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Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007 |The “booze on the beach ban” vote was the usual draconian reaction by politicians that punishes everyone for the rowdy antics of a few, ala the Volstead Act. I bet it winds up on the ballot and will be overturned like Prohibition was too.

Here’s a suggestion. When one buys an adult beverage at a tavern one pays the equivalent of a “cover” charge in the higher price for the full glass much the same as paying such a cover charge at a nightclub. Why not put a “cover charge” on the enjoyment of an adult beverage at the beach?

How? Simple. Anyone wishing to enjoy an adult beverage on the beach would be required to purchase a “Pass” and have said “Pass” on their person whilst on the beach. Cost of said “Pass” would be, say, $10/person.

A “Pass” could be purchased from liquor selling stores, like Lottery tickets are now sold, or from strategically placed (by beach entrances) dispensing machines, designed to be much like the fare collection boxes manufactured by the local company, Cubic Corp. Just like the SD Trolley works on the honor system and polices riders’ ticket purchasing, beach adult beverage slips (BABS) or Passes would be policed right on the beach. If one does not have such a “Pass” they could purchase it on the spot from the “Monitor” for say, $20, or be ticketed and have to pay a fine like the equivalent of a running-a-red-light ticket, in other words, costly. That’s a “Pass” for everyone enjoying an adult beverage on the beach, not one “Pass” for a whole party of people doing that.

This proposal would pay for itself via the dollars collected for the BABS slips and excess funds could be used for better beach maintenance/enhancement. Yes, there would be an upfront cost to implement this idea but that could be recaptured rather quickly once it becomes operational and widely publicized. It is the equivalent of a “user fee,” much like paying a toll on a road or bridge.

It’s an idea. I’m sure it can be tweaked to further refine it and make it work for there are many smart folks in our city. This is making lemonade out of a lemon vs. the “dragnet” style of punishing everyone for the sins of the few. Surely it is worth serious consideration. When one remembers how many folks were at the beach on weekends/holidays, this idea could become a lucrative cash generator for the city and be the model for other like located beach communities! Think about it!

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