BAN ON BOOZE: San Diego Beaches Instate Year-Long Alcohol Ban

On Monday, November 5th 2007, The San Diego City Council approved a one-year ban against drinking alcohol on city beaches. Beach drinking has been a hotly debated issue in San Diego as it was the only Southern California city that allowed booze on the sand.

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A catastrophic riot on Labor Day of 2007 had a significant influence on this new prohibition. As hordes of people from Pacific Beach, Mission beach, and all over the world flocked to the shores to party, the holiday climaxed when a crowd of approximately 500 dazed and confused beach goers began to brawl for reasons unknown.

Cue seventy police officers in riot gear, expelling tear gas and evacuating the entire beach. Seventeen arrests were made that evening, and countless headlines diffused through morning papers, citing "Riots in Pacific Beach."

Councilman, Kevin Faulconer, believed alcohol to be the primary culprit responsible for the public incident and responded by insisting on a permanent ban of alcohol. The council disagreed, and instead, a one-year ban passed 5-2. The goal of the ban is to create a more family-friendly environment on San Diego Beaches.

In 2002, a measure was put on the ballot advocating an 18-month ban as a trial just in Pacific and Mission Beach, but the proposal was shot down. In 1991, The City Council approved a one-year ban that was reversed by a referendum and gathering of signatures by opponents.

The ban has become an exceptionally divisive issue because San Diego citizens believe there is a difference between sloppy keggers on Labor Day and six-pack sunsets on a Sunday evening.

Southern Californian, J.P Van Swae, likes the idea of watching the sun go down, roasting some hot dogs and sipping a cold one. "It's a shame," he says, "when somebody can't handle their alcohol and ruins a good thing for the rest of us."

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders suggested a ban on alcohol over certain holiday weekends, such as those that draw over 600,000 people to one beach. Some beach residents say a ban on kegs on the Fourth of July is regulation enough. On the other hand, Pacific Beach residents feel the rowdiness and drunken driving incidents are too much.

Former Pacific Beach resident and college student, Lindsey Cherbek, supports a rule that "encourages cleaner, safer beaches for families and young people."

Cardiff resident, Chuck Elliot, also supports the ban citing the success of a similar legislature ruled in Del Mar. He hopes this change will have the same results in San Diego. "I think it should deter the negative elements that accompany partying on the beach," says Elliot.

While bars still line the boardwalk and covert water bottles of vodka may still exist, drinking on the beach will result in a misdemeanor offense. The ruling will allegedly take effect beginning in December or early January. So plan on moving Spring Break festivities even further south if you enjoy suds with your sand. Rosarito, perhaps?

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