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Reader beach lover wrote:

It is funny that with a war, elections, our environmental issues, our municipal problems, etc…, that drinking on beach is the thing that rallies cries for democracy in our community. Just an observation. I want to be able to go down to the Pacific Beach during the summer without having to go to a raging party. I think a ban on alcohol will help. Let’s put it to the people (again, since the people have already spoken through their elected officials).

I’d like to address the pro-ban argument that San Diego beaches are, “a magnet for binge and underage drinking and the whole beach is a raging, out-of-control party.” It makes the least sense to me and is one of the most flawed arguments out there.

An alcohol ban at our beaches, bays and parks is NOT a silver bullet for problem drinkers or underage drinkers. There was this little experiment in our country from 1920 to 1933 called Prohibition. Prohibition was supposed to free up police resources, eliminate binge drinking and address a host of society’s moral ills. Instead, it increased the cost of policing, did nothing to combat binge drinking and did nothing to address the value judgments made for all of the United States by the religious and political temperance movements. The fact of the matter is, a ‘knucklehead, binge drinker’ will still get alcohol and still get drunk. He will just do it in our neighborhoods as he wanders back and forth to the beach and through our beach communities. The underage drinker will still get illegal alcohol from someone of age and just drink at a private home, in their cars or wherever underage drinkers have been hiding from the law for the last 50 years or so.

If you have a problem with devices used to get drunk quicker, then ban ice luges, beer bongs, funnels, and do NOT punish the responsible drinkers who enjoy the beach. If you have a problem with underage drinkers, then crack down on the providers or compel the Alcohol Beverage Control agency to provide more stringent enforcement. Imagine if the 50 people who complain to our city government constantly about alcohol on our beaches started making those complaints to the ABC and the Governor or their state representatives? We would have 50 person ABC beach sweeps every major weekend of the summer. I don’t have a problem with that and would make my phone calls to the ABC or Governor as well.

Finally, our beaches, bays and parks do NOT consist of a two-to-three block stretch of Pacific Beach (from Thomas Ave. to Pacific Beach Drive). We have over 13 miles of beach line and 23 miles of shoreline in our bays. Come to these communities and see how empty the beaches and bays are for 364 (not the Fourth of July) days of the year with the exception of the very small stretch where people congregate in Pacific Beach. Please do not generalize the behavior and activities of this very small sample to everywhere. If you have a problem with the large parties on this small stretch of sand, then enforce this area differently.

How about a police trailer at the foot of Reed Street every Saturday/Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day? How about increased patrols of this three- block stretch of sand? How about doubling fines in these areas?

Don’t ruin my friends’ low-cost weddings at the bay, or my time with my brother, mother and four nieces and nephews (at the foot of Reed St. by the way) because of the actions of the .01 percent of beach users. Punish the guilty NOT the responsible!

— JACOB PYLE

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