Alcohol Task Force: Complete San Diego Community News Coverage

June 28, 2007 1 Comment

San Diego Community News
Beach Alcohol Task Force Coverage

August 2006 – June 2007
The following is a compilation of stories published by the San Diego Community News whose papers include the Beach and Pay Press and the Peninsula Beacon News.

Most recent stories are listed first.

Beach and Bay Press
Booze-free zones eyed as task force disbands

by Sebastian Ruiz
June 28, 2007

The Beach Alcohol Task Force met for its tenth and final time Monday to work toward a consensus in solving problems related to alcohol consumption in the communities of Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach.

Over the last year, the task force has agreed on remedies to loud house parties, public urination and public intoxication, while the discussions regarding banning alcohol at the beach continued to divide the community.

The meetings did result in a list of 21 “action items,” but has developed no official recommendation for the City Council concerning an alcohol restriction on the beach. Beach Alcohol Task Force members will also form an “implementation committee” within a few weeks to track progress on the items, according to District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

Monday’s discussions mainly targeted the possibility of creating alcohol-free beach zones and implementing on-sale liquor license conditional use permits (CUP), which could limit the number of liquor licenses in beach areas.

One location that would benefit from such measures is the area at the south end of Ocean Beach, said 23-year Ocean Beach resident Craig Klein said.

Klein said the configuration of the area near the seawall and by the Ocean Beach Pier creates a convenient location for drug dealers. He said that alcohol consumption on that part of the beach plays a role in attracting illegal activity. Although Klein supports responsible alcohol consumption on the beach, an alcohol-free zone in that area would be an effective tool for police to use in cracking down on crime.

Klein lives a block away from Ocean Beach with his wife, Julie, who serves on the task force.

“People are now accepting that we need a little bit of change and we need to at least try an alcohol-free zone,” Julie Klein said.

Klein and others have suggested alcohol-free zones in three areas on the beaches. If implemented, Ocean Beach would have an alcohol-free zone between the Ocean Beach Pier and the lifeguard tower, near the intersection of Newport Avenue and Abbott Street.

Pacific Beach would have a zone from Felspar Street south to Reed Avenue. Mission Beach would see a zone on the beach near Belmont Park.

Klein said she has been campaigning for the “Family Recreational Overlay Zone” for more than a year. She said she just wants a place where children can play without being affected by the behavior of those drinking alcohol.

In 2002, Proposition G came before San Diego voters. If passed, it would have banned alcohol in certain beach areas. The measure was voted down by a margin of less than 1 percent, according to the San Diego Registrar of Voters website.

Although the issue keeps resurfacing, Jeremy Malecha, executive director of FreePB.org, said he doesn’t think the family zones will get adopted. He said the zones aren’t necessary and that those who want to enjoy an alcohol-free zone have a lot of places go in San Diego.

“If somebody wants to be in a situation like that they can find the space,” he said.
FreePB.org is a grass-roots organization that advocates for preserving the right to responsibly consume alcohol on the beach.

In addition to discussing the alcohol beach zones, the task force addressed the possibility of modifying conditional use permits for businesses that want to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises.

Scott Chipman, a 33-year resident of Pacific Beach, said that changing the current CUP process would address the problem from the business side by placing additional conditions and restrictions on the license, he said.

The current process allows for a business to change the status of their liquor license to serve alcohol beyond the conditions originally placed, he said.

“Right now, a sandwich shop can get a beer and wine license and then decide they want to sell until 2 a.m., get their license modified and become a nightclub,” he said.

Chipman said the state’s department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is inclined to process liquor licenses faster because it means more revenue generated for the state.

Currently, residents living within 100 feet of a business must be notified of the liquor license application, he said. He added that the ABC doesn’t protect communities.

Chipman said a CUP would give more power to local communities by allowing a planning board, or appropriate governing body, to place restrictions on licenses. The conditions could include designated times for alcohol sales and making sure the establishment sells more food than alcohol, he said.

Chipman suggested at the meeting that the task force model a CUP process after cities like Vallejo and San Jose, which have CUP programs that allow new businesses to sell alcohol if they follow certain conditions. He said that he’s willing to meet with others from the task force to work on the issue.

While the task force did not reach a consensus involving alcohol-free zones, the group did agree to meet in the future to discuss the CUP process and the zones.
At the meeting, Faulconer called for volunteers from the group for community leaders from three beach communities to meet in a smaller “implementation committee” to track progress of the 21 programs and strategies aimed at reducing alcohol-related problems.

The list includes increasing San Diego Police Department’s Beach Team officers, several education campaigns against drunk driving, harsher penalties for out-of-control house parties, more trash bins and increased seasonal restrooms.

“My goal is make sure we have traction on all of these items,” Faulconer said. “It is an opportunity for us to come together and talk about progress,”

Formed in October of 2006, the 14-member Beach Alcohol Task-Force comprises community leaders from Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach with the goal of finding solutions to problems surrounding alcohol in the beach communities.

Beach and Bay Press
Alcohol Task Force agrees to list of ‘action items’

by SEBASTIAN RUIZ
June 13, 2007

Despite months of community input and debate about alcohol’s effect on quality-of-life issues and a possible ban on drinking at the beach, the Beach Alcohol Task Force (BATF) agreed on several issues concerning law enforcement but failed to reach a decision about a ban during a packed-house meeting on Monday, June 4.

Task force members have reached agreements on issues such as increased law enforcement and programs to squelch loud house parties, but talk of an alcohol ban on beaches still continued to ignite passion and applause from both sides.

Facilitated by District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer at the Pacific Beach Middle School auditorium, the panel deadlocked on the issue of a ban, forcing yet another meeting to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

The panel, comprised of beach-area representatives, sat in front of a crowd of about 100 residents and concerned citizens who reacted with applause as BATF members expressed opinions for and against a ban. Members also discussed the possibility of implementing a restriction during the Fourth of July, which often draws more than half a million visitors each year.

The problem, however, may not be in what residents and community members think about alcohol consumption at Mission Beach, Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach, but more about perceptions and personal accountability, according to board members both for and against restricting alcohol on the sand.

BATF member Scott Chipman said Pacific Beach has a reputation in other cities. He said he heard an Orange County radio station refer to Pacific Beach as “the Tijuana of Southern California.”

