While crime rates remain low, the San Diego Police Department has big challenges, including a staffing crisis, a departing police chief and a perception problem lingering from multiple scandals. Now, the city’s cops are taking crime-fighting in a new direction: They’re targeting liquor sales, especially in crime-friendly areas like downtown and Ocean Beach.
As our contributor Jonah Valdez reports, the police department is outright opposing a lot of liquor sales permit applications. That’s different from the department’s longtime approach of asking business for concessions like shorter hours. The rationale, he writes, is simple: “More businesses serving alcohol could mean more alcohol-related crimes such as DUIs, underage drinking, vandalism, fights and public urination.”
But there are concerns that a crackdown would be more harmful to downtown business interests than the hypothetical gain of not having as much vandalism, fights, public urination, etc.
• San Diego has a colorful history of hypocrisy over hooch: A scandal over illegal liquor at a convention during Prohibition “put the mayor and police chief on the hot seat, embarrassed the American Legion and sent a bunch of men into the welcoming arms of the county jail warden,” as we told you in a 2011 VOSD story.
Council Supports Cannabis Supply Chain in City Limits
The San Diego City Council decided to allow up to 40 businesses citywide that can cultivate, distribute, manufacture or test cannabis products. The mayor’s staff had suggested only allowing testing or just two facilities per City Council district. Shelley Zimmerman, the police chief, also pushed the Council to only allow testing.
But by a 6-3 vote, the Council endorsed an ambitious plan to permit many more facilities. They must be 1,000 feet from schools, libraries and other sensitive locations. The Council did not, however, demand a buffer between marijuana facilities — a distribution facility could be next to a testing lab, for example.