Shout-out at the PB Corral – Residents Fight for Conditional Booze Permits

by on January 24, 2013 · 19 comments

in Culture, Economy, Environment, History

By sub-committee

carintopbhome1The 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.

pb bar fightEstablishing 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 To find out how you can get involved send an email here.

Thank you.

Following is a copy of the text of the petition.


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.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Tyler January 24, 2013 at 2:10 pm

PB may be out of control, but Scott Chipman is the WORST.


obecean January 24, 2013 at 9:02 pm

The man would reinstate the 18th Amendment if he could! Not sure why others don’t see the conflict of interest as Chipman is Mormon. He is a man on a mission. The state of Utah might be more suitable to his tastes and beliefs. Southern California beach towns tend to much different than Salt Lake City. Just sayin’


Goastkull January 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

I agree that PB needs some cleaning up but why in the world would he want to move to and reside in a place like PB of all places in San Diego?


John January 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I agree with everything said except that PB is not one of the nicest beaches in the world. Not even close.


J January 27, 2013 at 9:34 am

Let the truth be heard! None of SD’s beaches are even close to being the nicest in the world or even the US. You’d think that the beaches being the number one draw for tourism dollars for SD County, would have some nice facilities for beach goers. Maybe if we treated people like humans and spent their taxes providing showers and clean restrooms for people they wouldn’t behave like a bunch of animals. Have you been in the rape dungeon they call the restroom at the OB Lifeguard station? It’s disgraceful that the community has let that festering rape hole exist for DECADES! instead the OB town council spends it time debating a new sign!


Jerry Hall January 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Yes PB has significant bar and restaurant-abuse issues, as does North Park, Hillcrest, Downtown and many of our communities. It’s pretty bad in PB but, the issue at hand is citywide. I’m of the belief, based on hundreds of hours of research and reporting on another of my sites at (see Our Proposal) that the answer is multi-faceted. (I also authored to help describe conditions in PB that are likely just as bad in many of San Diego’s communities).

That is, when stakeholders sat down and worked together, along with other program components, alcohol related crimes dropped 20-40%. Components include regular collaboration among stakeholders, responsible beverage-service training, a conditional use permit that police could use to hold proprietors to good business practices, enforcement by the ABC and evidence-based interventions – systemically trying things that work (reducing alcohol related crimes and negative impacts) and dumping those that don’t.

The economic costs to the city and taxpayers for the few bad operators in each of our communities is causing an undue financial burden. Fullerton, CA up in Orange County pegged that number at an average of $15k/year/bar-restaurant. That equates to about $2m in PB alone. Why should you the taxpayer pay for a police car and ambulance when a drunk comes straight out of a bar, passes out and cracks their head? Is that your responsibility?

The problem with no real oversight is >some< bars/restaurants, just like anything else, are ruining it for their everyone. They're over-serving with impunity because they can. This isn't just about enforcing existing laws, it's about bars and restaurants paying their fair share, on a fair and Prop-26 justified cost-recovery basis, for the city services that are serving their industry alone. Cops and ambulances aren't being called every night to serve a bikini shop's patrons. So, why should taxpayers pay for cops/ambulance to support the private businesses profiting dearly in many cases?

Cosmetologists, hair stylists, massage practitioners all have to go through extensive State training and pay annual San Diego licensing fees but, bars and restaurants – most pay zero and employees are not required to take five minutes of training. Sure, many take voluntary training but, how's that working? Industry self-training and self-policing isn't working.

I believe we, that is the industry, police, city, ABC and residents — should be using evidence-based solutions that have worked – and working together to make it happen. A CUP is a single element but, without the total package it may very well just turn out to be another under-utilized ordinance.

You should also know that 'local control' through a CUP means the City of San Diego, not individual people or local planning groups, would decide who gets licensed, where they can open and what the ground rules are. The city can then conduct enforcement locally. Right now the State's ABC is responsible and as you will see from my reports the odds of a licensee getting disciplined by the State or city are indeed rare. Open a bar in San Diego and you'll likely get cited every 150 years. Heck, I got more citations than that and my behavior changes pretty quickly (i.e. I move my car on street sweeping days). Why aren't bars held to the same standard?

Not bad huh? Open a bar, serve until people are puking, toss them outside, they beat each other up and get hurt, the cops and ambulance carts them away, you take home your profits and poof! the taxpayer picks up the tab. Bar owner = Winner! … Taxpayer = Loser

It's time for change. The beaches have changed significantly – and the problem didn't roll inland, it's been there all along. One mess cleaned up and time to clean up another. The status quo isn't working. Let's do what's working across California and save taxpayers money.


morgino January 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Translation-” Now that we have got old, own property and dont want to party with the kids anymore we want to change how PB was when we were younger!”


