Working to shed the title of San Francisco’s Top Buzzkill, Supervisor Scott Wiener has taken a moment out of his normally busy schedule outlawing public nudity and crusading to restrict the public’s use of city parks to remind us that, hey kids!, he’s still hip to the needs/passions of the youth vote.
I refer, of course, to the legislation he co-sponsored with Supervisor London Breed, which the Board of Supervisors is expected to approve today, modifying restrictions on pinball machines and arcade games inside city businesses. The San Francisco Chronicle did us the favor of explaining the clearly onerous existing regulations, which were passed way back in 1982 when the questionable morals of Mrs. Pacman seemed a very real threat:
The law currently requires a business to secure a city permit to have any arcade game on its premises; it also prohibits the games within 300 feet of a public playground or school or within 1,500 feet of another business with arcade games, and in any neighborhood zoned for residential use; and limits the number depending on square footage of a business, with a maximum of 10.
Well pop the champagne and take a hammer to your piggy bank, because under the new law bars can have four machines and non-bars can have up to ten without securing a permit.
Shit just got real.
Of course, lest shit get too real, the revised regulations on “mechanical amusement devices” do not completely roll back restrictions. Rather, Supervisors Wiener and Breed have made it easier for establishments to carry a limited quantity of arcade machines without going through the Entertainment Commission. For previously illegal arcades such as Free Gold Watch, this paves a pathway towards legitimacy that wasn’t previously available.
So the next time you’re cited for having the audacity to be in Dolores Park past what Supervisor Wiener considers to be an acceptable hour, just remember, Wiener has your best interests at heart.