Council gets proposals on alcohol ban for beachesOctober 11, 2007 No Comments
Chet Barfield. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Oct 11, 2007. pg. B.1
SAN DIEGO — Those who want a booze ban on San Diego beaches won a preliminary round yesterday in what is certain to be a contentious battle ahead.
After two hours of sharply divided arguments from a packed audience, a City Council committee sent a menu of proposed alcohol- ban options to the full council for a future decision.
Options range from Mayor Jerry Sanders’ suggestion for an alcohol ban on summer holidays only to Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s call for a year-round prohibition on all city beaches, bay shores and coastal parks.
“I think it’s time to make a change,” Faulconer said, urging the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee to put the matter before the council. “A safe beach environment is a right for everybody.”
Faulconer, whose district includes Mission, Pacific and Ocean beaches, had straddled the fence since last fall, when he appointed a task force to study and advise him on the issue. After nine months, the 14-member group couldn’t agree on a proposed ban.
Faulconer’s neutrality ended with a drunken Labor Day melee that resulted in more than a dozen arrests. Lifeguards were forced from their towers, and it took police in riot gear to quell the disturbance.
“That is something I never want to see happen again,” Faulconer said yesterday.
Councilman Tony Young, however, cautioned against overreacting to “one specific incident.”
“There were 350,000 people at the beach that day, and 15 got arrested,” Young said. “I would ban people who cause problems. But people who are responsible, I think, should have a way to exercise that responsibility.”
La Jolla beaches are the only ones in San Diego where drinking is prohibited. Similar bans have been adopted in most other Southern California coastal cities.
In 1991, the City Council voted for a one-year trial ban but was forced to rescind the decision when opponents gathered enough signatures for a referendum. The city settled on outlawing drinking between 8 p.m. and noon.
In 2002, a citywide ballot proposition to impose a round-the- clock trial ban on parts of Pacific Beach and Mission Beach failed by a slim margin.
AT ISSUE: BEACH ALCOHOL BAN
About 200 people packed a City Council committee hearing yesterday on proposals to ban drinking on San Diego beaches.
Bans elsewhere make San Diego a beach-partying magnet. Too many irresponsible drinkers make the beaches uncomfortable for families. Drinkers urinate in yards and divert police from other needs.
Millions of people visit local beaches, but only a handful cause problems. Enforcement of existing laws is a better approach. Law- abiding beach-goers would be deprived of their rights.
The issue will be decided by the full City Council in a future hearing. No date was set.
1 CHART; Caption: AT ISSUE: BEACH ALCOHOL BAN
Credit: STAFF WRITERBeach Ordinance