Beach alcohol-ban foes say fight is over, for nowNovember 7, 2008 No Comments
Last call has come and gone for those fighting a booze ban on San Diego beaches, and it looks as if few options remain.
San Diego voters Tuesday approved Proposition D, which permanently bans alcohol from city beaches and waterfront parks, and those on both sides of the measure say opponents of the prohibition are running out of alternatives.
“I don’t think there’s an avenue for them,” said Jim Lantry, one of the organizers who pushed for the ban.
Jacob Pyle, a leader among those opposed to the ban, said the fight is over unless people step forward to pay for attempts to overturn the measure.
“For now this ends it, but we’ll see what happens,” Pyle said.
The permanent ban will take effect once temporary restrictions that have been in place since Jan. 14 expire.
More than 53 percent of voters backed Proposition D, according to unofficial results released Wednesday. Six years ago, 51 percent of voters struck down a narrower alcohol ban, which would have applied to parts of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.
The difference this time, say Proposition D supporters, was their outreach to other communities, along with results from the trial ban.
A group of about 40 ban supporters gathered for a beachfront party Wednesday to honor volunteers who did everything from posting “Yes on D” signs to roller-blading to collect cans to recycle for campaign funds.
One supporter, Marcella Teran, hopes there can be some reconciliation between those who clashed over Proposition D.
“I would like them to work with us, but I don’t see that happening,” Teran said. “I’d like to work on issues aside from alcohol, like better schools and having a more balanced business district for everybody than what we have now.”
The new rules bar drinking at city beaches and waterfront parks at all times, except for parties where organizers have obtained a permit.
The terms force guests who imbibe at permitted gatherings to be confined to specific areas, and for insurance and security to be provided. Even Lantry calls the party rules “fairly draconian.” Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a key backer of the measure, said the city is reviewing the policy.
The passage of Proposition D ends the latest chapter in the struggle to control beach drinking.
Residents frustrated with irresponsible drinking at the beach proposed trial, partial and permanent bans over the years, but faced opposition at every turn. One limited ban, on drinking at La Jolla Shores beach, stuck, as did morning and overnight restrictions elsewhere.
Faulconer put together a task force to study the issue, but public opinion suddenly turned toward a ban after a drunken Labor Day melee last year in Pacific Beach. The trial ban was approved a short time later.
Officials who oversee the few remaining beaches in the county that allowed liquor saw spikes in alcohol-related incidents as a result, and decided to go dry for all or part of the summer.
Coronado City Manager Mark Ochenduszko said his city will renew its push to keep alcohol off Silver Strand State Beach. A ban was in effect for Labor Day weekend, but state officials have been reluctant to broaden it.
“For public safety reasons, we need to go back and ask state parks to revisit the decision,” he said.
By Jennifer Vigil