La Jolla ramping up with enormous Bar/Restaurant/Nightclub – Mike’s

August 12, 2010 2 Comments

The following is a handout presented to the La Jolla Town Council as part of my personal public comment:

Alcohol Licenses and a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) / Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO)

Photo Credit: SanDiegoHouseMusic.com

The dread we experience in Pacific Beach several evenings a week and most weekends throughout the year appears to be building over La Jolla. As a 20-year resident of Pacific Beach, bar-country to the south, I’ve seen what an un-checked alcohol industry will do to a community. Our fear is that La Jolla is going to experience similar issues—many not positive and difficult to eradicate once a foothold is made.

We have been struggling in Pacific Beach to slow down the fanatical growth of our 125 bars, nightclubs as well as many of our ‘restaurants’ morphing into bars or nightclubs. What once was a Pizzeria Uno’s is now a full-fledged sports bar. What once was a comedy house is significantly sized location with multiple bars and large outdoor patios oftentimes with outdoor DJ’s. A ‘restaurant’ by name acts and conducts its business as a bar—with little controls. Our community believes we’re inviting in a restaurant and voila we’ve got another bar. In PB many of our restaurants serve food, usually ceasing service at 10 pm and alcohol sales taking first priority thereafter. Our bars are also expanding their size regularly—effectively doubling their capacity without any community input or ability to rein in this growth.

As a community, we have little say in how many licensees the San Diego Police, Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) or, administrative judges hired by the ABC allow to open shop. The police try to intervene but, the ABC often permits new licensees in a completely saturated area or, a modification or transfer to an existing license without much credence given to the local residents concerns. Further, we have little say in what could be tailored special conditions that allow us to blend such businesses into our established business/residential areas. There is a viable solution however—introduced below.

One example of a potential issue? The new Mike’s on Girard Ave.
Mark my words, what you may think is a bar (actually 7 bars), restaurant (actually 3) and nightclub that now claims it will close at 10:30 p.m. will soon change into a full-blown bar closing at 2 am. It takes little effort to get this modification approved once the business is operational and their foot in the door. [Update: this was an early news report in a San Diego publication however, my understanding is that these bars will now remain open until 2 am]

Importantly, this commentary is not about Mike’s or Mr. Viscuso the proprietor, who is investing sizeable capital into this space. It’s about the proliferation of bars and nightclubs in our communities, the consequences, the lack of enforcement and what proactive steps our communities can take to minimize potential problems. My goal is to help other communities prevent hugely negative experiences as we have to go through on a weekly basis in Pacific Beach.

But isn’t Mike’s going to revitalize the village?
Yes and no. Sure, there will be tons of people coming to the new Mike’s. However, this is a double-edge sword. Sooner than later if you allow un-checked alcohol-related business growth in La Jolla—especially in the village—you will find little remedy to change course. The scope of Mike’s will undoubtedly attract more proprietors and, at worst, what was once a village will now become a year-round campus party.

What kinds of issues will you potentially experience?

Parking shortages
There will be people taking up any available parking space for a large swath of the area. When such large sized businesses are open during daylight their clientele compete with people coming to shop in boutiques or eat at finer restaurants. These patrons tend to fill up local residential areas as well.

Litter
There will be many people pre-drinking before they get to the bar (as the drinks will cost a pretty penny no doubt) and their beer bottles, single-serve liquor bottles, full pint and fifth bottles and tons of beverage and food containers will litter the streets. Cigarette butts? Flyers on cars? They’re all coming.

Pub Crawls and Public Intoxication
Many students and other groups form pub crawls. They typically dress up following a theme and go from bar to bar playing drinking games or, just getting tanked. On the weekend, they have little regard for other visitors and are usually noisier and more obnoxious as the day progresses. Many tout charities as beneficiaries of their event as if that absolves them or their hosts from their responsibilities. Since there aren’t many public restrooms available patrons will relieve themselves wherever or whenever they please, regardless of gender. Those drinking too much will lose their cookies in a myriad of places – including smack dab in the middle of your sidewalks. Not fun on a Sunday morning stroll.

Crime
There will be lots of vandalism. People visiting the bars will be heading to and from their cars and will want to memorialize their La Jolla visits by marking anything and everything. One such PB tagger created 19 tags on the way from a bar to his vehicle. Glass cutters and knives will be used to etch windows with monikers. Small shops may decide to install expensive vandal-prevention film on their windows. Some patrons will decide to fight on the street at closing time. More serious assaults will take place as well. Many drawing our thinned staff of police enforcement from other communities—and vice versa.

