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Friday, June 16, 2006 | The thing that’s great about San Diego is that there’s always something genuinely absurd happening. Virtually every day you can open your newspaper and find something some politician or bureaucrat did or said that’s insanity in action.
The June 15th classic is found on page B2 of the U-T, under the dramatic heading “San Diego to target beach crime, gangs.” It seems my community, Mission Beach, as well as Pacific Beach, are going to be targeted for a crackdown of major proportions. The city has obtained court orders curtailing gang activity and will blanket the beach with several waves of police with different specialties, traffic control, horseback units, gang suppression units, etc. in order to prevent chaos at the beach.
They have even appointed a commission on gang prevention and intervention.
Police Chief Lansdowne will deploy 300 to 400 officers along the ocean and bays, and says “using lessons from the past, we have a comprehensive plan in place for managing the anticipated crowds….”
Well, not quite. It seems San Diego refuses to learn the most obvious lesson other beach cities learned long ago; that where you have big crowds of young people drinking alcohol you are always going to have problems. So, instead of doing the proven, simple, cost saving thing, prohibiting drinking on the beach, we’re appointing commissions and throwing all the meager remaining resources SDPD has at its disposal into maintaining order.
The beach will remain an open bar, inviting underage drinkers, gang bangers and assorted rowdies to strut their stuff. Unlike a licensed bar, our beach has no rules, no controls and no accountability. The cops have to stand by until someone spins out of control or passes out.
Meanwhile, the city council is poised to ban smoking on the beach, largely because a lot of other cities are doing it. Hello? These same cities now banning beach smoking banned beach drinking decades ago.