LOS ANGELES, June 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Alcohol Justice, the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA), and Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance brought organizations and individuals representing thousands of southland residents together today at Los Angeles City Hall to condemn a proposed deadly policy change in California. SB 384 – the 4 a.m. bar bill - would create a public health and safety nightmare in the state by allowing bars, restaurants and nightclubs to extend alcohol sales to 4 a.m. The bill has passed through the State Senate and will be heard next in the State Assembly on July 5, 2017.
"That this bill has gotten this far is a chilling example of GUI – Government Under the Influence - of the alcohol and late-night entertainment industry," stated Sonny Skyhawk, Founder and CEO, American Indians in Film and Television, Alcohol Justice Board Member. "SB 384's author, supporters and all who have voted in favor so far have been blinded by greed and ignore the preponderance of data that this policy change will produce more alcohol-related harm and cost at public expense."
The bill, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), and plastered with the labels "NIGHT LIFE MATTERS" and "LOCAL CONTROL" resonated with a majority of his Senate colleagues. They disturbingly chose profits over public safety, ultimately putting neighborhoods and youth at risk. Senate passage, though not unanimous, was proof that it valued alcohol sales more than public health and safety, and big business interest over community members' interest.
"Current research does not support expanding hours of alcohol sales," stated Jonathan Fielding, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., M.B.A, Distinguished Professor UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and UCLA Geffen School of Medicine, and Chair, U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force. In a prepared statement, Fielding shared that "…maintaining existing limits on the hours during which alcoholic beverages are sold at on-premises outlets [are] another strategy for preventing alcohol-related harms." And "…increases in hours of sale that are two hours or greater will lead to increases in excessive alcohol use and related problems."
According to CDC-reviewed reports, California already suffers $35 billion in alcohol-related harm every year, with 10,500 lives lost and hundreds of thousands of additional injuries. Local and sate governments share of this grisly tab is a whopping $14.5 billion annually.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) opposes SB 384 as the bill could have far-reaching public safety implications for our entire state," said Patricia Rillera, Executive Director, MADD Southern California. "Over one-third of all California's highway deaths resulted from drunk and drugged driving. Extending alcohol service hours at bars and nightclubs would bring associated public safety risks and increased law enforcement costs."
"SB 384 is just another egregious example of how Big Alcohol preys upon the states most vulnerable populations who already suffer disproportionately from over-consumption," stated Richard Zaldivar, Executive Director of The Wall Las Memorias Project and Chair of CAPA. "If this bill becomes law, the state's underserved communities such as people of color and LGBTQ can expect more targeted marketing and greater harm. We need to draw a line and say no to this opportunistic and exploitative industry, starting with NO to 4 a.m. last call."
"The 4 a.m. bar bill is all about BIG profits for businesses at the expense of residents," stated Lisa Bridges, Coalition Coordinator at Santee Solutions Coalition. "The quality of life for residents will continue to diminish with more noise, more public drunkenness and more DUI-related crime. These associated costs of SB 384 are just too much for any community to bear!"
"The bill's author has done a masterful job in the Senate at pulling the wool over his colleagues eyes," said Jorge Castillo, spokesperson for Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance (L.A. DAPA). "The local control process he sold them on is virtually worthless, historically manipulated by the industry to reduce existing statewide protections while denying local control over raising alcohol taxes to pay for the local harms of excessive alcohol consumption. We're here today to demand that Assembly Members put a stop to this nonsense."
The last time the California alcohol excise tax increased was in 1992, when it was raised by one cent. There is consensus among state public health and safety advocates that no part of the alcohol industry deserves additional competitive advantages until they start paying their fair share of California's alcohol-related problems. Without strong, uniform, state protections, power over health regulations often revert, not to the community, but to wealthy businesses—in this case, Big Alcohol and large entertainment concerns.
"This bill subjects all municipalities in a local region to the increased dangers of late night drunk driving even if only one city in the area permits bars to close at 4 a.m.," said Beth Sise, chair of the Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County. "Local leaders who reject this 4:00 a.m. option will still have to explain to their constituents why late night crashes and fatalities have risen thanks to drunk drivers coming from a neighboring municipality that has bars open two hours later. This bill promotes the very opposite of local control by taking away safety assurances from communities."
Donn Peterson, President of the California College and University Police Chiefs Association, announced their strong opposition to Senate Bill 384: "The unintended consequences of this bill are very serious", said Chief Peterson. "They include the deterioration of quality of life for neighborhoods adjacent to late night drinking spots, drinkers driving from areas where bars close earlier all the way to the later last call bars, late night drinkers sharing the road with early morning commuters, increased DUI accidents and fatalities, and the limited budgets all of us in law enforcement have to deal effectively with the extra service calls."
