Reader Andrew in PB wrote:

I generally agree, Jacob. A ban on all drinking at the beach is not the answer. The solution would be to address the small percentage of people who get incredibly inebriated and then impact others through violence, public urination, drunk driving, being loud, etc. I think people want these problems addressed, and providing solutions to them would help your cause. So let’s say the ban is overturned by a Council or citizen’s vote: how would you deal with these externalities of drinking?

There are new solutions and already proposed solutions to the issues we face because of the over 24 million annual visitors. We can start with the Beach Alcohol Task Force’s 21 recommendations to improve the beach communities (none of the 21 recommendations involve banning alcohol after a nine-month comprehensive study). These recommendations include the addition of more public restrooms to accommodate the needs of thousands of families who want to use the bathroom, DUI programs to educate and reduce the incidents of drunk driving, methods for increasing police presence at the beach all year and especially on major holidays.

We could implement the six recommendations that were suggested in 2001 by the PB/MB Town Councils. Only one has been implemented so far, the Beach Area Community Court, where alcohol and other offenders have the option to do community service in the beach communities. EVERYONE, at all levels of city government, hails it as a huge success.

We can enforce the over 50 laws already in the municipal code that deal with every type of behavior complained about (violence, public urinations, drunk driving, excessive noise = all ILLEGAL). Need more police? Mission Bay Park is the only public recreation area in San Diego that operates in the black, with over $20 million generated for the cities General Fund every year. Use some of this money to pay for more police to enforce the existing laws.

The point is, we need to try these other solutions before imposing punishment on the 99.9 percent of beachgoers who don’t cause the problems.

Until these solutions have been tried, we shouldn’t spend hundreds of hours fighting to ban alcohol every year. Who knows? If the alcohol ban people and the pro-freedom people could work together for just one year, I bet they could really get some wonderful results. After all, we are all tying to make our beaches a better place. They just think that a silver bullet is the solution and we think this is a complex issue without a 1 size fits all solution.


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