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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Southern California Lifestyle!

Do we have a "right" to a cold beer on the beach. Well maybe not a "right", but if you have grown up in Southern California, you sure do think it is a right.
Now, for the third time, come the citizens who think they need to protect us from ourselves. They oppose many things, but right now they are focused on stopping all drinking on a beach.
Why? Well the truth be told they really want to stop ALL drinking!! They have various reasons, and many are good reasons why an individual needs to learn self control and their own limits. But as their logic goes, "if we just make it illegal in the first place then you won't have the temptation." Well that sure thoughtful of them, wanting to protect me from myself, but no thanks.
Now do they stand up and state their reasons directly? No, they wait until they have some "event" to point to and then go off on, "if we ban all alcohol, then this will never happen!" Pollyanna would be proud.
The problem is, its just not true. The recent event, an unruly mob at the beach on a holiday, is both their example and mine. Oh could this be true?? Well they say there was some drinking going on, so (now hold on to your seat, this happens fast as their are no steps to their logic, just right to the solution) ban all alcohol. That's it. Simple clean and their hidden agenda is pushed a little farther forward.
Problem is the facts don't support this conclusion. I know, don't let the facts get in the way of a good political solution. But stop for a moment and think about it: It was illegal to be "drunk in public"; it was illegal to assault an office or other people; it was illegal for many to be drinking at all since they were under age; it was illegal to have a bottle at the beach; it was already illegal for every action that took place. And they police made arrests because their actions were already illegal.
According to the supporters of a ban, "if we just had ONE MORE LAW to outlaw all drinking, these kids would have never started in the first place." Right. That would have been the law that scared them straight. Look if you oppose alcohol because it is destructive in general, all right, that's honest. But don't tell me this ban is to "prevent teens from drinking and causing problems," because that is just hypocritical. What's more, its not going to stop these kids from acting out. Only maturity will change their actions.
Meanwhile, back in the real world ... 99.999% of all the law abiding adults who sometimes have a cold beer or glass (plastic cup) of wine at the beach have had their "right" to the Southern California lifestyle stripped away. They did nothing wrong, and they are probably the only adults who will follow this new, pointless, law. Because they are law abiding citizens.
Is it a "right" to drink at the beach? No, but it is a privilege we have earned here in San Diego. One we expect as part of our lifestyle. One we will fight for, again, if need be. So what is an honest solution???
Consider this: If you were to apply for a permit to hold a concert, the City of San Diego would require so many police per thousand for the event. Moreover they would require bathrooms, medical services and other safety requirements. Well the City is in the "business" of selling the Beach Lifestyle nationwide. To bring conventions, to bring visitors and to bring other business. Come for the Convention, Stay for the Vacation" the banners downtown proclaim. And that vacation includes the beach as the biggest lure.
So millions of visitors come to the beach (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach & Ocean Beach) every year. What services are provided by the City??? Nothing. Nothing more than those which the neighborhoods qualify for on their own. Where are all the extra police officers, medical services, restrooms, etc. They City is quick to take in the extra sales tax from stores, the room tax for nearby hotel rooms, and other fees; but they provide no service. Here is the problem.
Treat the beaches like the economic engine that they are!!! Keep them clean and safe to continue to bring in the tourists and all their money. Set safety and security at a high standard, and provide restrooms and medical services for aid and comfort. In other words, do your job.
Use room taxes from local hotels in a "special account" to supplement police and other services. Stay in control of the beaches from the beginning and the "kids" will not have the chance to get out of control. They will already be arrested with the laws that are already on the books.
Don't go down the path of, "its cheaper to just take away everyone's rights and privileges, than to police the beach."
Now I am going to go have a cold beer (in a can) on the sand (where it is still legal) and watch the sunset (not yet regulated) next to a campfire (of stated regulation height and burning acceptable materials) and enjoying what is left of this lifestyle!!!

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