“People say, ‘Why go to Tijuana when you can go to Pacific Beach?’” Chipman said.
A 33-year resident of Pacific Beach, Chipman said that he has been working on changing this perception issue for 15 years.

He favors further restricting alcohol on the beach because its legality attracts people from all over California and Arizona specifically to drink, which, Chipman said, is the wrong reason to visit the beach.

It is a problem, he said, that brings with it public drunkenness, loud parties and public urination.

Increased public awareness, education and policy changes — including the number of alcohol licenses issued to businesses — are steps that can be taken to resolve the problem, he said.
Chipman also said restricting alcohol on the beach by implementing a permit process would be a useful way for police to know exactly who is supposed to be drinking and why.

Further restrictions on alcohol may lead to less alcohol consumed on the beaches and bay but would only push problems into the neighborhoods, said Jeremy Malecha, BATF member and executive director of SavePB.org.

“We need to understand the impacts a ban would have on residents … this isn’t Del Mar,” Malecha said.

Residents in beach-area communities like Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are different than those in other areas because many are younger, don’t have children and tend to have more parties, he said.

A ban on alcohol at the beach won’t resolve the problems brought by alcohol consumption — only displace them — Malecha said.

Neither would it help Ocean Beach tackle problems with the homeless and drug offenders who like to meet up at the Ocean Beach pier, he added.

Malecha said the issue regarding public urination could be resolved if there were more public restrooms in beach areas.

Right now, there is only one toilet and one urinal in the men’s public restroom at the foot of Pacific Beach Drive. That cannot meet the needs of the thousands of visitors that flock to that area, he said.

The solution is a matter of personal and community accountability, he said. A public relations campaign aimed at party hosts, backed up by law enforcement provisions the committee has agreed upon should be enough to control the problem in the long term.

While oppositional viewpoints concerning restricting beach alcohol remain open to debate, the representative committee did reach common ground illustrated by a list of 16 action items given to community members at the meeting.

The list of consensus-items includes programs aimed at increasing the number police officers in beach areas, installation of security cameras and increased education through university participation for students in beach areas.

Other items included fining party hosts, hiring beach-specific neighborhood code compliance officers, expanding the beach area community court, promoting the use of taxis and designated drivers and providing DUI breathalyzer kits for all Northern Division patrol cars.

Faulconer said the list represents evidence of progress toward solving the problems.
“There was very significant agreement on a lot of areas, but the issue of the ban brings strong emotions on both sides,” Faulconer said.

Established in October 2006, the BATF meets once a month to discuss alcohol-related issues in Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach.

The 14-member panel represents business owners and operators, town council representatives and residents from the three beach communities.

The July meeting date, time and location has not been set.

For information, call Faulconer’s office at (619) 236-6996.

Peninsula Beacon
Alcohol ban still pending

by Sebastian Ruiz
June 07, 2007

Despite months of community input and debate about beach quality-of-life issues and a possible ban on alcohol consumption, the Beach Alcohol Task Force agreed on several issues concerning law enforcement but failed to reach a decision about a ban during a packed-house meeting on Monday, June 4.

Task force members have reached agreements on issues such as increased law enforcement and programs to squelch loud house parties, but talk of an alcohol ban on beaches still continued to ignite passion and applause from both sides.
Facilitated by District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer at the Pacific Beach Middle School auditorium, the panel deadlocked on the issue of a ban, forcing yet another meeting to be scheduled in the coming weeks.

The panel, comprising beach-area representatives, sat in front of a crowd of about 100 residents and concerned citizens who reacted with applause as BATF members expressed opinions for and against a ban. Members also discussed the possibility of implementing a restriction during the Fourth of July, one of the busiest holidays of the year.

The problem, however, may not be in what residents and community members think about alcohol consumption at Mission, Pacific and Ocean beaches but more about perceptions and personal accountability, according to board members for and against restricting alcohol on the sand.

BATF member Scott Chipman said Pacific Beach has a reputation in other cities. He heard an Orange County radio station call Pacific Beach the Tijuana of Southern California, he said.

“People say, ‘Why go to Tijuana when you can go to Pacific Beach?’” Chipman said.

A 33-year resident of Pacific Beach, Chipman said that he has been working on this perception issue for 15 years.

He favors further restricting alcohol on the beach because it’s legality attracts people from all over California specifically to drink, which, Chipman said, is the wrong reason.

The public image of beach-area life is an open invitation to people from all over the county to come and “use and abuse” alcohol. It is a problem, he said, that brings with it public drunkenness, loud parties and public urination.
Increased public awareness, education and policy changes — including the number of alcohol licenses issued to businesses — are steps that can be taken to resolve the problem, he said.

Chipman also said restricting alcohol on the beach by implementing a permit process would be a useful way for police to know exactly who is supposed to be drinking and why.

Further restrictions on alcohol may lead to less alcohol on the beaches and bays but would only push problems into the neighborhoods, said Jeremy Malecha, BATF member and executive director of Savepb.org.

“We need to understand the impacts a ban would have on residents … this isn’t Del Mar,” Malecha said.

Residents in beach-area communities like Pacific Beach and Mission Beach are different than those in other areas because many are younger, don’t have children and tend to have more parties, he said. A ban on alcohol at the beach won’t resolve the problems brought by alcohol consumption — only displace them.

Neither would it help Ocean Beach tackle problems with the homeless and drug offenders who like to meet up at the Ocean Beach pier, he said.

Malecha said the issue regarding public urination could be resolved if there were more public restrooms in beach areas. Right now, there is only one toilet and one urinal in the men’s public restroom at the foot of Pacific Beach Drive. That cannot meet the needs of the thousands of visitors that flock to that area, he said.

The solution is a matter of personal and community accountability, he said. A public relations campaign aimed at party hosts, backed up by law enforcement provisions the committee has agreed upon should be enough to control the problem in the long term.

While oppositional viewpoints concerning restricting beach alcohol remain open to debate, the representative committee did reach common ground illustrated by a list of 16 action items given to community members at the meeting.

Faulconer said the list represents evidence of progress toward solving the problems.

“There was very significant agreement on a lot of areas, but the issue of the ban brings strong emotions on both sides,” Faulconer said.

The list of consensus items includes programs aimed at increasing the number police officers in beach areas, installation of security cameras and increased education through university participation for students in beach areas, among others provisions. Established in October of 2006, the Beach Alcohol Task Force meets once a month to discuss issues concerning alcohol-related issues in the beach communities.

