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Smart Voter
San Diego County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Proposition D
Alcohol Consumption At City Beaches, Mission Bay Park, and Coastal Parks
City of San Diego

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 269481 / 52.50% Yes votes ...... 243808 / 47.50% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Jan 24 10:40am
Information shown below: Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the People of the City of San Diego amend San Diego Municipal Code section 56.54 to make the consumption of alcohol unlawful at City beaches, Mission Bay Park, and coastal parks?

Fiscal Impact:

  • Fiscal Impact is unquantifiable at this time, due to the lack of applicable data and potential impacts such as changes in cost of enforcement levels, public safety & emergency response costs, sales tax and transient occupancy tax revenues, and other possible unknown consequences.

  • A violation of alcohol ban can be charged and prosecuted as either an infraction or misdemeanor.

    Infractions: Any person violating the section of the Municipal Code will be fined by either $250 for first occurrence or $500 for a second or any subsequent conviction within a period of one year.

    Misdemeanors: Any person violating the section of the Municipal Code will be fined by not more than $1000 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months or by both fine and imprisonment.

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney

Since 1977, it has been unlawful to consume alcohol in certain City parks and areas and on City beaches for various time periods (12, 16, or 24 hours) depending on location. The San Diego City Council has modified the law on many occasions to adjust time periods or to change locations subject to the alcohol bans.

Prior to January 14, 2008, drinking alcohol was unlawful at most City beaches, adjacent parks and sidewalks, and all land areas of Mission Bay Park for 16 hours a day (8:00 p.m. to noon).

Certain other beaches, coastal parks and areas were subject to either a 12-hour (8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.) ban or a 24-hour ban on alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption was permitted for special events, in sidewalk cafes, or on property leased from the City.

On January 14, 2008, a one-year 24-hour ban on alcohol consumption went into effect. The ban, approved by the City Council, prohibits alcohol consumption 24 hours a day on all City beaches, including Mission Bay Park and coastal parks south of Tourmaline Surfing Park. The temporary ban allows alcohol consumption on Mission Bay Golf Course, for special events, in sidewalk cafes, and on City-leased property. Other, mostly non-coastal, parks and areas remain subject to existing 12-, 16-, or 24-hour bans.


This proposition, which would be effective January 15, 2009, asks voters to continue and to expand the temporary 24-hour ban on alcohol consumption at beaches, Mission Bay Park and coastal parks. The proposition makes alcohol consumption unlawful 24 hours a day at Mission Bay Park, all City public beaches, sidewalks, boardwalks, alleys, plazas, piers, jetties, seawalls, and all coastal access, view point and bluff rights-of-way. The proposition also lists the coastal public parks that will be included, some of which are new to a 24-hour ban. Alcohol consumption would be permitted at the Mission Bay and Torrey Pines golf courses; special events; sidewalk cafes; or by a City lease.

If voters approve the amendments described in the proposition, any future effort to repeal or modify these amendments will require voter approval. Voter approval of this proposition will not affect existing laws that regulate alcohol consumption in other parks and areas, so long as the existing laws do not conflict with the voter-enacted amendments.

If voters do not approve the proposition, the one-year temporary ban remains in place. When it expires, the law regulating alcohol consumption in Mission Bay Park, coastal parks and beaches will return to that existing before the one-year temporary ban. The law would remain subject to modification by the Council, or by voters in future elections. Voters may obtain a copy of the law in effect before January 14, 2008 and the one-year temporary alcohol ban from the San Diego City Clerk.

  Local News and Analysis

ABC 10 News San Diego

KPBS San Diego Public Broadcasting NBC San Diego San Diego Union Tribune
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Arguments For Proposition D Arguments Against Proposition D

San Diego used to be the only major city in Southern California that permitted alcohol on the beach. Drunk and disorderly conduct had become commonplace year-round on city beaches.

This culminated in the 2007 Labor Day riot in Pacific Beach that required 70 police in riot gear to break up a mob of hundreds of drunks.

Earlier this year, an ordinance making our beaches alcohol-free began for a one year trial period. Lifeguards, police officers and families agree: The chance is like night and day.

  • San Diego families with small children have returned to the beach, no longer afraid their day will be spoiled by out-of-control drunks.
  • Lifeguards, firefighters and paramedics confirm it has created a safer environment, allowing us to focus on saving lives and keeping beachgoers safe.
  • Police officers confirm a reduction in beach area crime, freeing-up resources to better serve the City's neighborhoods.
  • The sand is no longer littered with piles of trash.
  • Senior citizens can safely enjoy an oceanfront walk.

Contrary to claims by liquor store owners who oppose attempts to solve this problem, safe and clean beaches have helped beach area businesses.

San Diego has now joined other major beach cities in offering world-class safe, clean and alcohol-free beaches.

A "NO" vote on "D" takes us back and would once again make San Diego the only major city in Southern California permitting booze on the sand. That would again open the floodgates to drinking-related crimes and public safety problems.

San Diegans have a right to safe and clean beaches. Vote "YES" on "D".

San Diego Fire Chief

Business Owner
Surf Shop and Surf School

President, San Diego Police Officers Association

Beach Area Small Business Owner and Parent

San Diego Lifeguard Chief

The government that governs least ... governs best!

But in San Diego a small group of wealthy, beach-property owners want to take away your right to enjoy your beaches. Taking away your rights and freedoms is easier than punishing the troublemakers, but it is the wrong solution.

Over 20 million people visit San Diego beaches every year. Here are the facts: * 99.9999 % of beach users DO NOT cause any problems;

  • San Diego beaches are routinely listed in national publications as the best vacation destination for families and singles;
  • Over 30 laws are in place to punish the troublemakers.

It is already illegal to:

  • drink underage;
  • be drunk in public;
  • fight; or
  • destroy property.

Taking away the rights of responsible citizens is NOT a solution.

Preserving your rights does NOT have to be all or nothing. Some other solutions besides a PERMANENT alcohol ban include:

  • Triple Fines for alcohol related offenses; " "Holiday" and "Overnight" alcohol bans ONLY;
  • Zero Tolerance police enforcement.

These policies punish those who cause the problem, not the responsible citizens of San Diego!

Proponents of the ban will say anything to get you to believe that the beach is better with a ban. Don't believe their hype! Here are the facts about the trial ban:

  • No decrease in crime at the beach. In fact, DUI's are UP 40% and crime is UP in the surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Beach attendance has decreased dramatically. That means our city has less money!
  • Time and money spent by police has been the same with, or without, an alcohol ban.

Don't let a special interest minority scare you into voting away your rights.
More punishment for troublemakers, overnight and holiday bans only, and enforcing our existing laws are the right solutions for San Diego! Vote No On D!


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Created: January 24, 2009 10:40 PST
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