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Alcohol & Crime In Pacific Beach

Audio

Aired 7/1/10

Some Pacific Beach residents believe the number of bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in their community is excessive and such concentration leads to a high-level of alcohol-related crimes (19X the city-wide rate) in the business area.

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. As thousands head for the beach this holiday weekend, most San Diego officials agree the beach booze ban is working out well. But a loophole in the ban has led to the phenomenon that’s been dubbed Floatopia. As many as 6,000, mostly students and young people, have taken to rafts and inner tubes to float just offshore and drink. A San Diego City Council committee is now trying to put an end to the party. I’d like to introduce my guest, KPBS metro reporter Katie Orr. Good morning, Katie.

KATIE ORR (KPBS Metro Reporter): Good morning, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: What did the city council public safety committee recommend?

ORR: They recommended that the city – the full city council move to close the loophole that would prevent these Floatopia parties from happening in the future, and they actually would like to see it enacted as an emergency ordinance so that it can take place as soon as possible.

CAVANAUGH: Now what exactly would this amendment to the ordinance prohibit?

ORR: What it would do is add the definition of ‘bathers’ to the ban on alcohol, which means that people in the water, floating or standing, body surfing, pretty much anything in the water except for being on a boat, you would not be able to drink in the water.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, so any kind of a floating device, a raft, anything like that…

ORR: Yes.

CAVANAUGH: …would be out.

ORR: Right. Surfboards, boogie boards, body boarding, any activity in the water.

CAVANAUGH: Now what are the reasons that people are concerned about Floatopia? What’s going on that is causing such concern?

ORR: Well, it’s a lot of people on these rafts drinking a lot. And so the lifeguards and the police are very concerned that people are going to fall into the water, the lifeguards aren’t going to be able to see them. They’re worried someone’s going to drown. They say they’ve had, you know, several rescues already, people have been taken to the hospital, so it’s definitely a big safety concern. There’s also a concern about litter. There’s a lot of trash left on the beach and in the bay, and the City’s spent a lot of money policing these events. So they just – it’s something that they would rather not use their resources for.

CAVANAUGH: Now you said this extension of the alcohol ban would not be applied to boaters, which, of course, you can see from the shore, sometimes you can see them drinking, not the people who are operating the boats, of course, but those aboard. Why would that be okay for that to continue?

ORR: Well, the city attorney says that there are so many laws that apply to boaters that the federal and state governments have in place that, really, it would be redundant for the city to have laws. And any laws that the city created would sort of be trumped by these laws that are already in place, so they don’t need to make any to apply to boats.

CAVANAUGH: Let me ask you a procedural question. Since the alcohol beach ban had to be approved by voters, can the city council amend it without a public vote?

ORR: Well, the city attorney seems to think so. They believe that there is precedent in other cases that will allow them to close this loophole because it doesn’t change what the voters approved. The voters approved no alcohol on the beaches. This is a related issue, and so the city attorney believes that they can change it without a vote. They did acknowledge they can’t guarantee there won’t be a lawsuit about this issue, so that remains to be seen but they seem to think they have pretty good precedent to back up their decision.

CAVANAUGH: So where does this proposal to end Floatopia go next?

ORR: So it’ll go to the full council, and as I said, the council committee wanted this to be considered an emergency ordinance. Normally, an ordinance, you have two readings on it and then 30 days after the second reading, it becomes law. And so that might put it off until August. Of course, there’s another Floatopia scheduled for July 17th, so the council committee wanted this to go into effect as soon as possible to maybe prevent that one from happening.

CAVANAUGH: Katie, thank you so much.

ORR: Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: I’ve been speaking with KPBS metro reporter Katie Orr. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. Ask anyone about the neighborhood of Pacific Beach and they'll tell you it's a great place to have a good time. On summer weekends, the boardwalk, the bars and bistros are crowded with partiers. But for some PB residents, the party has gotten out of hand. They say there are too many places selling alcohol, and too much drunkenness. There is now a new effort to control the number of bars in Pacific Beach. I’d like to welcome my guests for this discussion. Jennifer Hill is with the San Diego office of California Alcoholic Beverage Control. And, Jennifer, welcome to These Days.

