|(June 8. 2018, 3:07 p.m.) -- On May 31 and again in her June 8 newsletter, recently re-elected 3rd dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price tells her constituents that she opposes a bill that would let seven California cities, including Long Beach, extend the hours of legal alcohol sales at bars to 4:00 AM if approved by their individual City Councils (full bill text here.) In the process, she mangled a few factoids and omitted some matters we believe her constituents and residents citywide deserve to know.
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Price told her constituents that SB 905 is still in the Senate. No. The state Senate voted to approve SB 905 on May 30 [LBREPORT.com coverage here] and the bill is now awaiting action in the Assembly. With a few Assembly votes, it could go to the Governor. LBREPORT.com has been reporting on SB 905's Long Beach impacts since January.
Councilwoman Price told her constituents that the bill would only apply in limited circumstances such as downtown or for special events, but that's only true if a LB Council majority chooses to apply it in those ways. Yes, it's significant that Price, who represents Belmont Shore's bar-heavy 2nd St. has publicly stated that she opposes the bill. And yes, it's significant that she further added: "I oppose allowing expanded hours of alcohol sales in Long Beach. Providing more time and access to alcohol presents increased concerns and opportunities for impaired driving, and creates an increased likelihood that people leaving bars are on the road in the early morning hours the same time as commuters beginning their day. I have seen the terrible and tragic affects of too many DUI cases, and would be very concerned with the potential dangers to our many Long Beach communities." That's noteworthy and newsworthy...but what's missing is action matching those words.
SB 905 has only become an issue for Long Beach because (as reported first again in January by LBREPORT.com) Mayor Garcia told its author that Long Beach wanted to be included SB 905. Garcia did this without seeking any public input or Council voted approval, although he has no City Charter policy-setting powers. He simply told the bill's author, in effect, that the City supports what he supports while adding that he believes 4 a.m. closings would only be appropriate in LB for downtown and its "special events." If you live in a neighborhood along 2nd St. in Belmont Shore, or other LB neighborhoods already impacted by bars, do you trust what a future LB Council majority might vote to allow between Jan. 1, 2021 and Jan. 2, 2026?
Price also didn't mention that there's considerable LB-machinery now actively working to enact SB 905. Long Beach area state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park) [whom Garcia and CA's Dem Party have endorsed for state Insurance Commissioner in Nov. 2018] is among the named "co-authors" on the bill...and SB 905 is also supported by LB's Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA).
The bottom line is that on any Tuesday night since January 2018, Councilwoman Price or any of her Council colleagues (including the Council's "state legislation committee" comprised of Austin, Mungo and Gonzalez) could have agendized an item to urge state lawmakers to remove Long Beach from SB 905.
And they still can.
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