Julie Stalmer 5:30 p.m., Sept. 22
San Diego: The Downward Spiral
Lackluster DUI Performance During New Year's Weekend Threatens One of Metropolis's Last Remaining Distinctions As America's Bleariest City
"I mean, what's next? Bloomington, Indiana taking the title for America's best weather?"
ROOTING THROUGH GASLAMP TRASHCANS FOR EMPTIES AT DAWN - "Pathetic," mumbles Eric McReady, longtime homeless veteran and veteran observer of San Diego's party scene aftermath. "I'll be lucky to find enough bottles to get lunch at the Mangy Panda Chinese Buffet on 45th. People just didn't get their drink on this New Year's."
McCready's command of the facts makes it clear that he isn't just crying into his empty beer bottle: "For the past two years, we've led the nation in drunk driving. That, combined with our ranking as America's ninth drunkest city, made us tops in the imbibing department. No other city could match us, not even Trenton, New Jersey - and those people have a reason to drink, believe you me. When people wanted to know where to go to get blasted, the obvious answer was San Diego. Add that to our explosive growth in the craft-beer department, and from the high to the low to the end of the show, San Diego was America's Alcoholic Capitol."
But now? "Now, I dunno. The empties don't lie, and neither do the headlines. Nearly a 30% drop in DUI arrests this weekend compared to last year - and it's not like last year was all that impressive. What does it say about a city's morale when it can't even be relied on to go out and get hammered? How depressed do you have to be to not even have the wherewithal to drink away your depression? I see tough times ahead. Happy New Year, my butt."