Fact Check: Businesses and the Booze Ban

Fact Check: Businesses and the Booze Ban

Photo by Sandy Coronilla

The Pacific Beach Shore Club

Image: MisleadingStatement: “Beach businesses have suffered dramatically, their revenues are down almost 50 percent since the (alcohol) ban,” Pacific Beach resident Paul Falcone said in an Aug. 29 SDNews.com story.

Determination: Misleading

Analysis: Almost five years ago, San Diegans voted to permanently ban alcohol on city beaches after a temporary stoppage in the wake of an infamous 2007 Labor Day weekend riot.

In the years since, alcohol-related crime has dropped in beach communities but some residents and business owners continue to oppose the ban.

Pacific Beach resident Paul Falcone, who also serves on the neighborhood’s planning board, recently claimed the ban has had a destructive effect on area businesses, nearly halving their revenues.

He later told Voice of San Diego that his information came from a handful of local businesses, including some that had closed since the ban went into effect.

We decided his statement merited some vetting – a 50 percent revenue drop would represent a huge blow to local commerce. Then there’s the fact that Councilman Kevin Faulconer – one of the ban’s chief proponents – is now running for mayor, so it’s worth taking a closer look at the impacts of one of his most significant accomplishments.

To check this claim, we contacted several business owners in Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach. Nearly all said their revenues had suffered since a temporary one-year ban on booze at city beaches went into effect in January 2008. (Voters made the policy change permanent that November.)

Only Willis Allen, part owner of Crystal Pier Hotel in Pacific Beach and a supporter of the alcohol ban, said his business has actually improved since 2008.

Industry groups echoed the message that most businesses had experienced slowdowns.

Mark Arabo of the La Mesa-based Neighborhood Market Association, which represents groceries and some liquor stores, said members who own beachfront businesses described significant drops in revenue and customers since 2008.

Arabo said one Ocean Beach grocer, whose name he would not reveal, recorded a 30 percent drop in customers in the wake of the alcohol ban.

But Arabo and most others were quick to point to other variables that affected businesses after January 2008. The alcohol ban went into effect in the midst of one of the nation’s worst recessions, a time when San Diegans and tourists alike spent less money.

Other areas of the city, including North Park and East Village, have since emerged as desirable weekend and holiday destinations.

“There were many factors at the same time,” said Sara Berns, executive director of Discover Pacific Beach, an organization that represents more than 1,400 Pacific Beach businesses.

For that reason, Berns said, it’s impossible to directly correlate most businesses’ revenue drops with the ban.

Berns also couldn’t say whether business had fallen by nearly 50 percent since the ban and the recession hit.

Business owners also declined to share specific revenue figures, or to tie any decreases specifically to the booze ban.

Jeff Huey, owner of Radd Action Sports in Mission Beach, was forced to cut staff after the ban but said it would be foolish to cite it as the sole reason for that decision.

Still, the timing of the ban was unfortunate for businesses, he said.

“The fact is it probably didn’t help having the ban at the point of time that it happened,” Huey said. “It was kind of an experimental thing to see what would happen, and the economy turned.”

But in his statement, Falcone only cited the ban as the reason for the decreased business.

In an interview with VOSD, Falcone acknowledged other factors, including an ailing economy and even poor weather, might have contributed to reduced business.

His statement doesn’t reflect those crucial nuances, and he made a sweeping assessment about business losses that couldn’t be backed up with hard numbers.

We label a statement “misleading” when it takes an element of truth and badly distorts or exaggerates it, leaving a deceptive impression.

Falcone’s claim fits this bill because many businesses have suffered since the ban went into effect – and a small number may have been hit especially hard as a result of the ban – but it’s irresponsible to suggest it was the only factor at play.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify Paul Falcone’s role on the Pacific Beach planning board.

Voice of San Diego is a nonprofit that depends on you, our readers. Please donate to keep the service strong. Click here to find out more about our supporters and how we operate independently.


Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at lisa@vosd.org or 619.325.0528.

  • 367 Posts
  • 1
    Followers

Show comments
Before you comment, read these simple guidelines on what is not allowed.

35 comments
ezeques
ezeques

I’m a snowbird property owner on Mission Beach. Alcohol ban has made little difference to me. But it sure seems to have hurt business. California just continues to shoot itself in the foot.