Drunk drivers
How will all these people get home? Since many visitors to your bars don’t live in walking or biking distance such as here in PB you’re going to be experiencing potentially even higher levels of drunk drivers than we do and hopefully similar levels of drunk driver arrests—that is, if your visitors drink at the levels ours do. We see many people not wanting to pay $20-50 for a taxi to get home who then decide to drive home themselves. 70% of drunk drivers caught in PB live outside of PB. Your drunk drivers will affect us, as ours do you, since we are the primary access or egress point to the south.

Party Buses, Taxis and Alternative Transportation?
Many drinkers will use of cabs and many will elect to use party buses—a more and more popular option. Every imaginable type of party bus, from converted (retired) school buses to vans, greyhound-sized charter buses complete with loud music, stripper poles and disco balls will be a regular sight in and around your business district. Partiers will be taken to and from downtown, PB and La Jolla. This doesn’t mean people won’t drive home drunk however as we’ve seen partiers dropped off party buses here in PB while the riders walk right over to their cars and drive away.

Ambulances and Fire-Rescue
Many people too drunk to take care of themselves, those with alcohol-poisoning symptoms as well as  physical assault or, hit-and-run and other vehicle-related victims will require ambulances—drawing resources from La Jolla or its neighboring communities. This is even more concerning when serious non-alcohol related health issues arise in the beach, business and residential neighborhoods—especially with our current brownout conditions—potentially delaying response times.

Noise Issues
Nightclubs leaving patio doors open in the evenings? Anyone trying to enjoy an art show or movie in the summertime at the Athenaeum, a stroll down Prospect or Girard to window shop or, for a nice quiet walk will have a completely different experience with a thump-thump-thump, boing-boing-boing as background noise. Unchecked, sounds will travel throughout the residential neighborhoods and perhaps even reach people picnicking or strolling down at the Cove.

Restaurants morphing into bars?
What you might think is a little existing pizzeria with a license could put their tables and chairs away and convert into a full-blown bar after 10 pm. Seven nights a week. Profits are very enticing and we have experienced many such ‘restaurants’ doing just this with little or no regard to our community.

Not to worry you say, the ABC has it under control?
The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will keep a close eye on this and other new operators right? Not so fast. The ABC has many rule-nuances that will baffle most people—few seeming to protect communities and lately trending towards supporting operators. Our state legislature has literally gutted our local office’s budget for enforcement activities leaving 3-4 enforcement officers (when in 1996 we had 16 with fewer licensees) to monitor about 850 licensees each. Now, each investigator has about 2 hours a year for monitoring, inspecting, citing, securing punishments, travel and phone time etc. for each licensee in their territory. We see little if any enforcement results yet, we have enormously high crime rates, drunk driver arrests hovering around 600 annually and excessive public drunkenness issues.

Over-concentration?
The core PB census tract (79.01) is slated for 10 alcohol licensees. We have over 60. That’s about one for every 85 residents in this tract. The ABC isn’t supposed to allow more licenses if a census tract’s alcohol-related arrests are over 120% the citywide average. The core tract in PB is 1900% the citywide average, yet we just had yet another brand new license approved last month and have 14 new or license modification-applications in process. Know how many we’ll be able to prevent? Doubtfully we may prevent one or two—if we’re lucky.  It’s been tried here in PB over and over while, for 20 years many efforts were in vain. Is this snowball starting down the hill in La Jolla?

Who cleans it all up?
Expecting the bars to help pay for the cleanup or actually do it themselves? We have a hard time getting many of our bars or restaurants to care less. Expecting your business improvement district to jump in? If they’re stretched thin now it’s going to only add additional burden on them. How will they pay for the new cleanup demands? Perhaps they’ll try to impose a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) on your residential and business district as they tried with us–or, perhaps they’ll impose parking meters, the pretend-panacea for all of a community’s woes. More likely, it will take community volunteers to do the work potentially leaving the La Jolla Town Council monthly cleanup as the primary vehicle.

