Both sides say ‘Let voters decide’ on booze ban


Proponents and opponents of the beach alcohol ban agree that the decision on whether to extend the year-long trial belongs on the Nov. 4 ballot.

“This was going to be on the ballot,” said Jacob Pyle, spokesman for the group against the restrictions formerly known as Ban the Ban. “A lot of businesses - hotels, restaurants, bars, corner stores - are being hurt by the decrease in attendance from visitors coming to our community.”

“We felt there was a high likelihood that this was going to be on the ballot in any case,” said Scott Chipman, committee member on a pro beach-booze ban group known as

“Why not just put it on the ballot now and let people decide, after they’ve seen the differences between alcohol at the beach and alcohol-free beaches.”
Council President Scott Peters explained why the beach alcohol ban was put on the ballot in November.

“If the council had voted on extending the one-year trial ban,” said Peters, “that would have been (challenged by a referendum), and the next council would have been faced with either rescinding (the ban), or calling a special election that would have cost $3 million.

“We figured, put it on the ballot now at much lower cost when you combine it with a regular election.”

John Beaver of La Jolla Town Council, a supporter of banning alcohol on city beaches, agreed that taking such a significant action affecting so many ought to be put to a public vote.

“We should get it on the ballot while the benefits of the ban are still fresh in people’s minds,” said Beaver. “There has been a lot of positive feedback about how the ban has cleaned up the beaches and how behavior is better. People don’t leave as much trash. It’s much better without the drunks and the cursing and threats.”

Pyle said, “I just hope people will not listen to the rhetoric being spouted. Don’t let a few bad apples ruin it for everybody. We need to hold our city government accountable for enforcing the laws, and not punish everybody.”

The time to ban alcohol at beaches is now, said Chipman. “We’ve heard nothing but positive feedback from lifeguards and police on the new alcohol policy,” he said.

“Literally every other urban beach in the country, from Ft. Lauderdale and Miami Beach in Florida to Orange County and Los Angeles, all have alcohol-free beaches, and they’ve had them for at least 15 to 20 years.”


              CRIME20082007Percent of increaseOpen container in public1,3591,593-14.7%DUI alcohol and/or drugs401341+17.6%Minors possessing alcohol200410-51.2%Disorderly conduct279320-12.8%Open alcoholic beverage in city lot199137+45.3%

              Source: California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control