JENNIFER HILL (Officer, California Alcoholic Beverage Control): Good morning. Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: San Diego Police Lieutenant Andra Brown is with us. Lt. Brown, good morning.

LT. ANDRA BROWN (Media Relations, San Diego Police Department): Thank you for having me.

CAVANAUGH: And Scott Chipman is with the Pacific Beach Planning Group. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT CHIPMAN (Spokesman, Pacific Beach Planning Group): Good morning, and thank you for taking up this issue.

CAVANAUGH: And Eric Lingenfelder is member of Discover Pacific Beach and the PB Hospitality Task Force. Thanks for coming in, Eric.

ERIC LINGENFELDER (Member, Discover Pacific Beach and PB Hospitality Task Force): Good morning.

CAVANAUGH: We’d like to invite our listeners to join the conversation. Is there a problem with too much partying in Pacific Beach? And if so, do you – what do you think the community can do about it? Call us with your questions and your comments. Our number is 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Now before we get into the specifics about numbers of liquor licenses or solutions to the problem of alcohol and crime in Pacific Beach, I’d like to ask you some basic questions about your involvement or your point of view on this issue. And let me start with you, Scott. You’re part of a subcommittee of the Pacific Beach Planning Group, which is looking into alcohol related problems in PB. Why did you get involved in this issue?

CHIPMAN: Well, as you said, Pacific Beach is known for alcohol. It’s also known for some great other things like the beach and the bay, good neighborhoods. But people were concerned, have been concerned for many years, about the intensity of alcohol consumption, particularly in the business district. And as we have looked over the alcohol license policies, we’ve determined that there’s some structural deficiencies that are not protecting the community as well as the increased crime that’s directly related to the business district.

CAVANAUGH: So what – From your perspective, though, where does the problem lie? Are there too many bars, not enough enforcement? What is the problem?

CHIPMAN: Well, I think over-concentration of alcohol licenses in Pacific Beach has been around for a long time. However, what we’ve noticed over the last 10 or so years is that a lot of restaurants that used to close at ten o’clock are now staying open until 2:00 a.m. because that’s what’s allowed in their license. And so at no fault of their own, they’re taking full advantage of those policies and typically closing their kitchens at ten but serving alcohol until 2:00 a.m. So more and more restaurants are morphing into bars at 10:00 a.m. (sic) and that is increasing the amount of alcohol being served, it’s increasing the number of people as these businesses expand the number of people that are consuming, and it’s increasing the crime associated with the business district.

CAVANAUGH: And what kind of crimes are we talking about, Scott?

CHIPMAN: Well, drunk in public, assaults, some rapes, just general crime but also DUIs. Pacific Beach has typically around 600 DUIs a year. Typically, a saturation patrol or a DUI checkpoint will generate 15 or 20 DUIs, maybe more, up to 27 in some checkpoints, whereas other communities might generate 3 or 4 or 5 DUIs in similar instances. We’re monopolizing a lot of police resources and we’re seeing vomit and drunken – people drunk and passed out on the sidewalks, and then there’s the other just quality of life issues: noise, vandalisms, car break-ins, and all those things that just kind of go with people who are inebriated.

CAVANAUGH: Lt. Andra Brown, let me bring you into the discussion. How does the SDPD view the incidence of crime in PB?

BROWN: Actually, our stats show that crime has gone down in the Pacific Beach area. As a city and a police department, we have a tendency to look at areas in terms of the neighborhood they are or the beats that they are. For alcohol licensing purposes that has to be broken down a little bit further into a census tract. And looking at the stats for the census tracts that make up the – what’s considered the Pacific Beach area, there’s not just one census tract.

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

BROWN: There’s, you know, there’s several that are either a part of the area or are adjacent to it. And looking at the overall crime stats, they have actually gone down from ’08 to ’09 and the – so that – you know, so we looked at they actually have gone down.