How will the other businesses react?
Non-alcohol related businesses won’t be happy with the amounts of crime, vandalism, graffiti, defacement, litter and bodily fluids they’ll find in the mornings. Also, people drinking in our bars do not shop in our boutiques. They’re out drinking and care little about our many other clothing, surf and health-related businesses. We’ve also attracted abnormal numbers of tattoo parlors, head shops and marijuana dispensaries. These businesses sprout where their client-demographic visit. Non-alcohol business will look to community leaders wondering how preventing these conditions got past them.

One solution and our immediate end-goal?
We’re working towards securing a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) system such as communities like Ventura have enacted. We have one for off-sale (liquor stores) but, not one for on-sale (bars/restaurants)—unless they have an entertainment permit. The CUP we’re promoting consists of an ABC-trained San Diego Police officer who stays in the position for several years. All liquor licensees pay into a fund which compensates this officer and fuels the program. ‘At risk’ licensees pay more as they demand additional attention. This officer works with the community and licensee to establish ground rules from a wide variety of options. Graffiti removal, litter cleanup, post-event security, security cameras, noise abatement, over-serving enforcement… etc. is all covered. If violations are made the officer doles out immediate consequences. This officer works with the licensees but, also protects the community’s interests. Many good proprietors have no issues with such a system. Problem ones may.

Not too keen on the above scenarios?
There is little chance of avoiding them if you don’t take proactive action now. I urge you to explore having your La Jolla Community Planning Association review alcohol licensees from a land-use perspective such as we have begun doing, start having your Town Council review and make their own recommendations to the city and stand up as citizens as to whether or not you support licensees and ultimately what conditions you will expect.

Unfortunately, be prepared to experience a lot of frustration as the city is largely powerless in stopping ABC-paid administrative judges from issuing more and more licensees getting into La Jolla—often using ‘public convenience and necessity’ as their excuse. We’ve got tons of examples. We wish the powers that be didn’t dump these alcohol licensees on our community. However, that’s water under the bridge. Helping stop this potential nightmare in other communities is important as we wouldn’t wish this nightmare on any of our neighbors throughout the city.

pbSpirits.com
If you’re concerned please get involved and learn all we have been through so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many of our experiences are documented on this website:  pbSpirits.com. Please feel free to visit and learn more about our situation, the consequences of inaction and what can be done to stem this tide.

In June 2010 our Planning Group held a community forum to discuss these issues and the solutions other communities have experienced. You are invited to see this presentation in its entirety, including all handouts and slideshows, on pbSpirits.com—accessed by clicking the blinking link in the right column or, here.

Keeping it Positive
I sincerely apologize for the doom and gloom message. However, I hope you take this message in context and see my intentions as being a friend of La Jolla and one that is very concerned that similar conditions such as the ones existing in Pacific Beach do not take hold.

There are several activists in PB who are working together, and hopefully someday with our alcohol-licensees, to enact a CUP in our neighborhoods. Perhaps you’re interested in joining our efforts? Communities all over California are experiencing similar situations and the futility in changing course because of their not acting soon enough. Unique as La Jolla is—it’s not immune from the alcohol-related tragedies that are most assuredly heading your way.  There are enormous profits to be made in alcohol sales and that motivation alone will permanently alter the community fabric without your intervention. You can keep this in check but, it will take immediate interest and involvement by concerned parties from perhaps your planning, town council and active residents who care about the future of La Jolla.

If you’re interested in learning more perhaps we can arrange an evening event here in La Jolla where we can make a more formal presentation of our findings? Please contact me at pbSpirits@gmail.com and if there’s interest we’ll plan such an event at the earliest opportunity, ideally soon engaging our Councilmembers, Police and other city officials as well.

Thank-you very much.

Sources:
La Jolla Light
San Diego Daily Transcript
DiscoverSD.com
944.com
San Diego 6 – the CW
SanDiegoHouseMusic.com

Photo Credit: SanDiegoHouseMusic.com

http://www.pbspirits.com/2010/06/14/planning-group-discusses-alternatives-and-cup/
Alcohol Licensees, Commentary, La Jolla
2 Comments to “La Jolla ramping up with enormous Bar/Restaurant/Nightclub – Mike’s”
  1. pbSpirits says:

    I’m wondering how Mike is planning on differentiating his new mega-club/bar/restaurant from the old Jack’s. The previous business had many problems with the neighbors and I’m worried that a much bigger entity will cause proportionate problems. Wouldn’t it be fair to say that these bars, especially one on this scale will attract noise, parking, trash, vandalism and a host of other alcohol-related issues?

