THE HUE STORY.
BCOMM was hired to galvanize community support & land press placements for HUE Lounge & nightclub
-one of the only Hip-Hop clubs in San Francisco that caters to a primarily African-American patronage-for a San Francisco Board of Appeals hearing.
Depending on the outcome of the Board of Appeals hearing, HUE would have limitations put on its' entertainment permit or it would be revoked entirely.
HUE’s owner, Bennett Montoya argued that over-policing had lead the club to be 'put through the ringer' within their local Community Benefit District (CBD)...
Entertainment Commission (EC), Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) and now the Board of Appeals (BOA) for many situations that other lounges, bars, and clubs would not be brought to their city local regulatory bodies for. HUE believed that it was because of their African-American patrons that they were being targeted by the San Francisco Police Department.
Through extensive research, combing through hundreds of pages of documents and hours of video footage...
BCOMM laid out timelines from emails, videos from Entertainment commission meetings, past ABC hearings and statements by past elected Entertainment commissioners, that substantiated Mr. Montoya’s claims. BCOMM reached out to community leaders, community organizations and the media to gain support for Mr. Montoya while his legal team prepared for the Board of Appeals hearing.
BCOMM created a change.org petition for HUE, and within a week generated over 1000 signatures.
The signatures from neighbors we received in support of HUE were Our team hit the streets of North Beach, along the Broadway corridor, to collect signatures of the petition from neighbors of HUE. critical, because the SFPD had made claims that HUE was the 'problem venue' along the Broadway corridor. But in fact, many late night restaurants, corner stores and pizza parlors actually depended on HUE’s patrons as a source of revenue for their establishments.
The personal appeals and comments of HUE’s neighbors would be invaluable at the Board of Appeals hearing.
BCOMM was able to secure support letters from notable community leaders and stakeholders including the Vice President of the San Francisco NAACP, Reverend Arnold Townsend,
the San Francisco African-American Chamber of Commerce President, Frederick Jordan, San Francisco community group “United Playaz,” and a plethora of San Francisco Business community representatives and concerned citizens. It was important to show the breadth of representation from the highest levels of political and community based San Francisco groups to business groups to regular concerned citizens. We made sure all voices from San Francisco’s most diverse populations were represented in the letters of support.
Winning in the court of public opinion was crucial to our efforts. We hand-selected the right reporters, based on their commitment to social justice and racial politics in San Francisco, to tell The HUE Story.
The first major article was published by Vivian Ho, a social justice reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her story was on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle, the day before the Board of Appeals hearing. Hermela Aregawi of TV news station, KRON4 did an in-depth TV interview with Mr. Montoya following the SF Chronicle story, and Meaghan Mitchell of neighborhood newspaper Hoodline covered the Board of Appeals hearing. We achieved fair and positive coverage for Mr. Montoya on three of the top news outlets in the San Francisco/Bay Area in a span of a few weeks, when news on HUE prior had only been negative, and Mr. Montoya’s voice had been completely left out of the equation.
On the day of the Board of appeals hearing, BCOMM worked with community organizers to turn out over 20 speakers who lined up for public comment, in addition to another 30 that sat in silent solidarity with HUE wearing #SaveSFNightLife t-shirts in the audience.
Mr. Montoya with his team of lawyers made their case for why HUE should not have any limitations put on his entertainment license, and/or have it revoked. The BOA ruled that HUE would have a 6-month probationary period, where HUE would not be able to play live music past 12 AM, and their ambient sound level would get re-tested. Their entertainment license was not revoked, and in all other ways they could remain doing business as usual.