L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz Introduces Opposition Resolution
LOS ANGELES, July 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Members of Los Angeles Drug & Alcohol Policy Alliance (L.A. DAPA), California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) and Alcohol Justice, along with Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz, demonstrated at a City Hall rally yesterday to oppose California SB 930. The “gut & amend” bill, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Assembly Member Mark Haney (D-San Francisco) is the 5th attempt since 2013 to disrupt the protections of California’s statewide uniform last call.
“The LA City Council has spoken out against 4 a.m. bar bills again and again and again, and I am here to tell you that we will not allow Sacramento to endanger our public safety, our lives, at any cost and we refuse to pay dearly for it without a fight,” stated L.A. City Councilmember Koretz. “And that is why I’m heading into the City Council meeting this morning to introduce the resolution in opposition and I’m letting my colleagues know that we cannot get fatigued now and give up after years of fighting. This bill is built to be fast tracked and Jerry Brown isn’t there to stop it this time if it gets to the Governor’s desk. The time is now for Californians to tell Sacramento we will not stand by and let the 4 a.m. bar bill endanger the lives of our citizens.”
SB 930 would allow closing times for on-sale retailers to be extended from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. as part of a dangerous “pilot program.” The experiment would take place in 7 cities: San Francisco, Oakland, West Hollywood, Fresno, Cathedral City, Coachella, and Palm Springs. It has been estimated that it will cost the state at least $3-4 million per year to administer, mitigate the harm, and clean the blood off the highway while costing cities and towns in surrounding “Splash Zones” millions more.
While the authors of the bill frame it as a “local control” issue, there is no local control when it comes to alcohol because danger doesn’t stay in the district where the drinking occurs. If this bill becomes law, Los Angeles will be surrounded by late night drinkers — drivers traveling drunk back through the district in the early morning commute hours.
“It takes time for people to sober up after drinking,” said Dr. Marielle Reataza, Executive Director, National Asian Pacific American Families Against Substance Abuse (NAPAFASA). “With last call being extended to 4 a.m. and so close to morning rush hour, this poses dangers for other commuters, including neighboring small businesses that do not have capacity to mitigate situations with potentially violent customers. Lastly, I worry that extending last call will continue to push the limits of our already overextended healthcare system. Extending last call poses concern for increased admissions into emergency rooms.”
Studies show that sleep deprivation can impair driving as severely as alcohol intoxication. This means that sleep-impaired drivers can be severely impaired even with a BAC under the legal limit of .08. Because alcohol’s euphoric effects can create feelings of stimulation as BAC increases, the fatigue can be masked. Drivers can already be on the freeway before exhaustion sets in.
“This should not be called the Weiner bill, it should be called the madman bill,” stated Ruben Rodriguez, Executive Director of Pueblo y Salud, and spokesperson for L.A. DAPA. “Who in their right mind thinks someone needs another drink after 2 a.m. in the morning? Only a few bars and restaurants that want to make a few more dollars at the expense of the health and safety our community.”
There is consensus among public health and safety advocates that SB 930 disregards 40 years of peer-reviewed, public health research on the dangers of extending last call and ignores the existing annual catastrophe of alcohol-related harm in California.
“All previous attempts to extend last call until 4 a.m. have failed and for good reason, it’s a terrible public policy change for California,” stated Cruz Avila, Executive Director at Alcohol Justice. “Today we are here together, to say NO to SB 930 and NO WAY to creating a dangerous new class of late night, bar hopping commuters. We are also here today to state that it’s time to end the false narrative that this is a “local issue” and that because of COVID, the only way to save small nightlife businesses is by allowing 2 more hours of alcohol sales and consumption. SB 930 does nothing but subsidize and reward late-night alcohol-sellers at government and tax-payer expense.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), California currently suffers more annual alcohol-related harm than any other state: 11,000 alcohol-related deaths, $35 billion in total costs, $18.5 billion in state costs. The CDC also identifies maintaining existing last call times as one of the 10 key policies for reducing the harms from reckless drinking and from alcohol-related motor vehicle deaths.
“The idea of extending hours for bars and restaurants until 4 a.m. in the morning with the promise of improving the economy is not only a false message but a dangerous one,” said Jorge Diaz, HIV Prevention Activist. “Think about the impact that this will have on mental health, emotional intelligence and self-esteem of LGBTQ people in our Latino community. We already have enough challenges and social barriers and don’t need to add more.”
” As a mental health professional working with vulnerable families, I have seen the impact of alcohol use in increasing domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, unemployment, and mental health issues,” stated Janis Reid, Board Member, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network of Southern California. “The intent of SB 930 is to sell more alcohol. Having increased access to alcohol will increase exposure to our vulnerable children. As many as one in twenty babies are born with neurodevelopment disabilities due to prenatal exposure to alcohol. Alcohol is the substance that most easily passes the brain-blood barrier while the child is in utero. People with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders are over-represented in our mental health systems, criminal justice systems, homelessness, under and unemployment, child protection systems, and welfare systems. Having increased access to alcohol will increase exposure to our vulnerable children.”
“I am here today representing thousands of mothers across Los Angeles County that fight for their kids day-in and day-out in a society that has much to learn from us – the mothers that fight to raise their kids to get ahead even when our laws and resources are not in our favor,” stated Aracely Ocampo, spokesperson for California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA.) “We have enough harms related to alcohol in California, more than any other state in the country, SB 930 doesn’t make sense. THAT’S ENOUGH!”
“A link between alcohol misuse and gun violence has been widely established in medical research through numerous studies,” said Alec Foster, spokesperson for Women Against Gun Violence (WAGV). “The data is clear and this is why we must prevent the 4 a.m. bar bill from taking effect in Los Angeles and in California. The alcohol lobby should not be more powerful than the need to keep our communities safe.”
“Here’s the SB 930 bottom line: Extending hours of on-site alcohol sales into the wee hours of the morning will benefit a few bar, restaurant and nightclub owners, as well as alcohol producers and distributors, while increasing alcohol-related harms and costs at great public expense,” added Avila. “The policy change is a prescription for increased harm. Doctors take a solemn oath to “first do no harm.” Our legislators should be held to the same standard. They can start by VOTING NO on SB 930!”
Alcohol Justice encourages the public to TAKE ACTION to STOP SB 930: Text JUSTICE to 313131 or visit: https://alcoholjustice.org/take-action/stop-sb-930-no-late-last-calls-in-ca-not-now-not-ever
Mayra Jimenez 323 683-4687
Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Alison Simard 213 473-7005
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SOURCE Alcohol Justice