Los Angeles City Council opposes 4 a.m. bar bill, citing safety concerns

Citing concerns about a potential increase in drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths, the Los Angeles City Council today voted to oppose a bill in the Los Angeles Legislature. the state that would allow bars in seven cities — including three towns in the Coachella Valley — to stay open until 4 a.m.

Senate Bill 930, introduced by Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would authorize a pilot program extending the hours that bars, restaurants, taverns and nightclubs in certain cities can sell alcohol from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The other cities are: Cathedral City, Coachella, Palm Springs, San Francisco, Oakland and Fresno.

The council voted 10 to 2 on Friday on a motion formally taking a stand against the bill, with council members Joe Buscaino and Bob Blumenfield dissenting.

Councilman Paul Koretz, who held a press conference last week before introducing the motion, reiterated at Friday’s meeting that the bill would endanger public safety. Although the extended drinking hours would happen in West Hollywood, Koretz believes drivers would end up driving through his West Los Angeles neighborhood after 2 a.m. and returning to Los Angeles early in the morning.

“I believe the authors of the bill thought that if they removed LA, we would calm down and not oppose it,” Koretz said. “But let’s be clear: this bill still threatens our public safety, perhaps even more than before.”

Other council members criticized Weiner and other Sacramento lawmakers.

“For my life, with so many priorities the state of California has right now, I’m baffled that a state senator is still pushing a bill for these people who say, ‘You know, I just can’t drink enough until 2 a.m., I need options to keep drinking for another two hours,” Councilman Paul Krekorian said.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said, “Stop trying to impose your dangerous ideologies statewide anywhere, and answer the call of local municipalities, where we work day in and day out to protect our voters and civil society as a whole.”

Buscaino said in a statement to the City News Service that he supports the legislation because he believes Los Angeles’ last call time should be on par with New York, Tokyo and Paris as the “entertainment capital of the world.” “.

“As a former police officer, I am acutely aware that spreading out the exit of customers can create less friction on the sidewalk and adjacent neighborhoods,” Buscaino said. “Also, the bill doesn’t impact the city of Los Angeles. It’s just a pilot program for small towns like West Hollywood, so let’s give it a try and see how it works.”

The West Hollywood City Council voted 3-2 in June to allow the city to participate in the pilot program.

“Many bars and venues are still facing mountains of debt over the past few years,” Wiener said in a statement in June. “Although we are now in a very different phase of the pandemic and the bars that have survived are open at full capacity, many of these small businesses are still struggling. We need to give them all the tools possible to help them survive, including allowing them to stay open until 4 a.m. Nightlife is at the heart of who we are as a state, and our world-class bars and nightclubs deserve a chance to to beat.”

Several organizations, including the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance, the California Alcohol Policy Alliance and Alcohol Justice, also opposed the bill.

“This is an outrageous piece of legislation that you know will do great harm to public health and safety,” said Mayra Jimenez, advocacy officer for the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, at the conference. a public comment. “Los Angeles is not included, but West Hollywood is still included. We know that drivers are willing to go seven to 40 miles from their last drink. So inevitably there will be a lot of trouble.”

There have been many failed attempts since the early 2000s to extend liquor service hours in California.

In 2018, then governor. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill that would have applied in Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Oakland and San Francisco, citing the potential increase in drunk driving.

“California laws regulating late-night drinking have been in effect since 1913,” Brown wrote in a letter to the legislature at the time. “I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 a.m. without adding two more hours of mayhem.”

SB 930 is set for a hearing at the National Assembly Appropriations Committee next week.

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