The 14-member panel represents business owners and operators, town council representatives and residents from Ocean, Mission and Pacific beaches.
A meeting is scheduled for next month; however, no date has been set, according to representatives from Faulconer’s office.

Beach and Bay Press
Alcohol Task Force eyes creative options

by Sebastian Ruiz
May 24, 2007

With summer quickly approaching, members of the Beach Alcohol Task Force met Monday, May 17, at the Pacific Beach Recreational Center to discuss pressing issues regarding alcohol-related nuisances in Mission, Pacific and Ocean beaches.

Facilitated by District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer, the 14-member task force has begun to create consensus over how to go about creating a safer, quieter and more sober beach community.

At the top of the list of possible solutions: more law enforcement. Task force members discussed ways to increase funding for more police officers through the Maintenance Assessment District, or MAD.

According to the Web site for the City of San Diego, a MAD allows property owners in a given community to pay for and receive services the city might not regularly be able to provide, including funding for extra officers in the Pacific Beach area.

The group also explored the idea of contracting with off-duty officers to patrol beach neighborhoods for added security.

“Nothing stops crime like a uniformed police officer,” said police Lt. Brian Ahearn.
Community members are currently studying San Jose as a possible example of how to increase officer presence.

San Diego Police Chief William Landsdowne said San Jose has had a program for 30 years that allows off-duty police officers, in uniform, to act as private security detail for large events — with all the resources of the city at their disposal. However, the program does not allow for off-duty officers to work at nightclubs because of possible conflicts between the city and private security companies, he said

“The system works well without any additional cost to the city,” said Landsdowne, who served as chief of police in San Jose before coming to San Diego about four years ago.

Barring any legal conflicts, a similar program implemented in Pacific Beach would require changes in the union contract as well as put additional restrictions on the contracted officers.

One restriction would be that officers wouldn’t be able to make any arrests. Police would have to call on-duty officers, who would then have the final decision as to whether any arrest should be made, Landsdowne said.

Officials acknowledge that such a program in the beach areas could cost plenty. Landsdowne said that as of four years ago, the costs often average $35 per man-hour for a minimum of four hours.

One community member took issue with the possibility of paying for the extra police through a MAD fee.

Pacific Beach Town Councilmember Marcie Beckett said that funding the extra enforcement through a MAD fee would be unfair to the businesses that don’t contribute to the problem, and that the fee would put an undue burden on businesses that are barely eking out a profit as it is.

Beach and Bay Press
Beach booze ban debate resurfaces

by LORI MARTINEZ
March 29, 2007

Public opinion was at the center of the sixth meeting of the Beach Alcohol Task Force Monday, March 26, at the Santa Clara Rec Center, with most comments regarding drinking on the district’s beaches.

While February’s gathering suffered dwindling public attendance, the March meeting was swarming with residents eager to share their opinion on a controversial topic.

Approximately 200 people packed into the building, some standing outside the community room peering in through widows, straining to hear the comments.

FreePB.org supporters arrived with red hats and visors featuring the words “Keep Freedom Legal” across the front, which they passed out to anyone opposed to a beach alcohol ban. And the opposition was clearly in the majority; when one supporter of the ban asked those in favor to stand and show themselves, a group of 30 rose from their chairs.

Also in attendance were Chief of Police William Lansdowne, Northern Division’s Capt. Boyd Long and Lt. Brian Ahern as well as various representatives from lifeguard services. District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer also made after missing the last due to a late-running City Council meeting.

According to Lansdowne, the police department is currently working to educate the public as to what they will and will not tolerate.

“I hear from neighbors … that it’s getting better,” Lansdowne said. “No one’s ever said it’s perfect; everybody has their own views on that.”

While Lansdowne admits that there may not be a perfect solution, he assured the crowd that the department will listen to the task force’s recommendations.

“I will try to implement what this committee puts together for us as a direction of where we would like to be,” Lansdowne said.

Long explained that because of the large population and high tourist rate in beach communities such as Pacific Beach, the area becomes an easy target for criminals – a problem that he was unsure an alcohol ban would prevent.

Approximately 50 people spoke to the task force about problems that alcohol creates in the community, but few offered any solutions other than a complete beach ban.

Others, such as Ocean Beach resident Craig Klein, suggested creating family recreational overlay zones where drinking is prohibited, with other portions of the beach open for responsible drinking.

“I think this issue is a balancing of rights,” Klein said. “We do have zones, we have surfing zones, we have swim-only zones and then we have other zones that are flexible. I don’t see why the same approach cannot be used on the sand with respect to the alcohol issue.”

Pacific Beach resident Michael McGinty spoke of his experiences at East Coast beaches, where residents must purchase a beach tag from the city to use the beach. He voiced his concerns that the community’s mentality could lead San Diego to the same situation.

“We could wind up with a militant approach to enjoying the beach,” he said.

Resident Jamie Young, however, suggested that beach tags could bring some added income to the Northern Division police force.

“Say we use those beach passes to support some of the funding to get people out there to help clean up, to get some more law enforcement out there and help get some of these drunk kids out of there,” Young said.

Many residents stressed that the city already has laws – including regulations about public intoxication, public urination and driving under the influence – and that the real issue is proper enforcement of existing rules.

In the end, Faulconer noted the suggested solutions – geographical boundaries, time of day restrictions and seasonal prohibition – and continued the committee’s discussion and debate of the issue to next month’s meeting.

He also mentioned the option of a special Saturday meeting to allow the committee flexible time to thoroughly discuss all aspects of the issue.

The next meeting of the task force is scheduled for April 23 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Masonic Lodge, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Beach and Bay Press
Beach Alcohol Task Force addresses house parties’ contribution to problem

Lori Martinez
March 01, 2007

After months of discussion regarding liquor licensing and permitting, the Beach Alcohol Task Force is moving on to other alcohol-related issues affecting the beach communities. At the Monday, Feb. 26 meeting, the topic was house parties.

Councilmen and task force Chair Kevin Faulconer was not present at this month’s meeting due to a late-running City Council meeting.

Representatives from the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) gave a presentation on crime statistics for Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

According to police statistics, aggravated assault and residential burglary have decreased over the past five years in the three communities. However, Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are the top three areas for alcohol arrests, including DUI (driving under the influence) arrests, with Ocean Beach accounting for 6.3 percent of the total city alcohol arrests, Pacific Beach accounting for 15.13 percent and Mission Beach with 9.84 percent.

