Letters to the Editor – Regarding Proposed Alcohol-free Beaches

September 14, 2007 No Comments

Drinking at the beach and in the stands

I disagree with your editorial (“Beach booze ban?/Voters should have final say — again,” Sept. 7) questioning whether alcohol on public beaches should be prohibited. Presumably your editorial board was not at Pacific Beach on Labor Day when drunk and disorderly hooligans (once again) took over the beach and street to fight. You do not mention that lifeguards had to leave their stations to patrol the area from the water.

The City Council has only one challenge: to demonstrate sufficient backbone to legislate unanimously, responsibly and in short order that all San Diego beaches will be alcohol-free henceforth, to be enjoyed freely and safely by residents and visitors alike. La Jolla Shores doesn’t allow alcohol and the crime rate has dramatically decreased. Years ago, dogs on beaches were regulated and public health and safety improved.

We certainly don’t need another bogus popular referendum on this disgrace, skewed by money from the same powerful liquor lobby that has manipulated our politicians to fill Pacific Beach’s business district with bars and clubs. It’s time to free PB: Ban booze at the beach.

FRANCES O’NEILL ZIMMERMAN

La Jolla

Your editorial fails to take into consideration two important developments since the 2002 vote on a proposed alcohol ban. First, the ability of the Internet to inform a nationwide readership that visitors can drink on San Diego beaches during the day and in beach- area bars at night. Our beach areas are inundated with out-of- towners who see San Diego as a West Coast Fort Lauderdale. Second, a proliferation of vacation rental properties, also advertised on the Internet, encourages short-term visitors who have no stake in our beach communities and care little, or not at all, about how their behavior impacts the residents.

San Diego residents are taxed to pay for police protection. The number of officers on patrol has increased in response to the increase in beach drinking. Many of the officers patrolling the beach area do so on overtime because the Police Department is short of personnel. Not only does that cost more, but police working overtime are away from their families and are denied the rest they need to perform the arduous tasks of their jobs.

Public safety must be San Diego’s priority. If that requires a ban on beach booze, so be it.

ROSALIE SCHWARTZ

San Diego

Maybe without realizing it, your editorial pointed out exactly why some voters rejected the March 2002 booze ban — because it only extended as far north as Felspar Street. No one has ever been able or willing to explain why all the boozers were going to be concentrated into that short area between Felspar and Tourmaline Street. This time, the City Council is going to have to devise a much better plan to win the support it needs on this issue.

LINDA HANSON

San Diego

The Union-Tribune acknowledged that the previous referendum opponents were bankrolled by beer distributors, liquor stores and residents. Those favoring a ban had virtually no financial support yet the final results were very close. What makes you think it would be any different this time? I fail to see why Pacific Beach and Mission Beach should remain an “Anything Goes Drunk Zone” when nearly every other city in the state has banned drinking on beaches. Another referendum would bring another barrage of disingenuous advertisements paid for by the liquor industry urging us to “vote for our `right’ to enjoy a cup of wine or a few beers on the beach.” If they really believed that, they wouldn’t spend so much to rig another election result. The City Council should examine the facts and make a decision. In my opinion, the facts call for a total ban and the sooner the better.

JAMES ZIEGLER

San Diego

Patricia D. Campbell (“Where’s the outcry over drunken behavior at game?” Letters, Sept. 12) wonders why there’s no outcry to remove alcohol from the stadium after all the arrests at the Charger game. She doesn’t see the difference between that game and the Labor Day riot in Pacific Beach. Anyone would agree that there are alcohol problems at the stadium, but it’s a different environment than the beach. Bear in mind that officers were able to safely make a hundred arrests at the stadium, without calling out reinforcements in riot gear. Also, in the beach incident, 16 people were arrested out of a crowd of 700. In order to have the same percentage of the crowd (67,000) arrested at the Charger game, police would have had to arrest 1,531 people in the stadium.

It’s easy to understand why the PB incident angered so many people, and why I support Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s call to get alcohol off the beach.

DAWN KAMALI

Pacific Beach

I agree with Patricia D. Campbell complaining that alcohol should be more strictly controlled or banned at Charger games. I attended the pre-season game against the 49ers and the amount of alcohol consumed was unbelievable. The smell of beer was not just reeking in the parking lot but was literally smelling up the seats and the stands where I was sitting. A majority of the fans looked like they were drunk; fans were rowdy, loud and had filthy mouths and all this was going on while the announcer kept telling fans about the new “Budweiser section,” evidently where even more drinking can go on.

I go to games because I like to watch football, period. A better crowd seems to attend the Padres games and you see kids everywhere. I would never bring a child to a Charger games and would recommend to any parent not to do so. Why do the Chargers feel they have to sell so much alcohol?

As I left the stadium, I thought how many drunks were going to be on the road that night and just couldn’t stop thinking about the poor kids of those drunks. I hope Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council review the policy on alcohol sales at Qualcomm.

RANDY BERHOLTZ

Carmel Valley

Disturbing case shows`racism still lingers’

Regarding “Details emerge in suspected racially charged torture case” (News, Sept. 12):

It disgusts me that such acts are still being practiced in parts of the United States. The fact that children were present and aware of Megan Williams’ mistreatment makes the case all the more grotesque and disturbing. As for the victim, she will suffer emotionally and physically for the rest of her life. As much as we want to believe that racism no longer exists and that America is truly the land of freedom and opportunity, the reality, unfortunately, is that racism still lingers among pockets of U.S. population.

HAO WANG

Rancho Bernardo

News value ofitem questioned

Regarding “Man offers fake $50 bill, then steals sandwiches” (Crime Watch, Sept. 12):

When a journalist reports stories, it is his or her responsibility to decide whether a story is newsworthy. Upon reading this account of alleged “public safety” I was filled with surprise that this minuscule incident called for police involvement. The couple stole two sandwiches, which may have cost the Subway corporation a trivial amount, if anything. The account provided an unnecessary, yet detailed, description of the perpetrators. I would like to see more coverage on key topics influencing our region dealing with real crimes instead of reaffirming our dependence on this type of mindless rubbish.

HEATHER HOURY

San Diego

Beach Ordinance

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