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La Mesa Police Lieutenant Carlos Medero says consumption of alcohol in public places is a major distraction for the city's police force. The Lieutenant points to a spike in the number of complaints of drinking in public from last year to this year. In a six-month period from last year, says Medero, the city's police force received 178 complaints for public drinking. During the same time this year, the police department received 272 complaints.

It's for those reasons that Medero and city staff were in support of an ordinance to extend the ban on drinking from parks, churches, and schools, adopted back in 1981, to include streets, alleys, and sidewalks.

During the Tuesday, October 27, La Mesa city council meeting, Lieutenant Medero testified before the mayor and city councilmembers about the need for the council to adopt the ordinance.

"We see our officers using this ordinance as a tool used and enforced in the spirit of the law to address the quality of life issues that are being impacted by drinking in public," said Medero.

For the city council, it didn't seem to take much convincing. Councilmember Ruth Sterling: "It's a consistent problem. I don't think this council realized the open container was such a problem."

Councilmember Ernest Ewin commented on the need for the ban while asking for assurances from Lieutenant Medero that officers won't use the ordinance to generate extra revenue, but instead will use it to enhance public safety.

And while the city council appeared convinced from the outset, a few residents spoke in opposition to the ordinance during public comment, calling the law unnecessary.

"I would have thought, or should I say, I would have hoped that the repeal of Prohibition would have settled this once and for all," said resident Craig Maxwell during public comment. "Evidently it did not. Before this council imposes any further restriction on the consumption of alcohol in public places, or before you impose any new fees or penalties, you might want to consider the impression this is likely to make on La Mesa citizens."

Another concern from those in opposition to the ordinance was that the law could deter companies and private citizens from organizing large events at the city's parks and public spaces in fear of police interaction, thus taking money away from the city's beleaguered general fund.

But Mayor Art Madrid responded by saying citizens are allowed to submit an application to the police department at a cost of $150 for a permit, which would allow for alcohol consumption at organized events.

Shortly after the public comment portion of the meeting concluded, the city council voted unanimously, 5 to 0, in favor of banning booze from La Mesa's public places.

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Comments

85db Oct. 29, 2009 @ 7:13 p.m.

Funny. What mayor was driven home by the police?

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jmtrudeau Oct. 30, 2009 @ 1:15 p.m.

Another freedom taken away. Thank you La Mesa city council for slapping our hands and saying drinking in the park is bad. I really needed the parenting. Can you also hold my hand when I cross the street?

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PistolPete Oct. 30, 2009 @ 1:23 p.m.

From what I understand and have observed in my short time living here,this has been slowly going on all over Sandy Eggo county. Hate to say it but the complacency and over all whatever attitude of those residents without families has brought this upon themselves. I've been to the beach twice to see the sun set in the 4 years I've lived here but I still voted against the beach booze ban. Only till we band together and protest our freedoms being taken away will there be any positive change in our neighborhoods.

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David Dodd Oct. 30, 2009 @ 3:23 p.m.

I don't know who PhotoShop-ped the image, but it's a winner. Let's see, hmmm... I know! Gather up a bunch of angry-looking women, throw in something about prohibiting alcohol, and that's it! Here's a challenge: Do the next one with a bunch of angry men!

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magicsfive Oct. 30, 2009 @ 3:53 p.m.

i believe this is from an old penny-postcard...and i remember seeing it saying "Lips that touch Liquor (or alcohol)Shall Never Touch Ours" what a disappointment that must have been ;)

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David Dodd Oct. 30, 2009 @ 4:05 p.m.

Yeah, magics, that was an old prohibition saying. Doesn't it seem surreal that alcohol was once illegal? I think about that, and slavery, and women not being able to vote, and my head just spins. All of these people in America bashing Mexico, and to think that women were able to vote in Mexico before it was legal in the U.S., booze was never outlawed here, and slavery was non-existent in Mexico after 1830.

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magicsfive Oct. 30, 2009 @ 4:14 p.m.

it sure does. wow. well thankfully times have changed for the better. next time i see you, refried, i will NOT be driving. we can get our drink on lol :)

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Ponzi Nov. 6, 2009 @ 9:16 a.m.

One word can sum up the increase in crime and public intoxication problems in La Mesa over the years.

Trolley.

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SDaniels Nov. 6, 2009 @ 9:46 a.m.

I agree, magics should have won something for that line! Get a gander at some of those sour mugs! Pheh. :)

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