About 100 Residents Protest Violence and Drunkenness in Their Community
Last Friday, January 27th, approximately one hundred residents of Pacific Beach rallied on the boardwalk next to the Crystal Pier. They were there because they had complaints of too much drunkenness and violence caused by all the bars and restaurants in their neighborhood serving booze to young people. They want more local control over alcohol licensing.
The group held a silent march from the Pier to Fanuel Street with lots of signs (one sign stood out – it read: “drunk people are un-cool”.
Micaela Shafer Porte, a PB volunteer and community activist, reported to the OB Rag:
The bars and bar attendees were subdued, but it was early, and someone said if we were doing this at 11pm, they would be throwing stuff at us. Some bars are now featuring signs advertising “family bonding night”, and I saw many families, some with t-shirts that read: “don’t move! improve PB”.
Scott Chipman of the PB Planning Board spoke of the goal to obtain local authority over bar action with aC.P.U (conditional use permit) )which is practiced in many other towns with similar problems, but keeps being refused to us here.
Friday’s rally was also attended by a few activists from other neighborhoods around the city, particularly North Park. Here is what the group – apparently organized by members of the Pacific Beach Planning committee – is saying:
A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM:
- PB and North Park have very high crime because of culture of over-consumption of alcohol in our business districts. PB consistently has the highest rate of violent crime and North Park falls just barely behind PB. PB has the highest rate of alcohol-related crime and general crime and is top or near the top in nearly all crime categories. This crime is centered around the business district where more and more restaurants are functioning like bars and more and more alcohol licenses are being issued, modified or expanded each year.
- San Diego is #1 for DUI in the nation. For the 2nd year in a row Insurance.com has identified San Diego as number 1 for DUI in the country. http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/auto-insurance-basics/cities-with-the-most-drunk-driving-offenders.aspx .
- San Diego ranks 10th in the nation of 40 cities for Drunkest Cities http://www.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/galleries/2010/12/23/drunkest-cities.html . San Diego is in front of (worse than) Las Vegas, Chicago, New Orleans, Los Angeles.
- Average Drinks, per person, per month 12.44
- Percent of adults who are heavy drinkers 6.1
- Percent of adults who are binge drinker 17.2
- Deaths per 100,000 residents from alcoholic liver disease: 8.3
Without effective regulation, public health, and safety policies that proactively address the culture of overconsumption and overserving by bars and bar-like restaurants, we are creating an atmosphere that results in crime, disturbances, violence, vandalism, injury, etc.
- The Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), SDPD vice, and city officials are part of the problem. The police work for the mayor and the mayor and city councilman are ignoring (or don’t know about or want to know about) the problems identified above and have become part of the problem themselves by endorsing new alcohol licenses, expansions of bar-like restaurants, and modifications to allow serving more alcohol, harder alcohol (not just beer and wine), and for longer hours.
A C.U.P. (conditional use permit) is the goal of the committee, which they hope will bring local control, including sanctions, of local problems basically. They have complaints that they are being ignored by the city and state and harassed by the alcohol lobbies and advertisers of “north of the border” party zones that the city seems to be encouraging, etc.
Our activist contact wrote us:
Pacific Beach has more than 6 times the legal california state quantity of alcohol licenses per capita, and more being demanded of the A.B.C (alcohol beverage commission) every week, and granted in spite of local protest. Some questioning observers wondered if there are more D.U.I’s here “on purpose” and we agreed that it did seem to be that way since they put all the bars and drunks here so they could catch them?
As San Diego is now at the top of the national list for DUI’s, something must be done, and we think the answer is not more bars (disguised as restaurants or coffee shops – i was just informed that Starbucks has now received authorization to serve alcohol – we have several Starbucks in Pacific Beach)
It is not a new theory that excessive anything is a necessarily a better condition, so why not distribute some of our bars to the other neighborhoods, so that people won’t have to take party buses to Garnet Avenue to get drunk, they can just walk to their own local bar, and walk home vomiting and breaking glass and passing out on their own local neighbor’s yards.
She says that they “are working with the folks of North Park who are also fed up with the party strip in their town… this is bound to become a hugh issue as there is mega money from very large lobbies at stake here, (alcohol/tourism) and a brief history (30 years) of established drunken habit.”
Here’s the KUSI report.