Rob H. January 25, 2013 at 1:57 pm

PB is a great place to live, and to visit. As long as you’re not in the bar zone after 10 at night, it’s one of the safest places in the U.S.
Tyler, what’s with the personal attack? Who cares what someone’s background is when they’re talking about reducing violent crime?
Go here. Look at which communities lead the city in violent crime.
PB. #1 in Rapes last year. 14 rapes in PB. 11 rapes each in North Park and East Village. Those are the top three communities for Rape in San Diego last year. Did you know that? Have you considered WHY this is the case? Mmm…could it be that a handful of the bars — not most, just a handful — are operated in a manner that fosters violent crime?
Obecian, do you want to talk about the issue here, or do you want to talk about what church I attend? When someone says violent crime is too high, why is your response, “That guy is the worst?”
Goatskull, PB wasn’t always the stabbiest, rapiest, fist-fightiest, drunk-drivingest community in San Diego. PB has become the violent crime capital of San Diego because of the frat-boy-from-Arizona mentality of the corporate bar owners who set up shop here within the last few years. Of course, people under 20 years old, or who just moved here don’t get it. They might not even know that sidewalks don’t smell like pee.
Let’s try to stay on topic, please.


Goastkull January 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm

PB didn’t used to be as bad as it is now, but it’s been a heavy drinking area for as long as I can remember. I remember as a high school student in the 70’s seeing inebriated frat boys drinking to the point of passing out right there on the sidewalk and getting into fights with military guys (and losing badly). I remember there used to be a lot of bikers hanging out in the area too, especially by Crystal Pier. Any way you look at it, PB has been a party neighborhood for a long long time and has had the reputation just as long. With that being said I found it odd that person who doesn’t drink at all would and lives a fairly wholesome lifestyle compared to most people would move into that neighborhood of all places in SD. I think it’s fair enough to consider that odd. As to him wanting to reduce crime I have no problem with that. Who would? Obecean is probably over exaggerating Chipman’s goals, but at the same time I think it’s a realistic concern that he may go a bit overboard too.


Rob H. January 25, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Goaty, I hear ya.
However, you’re missing the point (s).
There are several hundred people working on this. None of them “move(d) into that neighborhood of all places in SD.” They lived there before these problems blew up. Or they owned businesses in the beach areas before these problems blew up.
Yes, I remember seeing fistfights between various factions. Yes, I remember all the bikers. But unless you were drunk/stupid enough to pick a fight with some Sailors or Marines, or you were wandering around wearing M/C colors, there were no issues.
You could wander the boardwalk, the beach, Garnet, or Mission Blvd all night long…with a date, even…and not get harassed. Beach bars were laid-back, and we could all eat, drink, and be merry.
Not now.
In the whole city, your best chance of witnessing an assault or a rape is to go to Garnet Avenue at night. That’s just not fun, and it’s bad for business.
Nobody’s advocating for prohibition.
What we want is what other cities have; a mechanism to bring the crap-holes in line, and quit breaking the laws regarding alcohol service.
Remember the Red Onion? Margarita Rocks?
It cost the police and city attorney hundreds of thousands of dollars (in taxpayer money) to shut down those crap-holes. Other cities don’t have to do that. And guess what happens in those other cities?
The city doesn’t have to shut anyone down. The crap-holes start complying with the laws. Nobody goes out of business, no jobs are lost. Fewer fights, fewer stabbings, less pee on the sidewalks, fewer calls for police services. Other bars, restaurants, hardware stores, florists, and yogurt shops don’t have to steam-clean the puke out of their entryways in the morning; it’s good for business. That’s what happened in other cities.
What part of this is “going overboard?”
You’re getting some misleading information on what this is all about, old friend.
Here are the facts:
Out of all the bars in PB, MB, and OB, there are TWO bars in PB that spin out 25% of all the DUIs.
There are TEN bars that spit out 60% of all the DUIs in the beach area.
All we want is to give our city the leverage to get those places to toe the line, follow the laws that the other 140 bars and restaurants follow.
Right now, there’s no way to do that, without our city spending six figures on police and city attorney investigations.
That’s all we want.
Again…what part of this is “going overboard?”


Goatskull January 25, 2013 at 10:15 pm

I’m not saying you or like minded people are going overboard. I was referring to concerns that one individual (Chipman) might go overboard, and even then I didn’t state it matter of faculty that he will. It’s just an observation.
As to what you’re talking about we’re not completely on different pages. These days I rarely hang out in PB for all the reasons you mentioned, but I think there are those who really want to turn it into something it’s not.