Carlynne Allbee
Carlynne Allbee

I see the generalities in the claim that business has decreased 50% but what I would like to see is some numbers broken down by type of business. I expect that the person who said that the businesses hurt most were the ones selling booze is right. If other businesses were hurt by the booze ban, was it because they depended on people drinking on the beach first before they would come in as customers? Somehow the logic just is not there.

Carlynne Allbee
Carlynne Allbee subscriber

I see the generalities in the claim that business has decreased 50% but what I would like to see is some numbers broken down by type of business. I expect that the person who said that the businesses hurt most were the ones selling booze is right. If other businesses were hurt by the booze ban, was it because they depended on people drinking on the beach first before they would come in as customers? Somehow the logic just is not there.

Patrick Flynn
Patrick Flynn

The downside of the ban is that we have less freedom than we did before. It was glorious when you could have a cup of wine or a can of beer at sunset after a day at the beach. We may have succeeded in "cleaning up" the beach, but we took away more than we gained. It's all of our loss.

Patrick Flynn
Patrick Flynn subscriber

The downside of the ban is that we have less freedom than we did before. It was glorious when you could have a cup of wine or a can of beer at sunset after a day at the beach. We may have succeeded in "cleaning up" the beach, but we took away more than we gained. It's all of our loss.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

I don’t know the point of attempting to measure the increase/decrease in business as a result of the booze ban, but the beach area seems to be in very good shape economically, with new businesses opening regularly, with both property rentals and sales booming in addition to having a full complement of beachgoers. And you can’t believe the action on Mission Bay. It’s mobbed! Now I don’t know where Mr. McLaughlin lives or how old he is, but I’ll admit to living in Mission Beach for a long time and being over 80, so I fit the “bad guy” stereotype he laid on Jerry Hall. I’m also a frequent social drinker but have never worked in the liquor industry as McLaughlin has. Here’s my confession: I was one of the “culprits” working hard to get and make permanent the beach alcohol ban. It was a tough, multi-year slog because the numerous local liquor stores regularly showered campaign contributions on several city council members and the mayor and, had not the Labor Day riot occurred, we would still probably be the only beach city of any size in SoCal that allowed beach drinking, despite the growing mess and disorder on our beaches. During the period the temporary ban was in effect before it was made permanent by a city wide vote, one of the things I did was visit many local retailers of all types to get their input on how the ban was working, because the opposition kept claiming it was a disaster for local business. I remember the manager of the large Best Western motel located at the foot of Pacific Beach Drive right on the beach, explaining to me soon after July 4th how much the situation had changed for the better because he was getting more families and fewer stag parties, and his customers loved the better behavior of the beachgoers. I got a similar response from the owner/manager of the Surfer Motel just across the street. The guy who ran and probably still runs the Segway electric vehicle rental shop in the Promenade was very enthusiastic, claiming his business was up because customers were no longer leery of being accosted by drunks on the boardwalk. I got a similar reaction from a guy who runs a curio shop next to Crystal Pier, who complained that, previously, drunks would come in off the beach and damage his merchandise. A man who ran a sandwich shop at the foot of Ventura Place was particularly enthusiastic, because his per sales receipts were way up from families buying lots of sandwiches rather than singles nursing a beer taking up seats. Also got a positive response from Saska’s restaurant, a longtime beach area hangout. The beach area is full of house and apartment rentals; most rent weekly during the summer but increasingly are able to do this year round. I talked to two neighbors who said their rentals were up because of the ban, and people previously reluctant to rent here were now coming. Same thing with a local realtor friend of mine who does property management. I did talk to several liquor store managers who said their sales were down, and can honestly say these people were the only merchants clearly unhappy with the ban. Their opposition was not surprising, since before the ban beachgoers had the habit of reloading at their stores when the beer ran low on the sand. I can’t recall anyone else I talked to who was clearly negative about the impact. In the final analysis, the voters had their say, and the city council can’t reverse the decision without a referendum. They’ll have trouble with that, because people understand the beach is an asset for the entire public, not just the people who live here. I’ll never forget spending many hours in front of a Wal-Mart in District 4, soliciting support. The customers were largely black and latino, and quite a few had kids that liked to go to the beach. They got the message loud and clear, and we got a LOT of support from that constituency.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

