17-Dec-2020 (Thu) Wherein there's more skullfuckery from the ABC.

ABC is trying to eliminate due process, and make it so that they can unilaterally shut down bars, nightclubs and restaurants on the tiniest pretense, without trial or any realistic hope of appeal or recourse. They are using COVID as cover for this, but it's simply an unrelated, brazen power-grab.

In what beverage attorneys are calling a potential repeal of due process, the ABC is trying to implement a new emergency regulation that would allow any outlet to be shut down without a right to a trial before hand.

John Hinman, a San Francisco-based partner in the law firm of Hinman & Carmichael LLC, says the new regulation is[being pushed forward with Covid being used as an excuse for its implementation. He and several other attorneys don't think that communities need any more "protection," from on- and off-premise establishments than prior to the pandemic. [...]

The Proposed Rule sweeps much more broadly, establishing a general-purpose guillotine the department may wield against any licensee who violates any provision of law during a declared state of emergency," shares Ralph Saltsman, a partner at the Playa Del Rey, California-based Solomon, Saltsman and Jamieson legal firm.

Hinman compares this regulation's presence on the books to punishment before due process. With the new regulation, businesses could be shut down without a right to a trial. They are also likely to stay closed for the period leading up to one, which could push many smaller operations beyond their financial comfort zones.

From Hinman's blog, where he has been writing about this and other ABC shenanigans for quite some time:

Hearings for all violations subject to "emergency orders" would occur only if the ABC agrees to hold a hearing, the licensee could appear "if practicable" and discipline (license suspensions and revocations) would be imposed immediately. The new rules do not go away if the COVID 19 "emergency" goes away. From now on an "emergency" is anything the ABC says is an "emergency." [...]

The ABC is using the COVID 19 crisis as an excuse to implement a system of permanent "emergency" orders that would abrogate licensee rights to defend themselves and their licenses in administrative proceedings.

I know that this month has been quite a year, but it was only last month that there was the report about ABC running a sting operation where they shut down random restaurants because of mistakes made by Grubhub and not the restaurant.

Like I said last time,


They are monsters. They are an abusive gang of thugs, propped up by prohibitionist, fundamentalist nutjobs like The Marin Institute and MADD, and are actively hostile to everyone in the industry that they supposedly regulate.

It's as if the Egg Council had a nakedly anti-egg agenda.

All that being said, please order our cocktails!

Pictured above: the Sazerac, Black Manhattan and Betelgeuse! They are delicious, and available for pick-up and delivery from DNA Pizza, every day from 4pm to 10pm.

No ABC agents, please.

13 Responses:

  1. Jesse says:

    The egg council claims not to be anti-egg but there is not a single egg on the board of directors, and you gotta wonder whose interests are they really serving

  2. Dude says:

    The fact that they're using the pandemic to do this actually reminds me of how Michael Eisner used 9/11 to turned the Disney parks into no-fly zones.

    'Cause why let a massive tragedy get in the way you kicking someone whilst they're down?

  3. Carlos says:

    It's as if the Egg Council was formed exclusively of bomb-and-paint-throwing militant vegans.

  4. Erin M. says:

    And I'll second it: ABOLISH THE ABC. It's a throwback to prohibition. Just my $0.02 (adjusted for inflation).

    I'll pass on eggs too - I already have high cholesterol. But the egg industry insists that LDL cholesterol from eggs is somehow okay.

  5. pagrus says:

    So I am 100% on board with abolishing the ABC. What do I have to do? You have my vote for the board of supes, jwz

    • jwz says:

      Honestly, I don't know where we'd even start. ABC is state, not city.

      • pagrus says:

        Gotta start somewhere. I'll vote for you when you get to the state assembly too, just for the record

  6. db48x says:

    I agree with you, but wasn't DNA Lounge closed by the state of California some months back? Did the government afford you your right to due process then?

    • jwz says:

      In 2009, in direct retaliation for us having appealed (and prevailed against) their rejection of a license application, ABC trumped up some bullshit charges ("A Disorderly House Injurious to the Public Welfare and Morals") and tried to permanently revoke our liquor license. We had to spend over a year fighting that, and the end result was that ABC's pet judge (an "Administrative Law" judge who works for ABC, rather than being in any way independent or unbiased) found us guilty and reduced the penalty from "revocation" to a 30 day suspension and 5 years probation. All told, this pointless abuse cost us close to $100,000.

      You can read all about it on my February 2009 blog post about it.

      So if the point you're trying to make is, "how could it be worse?", well, I'll tell you.

      We were hit with a citation on August 6, 2008. We had a year's worth of meetings and hearings, the final hearing happened in October 2009, and we were suspended for January 2010.

      Under the new rules that ABC is trying to force on us, on August 7th, we would have just been closed. On 24 hours notice.

      Then maybe we could have spent those next 12 months arguing with ABC that we should be allowed to re-open. While paying rent on an empty building, and having lost all of our events and all of our promoters.

      And ABC wouldn't even be required to entertain our appeal -- under the new rules, whether a hearing even occurred would be at their discretion. They could just say "Nope, you're finished. Bye."

      So yes. This would be worse.

      • db48x says:

        As I said, I completely agree with you; this new regulation would unconstitutionally deprive you of your right to due process.

        My point is that you face two enemies here, the ABC and the governor. The governor shut you down months ago, and you've been paying rent on an empty building ever since. Have you even been able to argue to a judge that this is unconstitutional, administrative or otherwise?

        Worse, this was an action the governor took against _every_ business in California. When the ABC wanted to shut you down, they had to make specific charges against your business in particular, and they had to collect evidence specifically about those charges rather than about the industry at large. This is a critical part of the right of due process which you have already been denied.

        Please stand up for your rights on both fronts.

        • jwz says:

          I will not entertain your implication that we should be pretending there's not a pandemic and letting every business stay open.

        • tfb says:

          What the fuck? Are you suggesting businesses, especially those which involve people jumping around in close proximity indoors, should stay open during a respiratory pandemic? Because, I suppose, whatever idiot god has eaten your mind needs to see mounds of rotting corpses in the street. Remind me which death cult you belong to? (But no, don't, I don't care.)

          • jwz says:

            Yes, he is suggesting exactly that, and no, we don't need to get into it with him here. There's no future in that.

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