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The purpose of this document is to outline the process and criteria we will use to decide who will be granted the use of a key to the front door of the Omni Commons. The criteria and process seek to balance the security and safety of both the people who use the Omni Commons and the building itself, and the need for access.

Front Door Key Access Process and Criteria

  1. People will be eligible for a key if:
    1. They are a member of a member collective who has been identified by that collective as someone who needs a key. Each collective will make that decision by their own process to determine who is entitled to reasonable access and able to assume the responsibilities that come with being an Omni key holder.
      1. Some factors to consider are:
        1. Does the member need to open or close up the building?
        2. Does the member take responsibility for collective activities and events?
        3. Does the member participate in organizing the Omni or maintaining the building?
        4. Is the member someone who understands their responsibility to take care of the Omni and the people inside it, and who is trusted by the collective?
      2. The collective will enter the name and contact information for the member who will be given a key in the (contact manager spreadsheet)
    2. As an unaffiliated Omni volunteer, they ask for a key using this form (see below).
      1. (Which working group? A new Keymaster WG?) will review key requests and approve or deny them.
  2. All key holders will be required to give a key deposit of $5 which will be used to replace lost keys. Upon turning over their key to the (working group), the deposit will be returned.
  3. Keys will be given along with a document that states the benefits and responsibilities of being a key holder and how to close up the building. Not fulfilling the responsibilities may be grounds for having to return the key.

Key Request Form

Note: we have an online version of this form here

  • Date
  • Name
  • Please provide preferred mode of contact and contact information:
  • I am an active member of an Omni Commons Working Group (Y or N):
  • If yes, which working group(s):
  • I need a key because:
  • This Omni Keyholder is my reference:

Omni Key Holder Responsibilities

A person who has been granted a key to the front door of the Omni Commons should understand the responsibilities that come with the key.

With a key you have the ability to enter the Omni at any time. For this benefit you are one of the people responsible to help keep the Omni building and the people in it safe and secure.

Be familiar with the Omni rules for behavior, and the safer space policy.

Keep the exterior doors closed when La Commune is closed (including 48th St) unless there is a known, responsible person familiar with Omni policies (preferably yourself) paying attention to who is entering. This is particularly important early in the morning and late at night. People holding events in the evening are responsible for having someone posted at the doors to direct people to their event and prevent people from on the sidewalk behaving in ways that would annoy the neighbors.

When there are no events happening, everyone in the building who is not a member of an Omni member collective must be the guest of a member. If someone is not a guest, you should tell them the Omni is closed and ask them to leave if you are not willing to have them as your guest.

If you are leaving in late at night, check to make sure that there are only members and their guests in the building. Let them know you are leaving and make aure that at least one person remaining is willing, and knows how, to close the building when they leave.

How to Do a Security Walk-through

The purpose of a walk through is to make sure the building and the people in it are safe and secure. This should be done when you are the last person to leave the building, or any night between 9pm and midnight to make sure no one is staying overnight who shouldn't be, and anytime there are fewer than the usual number of members around, such as between mid-December and early January.

What you need to accomplish before leaving the Omni:

  1. Make sure everyone who is not a member or supervised guest of a member is gone.
  2. Make sure there are no hazardous or other conditions that shouldn’t be left overnight.
  3. Make sure the 48th Street and Shattuck Ave ballroom doors are closed and locked. There are 2 doors to 48th Street. One is at the end of the hallway that goes past the trash room. To reach the other one, walk to the door at the far side of the disco room. The door opens onto stairs that go down to an exit door.
  4. Turn off ballroom and Disco Room fans and ALL lights except emergency lights.
  5. Turn off heat. The Disco Room is where it is often left on.
  6. Make sure the front door on the corner of 49th an Shattuck is locked behind you when you leave.

It is preferable to have at least 2 people to check the building at the end of the night. Walk through the entire building together to look for any of the above situations. This includes all the bathrooms, the ballroom mezzanine, all rooms in the basement, etc.

Ask any non-members you find who are not at an event or with a member to leave. If it is after 9pm, or on a day when nothing is happening, say the building is closing/closed. Usually they will, although they may grumble and move slowly. Do not raise your voice or touch them. If you find someone who is threatening or who refuses to leave, message the Omni Signal group or call someone on the emergency contact list to help you.

Where are the switches?

Most of the chandeliers in the ballroom are controlled by dimmers on the wall above the left side of the bar as you are facing it from the ballroom (IOW, the N side of the bar). The one above the mezzanine is on a dimmer in the mezzanine room on the E side of the ballroom. As you are in the room looking out over the ballroom, the round dimmer is above the electrical panel.

The switch for the ceiling fans ceiling fans is located in the electrical panel in the ballroom mezzanine room. The switch is at the lower left side the panel and is labelled “FANS”. There are also override switches for the chandeliers in that area.

The light switches for the Disco Room are to the right of the far exit door (on the west wall). The fan switches are to the right of the door from the mezzanine, on the mezzanine side.


There are many different kinds of locks. Most of the locks that you'll play with on a day-to-day basis are pin tumbler locks, primarily of two brand names:

  • Schlage (slightly sturdier, more versatile)
  • Kwikset (slightly less sturdy, made of sand)

The inside of a typical pin tumbler lock, the first animation below shows how the pins are set to enable the cylinder to turn and release the latch/deadbolt.