I don’t know the point of attempting to measure the increase/decrease in business as a result of the booze ban, but the beach area seems to be in very good shape economically, with new businesses opening regularly, with both property rentals and sales booming in addition to having a full complement of beachgoers. And you can’t believe the action on Mission Bay. It’s mobbed! Now I don’t know where Mr. McLaughlin lives or how old he is, but I’ll admit to living in Mission Beach for a long time and being over 80, so I fit the “bad guy” stereotype he laid on Jerry Hall. I’m also a frequent social drinker but have never worked in the liquor industry as McLaughlin has. Here’s my confession: I was one of the “culprits” working hard to get and make permanent the beach alcohol ban. It was a tough, multi-year slog because the numerous local liquor stores regularly showered campaign contributions on several city council members and the mayor and, had not the Labor Day riot occurred, we would still probably be the only beach city of any size in SoCal that allowed beach drinking, despite the growing mess and disorder on our beaches. During the period the temporary ban was in effect before it was made permanent by a city wide vote, one of the things I did was visit many local retailers of all types to get their input on how the ban was working, because the opposition kept claiming it was a disaster for local business. I remember the manager of the large Best Western motel located at the foot of Pacific Beach Drive right on the beach, explaining to me soon after July 4th how much the situation had changed for the better because he was getting more families and fewer stag parties, and his customers loved the better behavior of the beachgoers. I got a similar response from the owner/manager of the Surfer Motel just across the street. The guy who ran and probably still runs the Segway electric vehicle rental shop in the Promenade was very enthusiastic, claiming his business was up because customers were no longer leery of being accosted by drunks on the boardwalk. I got a similar reaction from a guy who runs a curio shop next to Crystal Pier, who complained that, previously, drunks would come in off the beach and damage his merchandise. A man who ran a sandwich shop at the foot of Ventura Place was particularly enthusiastic, because his per sales receipts were way up from families buying lots of sandwiches rather than singles nursing a beer taking up seats. Also got a positive response from Saska’s restaurant, a longtime beach area hangout. The beach area is full of house and apartment rentals; most rent weekly during the summer but increasingly are able to do this year round. I talked to two neighbors who said their rentals were up because of the ban, and people previously reluctant to rent here were now coming. Same thing with a local realtor friend of mine who does property management. I did talk to several liquor store managers who said their sales were down, and can honestly say these people were the only merchants clearly unhappy with the ban. Their opposition was not surprising, since before the ban beachgoers had the habit of reloading at their stores when the beer ran low on the sand. I can’t recall anyone else I talked to who was clearly negative about the impact. In the final analysis, the voters had their say, and the city council can’t reverse the decision without a referendum. They’ll have trouble with that, because people understand the beach is an asset for the entire public, not just the people who live here. I’ll never forget spending many hours in front of a Wal-Mart in District 4, soliciting support. The customers were largely black and latino, and quite a few had kids that liked to go to the beach. They got the message loud and clear, and we got a LOT of support from that constituency.

Robert McLaughlin
Robert McLaughlin

now jerry is making up factors . we have calculating the cost based on "reputation". Telling us about supply and demand. apparently there is demand for more establishments to sell alcohol. This NIMBY keeps trying to block business expansion or sidewalk cafes. The beach is for younger people at night. jerry hall is totally biased old fool who should move to la mesa along with Chipman

Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall

1 of 2 Hi Lisa. Too-drunk beach visitors didn't shop, well unless you call drinking and eating fast-food 'shopping'. Less alcohol on the beach did not hurt most of the beach communities retailers and if anything it has helped. That is, your focus is on the revenue alone but, how does one factor in a community's reputation, the perception of feeling safe in public, the desirability of a place as a destination to visit, patronize, own and live, the ability for residents to live in relative peace? To many businesses and residents these factors are just as important to them as the revenues are to the alcohol industry-retailers. Unfortunately, to many of these retailers these factors are irrelevant. Sure, beer distributors had to adjust, party stores saw fluctuations in sales but news flash, welcome to a supply and demand capitalistic economy. If the bars and restaurants cared so deeply why are most all chronically over-serving patrons(1)? If these stores cared so deeply about the community why do they consistently sell to too-drunk customers? Why are they selling single-serve liquor to serial inebriates without fail? You reported Mr. Arabo of the Neighborhood Market Association said that he heard of one liquor store that had a '30% drop in customers' and 'said members who own beachfront businesses described significant drops in revenue and customers since 2008'. Beyond the reasonable argument that the economy hurt every business in America during this time, this organization's motives can easily be put into question - and from my perspective should be highly suspect. After the beach ordinance campaign Mr. Arabo's organization was fined $14 thousand by the Ethics Commission for election violations(2). If they were so motivated against the ordinance to commit serious election crimes, what would they say now? Apparently they didn't learn their lesson as they were just fined again in the last election(3). Perhaps skirting election laws is how they believe business is done and the fines a cost of doing business? Back when we were working on making our beach communities more safe I recall Mr. Arabo's organization and some of its members saying that mom and pop package liquor stores would be closing if the ordinance went through. Yet, I have not seen one package-liquor convenience store close in the PB and MB communities in the last six years - not one. A couple may have transferred to new owners but, the license remains. Another problem with these erroneous claims is that, knowing the margins most (non-alcohol) retailers earn, wouldn't a fifty-percent drop in revenue have sunk most every retailer in the beach communities? Yet, most are still standing - and most selling alcohol are thriving in fact. I'm betting if anyone actually got the sales tax revenue records for our area, most retailers did not have anywhere near a fifty-percent drop in revenue. If I did have these numbers, I'm betting the average variance in revenue is not much different than the rest of the region's retail sales. Regarding the 'Misleading' score for Falcone's claim it seems the bar for the next level of VOSD's Fact Check scoring of 'False' is a bit high ('no element of truth to it'). That being said, I have yet to see any element of truth other than the fact that businesses suffered in sales - but, was this because of the alcohol ordinance as Falcone complained? Isn't that what you are fact-checking? If so this is a clearly False statement. If Falcone could show the correlation perhaps Misleading would be appropriate but, is the burden on the media to prove or disprove any wild statement one makes? Sure, our retailers, as well as most all retailers in the nation, suffered in the 2007-2012 economy but, tying Falcone's claim to the ordinance and the reality of the marketplace and environment is a grasp at best by Mr. Falcone. By environment I include that we should consider overall weather conditions which I believe were less than ideal in 2008, as well as the fact that the internet is hurting many non-alcohol brick-and-mortar retailers everywhere. (cont.)

Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall

2 of 2 Another factor is the elephant in the room - the excessive burdens some of the irresponsible bars in the beach communities are costing every taxpayer, the subsequent prices being paid by our community in damaged reputation and, the lack of success of our many other retailers. I'm going to make a statement that can be fact checked all day long - that sales tax revenues earned by the city (returned from the state) from the alcohol bar and restaurant retailers in Pacific Beach do not cover the costs of just the public safety demands on police, fire-rescue and ambulance services required to service mostly drunk patrons. In fact, I've shown(4) a potential $2 million shortfall based on real studies and data not conjecture. Read: San Diego taxpayers are subsidizing a few for-profit bar owners somewhere around $2m, largely to deal with their drunken patrons. Now that's a travesty. Since you mentioned Councilmember Faulconer's part in this ordinance you should know that he held nearly seven months of hearings on the beach alcohol issue in 2006-2007(5) and as a result was keenly aware of the significant public safety and quality of life issues residents endured. He took a stand based on his strong public-safety beliefs only after drunken beachgoers attacked police after they were summoned for help by Lifeguards who had locked themselves in their towers. Our beaches and bay would not be nearly as safe, fun and full as they are today without Kevin's leadership. Full you say? Yes, since the last year with alcohol on the beach (2007) vs. this past year (2012) San Diego saw an additional 3 million visitors or, enjoyed a 14% increase in beach population(6). These people vacationed, dined, shopped and enjoyed safe beaches. Kevin joined with over 53% of San Diego voters city-wide and made a really tough decision, unpopular to some and one he clearly did not want to make but, he put public safety first. That's commendable. As a disclaimer although I am still undecided, I lean heavily in favor of Kevin as our next Mayor because of his experience leading our city and proof that he can make tough decisions when the city's ecosystem is under threat. Finally, how about Mr. Falcone and those that care about PB get involved with BeautifulPB.com, work on the community plan, help update it, help implement the Beach Alcohol Task Force recommendations(5), work to straighten out a clear injustice with some exceptionally irresponsible bar and restaurant owners [not close them but, hold them accountable] and help promote every business in PB? I know many people, myself included, would love to come down to Garnet Ave. without fear of being harassed or insulted by drunks most late weekend evenings, and now most weekly evenings. If we really love PB then work together and stop slinging mis-statements that are enabling a broken community. Pro or con we need to respect each other and move PB forward - or suffer the consequences of a fractured community. Finally, an important clarification - Mr. Falcone sits on the Pacific Beach Planning Group and not the city's planning board as was mentioned in the article. I respect his volunteer work but, believe it would be much more helpful if his statements were more accurate considering his role. Sources: (1) http://sandiegoale.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/BarConsumerStudy_Clapp_nihms96250.pdf - shows that highly trained bar and restaurant staff sold eight drinks to patrons in under fifty minutes over ninety-percent of the time - even though standards are an average person should only be served one drink an hour. (2) http://voiceofsandiego.org/2008/10/20/election-2008whos-backing-the-booze-ban-battle/ and Neighborhood Market Association was fined $14,000 by the Ethics Commission for election fraud on the issue: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2010/feb/12/group-that-opposed-beach-booze-ban-is-fined/ and http://www.sandiego.gov/ethics/pdf/stip09_48.pdf (3) And fined again recently, though unrelated to today's discussion: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/13/tp-association-fined-for-violating-campaign-laws/ (4) http://www.sandiegoale.com/2012/11/analysis-of-public-safety-costs-for-certain-business/ (5) http://www.pbspirits.com/2007/06/beach-alcohol-task-force-consensus-action-items/ (6) 21,253,050 in 2007 vs. 24,276,036 in 2012 (Read: 3 million+ more people on our beaches last year than when we allowed alcohol!) (7) http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/City_of_San_Diego_Beach_and_Parks_Alcohol_Ban,_Proposition_D_(November_2008)