Rob H. January 25, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I know the people circulating this petition.
All they want is lower crime, less pee, puke, and broken glass on the sidewalks along Garnet so that bars, restaurants, and other businesses can flourish. We get more places to eat, drink, shop, and hang out, without having to evacuate before the drunkfest begins.
You know, like PB was ten or 15 years back.
That’s all anybody wants.


Jerry Hall January 26, 2013 at 12:01 am

Keep going back RH… 17-20 years ago it was much more reasonable. Still a bit crazy (Stingers aka. Stabbers, Billy Bones [pre-margarita rocks] etc.) but, not out of control.


J January 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

This isn’t a new problem for the area. It has been MAGNIFIED by increased population. More people mean more bars more drunks and more urine. It also means a lot more people looking to live near the beach so now you are hearing more about their issues because there are more of them. PB is the SD college zone, always has been and that’s not changing until you remove the colleges. Its why I moved out of PB. Police all you want but your not going to stop the flow of young people who want to drink, your time is used better trying to figure out how they can do it more responsibly. If you want less public urination how about putting in more public restrooms, like the ones in SF that self clean!


Jerry Hall January 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

In the 1990’s the population in 92109 went up 16% and in the 2000’s by 1.6%. It could very well be one of the factors. The number of outlets might be near the same as well but, their footprints have gotten bigger (expansions) and their business practices have declined. Add to that less enforcement and it’s a mess. Not only PB but, it seems anywhere where there’s a high concentration of outlets.

We need an equitable solution for every community.


Rob H. January 27, 2013 at 3:48 pm

J, the population of PB, and even the number of visitors hasn’t increased enough to cause the increase in violent crime.
Additionally, more restrooms won’t reduce the number of public urination episodes. Drunks pee where they want to pee.
Following your logic, every university campus should smell like urine, because they are densely populated areas, and everyone knows those wacky college kids just don’t know how to find a restroom.
You also might take a look at Fullerton. A few savvy bar owners figured out how to draw in large numbers of young people (Good!). About 50 bars and restaurants were booming..and surprise, surprise, the city started spending a huge chunk of their cop budget policing the newly “revitalized” downtown. Their city bean-counters sharpened up their pencils, and did a cost/benefit analysis. Turns out they were losing a cool million dollars a year, in an area with 50 restaurants and bars. Hmmm.
Population of Fullerton’s downtown didn’t increase.
City losing a million a year in cops, fire engines, repairing vandalism, etc….that’s AFTER factoring in all the mythical money these places generated for the city.
Oh, and the population of Fullerton’s downtown didn’t grow. Just the crime.


Jerry Hall January 25, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Morgino, I rent and still love to go out … not too old to do anything I’ve done in PB still…except I don’t because I’d be the ‘old guy in the club’ :)… What I do care about though is people unnecessairly profiting off their fellow man’s demise (the people getting assaulted, raped, homes vandalized, home invasions (‘just sleepy drunks trying to sleep’) and so on. There’s a culture in PB that many other communities have seen as well. We’re just so abused we’ve stood up and said enough! and are willing to volunteer our time to make our community safer. Old adage but, since when does making a place safer become bad for business or fun?


Jerry Hall January 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm

I’m not sure most homeowners or renters for that matter had any idea of what their business district was going to be like when they moved in. And, if they did they probably assumed things would improve not worsen. I’ve seen dozens of really good people leave PB because of the nightlife conditions. Isn’t >>everyone<some< bar owners have taken full advantage of the State's lack of resources and the City's subsidy.

I for one am not suggesting closing bars or changing one's personal behavior (because it's well, personal). But, when licensed establishments are over-doling out a substance that can kill the consumer and those they come in contact with then regulations have to be made and enforced.

Finally, who should make San Diego's licensing decisions – Sacramento or San Diego? I believe the City of San Diego would do a better job if only because they understand their communities better than anyone.


Jerry Hall January 25, 2013 at 3:11 pm

… got a little crazy with the carrots. This should read:

Isn’t everyone supposed to be able to enjoy their ‘pursuit of happiness’ or is that just for some bar owners and selfish residents who could care less about their fellow man.

Things seemed to have started rolling back in 1996 when the State’s ABC had 16 enforcement officers and now have 3-5. As a result, some bar owners have taken full advantage of the State’s lack of resources and the City’s subsidy. Isn’t it only fair that they should be held responsible or is anyone suggesting that citizens should subsidize for-profit businesses at the expense of their neighbor’s safety and happiness?


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