Beach alcohol ban to go on ballot of June ’92 primary

July 2, 1991 No Comments

Sharon L. Jones. San Diego Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Jul 2, 1991. pg. A.1.4

San Diego’s beach booze ban will go to a vote next year with the public deciding whether city beaches and some parks are better off as booze-free zones.

The San Diego City Council voted unanimously yesterday to put a 24-hour beach booze ban ordinance on the ballot of the June 2, 1992, primary. The measure resembles one suspended by a referendum earlier this year.

The council also voted 7-1, with Mayor O’Connor the lone opponent, to approve a backup ordinance to an emergency booze ban passed last month in the wake of violence in the Mission Beach area.

The backup ordinance would go into effect if the emergency ban is thrown out of court.

The council’s action came after it heard from people unhappy with the emergency one-year ban on drinking on beach boardwalks and certain parks at any time and drinking on the sand between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

“Shame on you for feeling you’re above the law,” said Linda Jo Hardison, a La Jolla businesswoman who represents the group, People to Ban the Ban.

Her group, with substantial backing from alcohol distributors, was responsible for forcing the council to put the matter before the voters. The group, which submitted 47,000 signatures on petitions calling for a referendum on the issue, has vowed to take the city to court over the restrictions.

Several booze-ban critics, including O’Connor, conceded that the beaches have simmered down since the partial ban went into effect June 10 but credited the change to increased police presence.

O’Connor, a longtime booze-ban opponent, said she was “anxiously looking forward” to reviewing crime statistics to see how many of beach arrests this summer are patrons of beach-area bars and nightclubs.

She questioned the effectiveness of the existing ban, suggesting that hard-core drinkers have moved to Mission Bay, where alcohol remains legal.

“I’m glad we’re putting the measure on the ballot for the voters to decide,” she said.

Councilman Ron Roberts said the city will save $550,000 by placing the measure on the June primary rather than scheduling an earlier special election.

He also suggested the council consider drafting a measure that competes with the 24-hour ban on the June 1992 ballot, after it reviews crime statistics to see how the partial ban worked over the summer.

“Clearly we’ve seen some changes and I think they’re for the better,” he said.

Credit: Tribune Staff Writer

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