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If You Hold It, They Will Defile It

The Pacific Beach Block Party is over, according to Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of Discover PB, an association that includes 1200 PB business owners. Discover PB was granted the party permit by the city for the past two years. Nicholls says his board declined to host the event, and "We requested the city not issue a permit to anyone for the [2006] PB Block Party."

An estimated 105,000 turned out to see 43 bands play at the 30th annual festival on May 14.

"On balance, the block party had a negative impact," says Nicholls. "It gave PB an image as a place to get drunk." Locals against the event say the block party attracts public urination, fights, vandalism, and a drop-off in business.

Marcie Beckett, a member of savepb.org, collected a survey of what residents and businesses think about the event.

"In summary, it was a huge negative impact on residences and businesses. Bars may make $100,000 that day, but other businesses, like Henry's and Trader Joe's, lost $40,000. This year the Hells Angels and gangs showed up, and the police were just trying to keep fights from breaking out. They admitted they couldn't keep up with misdemeanors like urination." She says she wants the event moved. "It just got too big. The last Street Scene in Gaslamp drew 130,000. Because they got too big, they had to move to Qualcomm."

Nicholls says a workshop was held on November 21 to determine what events residents, businesses, and community organizations could support. It's been determined that the PB Block Party name won't be used and any other event may not include organizer Kevin Hellman.

"In the past, the block party was created by Kevin behind closed doors. When does a community get to participate in its own street fair?"

Jim Moore, president of the PB Town Council, says his board is split on the issue.

Meanwhile, Hellman says he is moving ahead with plans for a scaled-down event: the PB Street Fair, to be held April 29 and to include two or three stages (compared to last year's seven).

"If the community doesn't want the event, we won't do the event," says Hellman, noting that there were only four block-party-related arrests last year. Regarding the huge crowds: "We are a victim of our own success." And regarding those who want the block party out of PB: "They want PB to be like La Jolla. But it's not going to be as long as [homeowners] rent out to college students."

Hellman gets paid for organizing the event but would not disclose the amount.

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The Pacific Beach Block Party is over, according to Benjamin Nicholls, executive director of Discover PB, an association that includes 1200 PB business owners. Discover PB was granted the party permit by the city for the past two years. Nicholls says his board declined to host the event, and "We requested the city not issue a permit to anyone for the [2006] PB Block Party."

An estimated 105,000 turned out to see 43 bands play at the 30th annual festival on May 14.

"On balance, the block party had a negative impact," says Nicholls. "It gave PB an image as a place to get drunk." Locals against the event say the block party attracts public urination, fights, vandalism, and a drop-off in business.

Marcie Beckett, a member of savepb.org, collected a survey of what residents and businesses think about the event.

"In summary, it was a huge negative impact on residences and businesses. Bars may make $100,000 that day, but other businesses, like Henry's and Trader Joe's, lost $40,000. This year the Hells Angels and gangs showed up, and the police were just trying to keep fights from breaking out. They admitted they couldn't keep up with misdemeanors like urination." She says she wants the event moved. "It just got too big. The last Street Scene in Gaslamp drew 130,000. Because they got too big, they had to move to Qualcomm."

Nicholls says a workshop was held on November 21 to determine what events residents, businesses, and community organizations could support. It's been determined that the PB Block Party name won't be used and any other event may not include organizer Kevin Hellman.

"In the past, the block party was created by Kevin behind closed doors. When does a community get to participate in its own street fair?"

Jim Moore, president of the PB Town Council, says his board is split on the issue.

Meanwhile, Hellman says he is moving ahead with plans for a scaled-down event: the PB Street Fair, to be held April 29 and to include two or three stages (compared to last year's seven).

"If the community doesn't want the event, we won't do the event," says Hellman, noting that there were only four block-party-related arrests last year. Regarding the huge crowds: "We are a victim of our own success." And regarding those who want the block party out of PB: "They want PB to be like La Jolla. But it's not going to be as long as [homeowners] rent out to college students."

Hellman gets paid for organizing the event but would not disclose the amount.

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