jevans
jevans

Am I to understand that Quality of Life and the Good Society are determined by profits from the consumption of alcohol? If so, this is not my definition of the Good Society.

Robert McLaughlin
Robert McLaughlin

As someone who worked for one of the local beer distributors in PB at the time of the ban it had a huge economic impact. It forced a sale of the company and then a merger the next year. It went from 3 distributors to 2.many high paying jobs were lost/cut. The media spun empty beaches into "family friendly" .It also impacted the homeless who relied on the empty cans to recycle for money. Faulconer is an idiot and so is Chipman. That being said I don't think you could repeal it now. Gen y and millennials can't be trusted with this privilege because they are awful people who are so over the top with everything. they all wear the same fake wayfarers.

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt

If the economy is in the crapper, shouldn't the demand for a relatively inexpensive leisure activity (drinking beer at the beach) increase?

Mike Delahunt
Mike Delahunt subscriber

If the economy is in the crapper, shouldn't the demand for a relatively inexpensive leisure activity (drinking beer at the beach) increase?

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt author

Hi Glen, thanks for your feedback. I talked to almost a dozen beach businesses and unfortunately none were willing to share specific revenue information with me. (I did ask the question repeatedly.) I also couldn't find any related studies. I decided to go forward with the fact check because business owners responded incredulously when I shared Falcone's statement. The owners - as well as two business groups - were adamant that multiple factors contributed to any revenue drops. I thought it was valuable to explain this as Falcone's statement implied that the alcohol ban was solely responsible for revenue drops at all beachfront businesses. There's no evidence to support that and the ban coincided with one of our country's worst recessions. If you're interested in more details about how the ban may have affected crime in beach areas, check out this fact check from former VOSD writer Keegan Kyle:Fact Check: Booze Crime after the Beach Banhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2011/07/21/fact-check-booze-crime-after-the-beach-ban/Statement: "We've had alcohol-free beaches for three summers. What has changed in the beach areas? Alcohol-related crime is down," Willis Allen, whose family owns the Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages, and Monica Green, a longtime resident of Pacific B...

David Hall
David Hall

This fact check was as lazy as the original statement. There are no facts here.

