NAC Action Alert
San Francisco anti-nudity ordinance

October 7, 2012





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                     NATURIST ACTION COMMITTEE
                           ACTION ALERT
Copyright 2012 by the Naturist Action Committee, which is responsible for its content. Permission is granted for the posting, forwarding or redistribution of this message, provided that it is reproduced in its entirety and without alteration.

DATE: October 7, 2012
SUBJECT: San Francisco, California
TO: Naturists and other concerned citizens

Dear Naturist,

This is an Action Alert from the Naturist Action Committee. NAC is asking for your immediate involvement in an effort to prevent a citywide ban on nudity throughout San Francisco.

  1. Contact the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in writing.

  2. Attend a meeting of the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee on November 5, 2012 at 10 AM.

The San Francisco Park Code has prohibited nudity in the city’s parks for many years; however, non-sexual nudity is not prohibited or restricted in other areas of the city. Nudity figures prominently in several widely known and heavily attended events, such as the Bay to Breakers parade, the Folsom Street Fair, the World Naked Bike Ride and the Critical Mass bike rides.

Several years ago, a small group of San Francisco nudists began to take regular walks in the city, focused principally in the city’s famed Castro district. After several attempts at prosecution resulted in acquittals by juries, the city abandoned its efforts and tacitly acknowledged that non-sexual nudity was legal. In the last couple of years, what was initially a small group of nudists has grown significantly and has concentrated in the Castro District’s Jane Warner Plaza, a small pedestrian area with limited seating in the heart of the Castro. 

As the number of nudists has increased, complaints about the nudity have increased as well. In 2011, the Supervisor for the Castro District, Scott Wiener, introduced an ordinance requiring that nude persons sitting on public chairs or benches place a covering between their bodies and the seats and prohibiting nudity in restaurants and other food establishments. This ordinance has not diminished the number of nudists using the Plaza.

Allegedly responding to increased complaints about the nudity in the Castro, Sup. Wiener on October 2 introduced a proposed ordinance which would add a new section to the Police Code prohibiting nudity in on public streets, sidewalks, parklets, and plazas, and on public transit vehicles, stations, platforms, and stops, except as part of permitted parades, fairs, and festivals. Violation of the proposed ordinance would carry a fine of $100 for the first violation and increased fines for subsequent violations, but would not be considered a criminal offense, which would presumably mean that defendants would not be entitled to trial by jury.


NAC asks that you write to the members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (BOS). Send your comments by e-mail or surface mail. Those who will be at the meeting on November 5 are also encouraged to write.

NAC is requesting ALL NATURISTS and other concerned individuals to contact San Francisco supervisors on this important matter, regardless of your place of residence. San Francisco understands the importance of out-of-town and out-of-state visitors who come to enjoy the city’s unique atmosphere of diversity and its acceptance of a broad range of individuality. The opportunity to experience those opportunities applies to those visitors, as well as to San Francisco residents. While all are encouraged to make their voices heard, the participation of San Francisco residents is, of course, particularly important.

Send a letter, a fax or an e-mail. Phone calls may be less effective in this specific context, but if that’s your best option, make that call!


San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
Paper mail address is the same for each Supervisor
   City and County of San Francisco
   1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
   San Francisco, CA 94102-4689

Dist.  1 Eric Mar 
  TEL (415) 554-7410 FAX (415) 554-7415

Dist.  2 Mark Farrell
  TEL (415) 554-7752 FAX (415) 554-7843

Dist.  3 David Chiu
  TEL (415) 554-7450 FAX (415) 554-7454

Dist.  4 Carmen Chu
  TEL (415) 554-7460 FAX (415) 554-7432

Dist.  5 Christina Olague
  TEL (415) 554-7630 FAX (415) 554-7634

Dist.  6  Jane Kim 
  TEL (415) 554-7970 FAX (415) 554-7974

Dist.  7 Sean Elsbernd
  TEL (415) 554-6516 FAX (415) 554-6546

Dist.  8 Scott Wiener
  TEL (415) 554-6968 FAX (415) 554-6909

Dist.  9 David Campos
  TEL (415) 554-5144 FAX (415) 554-6255

Dist. 10 Malia Cohen
  TEL (415) 554-7670 FAX (415) 554-7674

Dist. 11 John Avalos
  TEL (415) 554-6975 FAX (415) 554-6979

NAC encourages you to send copies of your faxes and paper mail to:
      NAC, PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903.
Send copies of your e-mails to:

1. Supervisor Wiener is the author of the proposed anti-nudity ordinance.
2. Supervisors Chu, Olaque and Elsbernd are members of the committee that will hear the proposed ordinance on November 5.
3. All supervisor positions in ODD-NUMBERED districts are up for election in the polling scheduled for November 6, 2012. Incumbent supervisors will serve through the end of the year.
4. Supervisor Elsbernd is term limited and is not eligible to run in the upcoming election.


   a) Be polite.

   b) Be known. Give your name and address. If you are a San Francisco resident, a California resident or a frequent visitor to San Francisco, be sure to point that out. Anonymous letters have very little impact.

   c) Be focused. Keep your correspondence brief and on target.

   d) Be positive. Remember that we’re trying to ENCOURAGE the Supervisors to respond positively to our concerns in this matter. Please do not take a scolding tone. By all means, be vigorous in the presentation of your ideas. For example, if you are among those who are disappointed that Supervisor Wiener has chosen to use dated pejoratives like “nudist colony” in his public comments, then you should say so. Regardless, you must not allow your correspondence to become a personal character assassination or an ad hominem attack.

   e) Be clear. Say that you SUPPORT diversity in San Francisco, and that regular clothing-optional public activities are an important part of that diversity.

   f) Be sure to make a request that your correspondence (letter, fax, e-mail) be included in the permanent public record of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Wiener and others have suggested that the majority of San Franciscans are offended by non-sexual nudity. That’s not true.