Lt. Brian Ahearn, from the police department’s Northern Division, went into detail about the city’s Community Assisted Party Program (CAPP) and how it can be used to quiet problem “party houses.”

Once a home is “CAPPed,” the tenants or homeowners who host frequent and disruptive parties can be fined the costs of enforcement and administrative fees.

In other words, nuisance houses will have to reimburse the police department for the cost of responding to noise complaints.

For a home to be CAPPed, one of the following must occur: an alcohol-related arrest is made resulting from a party call, a second police response to the same party within 24 hours, a second police response to the same residence within 31 days for a party-related call or a citizen recommendation supported by data is made.

If a resident calls with a CAPP recommendation, the police department will investigate the residence to see if party-related complaints have been repeatedly filed. If so, the property’s owner and resident are notified.

Officers are informed of the CAPP when responding to related calls so that they are prepared to have zero-tolerance enforcement for the residence.

“We’re reasonable people, we’re a very reasonable police department, and there’s a lot of negotiation when we get involved in a party or in a disturbance,” Ahearn said. “We don’t drop the hammer hard on folks unless it has to be done.”

The CAPP designation expires after one year, and it is attached to the property, not the tenant. A party or gathering is classified as five or more persons.

To report an address for CAPP consideration, call (858) 552-1717.

For a copy of Ahearn’s presentation, e-mail Allison Stanley at astanley@sandiego.gov.

The next Beach Alcohol Task Force meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 26, at 6:30 p.m., at the Santa Clara Rec Center, 1008 Santa Clara Place. The meeting will focus on alcohol on the beaches.

For information on previous meetings visit http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd2/news/taskforce.shtml. For more SDPD crime statistics visit http://www.sandiego.gov/police/stats/index.shtml.


Beach and Bay Press
Task Force returns to permit talks

by LORI MARTINEZ
January 24, 2007

During what was supposed to be a roundtable discussion regarding alcohol licenses, the fourth meeting of the Beach Alcohol Task Force turned into another debate about beach communities requiring conditional use permits (CUPs) from bars as a means of leveraging stricter rules against them. CUPs are often used for schools and churches that wish to be located in residential zoning areas.

The first meeting of the new year was scheduled to wrap up discussions about alcohol licenses with representatives from the police department and the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). However, public comment at the beginning of the meeting and an additional presentation by San Diego Police Department’s vice unit concerning entertainment licenses took the lion’s share of the time.

District 2 Councilman and task force chair Kevin Faulconer even came prepared with summaries of past meetings, statistics requested regarding the number of alcohol licenses in the 92109 and 92107 ZIP codes and questions to get the discussion going. Faulconer managed to ask a few of his questions, though the materials he brought were overlooked.

The December meeting included a presentation by the Centre City Development Corporation about its use of CUPs in the Gaslamp district, which impose limits on bars regarding live and amplified music. However, the vice unit explained that entertainment permits can have a similar effect as CUPs – requiring bars to turn off music by a certain time or restrict live music to certain hours of operation – without as much work as the latter.

Lt. Carolyn Kendrick and Sgt. Ernest Herbert from the vice unit explained that establishments offering entertainment – a business or an event – must obtain an entertainment permit from the police department

“The CUPs that I see down in the Gaslamp, we so closely mirror those as conditions on clubs down in PB, it’s like there’s a CUP,” said Beth Reilly, also with the vice unit.

This raised many questions from task force members as to the benefits of conditional use permits, which are not currently used in beach communities, over the conditions implemented with the entertainment permits. According to Reilly, there are no restrictions available through a CUP that could not be administered through an entertainment permit.

“It sounds like we already have the CUP process in place,” said task force member Jeremy Malecha. “Is implementing the CUP plan any more beneficial than, say, developing a standard set of entertainment permits for all the new establishments?”

Malecha explained that in order to implement CUPs in Pacific Beach and other beach communities, a regulatory agency is needed to process them.

Other task force members agreed that it would take too long to develop such an agency and said they preferred to focus on immediate solutions to the alcohol issue before them.

Kendrick also reminded the public that if an establishment has become a problem for the neighborhood, residents should contact the vice unit, as the process is complaint driven.

Every year during the entertainment permit renewal process, vice investigates the establishment up for renewal for persistent problems and makes sure the establishment is meeting all their responsibilities, including controlling the conduct of their patrons and abiding by permit rules.

Herbert explained that residents should fill out the ABC Establishment Citizen Complaint Form on the police department’s Web site, www.sandiego.gov/police/forms/alcohol.shtml, to file their complaint.

While discussion on licensing and permitting issues is likely to continue at future meetings, the February gathering is scheduled to focus on the issue of neighborhood house parties.

The next meeting is scheduled Monday, Feb. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ocean Beach Masonic Lodge, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. For information on previous task force meetings, visit http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd2/news/index.shtml

Peninsula Beacon News
Task force resumes discussion of alcohol licensing

Lori Martinez

December 21, 2006

Alcohol licenses were once again the hot topic at the third Beach Alcohol Task Force meeting Monday, Dec. 18, at the Wave House in Mission Beach.

The gathering picked up the discussion on issuance where the November meeting left off.

Task force chair and District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer jumped right into the presentations and decided to hold public comment at the end of the meeting. Previously, public comment was scheduled for the beginning of the meetings, which created scheduling problems last month.

The crowd packed the Wavehouse, leaving standing room only for latecomers. The audience comprised a younger demographic; a large number were hospitality workers wishing to point out how the industry’s benefits the community.

Lt. Carolyn Kendrick and Sgt. Ernest Herbert from the San Diego Police Department VICE unit explained off-sale licenses, or licenses for establishments that serve alcohol for consumption off-site.

Herbert said resolution R-294124, adopted in 2000, authorized the police department to determine public convenience or necessity (PCN) for alcoholic beverage licensing for all off-sale liquor licenses and certain on-sale liquor licenses.

ABC and its hearing officer still have the final word when issuing or denying a license; however, the police department offers its recommendation to ABC during the investigation process.

