California: Opposition To 4AM Bar Closing
They Want Public Safety Over Alcohol Profits
The California Alcohol Policy Alliance along with dozens of community members gathered in San Diego, California to protest a proposal to allow bars and nightclubs to serve alcohol as late as 4 a.m.
The substance abuse prevention advocates are mounting opposition to the so-called SB 384, introduced by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The lawmakers proposed to allow the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to license establishments to sell alcohol beverages for an extra two hours if the business complies with local requirements. The bill has passed the state Senate and is now before the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
But it faces strong resistance from public health and public safety advocates, together with local residents and activists.
Lisa Bridges, with Community Action, Service & Advocacy (CASA), and member of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance says:
We need to put public safety ahead of alcohol profits.
Allowing alcohol to be served until 4 a.m. pushes the most dangerous time to be on the road right into the morning commute and imposes more burden on law enforcement.”
Broad opposition and grave concerns
The San Diego Police Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, and the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, are among nearly one hundred organizations that oppose Senate Bill 384, including MADD and Alcohol Justice.
The term local control is bait to lure in potential supporters,” says Brian Curry a Pacific Beach resident and past chair of the Pacific Beach Planning Group.
Instead, it leaves cities vulnerable to the same moneyed business interests: Big Alcohol and its cousin, the entertainment lobby that run roughshod over existing alcohol policies with their promises of creating jobs and tax revenue,” he said.
In California, alcohol already claims more than 10,500 lives per year and leaves more than 900,000 people injured.
San Diego County is home to more than a dozen colleges and universities, where safety associated with binge alcohol use is already a concern. Alcohol is the leading cause of death among teenagers in California.
Judith Garcia Rojas, UCSD student, says:
Extending the bar hours would only exacerbate the impact of alcohol on young people”
Those at todays rally say they are concerned for public safety. Extending bar hours raises public safety concerns, endangers public health, and pits law enforcement and communities against the well-resourced industries that stand to profit from increasing alcohol availability.
The degree of quality of life is going to continue to decrease, and that doesn’t make any sense,” said Lisa Bridges of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, per KPBS.