During the May 27 meeting of the Solana Beach City Council, councilmembers made permanent a ban outlawing brews, wine, and cocktails, making dry the last of San Diego County’s beaches during busy summer months. (Del Mar allows alcohol consumption during the winter months.)
While introducing the ordinance, city manager David Ott blamed the media for bringing the issue to the Solana Beach shoreline.
“Last year about this time, this issue was very much in the forefront because the media had it (coverage of alcohol related incidents at beaches) for everyone out there,” said Ott while addressing the council. “After San Diego began to regulate (alcohol consumption), it started moving to other beaches that had never experienced it before. Solana Beach, up until that time, had never had a problem. We have a very responsible public. We started getting our name mentioned in the papers and in the media, and sure enough more activity started at our beaches that we had not experienced before…. Not that we had a problem before, but the way the media played it, it caused problems for our community.”
After Ott’s report, Judy Strang of San Dieguito Alliance for Drug Free Youth addressed the issue during public comment and presented some numbers provided by the San Diego Police Department on the effectiveness of the ban.
The San Diego Police Department informed Strang that nearly 500,000 more people than last year flocked to the San Diego beaches during the long weekend to celebrate Memorial Day and reported “almost no problems at all.”
“Ninety-nine point nine-nine percent of the people were well behaved, and the .01 percent people stuck out like sore thumbs; they were easy to spot, cite, and arrest,” said Strang about the update from San Diego Police Department. “Beachgoers actually applauded when they were arrested and removed. The police said that people came up to them and congratulated them and even those who weren’t in favor of the alcohol ban said they were now.”
After spending a total of seven and a half minutes on the issue, the council’s vote was unanimous.