SAN RAFAEL, Calif., April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alcohol Justice, and the statewide Coalition to Stop Leno's 4 a.m. Bar Bill, are asking people to call the Senate Governmental Organization (GO) Committee today with the simple message to stop the dangerous public health and safety policy that will result in California if bars, restaurants and nightclubs are able to continue selling alcohol from 2-4 a.m.
"Law enforcement in California will see more highway deaths and more homicides if this 4 a.m. bar bill passes," stated Jorge Castillo, Advocacy Director at Alcohol Justice. "SB 635 would be good for bars, and restaurants but terrible for taxpayers and neighbors."
The bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno, a respected public health leader up to now, will be voted on in Senate GO Committee tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. Opponents believe SB 635 is a misguided bill that will only benefit bar & restaurant owners. If it passes, it will create a dangerous new public policy that will threaten health and safety throughout California.
In an ACTION ALERT sent out today, California voters were asked to call Senate GO Committee Chair Roderick Wright at 916-651-1530 with the message to stop the bad public policy because California already suffers $38.4 billion in alcohol-related harm every year, with 10,000 lives lost and hundreds of thousands of additional injuries. In addition, SB 635 provides no extra money to help police, fire, EMS and emergency room staff to clean up the extra harm that two more hours of alcohol consumption will cause.
"Senate Bill 635 is a wrong idea for our community and for California," stated Richard Zaldivar, Executive Director and President of L.A-based The Wall Las Memorias. "We should not compromise our public safety, public health and the well-being of Californians for the sake of increasing alcohol sales."
The 1,400-member California Police Chiefs Association announced a strong position against passage of the bill. In an open letter to Senator Leno, Association Government Relations Manager John Lovell sited a number of concerns: unintended consequences, quality of life deterioration for adjacent neighborhoods, drinkers driving from areas where bars close earlier to bars with later last calls, late night drinkers sharing the road with early morning commuters, increased DUI accidents and fatalities, and limited budgets and personnel to deal effectively with the extra service calls.
The U.S. Community Prevention Services Task Force, chaired by Jonathan Fielding, Director of Public Health and Health Officer for Los Angeles County, in 2010 recommended to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that extending hours of service is not recommended. Task Force evidence showed that two more hours of alcohol sales will nearly double alcohol-related violence, crime, police calls, emergency room visits, etc.
"The only sane people supporting SB 635 are undertakers and ambulance drivers," stated Leonard Buschel, Founder of the REEL Recovery Film Festival. "If this passes it will be known as the 'Bill of Death', while the streets of Los Angeles at 4 a.m. will look like a rerun of Demolition Derby."
"The political influence of the restaurant and bar side of the alcohol industry is the only thing that can get this dangerous bill out of committee," stated Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. "The bar tab for SB 635 will be on the taxpayers for first responders like the police, sheriffs, emergency transport, and California Highway Patrol. Unless bars, restaurants and Big Alcohol corporations like Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors are fully charged for the harm they will cause for more binge drinking, we will continue to oppose Senator Leno's 4 a.m. bar bill."
The California public is being urged to call Senate GO Committee Chair Roderick Wright today at 916-651-1530 and tell him to Stop Leno's 4 a.m. Bar Bill.
Statewide Coalition Members include:
Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP)
Ban Billboard Blight
Bay Area Community Resources (BACR)
County Alcohol & Drug Program Administrators Association of California (CADPAAC)
California Council on Alcohol Problems (CALCAP)
California Narcotic Officers Association
California Police Chiefs Association
Friday Night Live
Institute for Public Strategies
Lutheran Office of Public Policy California
Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca
Los Angeles City Council Member Bernard Parks
Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry
P3 Partnership for a Positive Pomona
Paso Por Paso, Inc.
Pueblo Y Salud, Inc.
People Reaching Out
Social Model Recovery Systems
The Wall – Las Memorias Project
Women Against Gun Violence
Writers In Treatment
Youth Leadership Institute (YLI)
CONTACT: Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
SOURCE Alcohol Justice