The sole action item on the April 7 agenda of the park committee responsible for the governance of Kate Sessions Park was a proposed change to the park’s current 12-hour alcohol ban to a 24-hour ban.
On August 18, 2009, council district 2 staff member Thyme Curtis, former Northern Division police captain (now chief) Shelley Zimmerman, and Community Parks I deputy director Clay Bingham met with the Friends of Kate Session Park group and a few community residents to discuss their concerns regarding alcohol consumption at the park. During that meeting, it was agreed that there would be a one-year evaluation before considering a 24-hour ban.
On January 19, 2010, Friends of Kate Sessions Park submitted a request to the Santa Clara/Pacific Beach Recreation Council to convert the 12-hour ban to a 24-hour ban.
Between January and March 2010, there have been six town-council meetings and various committee meetings with board members voting on the issue and making recommendations in favor of the ban. These recommendations were made despite the fact the SDPD has repeatedly indicated that there have been “no exceptional enforcement issues, including alcohol, at Kate Sessions Park, with the exception of the July 4, 2010 holiday.”
Several community members who have attended the meetings stated that the public turnout representing those opposed to the ban has been nominal, due to poor public notification. “The meeting was posted in the Pacific Beach Rec Center. That’s how the public was informed," said an attendee.
A Pacific Beach resident added, “It’s the same less than a handful of complainers who show up at all the meetings, in front of boards of self-selected busy-bodies who want to control people. If alcohol at Kate Sessions Park was such a problem, you can bet this place would be packed with people…they’d be lined up outside...but they’re not.”
For others, the Kate Sessions alcohol ban represents a much larger basic issue...
“Increasing governmental control and restriction of rights isn’t freedom, and bans are just Band-Aids,” said a Pacific Beach resident. “We now have to apologize for what we say on television or radio, we’re banning words, we’re banning having a beer on the beach, now the parks…really, where does it end? People are stupid. They just sit back and pretend this isn’t happening. People need to get involved — wake up, speak up, defend their rights, before it’s too late.”
“We serve the people and the people have spoken,” said Joe Frichtel, representative for the Mira Mesa Recreation Council, to the ten community members in attendance. The Community 1 Parks Area Committee voted 11-0 in favor of the 24-hour alcohol ban.
For video of one man's opinion, click here.