CAVANAUGH: Right but what we’re – what Scott was talking about is, you know, the fact that there are more DUIs, perhaps not since last year but other areas of the San Diego…

BROWN: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: How does it compare with other areas of San Diego, not just from year to year? Do you find more officers need to be in Pacific Beach on a weekend, let’s say, than need to be in Mira Mesa?

BROWN: Actually, the staffing levels are set by the types of crimes so our staffing levels are set throughout the city. So a particular division is given a staffing number and it’s up to that particular captain as to how those staffs – how that staffing is deployed throughout the area. And the staffing in the Pacific Beach area or Northern Division in general…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm.

BROWN: …has remained pretty much the same over the last few years. So we haven’t seen, you know, increasing numbers of police officers needed to combat increasing numbers of crimes because, in fact, the crimes have gone down.

CAVANAUGH: So, Lt. Brown, am I getting from you then the idea that the SDPD doesn’t see that there’s any particular problem in Pacific Beach?

BROWN: There are issues that need to be dealt with on various levels throughout various parts of the city.

CAVANAUGH: Nah, we’re speaking now about Pacific Beach.

BROWN: Right.

CAVANAUGH: Is there any problem that the SDPD is finding in Pacific Beach because of increased drinking or the bars staying open later or anything like that?

BROWN: We do have our beach teams that would be specifically – they work a little different set of hours to combat more of the issues that would have – that would take place more during the evening hours, and those numbers have stayed – the staffing numbers for the – our beach teams and our extra officers have stayed the same so we haven’t had to increase those to deal with any increased problems so the captain up in that area and the command staff in that area is doing a real good job with the staffing that they have and dealing with the crime issues that they have.

CAVANAUGH: We’re talking about Pacific Beach and a move to control the number of bars in that area. We’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. Andy is on the line from PB. Good morning, Andy, and welcome to These Days.

ANDY (Caller, Pacific Beach): Hi. Good morning, Maureen. I just want to say Pacific Beach’s alcohol problems are the result of its reputation as ‘the’ place to go to drink and to – also to get drunk. I mean, we had a six-time convicted drunk driver from Texas who thought it’d be great to move to PB and ended up killing Emily Dowdy last year, and I think he got second degree murder for that. And this year, a tequila company wants to do an event called the “Cuervo Games” and they say it’s a perfect fit for PB, so the question is for the Alcohol Beverage Control representative. When a community has a worldwide reputation as a place to go and drink and to get drunk and it creates all this alcohol-related crime, what can the ABC do to help PB clean up its reputation?

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for the call, Andy. And that’s to you, Jennifer Hill.

HILL: Great. Thank you. Unfortunately, Pacific Beach is not a unique geographical area in the state of California. The state of California is a regulated, just to clarify what Mr. Chipman had stated, not by policies but by state laws, which there is obviously a difference. With Pacific Beach specifically, it is a multi-faceted – There are multiple facets to Pacific Beach. One of them is that, yeah, culturally it does have a reputation and, you know, for quite a long time of being a place to – that tourists come to, that local college comes to, that spring break is huge from out of state to come and enjoy the beach, enjoy the hospitality, and part of that is the bars, the restaurants, the dancing that is permitted at some locations. So ABC, as a state regulatory agency, does not have sole control when it’s a cultural issue. We do have our state laws that come into effect of how we regulate and how we can discipline our licensed establishments. Another aspect that often gets overlooked in my time dealing with this is that the house party aspect is – it seems like a lot of the focus is on the licensed establishments but Pacific Beach is also – has a high – it has a mixture residentially, and Mr. Chipman might be able to give more information on this, of rental units and permanent residents, and a lot of those rental units are for summer people and for college students or young professionals, and that maybe like to enjoy the nightlife a lot more than I know I would.

CAVANAUGH: We have to take a short break but let me ask you a quick question before we…

HILL: Okay.

