn't have to deal with politics anymore. She's made it.

When I worked for Elihu Harris, when he was Oakland's mayor, I talked to him about why so many blacks went into politics rather than the private sector in post-war American history. "We could gain power that way," he told me. Of course, there was the major problem of private sector racism, but Harris explained that politics was the best way to "get in the game" of power. It's also true for women, even today.

In Palin's case, politics was her key to wealth, but now that her celebrity has essentially "paid" her, I'm sure she started to see being governor a kind of burden she had to carry; she let it go, and I think forever.

What will she do next? For some reason I think Rush Limbaugh's success presents a window to a possible future for Palin. But if she even thinks of running for office again, she's going to jump right back into the purgatory she's getting out of. I can't see her doing that at all; I just can't see it.