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07.15.09

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Silicon Valley News Notes

Club Wet's Permit Pulled

Another downtown club went dark last week as SJPD Chief Rob Davis used the city's new urgency ordinance for the first time, suspending the entertainment permit of the SoFA district's Club Wet for one month. Recent club closures unrelated to the urgency ordinance include Taste, The Vault Ultralounge and Johnny V's. The urgency measure gives the chief broad discretion to close businesses viewed as imminent threats to public safety. The ordinance was passed by the City Council two years ago following a shooting incident in the parking lot outside Club Ambassador. A Mercury News report said the ordinance was invoked following a "multiple stabbing," however club owners say it was a dancefloor fight with a small pen knife that was controlled quickly and left no serious wounds. Fly stopped by Club Wet to view the security-camera video of the stabbing incident. According to the time stamp on the video recording, the entire incident lasts about three seconds. There is a blur of motion, a swarm of Wet's security guards swoop in, and it's over. People are dancing again. Wet's owner, Mike Hamod, says the alleged assailant, Nhan Chi, brandished a weapon the size of his pinkie. Hamod says his guards captured the man and turned him over to police, and that he was in immediate communication with Lt. Larry McGrady, the recently appointed head of the downtown unit. Hamod says he is appealing the chief's decision and is proud of his security staff's quick, professional response. In 2003, Raul Curiel was stabbed to death on the dance floor of the now-defunct ZoŽ Nightclub, and the killer walked out the door undetected by club security and remains unapprehended more than five years later.


Virtual Political Theater

The Church of Scientology on Saratoga Avenue resembled a science-fiction fantasy version of the British Parliament last Saturday, with a swarm of protesters wearing Guy Fawkes masks running around. While there were no Fawkesian plots to blow up the building, Fly does not believe the protesters would have shed any tears if some similar disruption came to pass. The group of eight people held signs protesting alleged abuses by Scientologists while dancing around to music and waving at passing cars, which seemed to be honking in support (perhaps simply supporting of the idea of dancing around in masks). Of the people holding signs above their plastic grins, half were from the Internet group Anonymous, which protests Scientology about once a month—condemning the church for allegedly trying to censor the Internet. Two other groups were there as well: a couple of ex-Scientology members and just garden-variety critics of the church. The group Anonymous started after famed Scientologist Tom Cruise famously jumped around on Oprah Winfrey's couch—the Church of Scientology apparently has worked to banish the video of that event from the Internet. The protest was organized on an online message board whyweprotest.net. There were protests in San Francisco, Sacramento, London and most major cities. Where does Guy Fawkes fit in? Good question.


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