Rally, walk targets Proliferation of alcohol permits in PBFebruary 12, 2012 2 Comments
Concerned citizens walk past Crystal Pier on Jan. 27 on their way up Garnet Avenue to get their message out to the public and San Diego city officials regarding what they said is an oversaturation of liquor licenses in Pacific Beach and drunken behavior outside local taverns. Photo by Don Balch I Beach & Bay Press
Wielding signs and making a very public statement, roughly 200 activists launched a high-profile rally and walk Jan. 27 to protest alcohol-permitting policies and drunken behavior in the Pacific Beach area — a campaign they hope will capture the attention of city officials like Mayor Jerry Sanders and District 2 City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
The picketers urged city officials to institute more local control over conditional- use permits (CUPs) to establishments that serve alcohol.
Scott Chipman, right, addresses citizens concerned with a safer Pacific Beach before heading out on a four-block walk up from Crystal Pier.
“ABC [California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control] is just in the business of granting alcohol licenses, not protecting communities,” said Pacific Beach resident Marcie Beckett.
According to protest organizers, CUPs would help minimize the crime and negative impacts and hold city officials accountable.
The protesters claimed there are currently 66 alcohol licenses in Pacific Beach where only 10 should be allowed and say the ABC continues to grant more alcohol licenses with conditions. They also said crime and incidents of drunken driving in the business heart of Pacific Beach are more than five times the citywide average and that PB continues to rank as the top community in San Diego for violent crime.
Protesters began their walk just south of Crystal Pier, marching five blocks east on the north side of Garnet Avenue, crossing at Fanuel Street and doubling back. They were met with a mix of honking horns, boos and stares as they quietly marched and picketed.
“I’m here tonight because I want my business district back,” said Pacific Beach resident Cathie Jolley. “I don’t feel safe to bring my family to Garnet on the weekends. We leave PB to go out to dinner because, on the weekend, Garnet turns into a drunkfest, generating crime and DUIs.”
The organizers of the walk and rally said they wanted to make clear they are not anti-drinking or antibusiness, but said they believe there must be more local control of alcohol licenses to make Pacific Beach safer for residents, visitors and tourists.
At least one representative of the Pacific Beach restaurant and bar community took the Jan. 27 movement in stride.
Sign-wielding protesters make their views known during a rally and walk on Jan. 27
“We believe that there is a fine balance that needs to be achieved and want to do everything we can to achieve that,” said Frank Pisano, a manager for Tavern at the Beach on Garnet Avenue.
“We understand what they (marchers) are saying and we believe in responsible service. You can come out, have a few drinks, dance, while at the same time being responsible.”
“I’m here tonight because I want my business district back. I don’t feel safe to bring my family to Garnet [Avenue] on the weekends. We leave PB to go out to dinner because on the weekend, Garnet turns into a drunkfest, generating crime and DUIs.” CATHIE JOLLEY Pacific Beach resident
Source: SDnews.com Beach & Bay Press
Photos by Don Balch | Beach & Bay Press