Dismayed over number of DUI citations in PB – Letter to EditorDecember 25, 2006 No Comments
Letter to the Editor of San Diego Union Tribune
I read with interest your article (Dec. 17, B3) about the sobriety checkpoint in Pacific Beach that issued 13 DUI citations in only four hours and had to close down early because all officers were busy processing arrests (“First arrests made as holiday sobriety sweeps begin,” Local, Dec. 17).
I commend the police for their increased enforcement efforts and I am dismayed that the high rate of DUIs and other alcohol-related crime in Pacific Beach has continually been downplayed by city officials. Two people have been killed by drunk drivers in Pacific Beach in just this last year. Clearly, this situation threatens the safety of anyone who lives in or visits Pacific Beach.
I believe city officials have ignored and denied this growing problem for years because there is just too much money being made by the sale of alcohol in retail stores and at the bars and restaurants. It’s no coincidence that the restaurant and beverage distribution industries along with the grocers have contributed heavily to the political campaigns of many of our elected officials. No amount of money, however, can justify putting an entire community at such great risk.
The problem has become so large that relying on our hard-working police for adequate enforcement is simply not a feasible option. The root causes must be addressed. Over 180 alcohol licenses have been granted in our community with no regard for the negative impacts. Our bars attract many who believe it is OK to get loaded and do whatever they want in our community. Our beaches have become magnets for binge drinking parties. Although we are still a family oriented community with a large population of longtime residents, there has been a growing trend of acceptance of alcohol abuse by some in our community. All of this has resulted in serious and unacceptable negative impacts on safety and quality of life.
I have nothing against responsible drinking. I am outraged that I must fight against moneyed interests to preserve my right to live in a peaceful and safe neighborhood. I expect my elected officials to do the right thing, not just what is good for their campaign contributions. I applaud Councilman Kevin Faulconer for convening the Beach Alcohol Task Force. I warn him that his constituents will settle for no less than timely action and concrete results.