When I talk to Faulconer, he confirms this.
Pacific Beach Bar and Grill's general manager, Roger Lee, has been a PB resident for 20 years. I ask him about the ban.
"I understand and appreciate the ban," he says, "because I have seen firsthand how out of control these beach parties can be. I also know that the problems are made by a few and that, in general, the vast majority are law-abiding people having drinks, having fun, and not causing trouble. It is unfortunate that it only takes a few to ruin it for everyone. Just the other day, I was talking to a customer who called everyone who drank at the beach a 'trouble-causing hooligan.' With 5000 people coming through our doors every week, all it takes is a couple people to cause trouble, and everyone is accusing you as a problematic business. The difference is that at the Grill, these disruptive customers are 86'd. At the beach, these troublemakers are taken to detox and returned the next day. Being drunk in public and causing trouble should have more consequences than going to jail overnight. Recently, the bars in PB have begun installing ID scanners that enable bar owners to 86 customers known to cause trouble and to share this information with each other. The belief is that if you cause a problem at one bar and are 86'd, there is a good chance you will be 86'd from a dozen other bars in PB. If there were stricter penalties in place, such as three days in jail or community service, that would discourage over-intoxication, and maybe there would be less alcohol-induced incidents, and the ban at the beach would not be necessary. I am a big opponent of the government telling people what they can and cannot do. The City needed to do something, but they overreacted. There were many great ideas out there, such as making drink zones or no alcohol on certain holidays. As a business owner, I like the ban because, potentially, business should be better. But…weighing my personal rights over a bigger profit? I would rather have my freedom. The ban hasn't affected the number of fights, or loitering."
Stan Holman was elected president of OMBAC in November 2007. He tells me, "I first heard that the San Diego City Council was considering a beach booze ban in early November. The measure was passed mid-November. On November 26, two of us met with city councilmember Kevin Faulconer and his staff, plus some key City personnel. Our intent was to explore the full effect of the ordinance on our fundraisers at the beach. I told them that the typical over-the-line attendee brings an ice chest with beer, a beach chair, an accessory bag, plus bats and balls if they're playing. Faulconer replied, 'That's all fine, except for the beer.' We saw OTL as…gone. More meetings took place, involving a good legal mind. All suggestions involved fencing any and all areas where alcohol could be consumed. A fourth meeting took place on January 14 that involved the San Diego director of Alcoholic Beverage Control, who stated that OMBAC would be under the microscope for violations. No ideas from either side worked. Our legal guy suggested that the City use the City's term, 'special event permit,' which was written into the law but not defined. The defined term allowed weddings, company picnics, and other gatherings to have alcohol legally while on city property. As an FYI, any organized gathering of people numbering 75 or more on city property requires a permit. If alcohol is sold, the event permit is required from the City, and a permit from Alcoholic Beverage Control is also required. Most people know the ban is for one year and have a 'wait and see' attitude."
The first event that OMBAC would have in which alcohol would be on the beach is the coming-out party on May 17. Holman says, "Our coming-out-party came about when Delmar Miller, one of the original club members, was taken prisoner during the Korean War. OMBAC members used to throw loose change into a large glass jug at the Pennant [bar] for him when he came home. When Delmar returned, he was handed the jar and asked what it was for. The club said it was for 'coming out of prison.' Delmar said, 'Let's throw a coming-out party.' When I joined the club, there was a gate charge with free beer once inside. Needless to say, it got out of hand, and we went to pay-as-you-go several years ago."