PB, Alcohol and You Creating Forward MovementJune 21, 2011 2 Comments
Focus on alcohol-related and other safety issues in Pacific Beach, California
What’s going on?
There are many residents, businesses and civic groups struggling with alcohol-related issues in our community. This struggle is exacerbated by a noisy few bar and restaurant businesses that are intent on belittling those of us that are willing to spend countless hours trying to find solutions. Rather than continue to butt heads it’s time to establish a mutually-respectful dialog.
It seems step one is admitting there is a problem. The community (including yours truly) is stubbornly insisting there is a problem and many from the alcohol-industry say everything is fine. An outside observer however would clearly see problems. PB’s core business area has 1900% average census tract alcohol-related crimes under a burden of over 800% outlet over-concentration, about 600 DUI’s annually (a fraction of actual DUI events) and a host of community quality-of-life complaints. Yet we have about 15 alcohol applications for new or modified establishments in process today. Bar owners say we’re a popular destination and that crimes are ‘normal’. It appears normal for them perhaps but, many in our community we are under more and more stress because of chronic alcohol-related issues.
What could we do?
We could start a coalition consisting of alcohol and non-alcohol related businesses, residents, community leaders, prevention, police, medical, court and ABC representatives. This group would focus on a monthly basis on subjective and measurable goals that will both help keep our finger on the pulse of ‘any’ problems, track successful interventions and adjust solutions so we can achieve typical outcomes. This group could also develop a cost-benefit analysis of a more systemic solution such as a conditional use permit (CUP) that works in many communities large and small to drastically reduce alcohol-related crimes and community anxiety.
Such a coalition could focus on outcomes that are a result of social pressure and enforcement interventions we implement together. It will take more than hiring a PR firm, as our Hospitality ‘Task Force’ recently did, to appease the community. We don’t want to be told they are doing great. We want to see it. Calls for police and medical services, DUI and other crime rates, place of last drink (POLD) surveys and anecdotal evidence are all measures that can be analyzed regularly. Then, attention can be focused on problem establishments and environmental issues, measured again the next period, and adjusted accordingly.
Don’t be timid
Although some bars and restaurants are savvy at deflecting any responsibility it appears the noisiest few are the most problematic. Residents, civic leaders and city leaders are being timid when what’s actually needed is bold steps. Why is San Diego for instance the only top-10 city in California without a citywide conditional use permit for on and off-sale alcohol licensees? Why is it widely accepted that the ABC has enforcement officers responsible for annual oversight of well over 1,000 licensees each? How is it ok that, in our beach communities, our San Diego Police and Fire-Rescue services focus primarily on alcohol-related issues yet they in fact are under-staffed (-11%) and chronically under-funded? Aren’t communities like PB draining these sorely needed resources from the rest of San Diego communities?
Our website at pbSpirits.com (this website) is intended to be a consistent repository of a fraction of alcohol related issues in Pacific Beach. Viewing the videos, reading the stories and learning more about this issue and potential solutions takes time yes but, your educating yourself on these issues will make a difference in people’s lives.
Oddly enough, the negative stereotype our community carries hurts all bars and restaurants, retailers and service businesses throughout Pacific Beach–not to mention our hoteliers, residents, schools and civic groups. The noisy few bar and restaurant owners causing most of the flack seem to be using their platform, intimidation tactics and utter denial of any issues to protect their extensive profits–at the expense of the rest of us.
Are you getting tired of this conversation? It’s one that will not go away until we find real solutions, not more smokescreens. When our community improves every business, civic group, school, resident and our guest’s experience will be positively affected. Improving the environment will naturally attract a different crowd, give us a better reputation while making PB a more attractive destination. In the end, we all come out on top.
Let’s cut through the smoke and get down to business… we can develop a coalition of interested parties, establish baselines and goals, identify problem practices, establishments and deficiencies — then develop solutions to truly mitigate their issues that are injuring people today (literally). We should be measuring results regularly to gauge our success in doing our jobs. Any other effort, especially maintaining the status quo, has proven to not work.
Why don’t we try something different?
Let’s discuss how we can all work together to learn about issues and focus on solutions. Let’s stop ignoring the issues and strive to implement long-proven strategies.
If you’re interested in getting involved, a little or a little more, feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com or, by visiting our website at www.pbSpirits.com regularly and keeping tuned in.
JerryAlcohol Licensees, Coalition Building, Crime and Safety, MM, Solutions