CAVANAUGH: …take that break, Jennifer. Does the ABC, the Alcohol Beverage Control, do they look at a particular community and see how many establishments are serving alcohol? And can they control the amount of people that actually have liquor licenses?

HILL: Absolutely, it’s a state law.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, and that was short and quick. And we will continue our discussion on this and continue taking your call when we return. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. Our discussion is about partying in Pacific Beach. And for some residents in PB, the party has gotten out of hand, they’re starting a new effort to control the number of bars in Pacific Beach. We’re taking – My guests, let me reintroduce them, sorry about that. Jennifer Hill, San Diego Police Lt. Andra Brown, Scott Chipman is the Pacific Beach – is with the Pacific Beach Planning Group, and Eric Lingenfelder is member of the Discover Pacific Beach and PB Hospitality Task Force. We’re taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. I want to get to the phones because a lot of people want to join the discussion. But first, Eric, I want to go to you because, as I understand it, you don’t see much of a problem with – you don’t see the same type of problem with crime and drunkenness that perhaps Scott has been talking about in Pacific Beach.

LINGERFELDER: Well, I think anytime that you have a dense commercial district next to residential, you’ll always see quality of life issues that need to be dealt with on a consistent basis and that’s an ongoing battle in any community. But I do feel that I’ve been in Pacific Beach operating bars and restaurants for almost 12 years now and I’ve seen it improve and get better over the years, and I believe we’re on the right path improving what we call the business district and the relationship with the community. And I think that started and stemmed from the great relationship working with the community as a whole, the police department and the ABC, we’ve enacted – as well as many groups with the colleges and the military as well. We’ve enacted a lot of rules and regulations, self-imposed on ourselves, that have helped with everything from drinking and driving, violent crimes to also discouraging patrons that we may not want to come into our establishments. And just to reiterate what Jennifer Hill said, knowing from speaking with our alcohol vendors, well over 60% of the alcohol that is purchased in Pacific Beach is on off-premise locations, supermarkets, stores, this. So Pacific Beach as a whole, it’s – the alcohol – the alcohol establishments that sell on-premise do have a responsibility but it’s good to understand and know that there is another factor that plays into this as well.

CAVANAUGH: Eric, what kind of responsibility do you see establishments, alcohol establishments having, bars, restaurants, in being good neighbors to residents and to keep the peace and to keep things moving along so that people don’t end up in a DUI accident or a fight outside the bar? What kind of responsibil – and do you think the establishments are living up to them?

LINGERFELDER: Yeah, I think there is a very high responsibility. We are serving alcohol to the community and there’s a responsibility that each individual establishment does have. And we’re – we promote and try to encourage operators to be the best, most responsible they can be. We go through numerous amounts of training, we have numerous amounts of organizations and entities that come and look at us from the outside to make sure that we are maintaining our high standards. And with that being said, for the number of individuals that do come down to Pacific Beach, there’s approximately 40,000 residents in Pacific Beach and on any given weekend, it triples. For example, even on Memorial Day weekend, we had over 850,000 people that came to Pacific Beach, and getting a report back from the police, they said overall it was really well (sic). So I think the establishments are doing a good job but I also do believe that there needs to be some responsibility held to the individual. The individual needs to be responsible for the actions that they do create.

CAVANAUGH: As I say, we’re taking your calls on this subject at 1-888-895-5727. Let’s hear from Diane, also calling from PB. Good morning, Diane. Welcome to These Days.

DIANE (Caller, Pacific Beach): Good morning. Thank you for having me. My question is to Andra Brown with regards to her comments on the staffing decrease and the crime being down from 2008 to 2009. Would she not be able to attribute most of that, that’s what I’m hearing from police, that it’s attributed to the alcohol ban on the beaches and not necessarily anything but that.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for the call, Diane.

BROWN: Actually, I don’t know that we’ve done specific studies to say where the crime decrease is. Overall crime, when we track the overall crimes, some of that has nothing to do with alcohol.

CAVANAUGH: Right.