Herbert said the department considers specific criteria when determining PCN, among them whether the business is:

• Offering a service not currently provided

• Located within a 600-foot radius of schools, churches, parks, homeless shelters and alcohol rehabilitation centers

• Located in a high crime area, or an area with 20 percent more crime reported than the average

• If the location had a previous license revoked within the past year

• If the applicant has been convicted of a felony

Any one of the criteria may be sufficient grounds for denial.

In response to questions of beach area crime rates and concentration of licenses, police statistician Joe Dalton said that all census tracks south of Grand and Garnet avenues down into Ocean Beach are high crime.

Herbert noted, however, that there are “pockets” within certain census tracks that are not high in crime or over-concentrated. He pointed to Voltaire Street and Catalina Boulevard, and Catalina Boulevard and Talbot Street in Point Loma as having a low-concentration of alcohol licenses and average to below average crime rates.

Lucy Contreras from the Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), downtown’s redevelopment arm, addressed Conditional Use Permits (CUP) when issuing on-sale liquor licenses, licenses for establishments serving alcohol on-site.

Faulconer and the task force wanted to learn more about the process and effectiveness of CUPs downtown for possible use in beach communities.

A CUP is intended for land uses that require special consideration. CUPs are often used for schools and churches that wish to be located in residential zoning areas.

Contreras explained that CUPs work in the Gaslamp Quarter because many of their bars and restaurants also provide entertainment and sometimes double as a nightclub.

Applicants that are not proposing live entertainment, music or dancing are not required to obtain a CUP and CCDC issues a letter of approval to ABC and the applicant continues with the licensing process through ABC.

Since many of the businesses in the beach communities are bars or restaurants without live entertainment or amplified music, Contreras could not speculate how effective CUPs would be in those areas.

Dan Joyce from the city’s Development Services Department spoke briefly about amending the Land Development Code so that beach communities could require CUPs for on-sale licenses.

Hill, Herbert, Contreras and Joyce will attend the January meeting, which will consist of an open discussion with task force members and the public on past agenda items.

Faulconer said he hopes to discuss recommendations for action on liquor licenses at that time.

Faulconer mentioned future meetings would address house parties and alcohol on the beach.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 22, at 6:30 p.m. Faulconer said he would look for a larger venue to accommodate the growing crowd, though in the meantime the meeting is scheduled at the Pacific Beach Library, 4275 Cass St.

For information on previous task force meetings, visit http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd2/news/index.shtml

Beach and Bay Press
Task Force discusses licenses

by LORI MARTINEZ
November 29, 2006

The beach-area Alcohol Task Force held its second public meeting Monday, Nov. 27, this time focusing on the types of licenses needed to sell alcohol and rules sellers must follow to serve or sell beer, wine or spirits.

District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer, who presided over the meeting, invited representatives from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to educate the task force and the community of the application process for various liquor licenses.

At the start of the meeting Faulconer reiterated the tone he would like discussions to take and reminded the public to respect the opinions of others.

“We really like to have a good discussion and a good dialogue,” he said, “and I’ll just remind everybody as I did last time, everybody here has a valid opinion whether you happen to share it or not.”

Faulconer explained that the beginning of each meeting would be dedicated to public comment. It is suggested that residents who would like to comment arrive early to meetings to fill out a public comment card.

Unlike the first meeting, where public comment focused on the problems that alcohol can create, this meeting had many local bar and restaurant owners speaking up about the effect a beach ban on alcohol, or other restrictions could have on their livelihoods.

“To hear about people concerned about bars and all the bad stuff that goes on, it bothers me personally because I know how much work we put in to making sure that our business is run correctly and run responsibly and run the way it should be run because this is my life,” said Patrick Archbold, general manager of a bar in Pacific Beach. “This is my future and I need it run correctly so it doesn’t get shut down.”

Following the public comments, Jennifer Hill, district administrator for the San Diego ABC office, took the floor to explain how alcohol licenses are granted and regulated.

“My purpose here today is to educate you,” Hill said. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there, there’s a lot of confusion out there and I agree. Our statutes were written by legislatures and attorneys and they’re not the easiest to interpret or apply to every day.”

She began by explaining the differences between the most common types of licenses. On-Sale licenses for beer and wine as well as general, which includes beer and wine with the addition of distilled spirits, authorizes the sale of such items for consumption on the licensed premises, such as bars restaurants, and lodges. Off-Sale licenses for both beer and wine and general, authorize the sale of such items for consumption off the premises where sold, such as grocery stores and liquor stores.

“When a brand new license is applied for, the first thing is they have to do a 30-day posting,” Hill said.

She showed an example of the Public Notice of Application sign that must be posted at the applicant’s establishment.

“In a conspicuous place where any of the general public walking by can see it,” she said. “It can’t be behind tinted windows, it can’t be hidden behind signage, it can’t be on a door that’s propped open. It has to be completely uncovered. It’s actually a violation of law to remove it.”

Besides the notice at the establishment, residents within a 500-foot circumference of the establishment are sent a mailing called a Notice of Intention to Engage in the Sale of Alcoholic Beverages from the applicant letting them know that the establishment is applying for a liquor license.

“They have to do a mailing out to every residential property within 500 feet,” Hill said. “Now for property owners, the statute does not state they have to find out who the owner is and mail them a notice. So if you have renters, they could be tossing them.”

The third public notification is part of the ABC investigation process, where ABC staff physically inspects the establishment and the surrounding area and determines which residents are within a 100-foot circumference. ABC then sends those residents a second letter including information about what the applicant is proposing as part of their operation, such as live music and entertainment, dancing and hours of operation.

Finally, if the location is in a high crime or over-concentrated area then the applicant has to publish a notice to the public in a newspaper that is circulated in the area that their establishment is in, three times in three consecutive weeks.

Hill also explained that will every new application, a copy of the application is sent to the police department, City Council and city Planning Department.

If local officials have concerns about the issuance of a license they can request or impose restrictions on the business operation or they can file a protest.

Resident also have the right to protest, but must file a written protest within 30 days of either the date the Public Notice of Application is posted on the premise or the date the applicant mailed the Notice of Intention.

“If someone protests they have to prove, unless they are the police department or a city official, they have to prove how this location will directly affect them,” Hill said. “So if they live 10 miles away they have to prove to a judge how this location is going to directly affect them. So that’s why really residents that live within 100-feet have the most power when it comes to protest.”

Hill also explained that if a resident protests, they must appear at the hearing to testify or the protest is abandoned.

