In response to a comment:

Reader WakeUP wrote:

“Only those disconnected from local law enforcement can believe the party line that crime is down. The only reason official stats might show that is because the few remaining cops don’t have the time to fill out the paperwork as attrition continues to reduce the number of cops on the beat. With fewer cops there’s actually more crime. Ever call to report a problem? You’d know you’re lucky to get a response at all much less within any time to provide help. You’re dreaming if you think that we have the cops to enforce existing laws. Are you willing to support a tax increase to do so? Finally, consider why first on the enforcement list isn’t busting the existing bad bars that over-serve and are found on the lists of where fights and other bad behavior is pushed out into the community driving the desire for a beach ban.”

First of all, the overwhelming majority of crimes that are used to justify a BEACH alcohol ban don’t occur when people are drinking at the beach, they occur after 8 or 9pm, or even later.  For example, 90 percent of DUI’s occur when you can’t drink on the beach.  So you tell me, is the problem BEACH alcohol or something else in the community. 

Second, does having police spend their valuable time enforcing a bad law at our beaches help the CITY-WIDE issue of under-staffed police? It will only make the problem worse. Once the police department realized they had a problem, they took proactive steps to address recruiting and retention issues. They have “stopped the bleeding” and are doing a much better job of retaining existing officers. With a strong recruiting effort, they have recently graduated the largest police academy class in their history. Unfortunately, these “legacy” issues of a defunct city government have to be addressed by the current government, but they are getting better. 

We don’t need a tax increase to get better police responses. We need to 1.) be more careful with our existing resources and 2.) allocate them more effectively.  To be more careful with our existing resources, we shouldn’t be passing legislation that can have unintended and unexplored consequences. Look no further than the Charger ticket guarantee, the 4th of July keg ban and the pension issues. All seemed

like good ideas at the time (by some) and later have ended up costing tax payers millions of dollars.  We do NOT know what effect an alcohol ban at our beaches will have on San Diego’s number two industry, tourism.  It may keep people from coming to our city beaches (currently, more than 24 million CHOOSE to come to our beaches knowing that alcohol is legal) and we lose tons of TAX revenue, instead of gaining tax revenue. The point being, Mission Bay Park generates more than $20 million per year for our general fund. Why mess with a wonderful thing?

Police Chief Lansdowne proposed a 3-year plan to allocate police more effectively in our beach communities and that plan has been working. A large presence during holidays and major summer weekends has led to a decrease in crime. Don’t take my word for it or anyone else’s. Talk to the chief of Police, he will tell you the same thing.  I tend to listen to the chief, because, well, he is the chief of Police and knows more than you or I do. But our common sense tells us the same thing: a large police presence tends to deter unwanted behavior.

Finally, bad bar operators. What do these have to do with making alcohol illegal at the beach?  If you have a problem with people being over-served or driving drunk at 2 a.m. from the bars, address these issues and don’t punish the 99.9 percent of beach goers who don’t cause the problem. Oh wait, the Beach Alcohol Task Force does address these — specifically, number 4 – SDPD Out of Cars and Into Bars, number 7 –  DUI Kits for All Patrol Cars,   number 9 – Mandatory Security Plan Submittal for All On-Site Liquor Establishments, numbers 10, 11, 12 – Promote Taxi Cab Use Through Incentives, Designated Driver Program, Drunk Driving Education Program, number 16 – Conditional Use Permit (Pay attention to number 16 folks, it will be used to drive bad operators out of business in the beach communities once it is implemented!).

— JACOB PYLE

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