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East County High Schoolers Spotlight Liquor Store Rule Violations

A window of a liquor store in Spring Valley is mostly covered with beer and cigarette ads, Aug. 31, 2015.
Matthew Bowler
A window of a liquor store in Spring Valley is mostly covered with beer and cigarette ads, Aug. 31, 2015.

East County High Schoolers Spotlight Liquor Store Rule Violations
Possibly every liquor store within a mile and a half of Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley is violating ABC rules, according to the East County Youth Coalition.

The East County Youth Coalition said there are too many liquor stores near Monte Vista High School and all of them could be breaking the rules.

On their last day of summer vacation, three high school seniors tried to change the community. The students studied an area of a mile-and-a-half around their school in Spring Valley.

The teenagers said they learned two things. First, there are 11 liquor stores inside that mile-and-a-half circle. Second, all of them are breaking at least one Alcoholic Beverage Control rule.

Mariah Whitehead, 17, said to gain some perspective her group also studied another area for liquor stores.

“We went to the high school in La Jolla and we assessed within a two mile radius from their school and we found that there was only like two or three liquor stores,” Whitehead said.

The most common rule broken is the one that says stores can cover no more than 33 percent of their windows with ads or signs, according to the youth coalition.

Whitehead has a hunch why stores are breaking that rule most often.

“My guess is that they just don't know about the rule, which is unacceptable as well because that’s their job as a community business owner to know the laws that they’re supposed to follow,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead and her fellow youth coalition members passed out the letters outlining the rule violations and spoke with store owners and managers.

One store owner took time to talk with the three teens asking, “So you say clear the windows and what else?”

Everyone was polite, but Whitehead said if things don’t change there is a plan.

“That’s when we contact the ABC and hopefully get an agent out here to fix it for us,” Whitehead said. “That’s the bigger step.”