She also mentioned that the majority of licenses in the area were issued between 1930 and 1970, however the number of licenses has remained at approximately 180 licenses in the Pacific Beach area for the last three years.

She also said that Pacific Beach, and most likely Ocean Beach and Mission Beach as well, is unduly concentrated with alcohol licenses.

After a period of discussion with the task force and a few comments from the public, the meeting was called to an end.

Hill will be present at the December task force meeting to respond to questions from the public and the task force members, which she was unable to answer at Monday’s meeting. Representatives from the San Diego Police Department Vice Division will also speak at the next meeting, which is scheduled for Monday Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wave House, 3115 Ocean Front Walk.

For more information on ABC and its licensing rules, visit http://www.abc.ca.gov

Beach and Bay Press
Alcohol task force meets

Lori Martinez
November 02, 2006

The first meeting of the Beach Alcohol Task Force was held Monday, Oct. 30, at the Earl & Birdie Taylor Library, with a room full of community members from Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach.

In August, District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer pledged to assemble a task force to address widespread concerns about the impact of alcohol in the beach areas and to develop specific recommendations to deal with them.

Faulconer began the meeting by reiterating his goals and intentions for the group.

“Without question, the issue of alcohol and its impact on the community have been around,” he said. “Some of the issues have been incredibly divisive. People care about what’s happening in our beach communities, what should we be doing as a city, what should we not be doing as a city.”

He explained that he wanted a focused discussion on the issues and that the first meeting’s goals were to establish an agenda for future meetings.

Faulconer said that the next meeting would focus on alcohol licensing and will include a presentation from the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC).

“It will be a sort of ABC 101,” Faulconer said.

After introductions from the task force members, the audience was given time to share their comments.

Most comments focused on the issue of the overabundance of alcohol licenses issued in the areas, crime rates and public safety, and the increasing number of house parties and noise problems in the neighboring communities.

Many community members voiced their concerns about the six- to nine-month time frame Faulconer has set for the task force, insisting that the issues can be addressed in well under six months. Faulconer explained that he wanted time to cover each issue thoroughly.

Following the public comment portion of the meeting, Faulconer thanked the audience for speaking calmly about such contentious and divisive issues.

“Thank you for the tone of the discussion everybody had with your comments tonight,” he said. “That hasn’t always been the tone in some other meetings over the years and that’s the tone I want to try and set, which is: Let’s have open discussion, let’s not yell back and forth.”

The task force then began a roundtable discussion, during which many task force members agreed with the audience’s comments.

Scott Chipman of SavePB.org spoke about the “culture of alcohol use and abuse” that is present in Pacific Beach and how it is affecting the local schools. He also agreed that the issue of alcohol licensing is important and that his concern with the six- to nine-month time frame is the number of alcohol licenses that will be given out in that time.

Carol Janks, owner of Zanzibar Café in Pacific Beach, agreed that alcohol is a problem; however, she said she believes that there must be a balance and that all alcohol licenses should not be viewed equally.

“I think that one has to look at every aspect and say where are the problems coming from,” Janks said. “I don’t think if you have a restaurant that serves chicken and roast beef and closes at 10 (p.m.) but has a beer and wine license is going to create the same type of problems as a bar that is open until 2 (a.m.) in the morning.”

Faulconer explained that future meetings will include presentations from the police department on crime rates and enforcement in the areas and that he wanted to speak with other beach communities across California who have banned alcohol on the beach and see how it has worked for them.

He also explained that future task force meetings will be scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on the last Monday of each month and the location will rotate in each of the communities. Every meeting will be open to the public and public comment will be on every agenda.

The next meeting, which will include guests from ABC, will take place Monday, Nov. 27, at 6:30 p.m., at the Ocean Beach Masonic Center, 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.

Peninsula Beacon
Faulconer names names for alcohol task force

Lori Martinez
October 05, 2006

District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer announced the names of those beach-area residents and business owners appointed to serve on the Beach Alcohol Task Force Friday, Sept. 29.

The task force will hold its first meeting on Monday, Oct. 30, at the Earl & Birdie Taylor Library, 4275 Cass St. All meetings will be open to the general public.

The task force comprises community members from the Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Mission Beach neighborhoods. All the participants had expressed interest to Faulconer in serving on the task force.

“We want people from all of the beach communities to be represented, and very diverse views on alcohol and alcohol issues,” Faulconer said. “I don’t want a predetermined outcome. I really want people with diverse views on that.”

According to Faulconer, who will serve as the task force’s chair, the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) is not a formal member of the group, but they will be participating in the meetings.

Advisory staff include the San Diego City Attorney Office’s Drug Abatement Response Team (DART), Civil Division and Neighborhood Prosecution and San Diego Police Department, Northern Division and Vice.

“The idea was to take a holistic view of the situation,” Faulconer said. “You’re always going to have people who want to ban alcohol on the beaches and some that do not want a ban on the beaches. But what are some areas that we can find that are common ground in terms of alcohol licensing issues [and] enforcement issues, and what I’ve really tried to do with this is provide a forum where people can come who have differing opinions, but let’s talk about where we can agree rather than disagree.”

The members of the Beach Alcohol Task Force are:

• Dave Martin, member of the Ocean Beach Town Council and owner of Ocean Beach’s Shades Ocean Front Bistro

• Julie Klein, Ocean Beach Mainstreet Association

• Dirk Stump, owner of Ocean Beach’s Stump’s Market

• Clyde Fuller, Pacific Beach resident

• Jeremy Malecha, member of FreePB.org and the Pacific Beach Town Council

• Mike Meyer, member of the Mission Beach Precise Planning Board

• Katie Keach, member of Pacific Beach Town Council

• Mark Antis, Mission Beach resident

• Bill Bradshaw, member of the Mission Beach Town Council

• Scott Chipman, member of the Pacific Beach Town Council and SavePB.org

• Carole Janks, owner of Pacific Beach’s Zanzibar Café

• Nancie Gellar, Mission Beach Town Council President

• Todd Brown, Discover Pacific Beach and owner of Pacific Beach’s Bub’s Dive Bar

• Jean Froning, Mission Beach resident

Beach and Bay Press
PBTC looks at alcohol task force

by SHANNON MULHALL
September 28, 2006

The Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC) discussed alcohol issues, safer streets and cleaner elections at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20, at the Earl & Birdie Taylor Library, 4275 Cass St.