  2. Mike’s has big plans to keep it safe and clean in La Jolla. Any questions or concerns just let me know at the official Mike’s La Jolla Facebook page.

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Support-Mikes-La-Jolla/113286782052863?ref=sgm

Leave a Reply


Advisory: Hot Prowl Burglary in PB (aka Man Standing in Sleeping Woman’s Bedroom)

The San Diego Police Department Sex Crimes Unit is currently investigating a hot prowl burglary that occurred near the...

Holiday Week Checkpoints

The Friday, July 5, DUI checkpoint was conducted in the 2600 block of Ingraham Street, and was operational from...

Alcohol Industry Playbook – Confidential

Here’s a handbook illustrating the strategies some bar and restaurant owners use to deflect attention away from their businesses....

Pacific Beach Shore Club Deck Expansion

I want to encourage good businesses in Pacific Beach but, feel like the lack of state and local oversight...

34 Arrested Across 2 DUI Checkpoints

The San Diego Police Department and the San Diego County Probation Department conducted two DUI checkpoints Saturday night that...

Yet Another Police Officer Injured in Drunk Driver Crash

SAN DIEGO – A suspected drunken driver was arrested early Tuesday after he plowed through a stop sign and...

UPDATE: Bad (horrible) day in Pacific Beach – man seriously injured by alleged DUI driver dies

At 9:45 am in Pacific Beach at the busiest intersection in San Diego was nearly entirely closed down for...

5 injured in car accident in Pacific Beach this morning – Possible DUI

Five people are injured after a black Nissan Titan ran a red light in Pacific Beach at around 9:45...

Priest arrested on suspicion of DUI after driving car into building

Ed. Note: My intent is to not be publicly shaming anyone. I wouldn’t normally post this if the fact...

Current Situation and Proposal

This site illustrates problems in a neighborhood of alcohol outlets that are highly concentrated – Pacific Beach. For our...

San Diego police say an overnight DUI checkpoint in Pacific Beach nets 12 arrests

612 vehicles passed through checkpoint An overnight sobriety and driver license checkpoint in Pacific Beach netted 12 arrests for...

Car Crashes into PB Home

Mercedes rammed nearly halfway through the house A suspected drunk driver lost control and crashed into a home in...

DUI checkpoints planned over holiday weekend

The San Diego Police Department Traffic Unit will be conducting DUI and drivers license checkpoints at undisclosed locations within...

Pedestrians injured in drunk driving hit-and-run

A man is seriously injured after being hit by a drunk driver in Pacific Beach overnight. A man and...

Bullocks – PB’s Newest Billboard – ~1,100 Sq. Ft.?

Bullocks to this. It looks like the former Jack Daniels billboard, which took over about 1,100 sq. ft. of...

Man jailed after ramming police car in Pacific Beach

A man landed in jail Sunday hours after San Diego police say he beat and choked his girlfriend in...

Garnet Avenue DUI checkpoint nets (14) arrests

San Diego Police officers arrested 14 suspected drunken drivers and impounded 15 cars last night during a DUI Checkpoint...

SDPD Weekend DUI Checkpoints Net 34 Arrests (16 in PB), 37 Impounds

The San Diego Police Department Traffic Division conducted DUI checkpoints on Friday September 7, 2012, and on Saturday, September...

SDPD Labor Day Weekend DUI Checkpoints Net 28 DUI Arrests

The San Diego Police Department conducted three DUI checkpoints during the Labor Day Holiday weekend. The checkpoints were made...

Suspected drunk driver runs over friend

A suspected drunk driver is behind bars after hitting a woman while backing out of a parking space in...

16 Arrested at Pacific Beach DUI Checkpoint

San Diego police in Pacific Beach arrested 16 people on suspicion of drunken driving and impounded 17 vehicles during...

Pacific Beach Checkpoint Nets 6 Arrests

Six people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs at an overnight checkpoint...

Pacific Beach DUI Checkpoint Nets 16 Arrests, 17 Vehicles Impounded

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego police arrested 16 drivers on suspicion of drunken driving and impounded 17 vehicles...

Woman Injured In Hit-And-Run In Pacific Beach

Woman Was Crossing Street At Grand Avenue, Cass Street PACIFIC BEACH, Calif. — A woman was rushed to the...

