Sunday, Nov. 11, 2007 | I wanted to share some thoughts on the alcohol ban and the editorial bias of Mr. Bob Kittle and the Union-Trib. There seems to be a peculiar quartet opposed to the alcohol ban – Mayor Sanders, Chief Lansdowne, Rodger Hedgecock, and the Union-Trib. Is there a newfound strain of true libertarianism blooming amongst the Republicans, or is this the financial influence of the alcoholic beverage distributors?  I wrote the following letter to Mr. Kittle after his SignOnSanDiego talk radio discussion of the proposed alcohol ban.

Dear Mr. Bob Kittle:

I appreciated your courtesy and willingness to take my call during your talk radio discussion of the proposed alcohol ban.

I am concerned about your presentation of the issues. You gave the FreePB spokesman Mr. Jacob Pyle essentially an unlimited forum to twist facts and misrepresent the issues. Councilman Faulconer was put in the position to have to debate Mr. Pyle, but he was limited by the fact that he was a politician in a political position. I do not understand why you did not invite a representative from SafeBeaches to debate FreePB. To me this omission suggests an editorial bias that distorts a fair debate over this proposal. Why has the Union-Trib changed its position? Five years ago the paper supported the ban.

I heard a couple of comments by Mr. Jacob Pyle and the callers during the show that troubled me. I’m a former ocean lifeguard, and I heard Mr. Pyle or one of the callers talking about having a couple of beers and then going for a swim. This kind of behavior is a good way to drown. I also heard one caller specifically state that the specific reason he moved here was because he could drink on the beach. I wonder if our alcohol policy is attracting the wrong kind of resident. Mr. Pyle also stated that drinking on the beach did not facilitate underage drinking because the drinkers were in plain sight. This is absurd – how can you tell a 20 year old from a 21 year old? All you need is one 21 year old to supply alcohol to an entire crowd of underage drinkers. A significant percentage of the rioters on Labor Day were underage drinkers.

I hear people ask why we should decide this issue again – we decided this issue five years ago. First, we didn’t vote on this kind of ban, but rather a different limitation on drinking that shifted it to specific areas. And more important – What is different now? It is five years later, a much bigger city, and perhaps some change in cultural mores has changed public behavior. Drinking on the beach has changed. Five years ago, we didn’t have beer bongs and sliders. In my experience as an Emergency Physician taking care of passed out drinkers every day, there is a trend toward not just drinking, but a culture of getting really drunk as fast as you can. Buying a “cooler” case of beer for $11.99 and going to the beach on a sunny day is a good way to get really drunk without any kind of supervision.

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