kink.com Armory Hearing — open and shut

I didn’t get a chance to attend the March 8th kink.com Planning Commission Hearing about the Armory at 14th and Mission Street, but thanks to our wonderful wired government I can view the meeting video online. I actually watched it twice on the San Francisco Government Channel (thank you Comcast) and was glad to see that they didn’t really need me showing up for support. It did make me think quite a bit, though.

The residents of the area did seem to take a rather hysterical view of the situation. I find it rather ironic that the local residents are more concerned about porn than the junkies that litter that neighborhood. As far as the neighborhood goes, if they are that concerned about the sex trade in their hood then they should take a gander at what happens less than three blocks away at the Power Exchange. There were a few things that I agreed with — one man (who needed public speaking lessons) seemed rather outraged that a BDSM studio would locate next door to a battered women’s shelter (good point) while at least one other resident totally negated the viewpoint of the residents with their hyperbolic statements — this even made one other resident change their mind DURING the meeting to support kink.com.

The one thing that bugs me, and always has bugged me, about things like this is exactly how loud money talks. The cold truth is that the company had more than enough money to sew everything up so that this meeting was nothing more than a formality and the residents really have no say. As far as how I feel about this personally, I do have to say that coming from modest beginnings in Georgia makes me wonder how far along I’d be if I had a family with enough money to send me to Cambridge and Columbia University rather than having to work through college myself. I do have a lot of problems with envy and jealousy, I’ll totally admit that — but I also have this chip on my shoulder about how I never had to use my parents money to get where I am or where I am going, and the entire situation just hammers home to me that it’s always good to be the guy who steamrollers through obstacles with a wheelbarrow full of money.

5 Comments so far

  1. Joe (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 8:55 am

    I guess by “steamrollers through obstacles” you really mean had the money to legally purchase a property that has sat empty for 30 years?
    Like the content or not, kink.com is a legally conforming use of the property. There were no backhand closed door deals. I think it is incredibly hypocritical of the neighbors to complain about kink.com when 16th and mission is the complete cesspool that it is now.
    Would it bother you less if the purchaser of the building was someone who was poor?


  2. Darren Mckeeman (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    Would it bother you less if the purchaser of the building was someone who was poor?

    It would bother me less if the world were fair, actually. Since they don’t need my support, I feel like it’d be better to play devil’s advocate and question things. It’s not like it’d make any difference.


  3. dantc (unregistered) on March 12th, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

    the company had more than enough money to sew everything up so that this meeting was nothing more than a formality

    It would have been a formality for any company purchasing the Armory and using it within zoning regulations and without making any significant structural changes. The commissioners said as much at the start of the meeting, and then during their response time.

    Influence did buy that meeting, but not in the way that you think. It was held precisely because the activist obstructionists were having a loud tantrum over the unpleasant realization that not all uses of the Armory would require their input. The Planning Commission’s hearing was meaningless from the start. It was San Francisco political theater at its best, nothing more.

    Also, while I’m certain that my support for Kink.com has me biased toward those who spoke in support, the opposition did seem to be stacked with more than a few ranting loons. The one who belted out “They don’t talk about what they do because they don’t want people to know,” right after admitting that everything the company does is listed for sale on its namesake Web site (later, she tried to rush the microphone for a second go-round), was my personal favorite.


  4. T. (unregistered) on March 14th, 2007 @ 2:07 pm

    Hello Gang,

    You may not know that one of the biggest internet BDSM porn producers is based right here in O/our lovely city. Peter Acworth has been operating Kink.com in a VERY low key location on Mission Street in downtown SF for ten years now. He recently purchased the old SF armory building at 14th and Mission, which has been vacant for over 30 years, for production of his BDSM videos. This has outraged the local community, who demanded the government do something about the “torture” that is going on behind closed doors in their neighborhood. So Mayor
    Gavin Newsom gave in and a public hearing was held yesterday at City Hall by the planning commission.

    T & i went with O/our friends from the SF Citadel Dungeon. It was absolutely amazing to see all the kinky community out in force supporting Peter and Kink.com. The speakers in
    support of Kink.com were eloquent and straight forward, while those in the Mission community who were there in protest all showed their asses! Those opposed all went over their time limit for speaking, were trying to use scare tactics, and were generally rude to the commissioners and accusatory in their statements. Tell me if I’m mistaken, but if I want something from someone, I wouldn’t stand up in a room full of people and media and tell them everything they have done is WRONG! One of their speakers even brought a side by side picture of one of the prisoners from Abu Gharib and one of the Kink.com girls
    tied up, and told the commission what Peter was doing is basically “sexual torture”. Half of the commissioners hid their faces as they tried to hold back laughter at her statements. It
    was great to see them bury themselves in their own anger and misinformation. The commissioners took about 20 minutes to speak at the end of the 2 1/2 hour hearing. They were very supportive of Peter’s rights and basically told the Mission activists he had followed the law and was doing nothing wrong. I’m including a link to the SF government’s website where you can view a complete video of the hearings. You want the special
    hearing on March 8th, 2007. It is over 2 hours long, just so you know. I’ve also included some links for news stories to read about the issue, which has been in the news here for at
    least a month now.

    It was great to be able to participate in such a historical event. Just as the GLBT community’s grassroots organizations started out here, the kinky community here is also very proactive in ensuring all O/our freedoms. I am proud to be a member of the
    community and I hope our presence yesterday showed at least a small portion of the world that we’re just like everybody else and we’re NOT going to give up O/our freedom to be kinky in O/our own time!

    Links:

    Public hearing
    http://sanfrancisco .granicus. com/ViewPublishe r.php?view_ id=20

    News links:
    http://www.ktvu. com/news/ 10891121/ detail.html

    http://www.nytimes. com/2007/ 02/12/us/ 12armory. html?
    ex=1173589200& en=62865c0a9c5db 7ba&ei=5070

    Enjoy the reading!

    ~a

    P.S.

    This blog was written by My girl …………. Peace!!!


  5. Rob (unregistered) on March 24th, 2007 @ 10:26 am

    This was never an open case. The president of the commission, called the armory a home sale, and we cannot choose our neighbors. But this was a commerical property, not a home sale. If this were Home Depot, Walmart or a Halliburton company, man, all the supervisors of the city would be out there with picket signs themselves. It doesn’t matter what kink.com does, it is what they have done! IF the Home Depot or Walmart did what kink.com did, they’re would be outrage! Kink.com payed off the city behind closed doors. And when those doors opened, everyone came out saying, “Kink.com did everything legally and by the book.” Kink.com doesn’t even have to bring the building up to code! You know damn well, if it were any other group of people moving into the armory besides sex workers, the city inspectors would be all over that building! But its just sex workers, who cares if they are in a unsafe and unhealthy building.
    I guess the only people who have to obey the law are the ones who can’t afford to buy it off!



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