Foes of alcohol ban still raising funds

November 23, 2001 No Comments

Angela Lau. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Nov 23, 2001. pg. B.3

Liquor stores in the beach areas are continuing to contribute money to a campaign to defeat a round-the-clock trial ban on alcohol on parts of Mission Beach and Pacific Beach.

The committee established to oppose the 18-month trial received $19,020 from July through September, according to a financial disclosure statement filed with the city clerk.

The money — 79 percent of which came from liquor stores’ donations and interest-free loans — was used to pay off expenses incurred earlier this year when ban opponents successfully circulated a petition to block its implementation. The move persuaded the City Council to put its newly passed trial ban to a citywide vote in March.

The trial ban would have begun on June 1 this year and was to have lasted until Dec. 31, 2002.

Bob Glaser, consultant to the Ban the Ban II campaign, said liquor stores want to stay in business.

“Combine the recession and the recent downturn in tourism, and if you throw in an alcohol ban, it will just be a very difficult struggle,” he said. “Anyone would look out for their business.”

Judy Walsh-Jackson, a member of the newly formed Citizens for Safe Beaches committee that supports the trial ban, said liquor stores want to sell alcohol “regardless of public health and safety issues.”

The Ban the Ban II committee spent about $77,000 to circulate the petition, and paid off part of the expense with $58,876 raised in May and June. Two-thirds of that money came from beer and wine distributors and area retail stores that sell liquor.

The latest round of contributions shows a number of repeat contributors, including Criscola’s Liquor Store in Pacific Beach and Hub Liquor and Mission Market in Mission Beach, each giving $500 to $1,000.

Habib Ibrahim, who owns Hub Liquor, said he gave money because he treasures his freedom to be able to drink on the beach.

Suha Hurmiz, an El Cajon resident who loaned the campaign $3,000 interest-free, said she likes to enjoy a drink at the beach. She was the only individual among three lenders who gave the campaign a total of $13,500. The other two were Little Sam’s Market and Ace Liquor of Mission Beach.

Glaser said Ban the Ban II will continue to raise money to finance the coming referendum campaign.

Bill Bradshaw, co-chairman of the Citizens for Safe Beaches committee, said ban supporters will raise funds but do not expect to collect as much money as opponents.

“When you don’t have a financial interest in an issue, it’s pretty hard to get people to give money other than token amounts,” Bradshaw said. “But we can win this thing if people can really look at it and say, `Let’s try it.'”

If the trial ban is approved by voters, it would be in effect for about nine months until Dec. 31, 2002, said Francine Phillips, legislative aide to Councilman Byron Wear, author of the trial ban.

After that, the ban would expire unless the City Council took action to extend it.

Angela Lau: (619) 542-4584; angela.lau@uniontrib.com

Credit: STAFF WRITER

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