You can also set pins on top of one another so that multiple keys can successfully turn the cylinder, using a "master" key and a "change" key. The idea is that several cylinders will be keyed to the "master" and each cylinder will also be keyed to its own unique "change" key.

Educational Resources


  • In California, it is lawful to duplicate existent keys. Further, a "Locksmith" is defined as a person who engages "in the business of rekeying..." etc, "for any consideration or compensation whatsoever" ('consideration' meaning benefit of a contract i.e. not a gift).
(j) "Locksmith" means any person who, for any consideration or
compensation whatsoever, engages, directly or indirectly and as a
primary or secondary object, in the business of rekeying, installing,
repairing, opening, modifying locks, or who originates keys for
locks, including, but not limited to, electronic cloning of
transponder keys and any other electronic programming of automotive
keys and electronic operating devices, such as key fobs, door and
ignition key devices, and successive electronic and other
high-security key technology. A "locksmith" does not mean a person
whose activities are limited to making a duplicate key from an
existing key.
  • In California, there are explicit exemptions for activities that would normally require a locksmith license:
6980.12.  This chapter does not apply to the following persons:
   (a) A person, or his or her agent or employee, who is the
manufacturer of a product, other than locks and keys, and who
installs, repairs, opens, or modifies locks or who makes keys for the
locks of that product as a normal incident to its marketing.
   (b) An employee who is an industrial or institutional locksmith,
provided that the employee provides locksmith services only to a
single employer that does not provide locksmith services for hire to
the public for any consideration or compensation whatsoever.
   (c) A tow truck driver who does not originate keys for locks and
whose locksmith services are limited to opening motor vehicles.
   (d) A person employed exclusively and regularly by a state
correctional institution, or other state or federal agency, and who
does not provide locksmith services for hire to the public for any
consideration or compensation whatsoever.
   (e) (1) A person registered with the bureau pursuant to Chapter 11
(commencing with Section 7500) if the duties of that person's
position that constitute locksmithing are ancillary to the primary
duties and functions of that person's position.
   (2) A person licensed, certified, or registered pursuant to
Chapter 11.6 (commencing with Section 7590) if the duties of that
person's position that constitute locksmithing are performed in
combination with the installation, maintenance, moving, repairing,
replacing, servicing, or reconfiguration of an alarm system, as
defined in subdivision (n) of Section 7590.1, and limited to work on
electronic locks or access control devices that are controlled by an
alarm system control device, including the removal of existing
   (f) An agent or employee of a retail establishment that has a
primary business other than providing locksmith services, providing
all of the following criteria are met:
   (1) The services provided by the retail establishment are limited
to rekeying and recombination of locks.
   (2) All rekeying, recombination, and installation of locks must
take place on the premises of the retail establishment.
   (3) All rekeying, recombination, and installation services
provided by the retail establishment subject to this chapter are
limited to locks purchased on the retail establishment's premises and
are conducted prior to purchasers taking possession of the locks.
   (4) An unlicensed agent or employee of the retail establishment
shall not advertise or represent himself or herself to be licensed
under this chapter, and an agent or employee of the retail
establishment shall not advertise or represent himself or herself to
be a locksmith.
   (5) An agent or employee of the retail establishment shall not
design or implement a master key system, as defined in subdivision
(o) of Section 6980.
   (6) An agent or employee of the retail establishment shall not
rekey, change the combination of, alter, or install any automotive
   (7) The retail establishment shall not have on its premises any
locksmith tool, as defined in subdivision (s) of Section 6980, other
than the following:
   (A) Standard key duplication machines.
   (B) Key blanks.
   (C) Pin kits.
   (g) A law enforcement officer employed by any city, county, city
and county, state, or federal law enforcement agency, if all services
are performed during the course of the officer's professional
   (h) A firefighter or emergency medical person employed by any
city, county, city and county, district, or state agency, if all
services are performed during the course of duties as a firefighter
or emergency medical person.
   (i) A new motor vehicle dealer, as defined in Section 426 of the
Vehicle Code, and an employee of a new motor vehicle dealer acting
within the scope of employment at a dealership.
§ 466.  Every person having upon him or her in his or her possession a
picklock, crow, keybit, crowbar, screwdriver, vise grip pliers,
water-pump pliers, slidehammer, slim jim, tension bar, lock pick gun,
tubular lock pick, bump key, floor-safe door puller, master key,
ceramic or porcelain spark plug chips or pieces, or other instrument
or tool with intent feloniously to break or enter into any building,
railroad car, aircraft, or vessel, trailer coach, or vehicle as
defined in the Vehicle Code, or who shall knowingly make or alter, or
shall attempt to make or alter, any key or other instrument named
above so that the same will fit or open the lock of a building,
railroad car, aircraft, vessel, trailer coach, or vehicle as defined
in the Vehicle Code, without being requested to do so by some person
having the right to open the same, or who shall make, alter, or
repair any instrument or thing, knowing or having reason to believe
that it is intended to be used in committing a misdemeanor or felony,
is guilty of a misdemeanor. Any of the structures mentioned in
Section 459 shall be deemed to be a building within the meaning of
this section.
§ 466.3.  (a) Whoever possesses a key, tool, instrument, explosive, or
device, or a drawing, print, or mold of a key, tool, instrument,
explosive, or device, designed to open, break into, tamper with, or
damage a coin-operated machine as defined in subdivision (b), with
intent to commit a theft from such machine, is punishable by
imprisonment in the county jail for not more than one year, or by
fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both.