The corral for easy police DUI checkpoints, and multi-other crime/infractions, from public urination and vandalism, to armed robberies and violence, (sponsored the city penal industry) due to the alcohol party ambiance that been the sustained reputation of Pacific Beach for the past 20+ years , has become the focus for a grassroots citizen protest in the form of, yes, a good old PUBLIC PETITION to request/demand the city and the state to establish local control of alcohol licensing, in the form of the “C.U.P.” (Conditional Use Permit).
“After years of protest to the officials in both state and local agencies, including our own judicial forum, and getting no responsible answers from them to a problem that was getting worse and worse, we have decided to organize THE PEOPLE,” said Scott Chipman, one of the chief organizers of this grassroots endeavor.
The “beach booze ban” was voted in by The People in 2007, as a response to escalating “standing room only/ beach as drunk zone” activities leading to nationally televised drunken riots (August 2007), but the problem just moved off of the beach to the street, Garnet Avenue , and the surrounding blocks, inviting alcohol serving business profiteers and enablers to establish and prosper, and now, because of resistance in Pacific Beach, is migrating to other neighborhoods (North Park…)
At the recent Pacific Beach Town Council meeting, January 16th, 2013, Chipman and other local representatives from the Pacific Beach Planning Group and the Town Council, distributed petitions to the crowd and are now in the process of collecting thousands of signatures from locals as well as concerned citizens in other parts of the city of San Diego, to present to the new mayor, Bob Filner, and city council, in the hope of exposing the true nature of this urban problem with the voice and the vote of the people.
The Pacific Beach Planning Group elaborated a proposal for the CUP two years ago, based on, and with examples from effective implantation of this program in other California beach towns, Pismo Beach, Ventura, etc… and, although experiencing city/councilperson/bar operator resistance, have succeeded in moderating the influence and hopes are for continuation of this trend.
“The response is like wildfire”, says Chipman, “The people of Pacific Beach have been the sacrificial lamb of the city as a “party house”, and they are tired of it. A nice middle class, mellow beach town in reality (and historically), but, for the past couple of decades, in what can only be termed, “The Millennium Party,” we have seen our town transformed into a globally advertised binge drinking party scene, sacrificing the security and health of residents and “guests” alike, as well as the decline of other businesses and even the beach and ocean environment is suffering the waste.”
“The Alcohol Beverage Commission (ABC) in Sacramento seems to be distributing alcohol licenses to anyone who asks, (their motto: “just say yes”) with no regard to the state laws and quotas, so we have felt completely abused by the system, and powerless before the Alcohol,Tobacco and Firearms lobby, and our own public judges and officials. ”
In an effort to humanize the impact of addiction and alcoholism, event organizers, such as VAVI, recently have even tried to adopt as sponsors, without their permission, charities such as RADY Children’s Hospital to advertise their “bar walks/drink for a cause” Occupy Your Conscience!
Heaven, and generations of children know, that alcoholism is at the root of their discontent.
Establishing local control for local issues seems a sensible idea, and a growing tendency all across the county, for more than just alcohol licensing. The recently established “community court” in Pacific Beach for the penalty of minor infractions, seems to be working well, responsibilizing turbulent late nighters to the “error of their ways,” as well as getting some trash collecting and street cleaning from them instead of an arrest and fines and a court date. Local schools are also finding pro-active fund raising a direct solution to some essential needs rather than waiting for the state and county governments to administer them.
“A little less administration, a little more action,” could be the rallying cry of the coming years from townships across the land, and the end of “The rut of glut” days of fat cat administrators in faraway lands (Sacramento and Washington DC, or even just “downtown”) wasting taxpayer money, reminding us of the roots of our own American Revolution. The spirit of the people is alive and well in Pacific Beach, California.
Please join, and ask your neighbors what they think, for Pacific Beach, one of your nicest beaches in the world, and for your own communities too. For more info on PB’s drinking issues go here http://www.pbspirits.com/topics/solutions/conditional-use-permit/. To find out how you can get involved send an email here.
Following is a copy of the text of the petition.
PETITION FOR CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT ORDINANCE
TO PROVIDE LOCAL (CITY) CONTROL OF ALCOHOL-LICENSED BUSINESSES IN PACIFIC BEACH
BECAUSE the Pacific Beach “Bar District” has Alcohol Crime that is 18 times City average and Violent Crime 5 times City average,
AND PB’s bar district has 64 alcohol licenses where only 10 are allowed by state guidelines,
AND PB has more than 500 DUIs a year (highest for all communities in the City),
AND PB has the highest number of tickets for public urination (259; one-third of City’s total from January 2011 to March 2012),
AND these crimes, noise and other negative impacts create an unsafe and unhealthy atmosphere for residents, tourists and other businesses,
AND the State ABC Department CONTINUES to issue new and expanded alcohol licenses while allowing restaurants to function like bars,
We, the undersigned, want the City of San Diego to adopt a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) Ordinance (based on the Ventura CA model*) to:
1) Require new alcohol-licensed businesses in Pacific Beach to obtain a City-issued CUP that will stipulate operating conditions to reduce crime and negative impacts;
2) “Grandfather-in” existing alcohol-licensed businesses, but establish a threshold where violations may trigger a CUP;
3) Establish a cost-recovery funding mechanism with reasonable, sliding-scale fees paid by all alcohol-licensed businesses to pay for a SDPD police officer to administer the CUP, monitor and enforce conditions, and work with businesses to encourage best practices to reduce crime.
Sub-Committee is the nom de plume of a Pacific Beach activist.