The meeting began with a moment of silence to honor military men and women serving overseas, but became vocal as the discussion turned to alcohol.

At a recent town hall meeting, Councilman Kevin Faulconer announced he would form a task force to address alcohol issues, which have long inspired debate and divided the community.

The 10- to 15-person task force will be announced soon. The board will consist of residents and business people from Pacific, Mission and Ocean beaches. The board will meet monthly to “look at [alcohol] holistically,” said Allison Stanley, a representative for Faulconer. Meetings will be open to the public.

Looking at alcohol issues “holistically” means broadening the focus beyond alcohol on beaches, explained Stanley. The board will also discuss house parties as well as responsible and irresponsible drinking establishments. “It does all tie together. Each piece affects the other,” she said.

In response to why a task force is necessary to examine the issue, Stanley said that the city has “already looked at [alcohol issues] ad nauseum.” The goal of the newly formed board will be able to take “different viewpoints and find common ground,” she said.

The timeline for proposing suggestions and possible solutions to the beach communities’ alcohol-related problems, such as trash and drunken driving, is six to nine months.

City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s office and the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) will guide the task force’s discussion and offer insight on what alcohol-management strategies are realistic.

One proposed strategy, an alcohol ban on beaches and Mission Bay Park, was approved in a 164-126 vote by the PBTC in July.

Other facets of the alcohol issue, such as homeless people buying single cans of liquor from liquor stores, also need to be addressed, said PBTC president Don Mullen.

“It’s important that we don’t keep ignoring things we can do to improve everyone’s quality of life,” he added.

Mullen has appointed Katie Keach to represent the PBTC on the newly formed task force, citing her experience with alcohol issues while serving as former Councilman Michael Zucchet’s director of communications. Keach also worked for Congresswoman Susan Davis.

Taking the discussion from alcohol on the beaches to alcohol on the streets, SDPD Lt. Brian Ahern said that increased patrolling of Pacific Beach over the weekend of July 28 netted 28 drunk driving arrests, 32 impounds and hundreds of tickets for non-alcohol-related moving violations such as speeding. Such “saturation patrols” are more effective than checkpoints, Ahern said, because they don’t require advance notice and aren’t as visible.

Ahern advised attendees who have problems with drunken neighbors to report them by calling the SDPD’s non-emergency number, (619) 531-2000. Though callers often have to wait as 20 minutes or longer, reporting the problem is crucial, said Officer Allen Alvarez, because all calls get logged in a computer, making habitual offenders easier to identify and hold accountable.

Residents with concerns about liquor licenses in their neighborhoods will soon be able to find answers to some of their questions on the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Web site, www.abc.ca.gov. Starting Oct. 1, visitors to the site can click on the name of an establishment, see its license number, and view its history, including conditions and protests.

“The city has virtually no control over issuance of licenses,” Ahern said, adding that ABC issues many liquor licenses despite police protests.

With elections looming in November, the council turned its attention to former Councilman John Hartley of San Diego Alliance for Clean Elections.

“Clean elections — it’s not an oxymoron; it’s campaign finance reform,” Hartley said.

Pointing to soaring campaign costs that can hit the million-dollar mark, Hartley said that clean elections seek to restrict the spending power of such special interests as pharmaceutical and tobacco companies.

Furthermore, said Hartley, clean elections allow candidates to spend more time with voters rather than “chasing dollars” and also opens the political landscape up to minorities.

“It’s a change in the system,” Hartley said. “It’s more accessible so the public gets served, not special interests.”

The clean-elections system is based on a set number of campaign contributions, voluntary spending limits and no campaign contributions from private donors or a candidate’s own pockets.

Such programs have been successful in Arizona and Maine, said Hartley, where roughly half of the candidates in recent elections “ran clean.”

The goal is to get an initiative on the ballot in San Diego in 2008, said Hartley. For more information, visit www.sdcleanelections.org.

Noelle Davis, a field representative for Congresswoman Susan Davis, announced that the congresswoman was recently honored for her military advocacy work on pay equity and discounted school lunches and prescription costs for military families.

Brian Jones of Congressman Bill Bilbray’s office announced the passing of HR 4844, which would require voters to present photo identification prior to voting. “The ID will definitely cut down on fraud,” Jones said. The state will pay for IDs for those who can’t afford them, he added.

The council is seeking volunteers for the upcoming Beachfest celebration, Saturday, Oct. 14. To volunteer, call the PBTC offices, (858) 483-6666.

Service organizations can get a free 10-by-10 booth space and schools a free canopy area by calling Discover Pacific Beach, (858) 273-3303.

Portions of the proceeds from another community event, the council’s fifth annual wine tasting, were presented to Richard Crider of the Pacific Beach Recreation Center, recently affected by budget cuts to the city’s Park and Recreation Department. Mullen presented Crider with a $2,000 check.

The council will hold its next dineout event at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 24, at Café Athena, 1846 Garnet Ave.

The PBTC’s next general meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 18, at the Earl and Birdie Taylor Library.

Beach and Bay Press
Alcohol dominates town hall meeting

by BLAKE JONES
August 16, 2006
Alcohol issues monopolized the Pacific Beach town hall meeting, Tuesday, Aug. 8 — which was no surprise the audience, considering the recent actions taken by community organizations to regulate bars and encourage an alcohol ban on the beach.

District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer, Mayor Jerry Sanders and Police Chief William Lansdowne were all on hand to field questions from the audience during the event, which was hosted by the Pacific Beach Town Council (PBTC).

After a rocky start — entrance to Pacific Beach Middle School was delayed 30 minutes because no one in attendance had a key to the locked facility — the 200 or so people waiting out front poured into the auditorium for what PBTC President Don Mullen called “the largest community gathering ever held in Pacific Beach.”

On the subject of alcohol, Faulconer announced that an alcohol task force comprised of residents, community leaders and city officials would convene for about six months to address problems associated with the beach drinking culture. He said the group would look at enforcement, licensing, the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) appeal process and conditional use permits relating to the alcohol problem.

While Faulconer identified ABC liquor licenses as the main culprit, all three leaders lacked definitive solutions to reducing the number of such permits. Lansdowne said the police department has firmly opposed all new license applications in the area for the past four years and will continue to do so, but there is currently no quick way of decreasing already-granted licenses.

