Union-Tribune publisher David Copley, 50, who is also president and chief executive officer of the paper's holding company, his mother's Copley Press, has been arrested for driving under the influence and is set for arraignment this morning at the downtown courthouse, according to court records. This is at least the third DUI arrest for Copley, who was appointed U-T publisher and chairman of the Copley board a year ago. He was busted in La Jolla in 1986 and in South Mission Beach in December 1989, and did time at a county work camp after the latter conviction.
The latest arrest, which reportedly happened in La Jolla in late January, came as the U-T was promoting Proposition G, a ban on alcoholic beverages at Pacific and Mission Beaches. "The violent crime rate in Mission Beach is about three times the city average," said a February 13 editorial. "In a two-year period, the two beach areas reported over 17,000 alcohol-related arrests, about one-third of the entire city's total." Added the paper: "Imperial Beach is an infinitely nicer place since the city banned alcohol on the beach. People in Carlsbad say that when their beach went alcohol-free, it was like night and day. Problems simply ceased." In a July 23 editorial, the paper said, "Ask juvenile court judges about underage drinking, and they'll tell you the beach is a favored spot for kids to abuse alcohol." It concluded, "Once the bans are in place, the drunken rowdies are gone; the beaches and parks suddenly become places where families and others who like peaceful surroundings want to go." In December, the paper ran an editorial entitled "Teens help spread the message of sobriety," saying, "After years of decline, drunken driving is on the rise. And the holidays are always the worst time for this offense." And before that, the paper called for a moratorium on liquor licenses in Pacific Beach. "In fact, Pacific Beach leads the county in the number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and is second only to Mission Beach in arrests for public drunkenness."