State Senator Scott Wiener is introducing legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to serve alcohol until 4AM:
Wiener's bill would give local jurisdictions control over whether their bars and restaurants can extend their last call.
"This bill is long overdue," Wiener said. "Right now in California, we have a one-size-fits-all statewide mandate, regardless if you are a small-town suburb of San Francisco or in downtown L.A." [...]
Those who support Wiener's bill say it will stimulate the state's economy and make cities like San Francisco more attractive tourist destinations. It will also help communities decide what is best for them, because what works in the Mission or Union Square -- areas with a high concentration of bars and restaurants -- may not work for more residential areas like the Sunset or Richmond districts, said Juliana Bunim, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. [...]
Jamie Zawinski, owner of DNA Lounge, a club that has experienced major financial hardship over the past few months, said being able to extend its hours would significantly help the business. [...]
Michael Scippa, director of public affairs for Alcohol Justice, a San Rafael nonprofit advocacy, research and policy organization, said it is a "foolish plan" that prioritizes alcohol revenue over public safety.
Scippa said that Alcohol Justice takes a lot of credit for killing Leno's bill in 2013 and that the organization will come out with "guns blazing" for Wiener's bill.
Wiener's 2012 economic impact study on nightlife in San Francisco showed that it is a $4.2 billion dollar industry. Anything we can do to make the nightlife industry more successful will inevitably put more tax dollars in the city's coffers.
This would be great for tourism, the convention industry, hotels, and all aspects of nightlife.
Sadly, though, I'm not hopeful that this will succeed. Extending last call has been tried before, and the prohibitionists have managed to defeat it every single time.
This prohibitionists in question tend to be The Marin Institute and Mothers Against Drunk Driving. These are extremely well-funded and well-connected organizations whose sold purpose is to criminalize use of alcohol by any means at their disposal. I wrote about them back in 2009 when they were pushing for an increased alcohol tax.
These "temperance organizations" have such enormous influence not only because they are so well funded by prohibitionists and fundamentalists, but because it's very hard for politicians to oppose them without looking like monsters who eat children. Politicians are all about saving face, and all these people have to do is trot out their propaganda photos of dead children and say, "but if we can save just one child, wouldn't it all have been worth it?"
Senator Leno introduced legislation in 2013, SB 635, attempting to allow some CA cities to have a 4AM last call. That was defeated by not getting the 6 votes it needed in the Senate.
In 2004, the SF Board of Supervisors (via Aaron Peskin) passed a resolution "urging" the CA Legislature to allow San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles (and those cities alone) to decide what their own hours of alcohol service should be, without changing the law anywhere else in the state.
Even that modest proposal was shot down by the State Assembly, who didn't even allow it to make it out of committee. At the time, John Wood of SFLNC said:
While San Francisco officials were heavily in support of the bill, statewide anti-alcohol groups lined up against AB 2433, claiming that it would lead inevitably to later last call in other parts of the State. [...]
In addition, testimony from a mother of a person killed by a drunk driver clearly made the legislators uncomfortable in voting for the legislation. [...] Many democratic legislators left the room after the Mother Against Drunk Drivers testimony and did not vote, so there were not enough votes to move the bill out of committee.
But, we keep trying!
Speaking of our fundamentalist, dystopian cyberpunk future, Cyberdelia photos are up now. HACK THE PLANET!