"Stop 4 a.m. Bar Bill" Says New Coalition: Rally at Los Angeles City Hall Against California SB 635
Praise for Los Angeles Resolution by Councilmember Parks
LOS ANGELES, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- According to Alcohol Justice, a new coalition rallied today at Los Angeles City hall calling itself "STOP Leno's 4 a.m. Bar Bill." Los Angeles City Councilmember Bernard Parks was the key speaker. Parks introduced a city resolution to oppose passage of SB 635. The bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) would make it possible for any California bar, restaurant or nightclub to extend drinking hours from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
Councilmember Parks, a former Los Angeles City Police Chief, expressed grave public health and safety concerns over the serious consequences of allowing alcohol to be sold until 4 a.m. "Since the legalization of alcohol, thousands of legal acts have been created to control and minimize the affects of alcohol in the community and the negative medical affects caused by overdrinking," said Parks. "To allow bars to be open for twenty-two out of the twenty-four hours of the day is only adding to community concerns about alcoholism and continues to add to the tragedies from those who binge drink."
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.
"Passage of this measure would be disastrous to our neighborhoods," said Richard Zaldivar, Founder and Executive Director of The Wall Las Memorias Project, who emceed the rally. "Extending hours will cause millions more dollars of harm at the public's expense not to mention the costs to our public safety and our healthcare."
"Most people out drinking at 2:00 a.m. are already buzzed," said Ruben Rodriguez, Executive Director of San Fernando's Pueblo y Salud, Inc. "To keep serving them alcohol for two more hours can only be called a crazy and stupid idea. Street violence, drunk driving and late night noise can only increase during the graveyard shift."
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," 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."
According to a 2008 Alcohol Justice report, The Annual Catastrophe of Alcohol in California, Los Angeles suffers $10.8 billion in alcohol-related costs yearly with nearly 2,300 deaths and 240,000 incidents of harm including liver and pancreatic disease, cancer, traffic collisions, homicide, suicide, and injury to self, family or crime victims.
"Our state, city and county public health and safety providers do not have the resources to mitigate the current economic and social harms of alcohol over-consumption," stated Jorge Castillo, Advocacy Director for Alcohol Justice. "The burden can only increase with two more hours of late-night alcohol consumption while taxpayers pick up the bloody tab for Leno's bar bill. Young bar patrons will only stay out later, continue drinking from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m., and be further down the road on a binge."
Statewide, California suffers $38.4 billion a year in alcohol-related harm, with local and state governments paying $8 billion annually. Alcohol-related deaths in California top 10,000 per year with over 900,000 alcohol-related incidents of harm. In California, more than ¾ of alcohol-related deaths come from homicide, poisoning, falls, and motor vehicle crashes, all of which could increase with the usual binge drinking cutoff time extending to 4 a.m. Levels of intoxication continue to increase for 30 to 90 minutes after the last drink, so for many 4 a.m. last call drivers, their intoxication could peak at 5 or 5:30 a.m., not an unusually early commute time in L.A.
"I am afraid Sacramento is out of touch with the neighborhoods and under the influence of the restaurant and bar side of the alcohol business," said 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 respectfully oppose Senator Leno's 4 a.m. bar bill."
Councilmember Parks concluded, "History and current events show that alcohol access should be reduced rather than expanded."
Statewide, opposition to SB 635 includes:
Asian American Drug Abuse Program (AADAP)
Ban Billboard Blight (NoAlcoholAds.org)
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
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