Read all about the recent press pass revocation issue at Fog City Journal and Josh Wolf’s Freedomania.
But what about the concomitant parking passes? Remember all the way back six years to aught-five, when the press parking sitch was “out of control?” From a 2005 meeting of the SF Police Commission:
“Sergeant Neville Gittens, Public Affairs, gave a presentation in regards to issuance of press passes. In the past, there were no check and balances in terms of who gets press passes. All an individual had to do was to show up with some type of ID or some type of letterhead that stated that he was from a news organization and that press pass was issued to that person. When they started looking at the issue with the press passes, they realized that the situation was out of control. The numbers were just too high. There have been issues in terms of parking. The press pass entitles a person to get a parking permit. He stated that they have done enforcement in the Chinatown area and 80 percent of the parking spaces were occupied by people that displayed the Public Affairs parking permits”
Good times. Deets below.
You can see this Ford Exploder all over town, parking wherever, whenever. Is a press parking pass better than a handicap placard? Don’t know.
Click to expand
Anyway, as promised, the deets on the parking issue, and the standards for getting a press pass from 2005, below:
March 9th, 2005
“Sergeant Neville Gittens, Public Affairs, gave a presentation in regards to issuance of press passes. In the past, there were no check and balances in terms of who gets press passes. All an individual had to do was to show up with some type of ID or some type of letterhead that stated that he was from a news organization and that press pass was issued to that person. When they started looking at the issue with the press passes, they realized that the situation was out of control. The numbers were just too high. There have been issues in terms of parking. The press pass entitles a person to get a parking permit. He stated that they have done enforcement in the Chinatown area and 80 percent of the parking spaces were occupied by people that displayed the Public Affairs parking permits. These problems have been ongoing and over the last two years, his unit have tightened up the criteria and have reduced the number of press passes from 1800 to just over 700.
They has also established a good relationship with the judge at Department of Parking and Traffic. In the past, the judge have expressed issues and problems with people that have misused the parking permits continuously and at any time the judge recognizes some abuse the person is called in and a lot of times the permits were confiscated. The goal is to get the number down to a reasonable amount where they can reissue these parking permits and press passes yearly.
Commissioner Sparks stated that this is one issue that the Commission should have a public hearing on or at least the ability for the public to respond. She stated that she finds it distressing that the Department is trying to reduce press passes based on criteria that there is too many. She stated that the Department would be wanting to increase and to do a better job investigating who should be eligible for a press pass and issuing to qualified people and not just arbitrarily reducing the number.
Commissioner Sparks stated that the Department needs to reevaluate how the press passes are issued, what the criteria for issuing, and update the standards. Sergeant Gittens explained that the criteria that was used is for people that are covering breaking news that required to cross police and fire lines. He stated that that was the criteria that wasn’t followed. Commissioner Chan what information is required from the employer in order to credential the applicant. Sergeant Gittens stated that first they want to verify the employment. If it’s a situation where the person is doing that, there is also the “stringers.” The “stringers” cover the police beat, breaking news of police and fire issues.
Commissioner Orr-Smith stated that $50 seems a scant fee for such a privileged credential. Commissioner Orr-Smith stated that when you consider that, as working press person, the cost of permits and pass are all tax deductible. She asked that the Department takes a look at raising the fee for the press credentials. Sergeant Gittens explained that currently the press passes are free. It’s the parking permit that cost $50. Commissioner Sparks suggests a sliding scale might be more appropriate as far as charging. She stated that if the Department is able to charge more money, that might help to offset the costs of more detailed background investigation or more detailed evaluation of an individual applying.”
[If anybody said, "Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown," well, it's not in the official record.]
And, lastly, the standards for getting a press pass, AFAICT:
SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT
PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE
APPLYING FOR A SAN FRANCISCO POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS PASS
What Is a Press Pass?
A San Francisco Police Department Press Pass is a credential that allows the media to pass through police and fire lines for the purpose of gathering news. It does not, however, entitle the holder access to a crime scene or entry into a restricted area if
such entry interferes with the duties of emergency personnel. In addition, a press pass does not necessarily guarantee the holder access to press conferences, since access is generally controlled by the sponsor of the event and not by the San Francisco Police Department.
Who Qualifies for a Press Pass?
Only persons employed by news-gathering media who are required to cover
breaking news and to pass through police and fire lines qualify for a press pass. Feature writers and photographers, editorialists, freelance writers and pbotographers, personnel of dot-com financial and business companies, financial service broadcasters, and all staff not actively gathering news at the scene of an incident are not eligible.
Completing the Application for Press Pass
When completing the Application for Press Pass, be sure to print clearly and fill in all the required information. Sign the application and be sure that the Employer’s Statement is completed. Enclose (2) l” x 1” photographs with your completed application.
Renewing Your Press Pass
You will be required to keep your Press Pass up-to-date and will not receive any
renewal notice. Prior to tbe expiration of your press pass, contact the Public Affairs Office for renewal.
Loss or Theft of Press Pass or Change of Employment
If your press pass is lost or stolen, you must file a report with the appropriate law enforcement agency and notify the San Francisco Police Department Public Affairs Office. You must also notify the Public Affairs Office upon change of employment.
850 Bryant Street, Room 549, San Francisco, CA, 94103 Tel. (415) 553-1651 / Fax (415 553-9229 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org