Sen. Wiener told the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee that the ten cities included in his bill (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Coachella, Cathedral City and Fresno) had requested their inclusion through the support of their City Council or their Mayor. In LB's case, it wasn't LB's City Council; it was Mayor Robert Garcia, who doesn't have policy setting authority but told Senator Wiener in 2017 that Long Beach sought inclusion in the 2018 version of his bill which was supported by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance and the LB Area Chamber of Commerce.
Quoted in a Nov. 2017 release from Sen. Wiener's office, Mayor Garcia said the 4 a.m. closings "clearly would not work citywide for us, it does give the city and local law enforcement the flexibility to allow special events in the Downtown Entertainment District. This option has been supported by the Downtown Long Beach Business Alliance, which manages our business improvement district."
In 2018, third dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price voiced her personal opposition to the 4 a.m. bar bill. On May 31, 2018 and again in her June 8, 2018 newsletter, Councilwoman Price explained her position: "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."
Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, LB) voted against last year's bill but Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB/Paramount) supported it (and was a named Assembly co-author.)
To date, no LB Councilmember has agendized an item to take a position on SB 58 or to refer the matter to the City Council's State Legislation Committee (chaired by Councilman Al Austin.) Councilman Austin's wife is District Director in the L.A. office of Assemblyman Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D, Los Angeles), who is an Assembly co-author of SB 58 and voted on July 10 in the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee to advance the bill.
Purpose of the bill. According to the author’s office, "social and nightlife venues are an economic driver in many communities, and the State’s food service and entertainment industries generate billions of dollars in consumer spending and employ well over a million Californians.
This optional tool for local control over nightlife will increase tax revenue and tourism as well as revitalize business districts. No city would be required to allow alcohol service past 2 a.m. Rather, this bill allows these ten cities to opt in: pure local control.
In support. San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed writes, "Additional alcohol service hours would strengthen the local nightlife, hospitality, and tourism sectors and would significantly enhance the City’s vibrancy. Later service hours would help restaurants remain open for dining by swing-shift and overnight workers and other late-night patrons. Additional service hours would also enable music venues to host more performances by local musicians. Extending and staggering closing times could also help reduce sidewalk congestion, noise, and the potential for interpersonal conflicts as patrons exit nightlife venues at the end of an evening. This bill would ensure that the task force designated with developing a local implementation plan appropriatelyconsiders public safety, land use, potential conflicts with neighbors, transportation, and other considerations in order to develop a plan specifically tailored to San Francisco’s needs.
Moreover, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors would need to approve the plan prior to its submission to ABC to ensure that the plan appropriately balances all of the important interests."
City of Fresno Mayor Lee Brand writes, "I understand that, among other things, SB 58 emphasizes local control and includes an opt-in that would require a qualified city to establish a taskforce to be responsible for developing a recommended local plan, which includes showing significant support by residents and businesses within the additional hours services area, an assessment by local law enforcement regarding the potential impact of the additional hours services area, and a public safety plan created by local law enforcement, coupled with a local ordinance that satisfies the plan. These are important protections that ensure full input from community stakeholders. For these reasons, I am confident that the City of Fresno would benefit from being part of the pilot program. This bill would complement our local efforts to drive economic activity within areas the City deems appropriate and safe."
The California Travel Association states, "SB 905 is a well-balanced solution that provides cities the ability to participate in a pilot program that will give them control over night-life, while helping to grow the travel and tourism industry. Currently California destination cities are at a disadvantage when competing with cities both nationally and internationally for tourists, conventions, and conferences. California must compete with Chicago, Washington D.C., New York City, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Miami Beach, and New Orleans, all of whom have late-night service hours beyond 2 a.m. This bill will align California with at least 15 other states where local jurisdictions have the authority to decide alcoholic beverage service hours. This bill is a well-balanced solution that provides local cities the ability to participate in a pilot program that will give them additional tools to enhance their local economies, while helping to grow our travel and tourism industry."