Sanders suggested that the task force consider creative regulations, as licenses currently do not carry expiration dates and can be passed from owner to owner. He said canceling licenses when a business closes or its owner dies is the only way to reduce the numbers.

Sanders also urged the community to be pro-active in reporting negligent and unscrupulous establishments.
“The ones that are creating the problem can be put out of business legitimately through working with the police department,” Sanders said.

Community efforts to limit the scope of the problem are already underway. Just four days before the meeting, the PBTC endorsed a beach alcohol ban and Discover Pacific Beach signed a good neighbor agreement with local bars.

The agreement, or Pacific Beach Community Covenant, involves 13 practices that encourage the responsible sale and use of alcohol in local bars and nightclubs, including a promise not to advertise $2 drinks or two-for-one specials. Lansdowne, Faulconer, fire and police department representatives, the Pacific Beach Business Association, Savepb.org and residents helped develop the covenant.

The covenant was voluntarily signed by 25 of 40 established venues with a liquor license, including Moondoggies, Tower23, Gringo’s Cantina, PB Bar and Grill, Tavern at the Beach and Plum Crazy.

That same day, the PBTC requested that the City Council consider an alcohol ban for city beaches and Mission Bay Park. The request came after a controversial mail-in vote among town council members showed a narrow majority in favor of a ban, and included other suggestions such as doubling fines for alcohol-related crimes and imposing a moratorium on new and transferred liquor licenses.

While Faulconer expressed support for some of the proposals, he stated that he did not agree with a beach-wide ban.
“It’s fairly divisive to put it mildly,” Faulconer said of the ban. “We need to get together to talk about options.”
Lansdowne and Sanders agreed that preventing drinking on the beaches is not a long-term solution.

“If you ban alcohol at the beach, my professional opinion is that then we’ve got a problem inland,” Lansdowne said.
Another issue receiving a lot of attention was crime. Police Capt. Boyd Long of Northern Division responded to a question about the area’s increasing crime rates by saying that the numbers were in fact falling, despite misinformation to the contrary.

“I can’t stand here and say [Pacific Beach has] the highest crime rate because you do not,” Long said, pointing a 13.5 percent decrease for Pacific Beach’s crime index total from July 2005 to July 2006.

Long also said that the high number of D.U.I. arrests were the result of increased enforcement, not a jump in the number of people driving drunk. San Diego receives regular help from other county law enforcement agencies, including highway patrol and officers from Chula Vista and Carlsbad, as part of a state grant that funds police overtime pay for increased patrol.

He tempered his assessment, however, by adding that break-ins and alcohol-related sexual assaults are a big problem in Pacific Beach, and one receiving attention from the police department.

Long said that “bait cars” will soon be placed in the neighborhood, allowing officers to lure car thieves into breaking into the modified vehicle, then trap the criminal inside.

Commenting on other issues, Faulconer said the city will soon pilot the oversize vehicle ordinance in Pacific Beach, the detox center will not come to the area, the smoking ban will require council action to add the boardwalk, parking for condo conversions will now be stricter and funding for the sea wall restoration is not yet complete.

The only questions to catch the guests off guard included an inquiry about limiting the number of smoke shops concentrated in Pacific Beach and another about lowering the waiting period required before residents can paint over graffiti from 60 days to two weeks. Faulconer said he would look into both suggestions.

Alcohol Task Force
One Comments to “Alcohol Task Force: Complete San Diego Community News Coverage”
  1. Ben Harness says:

    Friends, prohibition was repealed !

    First let me begin by thanking all you college geniuses over in PB that decided that fighting and mayhem was a good idea and a fun time. Way to go. Now you have given all the alcohol ban zealots the ammo they needed to gain more followers and push their agenda over the top. Good grief, can’t you people control yourselves ? THINK. When I was younger, we cruised the boardwalk with cup holders with beer strapped right on our bikes. Now those laid back days are over and the restrictions keep growing thanks to an immature and inconsiderate minority that can’t control their behavior. Your primeval actions are ruining it for everyone ! If only you fools could have kept your own peace then we who can wouldn’t be in this fix, fighting again for the simple and fundamental freedom to have a cold beer on the sand ! Good gawd….fighting for YOU. What irony.

    Unfortunately, the booze ban people can’t see the big picture because they tend to put their focus on the bad eggs out there. And that is that the beach (and the city itself) is already well policed, and well legislated (over legislated) with booze limitations. Like the seriously ridiculous rule of no drinking between 8PM & noon. And drink on the sand only. And not to mention the well known curfew on sales and open bars.

    The pro booze ban kill joys are using the latest PB riot police incident nonsense to distract away from the fact that all the beaches are basically calm for miles and miles where drinking happens, yet nothing bad happens because of it. And if something does, San Diego’s finest is there. Problem gone. The motivation towards a booze ban is clearly fueled by the recent solitary and extremely rare event which is clearly a springboard for over reaction.

    And who says that drinking was the actual root cause of the PB mayhem? It’s only an assumption. Prove it.

    This unfortunate, and I emphasize, extremely rare, singular in size & police count, altercation took place on a small chunk of beach and was handled by police. Handled and over handled. That’s why they are there, and on call. To protect our FREEDOM to enjoy a good time and keep the peace if need be. I bet that most of if not all of the booze ban zealots were nowhere near the incident in the first place. It effects you…. how?

    Tell us, how on an average day does someone else’s drinking on the beach effect you somehow, personally? If so, simply walk the other way. Problem solved.

    A cold brewski on the beach on a hot summer day all goes together like hot dogs in long buns and always has and is one of the most basic of freedoms that we Americans can enjoy. The law makers have already taken away too much of that particular freedom as it is. Don’t let it be taken away altogether. Let us not forget, prohibition is over. Creating a total ban at all beaches just because of an extremely rare and singular incident would be like closing all the schools and colleges because of the Virginia Tech incident. Irrational and unreasonable. Don’t punish us all along the entire water line, beaches and bays, just because of a singular classroom size of unruly people on a small chunk of beach who all have gone home now anyway and won’t do it again. Its over. Move on. With sensibility and rationality, not a knee jerk over reaction. Keep America’s finest city free. Free to have a cold one on the sand on a beautiful hot day.
    It shouldn’t be such a big deal.
    Cheers.

    Ben Harness PL.
    9/05/07

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