Suspected DUI crash shuts down Ingraham in PB

View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com. Source: NBCSanDiego.com View a slideshow from 10News San Diego. UT San Diego Report on...

Jack Daniels Gets in on the Action

One issue with all the alcohol problems we experience is we draw even more marketers of alcohol products. Just...

Police Searching For Hit-And-Run Driver In PB Crash

SAN DIEGO — Police on Tuesday are searching for a hit-and-run driver who hit at least two vehicles in...

(DUI Crash) Driver ordered to pay friend’s medical costs

Driver ordered to pay friend’s medical costs A judge ordered a drunken driver to pay more than $7,500 in...

San Diego police arrest 9 DUI suspects during St. Patty’s Day checkpoints

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – San Diego police officers arrested nine suspected drunken drivers at a downtown checkpoint and extra...

Suspected DUI driver runs over woman lying in Hillcrest alley

A suspected drunken driver allegedly ran over a 27-year-old woman who was lying in a Hillcrest alley early Saturday,...

Woman Found Unconscious In PB May Have Been (Sexually) Assaulted

22-Year-Old Found Drunk, Partially Nude In Alley A 22-year-old woman found drunk, unconscious and partially nude in a Pacific...

Coronado Residents Concerned Over Alcohol Permits – San Diego News Story – KGTV San Diego

Some longtime Coronado residents are concerned that their town could soon mimic the bar scene in Pacific Beach or...

PB Shore Club wins Expansion bid

The Pacific Beach Shore Club was approved by the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to expand their premises onto a...

Rally, walk targets Proliferation of alcohol permits in PB

Concerned citizens walk past Crystal Pier on Jan. 27 on their way up Garnet Avenue to get their message...

Judgment Finalized In Legal Battle Over Golden Hill MAD

The judgment is final. Now, a group of residents in Golden Hill and South Park — who have spent...

Charger sued in 2009 bottle incident

A man has filed a lawsuit against San Diego Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips alleging the player broke a Champagne...

Man Seriously Hurt In Pacific Beach Hit-And-Run

Man Had Just Got Out Of Taxi, Hit By Toyota Yaris, Police Say SAN DIEGO — A 28-year-old man...

Shots Reportedly Fired In Pacific Beach

Shots Reported Fired In 1800 Block Of Hornblend Street POSTED: 7:38 am PST January 19, 2012 SAN DIEGO —...

US ‘drunk driver’ swims off to escape arrest

This is an update of the story below. This story also made international news agencies also shown below. SAN...

Drunk in PB at 2AM? Cops in the Rear View Mirror? Ditch the Car, Disappear in the Ocean!

SAN DIEGO — Authorities searched for hours early Tuesday for a man suspected of drunken driving who ran away...

PB Resident Fights Bar’s Plans To Expand

See the video SAN DIEGO — A Pacific Beach resident told 10News on Tuesday he has proof that too...

3 Checkpoints Net 12 Drunken Driving Arrests

SAN DIEGO — Three checkpoints set up in Pacific Beach, Imperial Beach and Chula Vista overnight netted 12 suspected...

(DUI) Driver Crashes Into Fire Hydrant, Parked Car In PB (at 11am)

A suspected drunken driver was taken into custody Friday after crashing into a fire hydrant and a parked car...

Drunk man breaks into 81 Year Old PB woman’s home

An elderly woman in Pacific Beach woke up Friday morning to find a man in a Chargers jersey sleeping...

Pacific Beach Checkpoint Nets 12 Arrests

SAN DIEGO — San Diego police arrested a dozen people on suspicion of drunken driving and impounded nine vehicles...

Letter: San Diego’s Continuing Taxi Cab Scandal

This is a letter to the editor in response to the article by former Superior Court Judge Larry Sterling...

Another DUI Crash in PB

Early this morning an drunk driver crashed and most likely totaled a parked car on Grand Ave. at Mission...

Bike Police Catch 3 Armed Robbers in PB

Here’s a great story about police catching armed robbers utilizing their bicycle patrols. We’re trying to raise funds to...

KPBS Interview Community Leader, Businessman and ABC

This afternoon KPBS Radio featured a story on the PB Planning Group’s report on the alcohol licensing and CUP...

Officer Hurt After Car Crashes Into Police Car

...