The California Restaurant Association writes, "SB 58 will give eating and drinking establishments the opportunity to work with local governing bodies and local law enforcement to design a plan that works for a specific jurisdiction. This bill provides the 10 pilot cities with an optional tool for local control over nightlife that will increase tax revenue and tourism as well as revitalize business districts. The current California one-size-fits-all model for late-night closing times does not consider our diverse communities and varying needs. Our local communities should be allowed to develop transparent local plans that bring the public, local government, law
enforcement, and transportation all to the table. SB 58 is a well-balanced solution that provides local cities the ability to participate in a 5-year pilot program that will give them local control over night-life while helping to grow our travel and tourism industry."
The California Teamsters Public Affairs Council notes that, "Social and nightlife venues are an economic driver in communities throughout California, and the state's food service and entertainment industries generate billions of dollars in consumer spending and employs well over a million Californians. This bill would align California with at least 15 other states where local jurisdictions have the authority to decide alcoholic beverage service hours. We believe that extending sale hours with appropriate safeguards is a matter of good public policy."
Supporters note that cities rely on a vibrant nightlife to attract visitors and investment. Creating a pathway to extend hours will benefit the community as a whole by creating jobs, increasing tax revenue, and promoting nightlife within specific communities. Other cities around the U.S. have successful, later opening hours. It is appropriate and beneficial for certain localities within
California to extend their nightlife hours.
In opposition. Opponents outline numerous health and safety concerns and state SB 58 will lead to quality of life deterioration, drinkers driving from areas where bars close earlier to bars with later last calls, late night drinkers sharing the road with early morning commuters, and increased alcohol-related harm, including DUI accidents and fatalities. They further note the lack of
resources and enforcement capacity to deal effectively with the extra service hours and mitigate the additional harms of late night drinking. Law enforcement is already over extended trying to cover existing closing times. Extending the hours to 4:00 a.m. creates the opportunity for customers to become more intoxicated and more fatigued. Public transportation options are already limited at 2:00 a.m. and will be even more at 4:00 a.m. Furthermore, it will have regional consequences, especially for municipalities within driving distance of cities who adopt a later closing time forcing neighboring cities to absorb increased financial and societal burden related to DUI.
The California Alcohol Policy Alliance and Alcohol Justice write that "[i]n 2018, Senator Wiener introduced SB 905, which would have allowed nine cities to decide for themselves in a half-baked, so-called ‘pilot project’ to extend sales from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The legislature ignored the overwhelming evidence that 76% of the state’s population would be turned into unwitting ‘Splash Zone’ lab rats suffering increased public health and safety harms. They passed the bill, but Governor Brown, heeding the advice of the CHP, wisely vetoed the bill with these words: "I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem."
The Alcohol Policy Panel of San Diego County, writes, "Although San Diego is not a part of the pilot project, this bill concerns us because it appears it is intended to pave the way for broader implementation down the road. Furthermore, it will have regional consequences for municipalities within driving distance of cities who adopt the later closing time, forcing neighboring cities to absorb increased financial and societal burdens. More than ten studies reveal that increasing the sale of alcohol by two or more hours also increases alcohol-related harms. SB 58 will place additional burdens on law enforcement, emergency service providers
and delay emergency responses. It creates an unfunded mandate for law enforcement across the state who will have to extend DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols well into the morning in order to identify drunk drivers leaving the bars."
Opponents also note that SB 58 lacks any evidence to support the bill author’s claim that extending hours of sale would not increase alcohol-related harm. Forty years of peer-reviewed, public health research finds that two or more hours of increased alcohol sales will produce increases in alcohol consumption and related problems including violence, emergency room admissions, injuries, alcohol-impaired driving, and motor vehicle crashes. The Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, based in San Francisco writes, "This bill will
simply extend the noise and negative impacts on surrounding residents for two more hours. There are a number of areas throughout the state where entertainment activities are adjacent to residential neighborhoods. Our organization represents a neighborhood directly affected by the traffic, noise and unruly behavior caused by nightlife on the Broadway corridor. We experience a great deal of noise generated by loud intoxicated crowds, car horns, and music from open club doors. On many nights, patrons of Broadway businesses have spilled into surrounding residential areas with behavior that makes some residents apprehensive and uncomfortable. Two more hours of alcohol sales will not lessen those impacts. This bill would encourage more people to drive from areas where bars close earlier to those where bars close later. It would also result in late-night drinkers sharing the road with early morning commuters. "