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Coyote’s Wife Blocks Marine Commercial

From the San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO-TV 7:

Marines Denied Permission To Film Commercial

On The Streets Of San Francisco

By Dan Noyes

SAN FRANCISCO, Sep. 24, 2007 (KGO) – New York said “yes,” but we said “no.” Why were the U.S. Marines denied permission to film a recruiting commercial on the streets of San Francisco?

San Francisco is, once again, the center of a controversy over how city leaders treat the U.S. military. This time, it involves an elite group of Marines who wanted to film a recruitment commercial in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

The tension has been building in the two weeks since the city turned away members of the Silent Drill Platoon, and it boiled over Monday afternoon at a meeting of the San Francisco Film Commission.

The U.S. Marine Silent Drill Platoon performed Monday morning in New York’s Times Square. They filmed part of a recruitment commercial through the start of the morning rush hour — something they could not do in San Francisco on the anniversary of 9/11.

“It’s insulting, it’s demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, ‘no, you’re not going to film any Marines on California Street,” said Captain Greg Corrales of the SFPD Traffic Bureau.

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He’s also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine’s production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.

“Ms. Coyote’s politics blinded her to her duty as the director of the Film Commission and as a responsible citizen,” said Captain Corrales.

We asked Stefanie Coyote why they’re not allowing the Marines to shoot on California Street. She wouldn’t answer our questions.

At today’s Film Commission meeting, she said she wouldn’t let the Marines film because of rush hour.

“Traffic control was the issue,” explained Stefanie Coyote.

However, the Marines would have just shut down one lane of California Street for a few minutes at a time, and Captain Corrales points out the Film Commission often approves shoots for rush hour.

“If they want to get the job done, they find a way to get it done,” said Captain Corrales.

The city’s treatment of the Marines is making many people angry, from local conservatives like Christine Hughes with the San Francisco Republican Party who told us, “it’s an embarrassment. I’m a fourth generation San Franciscan and I don’t even recognize my city right now.”

To current and former Marines like Vince Rios, a Vietnam veteran.

“I’d like to say, ‘does your mother know you’re doing this? And if so, is she proud of you for that?'” said Vince Rios.

“The city of San Francisco made a statement saying, ‘we don’t like the war’ by shutting down the troops. I don’t think that was the right thing to do,” explained Eric Snyder, a U.S. Marine.

“I wish to hell she would leave her politics at home and take care of the city business and the bridge business on an even keel basis,” said Mike Paige, a Korea veteran.

The Marines also applied for permits to shoot on the Golden Gate Bridge that same morning, but were turned down because of similar traffic concerns.

The end result — the crew didn’t film the Marines in San Francisco at all. They had to go to the National Park Service for permission to shoot in Marin overlooking the bridge and at Kirby Cove…

And yet Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote, the wife of “actor” (and ultra lefty MoveOn.org member) Peter Coyote, used to sing a very different tune.

From the Teamster Union’s Northern California News Archives:

Teamster Stephanie Coyote new head of SF Film Commission

Teamsters Lead Effort to Bring Film Industry Back to San Francisco

Filmmaking used to be a big industry in San Francisco, providing hundreds of jobs. From Bullitt and Dirty Harryto Mrs. Doubtfire and The Streets of San Francisco to Nash Bridges, San Francisco was a movie making town providing incredible scenery and local color.

That was then. Looking to save money and hassle, the industry has fled San Francisco over the last several years. Now Stefanie Coyote, a location manager and Teamsters Local 85 member, is working to bring it back. And she has a team of Teamsters to back her up. Eight weeks into her new job as Executive Director of the San Francisco Film Commission, Stefanie says she’s feeling “outrage, enthusiasm, frustration. . . it’s complicated!” But she’s determined to bring the industry and the jobs back to the city.

Since 1988, Stefanie has been a location manager for films being shot in San Francisco. While she loved the work, Stefanie says that location managers worked ridiculously long hours for ridiculously low pay. “The producers could drive wages down as they saw how hungry we were for work.”

Because movie work in San Francisco has been scarce and because the location managers didn’t have a union contract, they were the first to get taken advantage of. Shooting the movie The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004) added the final straw, pushing the location managers to agree that they needed a union.

“All of the skilled labor in the movie business up here was unionized except for us. This is a union business. It was time. I was thrilled to become a Teamster.” Earlier this year, Stefanie worked on a Burger King commercial as a Teamster, then she put in for withdrawal to take the Film Commission position.

Bringing production back

San Francisco is number one for a lot of things, and unfortunately, being the most expensive city to film in is one of them. “If we can get our act together and be a movie-friendly town, we can bring a lot of income into the city, provide great skilled craft jobs in the industry and increase our publicity. It’s about civic pride—and about having producers bring their $40 million budgets here. That’s my goal.”

Coyote says that film companies are going to Canada and Mexico to save money. “The rest of the world is competing for film business by reducing costs and creating incentives. Until now, San Francisco has pushed the business away with financial gouging and everyone trying to get a piece of the pie. People will come here if we take away the penalties. I’ll try to make that happen, but it will take some time." …

Labor on the team

Stefanie is supported by virtually all of labor,” says Local 85 Secretary-Treasurer Van Beane.

We all agree that production work has to increase. Once Local 399 in Hollywood ratified their contract, this opened up the gates for production companies to come back to San Francisco.” Beane says that Local 85 currently has 30 members working under the Local 399 agreement as location scouts.

“The film commission is at its best right now because we have someone in the film office who will listen to us,” Beane said. “You can’t beat having that relationship. And we have the same goal—jobs.” …

Morales says that Stefanie will be a welcome asset to the Commission and to the City and County of San Francisco. “It’s a long time coming. We need someone like her to create movie-making in the city, and in turn, to create more Teamster and movie jobs.”

Morales adds that Mayor Newsom allocated $350,000 to the film commission office, enabling Stefanie to get involved in activities to promote San Francisco positively to the movie industry.

They are so desperate for more production jobs they turned down a commercial. Somehow, when its something pro-American, jobs just don’t matter.

But I wonder if "virtually all of labor" agrees with Ms. Coyote’s position?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, September 25th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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