BROWN: That’s burglaries to residences and homes, auto thefts, that kind of thing, that have nothing to do with alcohol. So when we’re talking about an overall reduction in crime, a good portion of that has nothing to do with alcohol. So on the beach or in a retail establishment, that wouldn’t even – that would not come into play.

CAVANAUGH: Lt. Brown, talk to us a little bit about the beach team. These are San Diego Police officers that don’t just walk on the sand. What do they do?

BROWN: They do patrol the sand for, you know, various things, alcohol-related or not, and in this case generally not alcohol, disturbances, crowds, noise, lost kids, that sort of thing. But they also spend a good deal of their time away from the sand dealing with alcohol issues at the establishments or, as Ms. Hill had described, also the house parties. That can be a huge portion of what they do. And the beach team is in place specifically to deal with those types of issues so we are acknowledging that there are those issues in the Pacific Beach area and that also includes Mission/South Mission that need to be dealt with so if there wasn’t a problem, we wouldn’t have these resources dedicated to it. But we’re feeling that the resources that we do have dedicated to it are doing a pretty good job of keeping things under control.

CAVANAUGH: Scott Chipman, you’ve heard a lot of information since I last spoke with you. I’d like to get your reaction to some of the things you’ve heard from the police department and from the idea of the responsibility – the responsible alcohol vendors in Pacific Beach.

CHIPMAN: Well, there certainly are responsible alcohol vendors in Pacific Beach. We have some great restaurants. I think Pacific Beach just isn’t living up to its potential because some people are taking advantage of the policies and the law, the state law, and they’re turning their restaurants into bars but they’re functioning under a restaurant license. This is really not a tourist issue of the people who are coming to the beach, generating 800,000 people per weekend. The vast majority of crime that’s occurring is occurring around 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. in the morning. The DUIs in particular, about 90% of them, occur between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. in the morning. And, you know, in terms of the community, we have found out in our research that the business district has over 19 times citywide average alcohol-related crime and over four and a half times general crime, just in the business district. But you go four or five blocks away from the business district and we have only 25% citywide average crime. So it’s pretty clear that the business district is generating the crime and those are the bad operators that we’re concerned about. I should also say that, you know, Pacific Beach has had a lot of alcohol licenses for a long time. The state regulations recommend one per two – one license, one alcohol license per 2000. Other communities in the state have enacted policies, land use policies, when their license concentration was around 1 per 500 or less. And we in Pacific Beach have one license for ever 312 people.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take a call. Robert’s calling us from La Mesa. Good morning, Robert. Welcome to These Days.

ROBERT (Caller, La Mesa): Thank you, Maureen. Thanks for taking my call. There’s a lot of heated issues going on about the drinking in PB. I used to live in Pacific Beach and I lived there when there was no ban for alcohol and you could drink on the beach. And then when the ban came into effect, obviously that changed everything. I think that, yes, there are some problems with Pacific Beach. I think that just trying to control, control, control and eliminate all the restaurants and just trying to enforce all these alcohol issues are just going to bring more problems. I think there needs to be a true bipartisan approach taken from both sides to see what we can do, including education. I know that the bars have done a lot to educate people. They have ID programs, they’ve installed mandatory areas just for taxis in front of a lot of the bars, I mean, they are very responsible. So to say that there are irresponsible restaurant or bar owners, I don’t see that very often. And, well, I…

CAVANAUGH: Robert…

ROBERT: …think – I’m sorry.

CAVANAUGH: …we – we’ve got it. I appreciate it. And thank you for calling in. The whole idea that people need to work together to solve this problem, I think, is very, very true. Debi is calling us from Pacific Beach. Good morning, Debi. Welcome to These Days.

DEBI (Caller, Pacific Beach): Good morning. Thank you, Maureen, for taking my call. I have a question for Ms. Hill from the ABC. Is – I don’t think anyone’s trying to get rid of restaurants that actually sell food and drawn in customers that are having, you know, even alcohol with their food but what’s the situation with these places that once they stop selling food, are allowed to behave like a bar and yet they’re licensed as a restaurant? And how can ABC put some conditions on those licenses to prevent that from happening?