David Hall
David Hall subscriber

This fact check was as lazy as the original statement. There are no facts here.

abigroman
abigroman

Economy is crap. People work harder to get by. No money. Parents are not giving their college kids any money to spend on shortening their college career. Party buses in San Diego help keep the costs down but still there are too many clubs and bars for the limited number of patrons.San Diego Party Bus | San Diego LImo Bus | SD HOT LIMOShttp://www.sdhotlimos.comWINERY TOUR It's Summer and it's time for a wine tour limo in Temecula, California. Wine tours are only a rock throw away so let SD HOT LIMOS show you what living in San Diego is all about. Take one of our Prestige© Party and Limo Buses which are 10 ...

abigroman
abigroman subscriber

Economy is crap. People work harder to get by. No money. Parents are not giving their college kids any money to spend on shortening their college career. Party buses in San Diego help keep the costs down but still there are too many clubs and bars for the limited number of patrons.San Diego Party Bus | San Diego LImo Bus | SD HOT LIMOShttp://www.sdhotlimos.comWINERY TOUR It's Summer and it's time for a wine tour limo in Temecula, California. Wine tours are only a rock throw away so let SD HOT LIMOS show you what living in San Diego is all about. Take one of our Prestige© Party and Limo Buses which are 10 ...

David Cohen
David Cohen

Sales tax figures for the neighborhood should tell something useful about gross receipts from year to year. Are those data available, comparing beach areas with, say, Hillcrest or Clairemont?

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

Sales tax figures for the neighborhood should tell something useful about gross receipts from year to year. Are those data available, comparing beach areas with, say, Hillcrest or Clairemont?

yokemstokem
yokemstokem

Reading this story doesn't give enough data. For one, most is just hearsay from business owners, saying there is a decrease, but no hard data (eg. income/loss report sheets were attained.) So in reality. this report was a good attempt at achieving some meaningful data, but came up short in my opinion..Also would of been nice to see a police incident report sheet comparing 2008 to 2013 and see if there were a reduction in crime.. Just saying. The Article was the title "Fact Check" in it, and I felt no real hard data was obtained, other then some interviews from business owners.

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw

I feel your pain, but that's what happens when things become more urbanized. Recent restrictions on dogs and smoking also come to mind, but it's inevitable. Since I moved to the beach 25 years ago, the number of stop signs between my house and the freeway has easily doubled. However, when it comes to booze, this baloney that "only a few people ruined it for everyone" is just that. The beach gradually became a giant drinking contest, families with children fled the beach and seniors were hesitant to stroll on the boardwalk. We were the last holdout, and it got so bad radio stations were telling people to come to PB for a beach party!

Bill Bradshaw
Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

I feel your pain, but that's what happens when things become more urbanized. Recent restrictions on dogs and smoking also come to mind, but it's inevitable. Since I moved to the beach 25 years ago, the number of stop signs between my house and the freeway has easily doubled. However, when it comes to booze, this baloney that "only a few people ruined it for everyone" is just that. The beach gradually became a giant drinking contest, families with children fled the beach and seniors were hesitant to stroll on the boardwalk. We were the last holdout, and it got so bad radio stations were telling people to come to PB for a beach party!

Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall

Contrary to your baseless allegations I am doing everything I can physically do (without compensation) to work towards finding solutions. See http://CommunityALE.com and http://SanDiegoALE.com for starters which you're invited to participate in building. Not looking at the negative effects of a business district on a community is denial. Downtown San Diego was a disaster in the late 80's (I relocated to PB in 1990 and saw the budding phoenix) and it took a concerted effort to clean it up, revitalize the business district and invite thousands to now come and live in the area. I'm betting a lot of the peep-shop and dive bar owners and some vocal patrons downtown wanted very much for people to just stay the hell away from 'their' neighborhood - seedy as it became. Yet, some realized it was worth standing up and fighting for - to claim the downtown community for the enjoyment of everyone. Look where we're at today - a thriving, growing and ever-improving world-class downtown. This isn't about nimby, it's about people getting beat up, hit by drunk drivers - some killed, women assaulted and raped and neighborhoods being trashed by too-drunk, over-served people in a city that refuses to adequately fund its police for proper enforcement oversight; and it's about a state that refuses to regulate their licensees and over-saturates neighborhoods like PB with licenses, this arguably being the primary source of all the issues mentioned prior. This also isn't about PB. It's about every community in California that is struggling to balance their communities with a proper mix of businesses working in opposite direction of a Sacramento agency that, like a runaway train, are determined to add more licenses - seemingly at any cost to our local communities. You're welcome to join the conversation but, if you can get off your high horse, stop deflecting and answer the subject at hand ('their revenues are down almost 50 percent since the ban' - Falcone) - ideally using cited facts - we could get something done. I'm not holding my breath because it seems many in the industry in PB have become very adept at bullying, badgering, ignoring and deflecting. Too bad not enough people have the cajones to stand up for what's right and fair - that people (you, me and every resident and visitor to PB and all our neighborhoods) expect and deserve to live their lives where they choose and in safety. Oddest thing is that safe beaches and safe business districts are GREAT for businesses, great for residents, great for property owners, great for visitors... So, who is it you're arguing for? A few very wealthy bar owners that are putting profits before everything else? Please. What are you contributing other than accusations?

Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall

Is Mesa the distributor you're claiming the beach ordinance 'forced a sale of the company'? Just how did the beach alcohol ordinance force the hand of Ron Fowler to sell? What it sounds like from this article http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-6698-brewing-trouble.html from an unbiased source in CityBeat is the man sold his business and the subsequent owners made any decisions to hire and fire, which brands to carry and with whom to merge. It sounds like they let their customer service slip and viola retailer-customer's dropped. Also, are you trying to imply that when the alcohol ordinance was enacted so many people quit drinking beer regionally that an entire distributorship failed? That is, if Bud, Joe and Mary drank a six pack each on a Saturday afternoon before the ordinance they somehow stopped drinking on Saturday afternoons all together? Of course not. They might have switched brands, or might have switched drinking locations but, they certainly didn't stop drinking because of this ordinance.

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt

Thanks for your feedback, David. We have to take a different approach to every fact check. Some claims are easy to confirm or dismiss because there's lots of available data. Others, as in this case, aren't as straightforward. I decided to stick with this fact check because Paul Falcone's statement implies that the alcohol ban was the sole cause of decreased business revenues despite the fact that it coincided with one of our country's worst recessions. Furthermore, several business owners responded incredulously when I shared Falcone's statement.

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt author

Thanks for your feedback, David. We have to take a different approach to every fact check. Some claims are easy to confirm or dismiss because there's lots of available data. Others, as in this case, aren't as straightforward. I decided to stick with this fact check because Paul Falcone's statement implies that the alcohol ban was the sole cause of decreased business revenues despite the fact that it coincided with one of our country's worst recessions. Furthermore, several business owners responded incredulously when I shared Falcone's statement.

David Cohen
David Cohen

Evidence that beach community bars fared no worse than bars in other entertainment areas would clearly contradict the claim, however,

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt

That's a great suggestion, David. The city's website is down right now so I can't see if this information is immediately available. It's worth noting, though, that even evidence of a significant drop in sales tax revenue wouldn't confirm whether the alcohol ban specifically caused the decrease. However, that data could be great fodder for a follow-up post.

David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

Evidence that beach community bars fared no worse than bars in other entertainment areas would clearly contradict the claim, however,

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt author

That's a great suggestion, David. The city's website is down right now so I can't see if this information is immediately available. It's worth noting, though, that even evidence of a significant drop in sales tax revenue wouldn't confirm whether the alcohol ban specifically caused the decrease. However, that data could be great fodder for a follow-up post.

ezeques
ezeques

I’m a snowbird property owner on Mission Beach. Alcohol ban has made little difference to me. But it sure seems to have hurt business. California just continues to shoot itself in the foot.

Lisa Halverstadt
Lisa Halverstadt

Hi Glen, thanks for your feedback. I talked to almost a dozen beach businesses and unfortunately none were willing to share specific revenue information with me. (I did ask the question repeatedly.) I also couldn't find any related studies. I decided to go forward with the fact check because business owners responded incredulously when I shared Falcone's statement. The owners - as well as two business groups - were adamant that multiple factors contributed to any revenue drops. I thought it was valuable to explain this as Falcone's statement implied that the alcohol ban was solely responsible for revenue drops at all beachfront businesses. There's no evidence to support that and the ban coincided with one of our country's worst recessions. If you're interested in more details about how the ban may have affected crime in beach areas, check out this fact check from former VOSD writer Keegan Kyle:Fact Check: Booze Crime after the Beach Banhttp://voiceofsandiego.org/2011/07/21/fact-check-booze-crime-after-the-beach-ban/Statement: "We've had alcohol-free beaches for three summers. What has changed in the beach areas? Alcohol-related crime is down," Willis Allen, whose family owns the Crystal Pier Hotel and Cottages, and Monica Green, a longtime resident of Pacific B...