"The legislature needs to hear it again and again that alcohol-related harm is a leading cause of preventable death in California, costing the state $35 billion annually due to alcohol-fueled crime and violence, injuries, traffic accidents, loss of work hours, and illnesses related to alcohol addiction," stated Thomas Renfree, Deputy Director, Substance Use Disorder Services, County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California. "Ignoring the evidence that extending hours of alcohol sales to 4 a.m. will increase the harms and costs, and passing this bill, amounts to gross negligence."
"We are urging Californians to contact their member of the Assembly and make it clear how a 4 a.m. last call will hurt the community," said Bruce Lee Livingston, Executive Director / CEO of Alcohol Justice. "California needs politicians to push themselves away from the bar, stand up against alcohol money, preserve public health and safety, and stop subsidizing Big Alcohol."
TAKE ACTION to tell Senator Wiener and other state leaders that AB 384 is a rotten deal for the state and all its residents and visitors.
Organizations Statewide Opposed to SB 384 - Wiener's 4 a.m. Bar Bill
(Current as of June 26, 2017)
A Sobering Choice Coalition
ADAPT San Ramon Valley
Alcohol Policy Panel – San Diego
9th District PTA
Circulate San Diego
Discover Pacific Beach
Episcopal Community Services
Escondido Police Department
Institute for Public Strategies
New Life Church
Rady Children's Hospital
San Diego City College
Scripps Mercy Hospital
California Alcohol Policy Alliance
Alcohol-Narcotic Education Foundation
Bay Area Community Resources
CA Council on Alcohol Problems
Center for Open Recovery
Eden Youth and Family Center
Institute for Public Strategies
FASD Network of Southern CA
FreeMUNI – SF
Friday Night Live Partnership
L.A. County Friday Night Live
Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California
Mountain Communities Family Resource Center
Paso por Paso, Inc.
San Rafael Alcohol & Drug Coalition
SAY San Diego
Saving Lives Drug & Alcohol Coalition
South Orange County Coalition
The Wall Las Memorias Project
UCEPP Social Model Recovery Systems
California College and University Police Chiefs' Association
California Council on Alcohol Problems
California Youth Council
Coalition for Drug Free Escondido
Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods:
Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (BCNA)
Cathedral Hill Neighbors Association (CHNA)
Cole Valley Improvement Association
Cow Hollow Association
Diamond Heights Community Association (DHCA)
East Mission Improvement Association
Excelsior District Improvement Association (EDIA)
Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization
Francisco Heights Civic Association
Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association (GGHNA)
Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association (GWPNA)
Haight Ashbury Improvement Association
Jordan Park Improvement Association (JPIA)
Laurel Heights Improvement Association (LHIA)
Liberty Hill Neighborhood Assn. (LHNA)
Middle Polk Neighborhood Assn. (MPNA)
Midtown Terrace Homeowners Association (MTHA)
Miraloma Park Improvement Club
Oceanview/Merced Heights/Ingleside - Neighbors In Action (OMI-NIA)
Pacific Heights Residents Association (PHRA)
Parkmerced Action Coalition (PmAC)
Potrero Boosters Neighborhood Association (PBNA)
Richmond Community Association (RCA)
Rincon Point Neighbors Association (RPNA)
Russian Hill Improvement Association (RHIA)
Sunset Heights Association of Responsible People / SHARP
Sunset-Parkside Education & Action Committee / SPEAK
Telegraph Hill Dwellers (THD)
Twin Peaks Council & Open Space Conservancy, Inc. (TPCOSC)
University Terrace Association (UTA)
County Behavioral Health Directors Association of California
FASD Network of Southern California
Friday Night Live Partnership
Golden Gateway Tenants Association
Health Officers Association of California
Los Angeles Drug and Policy Alliance
Behavioral Health Services, Inc.
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Koreatown Youth and Community Center
Social Model Recovery Systems
Women Against Gun Violence
MADD Southern California
MFI Recovery Center
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) - Orange County
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) – San Fernando Valley
North Coastal Prevention Coalition
Partnership for Positive Pomona
Pueblo y Salud, Inc.
Rethinking Access to Drugs and Alcohol (RAD)
Jewish Family Services
Los Angeles Friday Night Live Partnership
NCADD – San Gabriel & Pomona Valleys
San Diego County Police Chiefs' and Sheriffs' Association
San Francisco Prevention Coalition
Asian Youth Recovery Services
Boys and Girls Club
Filipino Community Center
Horizons Unlimited of San Francisco, Inc.
Japanese Community Youth Council
Vietnamese Youth Development Center
San Marcos Prevention Coalition
Santee Solutions Coalition
Saving Lives Camarillo
Sonoma County Board of Supervisors
Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc.
The United Methodist Church
The Wall - Las Memorias Project
The West Hollywood Project
The Westside Impact Coalition
United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles
Youth Leadership Institute
CONTACT: Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/southern-california-public-health--safety-advocates-rally-against-proposed-4-am-last-call-for-bars-restaurants-and-clubs-300480196.html
SOURCE Alcohol Justice