CAVANAUGH: And that’s the crux of the issue, isn’t it, Jennifer?

HILL: That’s – that comes up quite often. Quickly, with Pacific Beach, as Mr. Chipman did state, that the statute that you’re hearing a lot that deals with over-concentration, you’re hearing that term a lot, that’s actually a state law that did not come into effect until 1995. The majority, at least 80% of the licenses in Pacific Beach and a lot in the state, were originally issued prior to 1995, so that’s where the concentration levels, when the statute was initiated or put into effect, it was automatically over-concentrated because of the grandfather clause. How the ABC does – When someone applies for an ABC license, an original license, we investigate minimally about 15 state laws, statutes, we investigate the location. At that original issuance time is when we do have the ability through our investigation to put on what are called operating conditions and that could go into limiting the sales of alcohol hours, no entertainment, stuff like that. Once a license is issued, it is now – the only way to put conditions on the license once a license has been issued is through disciplinary action. And for the disciplinary action, to put conditions through the legal process, the conditions have to specifically address what the disciplinary action was.

CAVANAUGH: What about when that business is sold. Can they also sell the liquor license?

HILL: Absolutely. Once again, state law that if there’s an ownership change, so say one location sells it to some new person but the location’s remaining the same, they might change the name, the operation, state law, once again, does not give us authority to reinvestigate the location. And we all know over time areas change. But we do not have authority, statutory authority, to reinvestigate the location, therefore, the license transfers, as we call it, to the new owner with the existing conditions. If there are no conditions, then…

CAVANAUGH: So…

HILL: …there are none.

CAVANAUGH: So, Scott Chipman, what is the Pacific Beach Planning Group trying to initiate then?

CHIPMAN: Well, I think that is the real issue here. We know that there are structural difference – deficiencies. We’ve heard some of them already. And I think the key here is that other communities have done land use policies that have provided more local control. Huntington Beach, this year, passed an ordinance regarding drinking games. We have pub crawls and beer pong and games intended to create intoxication occurring regularly in Pacific Beach. We have Berkeley, Fullerton, Oakland, Oxnard, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Vallejo, Ventura, all of these cities have had actually less problems than Pacific Beach and they’ve enacted land use policies. So the planning group, particularly the Alcohol License Review Committee, will continue to meet and explore what other communities have done, what the land use policies are, and then see which ones the community and those people who participate in the process determine are best policies to recommend going forward.

CAVANAUGH: You’re exploring conditional use permits? What would that be, Scott?

CHIPMAN: Well, a conditional use permit allows the city to have a process over the license so it’s just not the ABC that regulates the license but it also is a city regulation and it brings the community into the process. So with a CUP, there’s an automatic notification to the planning group of a new license or a modification or a condition change and then people can weigh in publicly and discuss the issue and what can be done to mitigate. We know – We’re not trying to keep people from getting alcohol license or even reduce the number of alcohol licenses. We don’t want what we have right now to continue year after year because, you know, even though crime has gone down, we’re 19 times alcohol-related crimes. So the key here is to look for ways that we can allow expansion and growth in the business district as well as mitigate the negative impacts of alcohol in the community.

CAVANAUGH: And, Eric, what’s your take on the conditional use permit?

LINGERFELDER: Well, I think what’s ironic is if what Scott’s saying is that he doesn’t want what we have right now, then the absolute last thing you want to enact is a CUP because what a CUP does is basically stop and freeze the entire community because all established alcohol licensees are grandfathered in. They’re not under the CUP. So for, let’s say, my establishment, I wouldn’t have a CUP placed on me. So the status quo would stay in PB exactly as it is now. So I don’t think a CUP is a positive way to move forward to change the community. There are other things out there like a maintenance assessment district, which we’ve been trying to work for for a long time, which I think would be a great solution to help Pacific Beach change the environment and change a little bit of the mentality of the individual that comes down, or you want to say the drinker that visits Pacific Beach.

