Residents seek to fight drunkenness at beaches

April 20, 2003 No Comments

Angela Lau. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Apr 20, 2003. pg. B.3

Beach area residents are making a renewed effort to fight drunkenness along the waterfront as summer, the peak beach-drinking season, approaches.

One year after an effort to implement a 24-hour alcohol ban on beaches failed at the polls, supporters and opponents of a ban have joined to fight drinking in the beach areas.

They have secured the support of their City Council representative, Michael Zucchet, whose district includes the popular Mission Beach and Pacific Beach neighborhoods.

Measures proposed are not new. But residents are pursuing them with a greater sense of urgency because they anticipate a reduced police presence this summer due to a hiring freeze at the San Diego Police Department.

“Police coverage down here is going to get worse and worse,” said Bill Bradshaw, a Mission Beach activist who supported last year’s alcohol ban. “In the past, the department took police out of other divisions during the summer and assigned them to the beach.”

The proposals, made through the Mission Beach Town Council chaired by Robert Chubinsky, a ban opponent, include:

Strict enforcement of existing alcohol laws, such as rooting out underage drinking on the sand.

Doubling of alcohol-related fines, such as those for DUIs, which usually carry a $2,000 fine along with automatic license suspension, and loud parties in homes, which now can carry fines of up to $500.

Allocation of revenue from increased fines, beach tourism and beach community special events to the police department to augment beach patrol.

Requiring permits for keg beer and beach parties serving alcohol to 25 people or more.

Implementation of community courts to handle alcohol-related offenses swiftly.

Establishment of a detox center in the beach area.

Prohibition of drinking on Bayside Walk.

Continued enforcement of the 4-year-old CAPP — Community Assisted Party Program. It is in force in the College Area and Northern Division, which covers most of the beach communities.

CAPP marks houses that hold loud parties as trouble spots. Homes that have been issued two notices for loud-party complaints in 31 days or two in 24 hours will be “capped.” A third complaint will result in the arrest of residents, who will spend a night in jail and pay up to $400 in bail and up to $500 in fines. Houses with underage drinking also will be “capped,” said Scott Morrison, a police community relations officer.

Zucchet said he is working with the city attorney and the city’s Park and Recreation Department to make the proposals a reality.

“It’s an ongoing problem,” Zucchet said. “Some progress has been made in certain areas of the beach community, but trouble spots pop up in other places.”

Zucchet already had proposed legislation to ban keg beer on city beaches on July 4.

Some long-time residents, such as Alan Sumption, said they have learned to take the noise in stride.

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

Credit: STAFF WRITER

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