Don Bauder 5:30 p.m., March 10
North Park Residents Plan Rally In Protest of High Number of Alcohol Licenses
Call it an 'anti-pub crawl' or 'bar-stopping'. A group of residents in North Park will gather on Friday evening to walk in protest to the number of alcohol licenses issued to businesses in their community. The protest will be the first of two rallies, the other will take place in Pacific Beach the following week.
Last year, denizens from North Park and Pacific Beach banded together to draw attention to what they say is Alcohol and Beverage Control's (ABC) unbridled policy in issuing alcohol permits, especially to the business districts they say are already saturated with bars and restaurants.
"[Alcohol and Beverage Control's] licensing policy is harming communities. San Diego is the DUI capital of the USA with highest DUI rate in the nation 2 years in a row," reads the flier announcing the walk, which will begin at 5:30pm outside of Birch North park Theater on University Avenue.
One week later, the residents plan to move their protest to Pacific Beach for a walk along Garnet Avenue's bustling entertainment district.
"[Pacific Beach] consistently has the highest rate of violent crime and [North Park] falls just barely behind. [Pacific Beach] has the highest rate of alcohol-related crime and general crime and is top or near the top in nearly all crime categories. This crime is centered around the business district where more and more restaurants are functioning like bars and more and more alcohol licenses are being issued, modified or expanded each year.
In addition to what they feel is a permit-happy Alcohol and Beverage Control board, the group also lays blame on SDPD's Vice unit, as well as city councilmembers Todd Gloria and Kevin Faulconer, who represent both North Park and Pacific Beach.
"The Alcohol Beverage Control, SDPD vice, and city officials are part of the problem. The police work for the mayor and the mayor and city councilmen are ignoring the problem... and have become part of the problem themselves by endorsing new alcohol licenses, expansions of bar-like restaurants, and modifications to allow serving more alcohol, harder alcohol (not just beer and wine), and for longer hours.
"Without effective regulation, public health, and safety policies that proactively address culture of over-consumption and over-serving by bars and bar-like restaurants, we are creating an atmosphere that results in crime, disturbances, violence, vandalism, [and] injury..."