CAVANAUGH: We have time for one more call. Andie’s calling us from Pacific Beach. Hi, Andie. Welcome to These Days.

ANDIE (Caller, Pacific Beach): Hi. Thank you. I just wanted to make a comment as a resident. I live about 8 blocks from Garnet on Tourmaline Street. And I’ve lived around the communities of Pacific Beach and in Pacific Beach off and on for about 40 years. I’ve also lived in a lot of the towns that Scott mentioned earlier. And I just have to say that it’s not an enjoyable place to live anymore. It used to be just a place where there are families and you could go out at night, you could go down to Filippi’s and it’s just regardless of all the statistics, it’s changed so much. I can’t bring any children down in that area. I wouldn’t bring my parents down in that area. It’s just a kind of place where if you want to go out, you have to leave Pacific Beach. It’s obnoxious and I have people throwing up in my front lawn all the time. All our – all of the rentals in the area are, like someone was saying, are just beer pong every night. And I don’t know the solution to all – I just know that it’s not the place to live that it should be.

CAVANAUGH: Andie, thank you for the call. Is this what you’re talking about, Scott?

CHIPMAN: Well, yeah. I mean, it’s a quality of life issue but it’s – but primarily the business district is generating the crime. And I should say in Ventura, when they enacted a CUP, they’ve seen alcohol business arrests go down – or arrests at alcohol businesses go down 62%. The calls for service in the alcohol business area, down 42%, DUI crashes down 31%. Oxnard said that their police – their city crime rate is less than half it was (sic) 20 years ago after enacting a CUP and, in large measure, because of the changes it made in the policies regarding the sale of alcohol. The CUP is not a bullet – a silver bullet. There are other issues that can be used. We can designate a police officer that can specifically address alcohol license issues. That’s what Ventura did. They had a fee-structure that allowed the businesses that are serving the alcohol to provide additional resources for a dedicated police officer, and that would control conditions and make sure everybody’s being the best neighbor and operator they can be.

CAVANAUGH: We are out of time. I’m sure that we will revisit the issue. But I want to thank everybody for speaking today. Everyone who called up, thank you so much. I want to thank my guests, Jennifer Hill, Lt. Andra Brown, Scott Chipman and Eric Linden – Lingenfelder, I’m sorry about that. Thank you all so much for talking with us. If you’d like to comment, you can go online, KPBS.org/thesedays. Now, coming up, questions about cancer in Carlsbad. That’s next as These Days continues here on KPBS.

Comments

Avatar for user 'DrScience'

DrScience | July 1, 2010 at 9:41 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

It appears that Scott Chipman's views don't really agree with the hard data from the police and CABC. I imagine he wants to replace all of the bars and restaurants with some nice big box retailers and chain fast food restaurants.

This whole segment sounds like older residents yelling "Get off my lawn, whippersnappers" to all of the college students that support the entirety of the business district.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'resident'

resident | July 1, 2010 at 10:02 a.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

There is no question that some individual properties and individual visitors to San Diego's most popular tourist beaches, cause problems. I've lived here 10 years and have young children and experience many challenges with some of the younger members of the community. I think the beach ban was warranted, because there was no one particular entity/person/property that could be held reponsible for problems on public property. And I don't think its to illogical to ban 6000 people on innertubes from swimming out to overhead water to drink. That said, I must be fair and admit it is clearly a cultural issue that our anti-alcohol groups are now trying to frame as a business issue.

Many nights I wish that Pacific Beach was quieter, however, I like every homeowner here, know that my property is worth more because of the high values of homes here, mainly attributable to their rental values and proximity to the action of PB. I can't have my cake and eat it too. This isn't La Jolla Shores, we have a big business district, and we gain tremendously from our beaches popularity.

