Supporters, officials say Proposition G is likely to fail | Beach- alcohol measure is trailing by 2,900 votes

March 8, 2002 No Comments

Angela Lau. The San Diego Union – Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Mar 8, 2002. pg. B.1.1.6

As absentee ballots were counted yesterday, opponents of Proposition G, the measure seeking to impose a round-the-clock trial ban on alcohol in parts of Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, were all but assured victory.

With almost 15,000 absentee ballots counted yesterday of the estimated 19,600 dropped off at city polls on Election Day, Proposition G was failing by 2,973 votes, or 1.9 percentage points.

With the small number of remaining absentee ballots to be counted Monday, Proposition G supporters acknowledged yesterday the measure probably will lose.

“I don’t think we can make up the difference,” said Jean Froning, a member of San Diegans for Safe Beaches.

“But it was quite remarkable that on something so sensitive, we were able to get half of the voters to think it is time to have a trial ban,” Froning said. “That was fabulous.”

Registrar of Voters Sally McPherson said yesterday it would be “very, very tough” for Proposition G to pull ahead.

Bob Glaser, consultant for Proposition G opponents, said a celebration is being planned.

“It’s over for them,” Glaser said. “Statistically, it is not likely that the very last batch of the ballots dropped off at the polls will be 68, 70 percent `yes,’ which is what they need.”

He said the pending victory, although with a much narrower margin than his side expected, shows that voters heard the opponents’ message, aired on radio stations and run in a magazine.

“Voters realized the proponents were playing with statistics and that it was not really a public-safety issue,” Glaser said. “And, with the small problem that does exist, we don’t need to lose our freedom. Police and the City Council need to do their job to clean it up.”

If passed, the trial ban would cover parts of Pacific Beach and Mission Beach from the south jetty to Felspar Street north of Crystal Pier on the beach side and from Mission Point to Zanzibar Court south of the pier outside Catamaran Hotel on the bay side.

Ocean Beach and much of Mission Bay, such as Fiesta Island, would not be covered by the trial ban and would be open to drinking.

People who wish to hold gatherings that include alcohol in the test ban area could apply for permits to drink at nearly two dozen sites.

Froning said many voters may have thought the measure was proposing a permanent ban when they voted against it. But persistent alcohol-related crime in the two beach communities may trigger future discussions of tighter alcohol restrictions, she said.

Existing law bans alcohol consumption on beaches from 8 p.m. to noon.

“What we were trying to do was to prevent it from being brought up as a crisis decision,” Froning said. “There is still more to be done.”

Opponents, among them the town councils of Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach, had proposed such solutions as increasing police staffing at the beaches. They also suggested establishing community courts to try minor alcohol-related crimes swiftly.

The test ban’s author, City Councilman Byron Wear, had said he does not think the city would be able to add to the 50 to 60 police officers who patrol the beaches because of budget constraints.

Police statistics show that Pacific Beach and Mission Beach accounted for more than one-third of alcohol-related crimes in the city in 1998-2000, although they do not pinpoint how many of those originated from the beaches.

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

Credit: STAFF WRITER

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