In late 2009, the Naturist Education Foundation (NEF) commissioned a reputable polling organization, Zogby International, to conduct a statistically valid opinion survey of adult California residents. NEF asked for fairly tight geographical sampling within the state. The result is that we know what San Franciscans think about nudity.

Zogby tells us that the statewide margin of error for any question is +/-3.4 percentage points. Margins of error are higher for geographical subgroups.

Question number 5 in the 2009 NEF California Poll was:
Do you agree or disagree that you are personally offended by the non-sexual nudity of others?”

Here are the survey responses for SAN FRANCISCO
  Strongly agree     16.4%
  Somewhat agree     18.3%
  Somewhat disagree  17.0%
  Strongly disagree  46.1%
  Not sure           2.2%

The numbers speak for themselves. Combining “somewhat” and “strongly,” MORE THAN SIXTY-THREE PERCENT of San Francisco residents say they are NOT personally offended by the non-sexual nudity of others.

View the statewide 2009 NEF California Poll:

Additional talking / writing points:

   1) The author of the proposed ordinance makes a point of allowing nudity for certain events. It’s clear from that context that nudity itself is not universally offensive. At the same time, personal freedoms are daily liberties. They are not things to be kept in a closet and trotted out only for special events.

   2) Uncertainty about the legal status of public nudity deters attendance at major events and other, less widely known and attended events, creating a potentially significant loss of tourist revenues. 

   3) San Francisco’s reputation for progressive ideas serve as a model to which other cities aspire, That model would be irreparably tarnished if San Francisco were to be just like any other city.

   4) The proposed ordinance ignores the opinion of a majority of the residents of San Francisco, as shown by the NEF-California Poll. (See discussion above.)

   5) Officials have sometimes pointed to lewd behavior as a reason for prohibiting nudity. In doing so, they have confused simple nudity with lewd behavior. Police presently have the authority and responsibility to stop lewd activity, and naturists encourage them to exercise that responsibility appropriately.

These suggestions are specifically for residents of San Francisco:

   6) The controversy over nudity at Jane Warner Plaza is local, not citywide. It does not require a drastic citywide solution which is out of proportion to the extent of the controversy.

   7) Legislation should be designed to efficiently solve a specific problem, without creating potentially significant unpredictable side effects.

   8) The proposed ordinance, by restricting the personal liberties which make San Francisco unique, would diminish rather than improve quality of life in the city.

   9) Any ordinance restricting public nudity should ensure that the right of free speech and expression protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution is not in any way abridged. Limiting public nudity to permitted events would chill this right.

If you’re in the San Francisco area, or can be there on November 5, NAC requests that you attend a public meeting of the City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee that is scheduled to be held on Monday, November 5, 2012.

  City Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee
   1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 244
   San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
   Monday, November 5 - 10:00 AM

If you’re planning to attend the meeting, please contact:
  NAC board member Charles Harris
  (415) 492-1455

or NAC executive director Bob Morton
  (512) 282-6621

The Naturist Action Committee has been working on this matter with individual local residents of San Francisco, and especially in the Castro district, where much of the focus has been. NAC has been involved since before the time Supervisor Wiener introduced his proposed ordinance.

NAC personnel have ridden in the San Francisco installment of the World Naked Bike Ride. NAC participated in the Nude-In on September 22, and along with Supervisor Wiener, NAC director Charles Harris was one of 27 people who attended the Castro/Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association meeting on September 26 to discuss the nudity issue. NAC alerted local naturists to that meeting and is working with Gay Naturists International to improve local awareness.

Additional information and links are available, along with this NAC Action Alert on the web site of the Naturist Action Committee.

Select "Alerts" and find this NAC Action Alert under Current Alerts.

The Naturist Action Committee is the volunteer nonprofit political adjunct to The Naturist Society. NAC exists to advance and protect the rights and interests of naturists throughout North America. Fighting for clothing-optional freedoms in public places is expensive. To do its job, NAC relies entirely on the voluntary generosity of supporters like you.

After you've contacted the Supervisors and made your plans to attend the Committee meeting on November 5, please take a moment to send a donation to:

   PO Box 132
   Oshkosh, WI 54903

Or call toll free (800) 886-7230 to donate by phone using your MasterCard, Visa or Discover Card. Or use your credit card to make a convenient online donation:

Thank you for choosing to make a difference!


Charles Harris
Naturist Action Committee

Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Dir. Bob Morton       -
Board Member Charles Harris     -
Board Member Allen Baylis       -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick  -

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