Though I, like many, wish for 2010 property values with 1960 atmosphere, who am I to dictate a business owners' business model. There are many new vacant businesses on Garnet Ave. Adding more laws and permit fees will stifle business growth even more. There will be no incentive for all of these old restaraunts (all our buildings in PB are getting old) to upgrade their facilities when they have to pay thousands of dollars and navigate lengthy legal proceedings just to do so. Enforce the laws we have, press charges against the obnoxious drunks who are caught, CAPP the problem houses.

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Avatar for user 'PBnative'

PBnative | July 1, 2010 at 2:36 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

It is too bad that the information shared by the presenters from ABC and Vice were not completely honest with their responses.

ABC states that they look at the town individually. This is completely not true. There are not enough resources at the state level to be able to enforce the licenses they currently have. And, they look at the county total population statistics, not the town when they evaluate how many more licenses that can be added. There needs to be controls at a local level, and the businesses that are creating the problems should pay for this, not the businesses that do not create the problems.

Police say that crime is down in 2009 compared to 2008 in Pacific Beach. No percentages, no facts as to why. Could it be if there are less cops to enforce that there are less crimes? Ya think? It is still rated as one of the most highest in crime neighborhoods in the City.

No wonder our City is in the shape it is in. If you rely on the civil servants to give you the straight scoop you surely will not get the complete story. They will merely protect their jobs.

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Avatar for user 'alifan'

alifan | July 1, 2010 at 4:17 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

How long has Mr Chipman lived in Pacific Beach?? Did he arrive before all this increased crime happened and remembers a quieter Pacific Beach or did he get here and then decide he wants to make changes???
Has his organization done anything to curb the on going trend of old small beach style house's that were desgined for 3-4 residents being purchased and demolished and replaced with 3-4 unit town houses with a capacity to triple the residents at that location often without sufficient parking to accomodate the increase and then 9 times out of 10 those units are rented to single adults 21+ who naturally are going to party in Pacific Beach..These same land owners love the property value and the rental income but turn up their noses for the same reason they get that income..
I'm in complete favor of D.U.I checkpoints and hope that anyone who drinks and drives gets arrested before they even pull out of their parking spot, but could we put a checkpoint on both sides of the street and see how many D.U.I's we get coming into the beach, because if they are willing to drive to get here you can achieve two things, 1. Scare anyone coming to the beach who has to drive home because they might be going back thru a checkpoint at some point in the night or 2. See how many people are coming to P.B. to continue to party and have been drinking already....If alcohol crime is sooo high then you have to know that this probably happens every day...
You cannot compare statistic's for Pacific Beach with Mira Mesa or Vista..Give me the statistic's of a Large California beach town surrounded by colleges and overpopulated because of greedy landowners and then we can see how bad P.B. is....
Pacific Beach is a great California beach town and the people who work and live here are hard working friendly people who are a credit to the community

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Avatar for user 'DrScience'

DrScience | July 1, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

Restaurants open past 10PM? Scandalous! Won't somebody please think of the property values?!

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Avatar for user 'JJ'

JJ | July 1, 2010 at 10:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

There goes chipman again comparing our great city to that dump Ventura. He's always doing that with drivel like "LA has a ban on alcohol on beaches so why can't we???"

Why on hell would we want san diego to be MORE like LA? Or anything around LA like Ventura?

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Avatar for user 'traumrealidad'

traumrealidad | July 5, 2010 at 5:24 p.m. ― 4 years, 5 months ago

PBnative - you are wrong. The average PB resident experiences half the crime the average San Diegan does. When you see females walking down the streets individually at 3:00am in the morning, you know you are in a safe place. You won't see that say, in City Heights.

The beach booze ban caused the floatopia's and other public places to become the new drinking spots. If alcohol is banned there, it will move elsewhere. If public alcohol drinking is banned altogether, and the alcohol businesses become too restricted, then private house parties will become the next primary location for drinking.

Keep in mind, Mr Chipman does not represent the majority view of Pacific Beach. 6 out of 10 PB voting residents voted against the beach booze ban. The irony is that the beach booze ban mainly affected Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Maybe KPBS could bring in a resident who represents that majority view?
http://obrag.org/?p=2100

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