Tag Archives: alcohol

Response to Mayor Carchio: Good first step, but more needs to be done about downtown

By Angela Rainsberger

Editor: Rainsberger is the director of Huntington Beach Neighbors.

Dear Mayor Carchio:

Thank you for the letter regarding your proposed solutions to reduce the DUI fatalities coming from the downtown establishments. I believe this is a step in the right direction to reduce the DUIs and I hope that we will see some meaningful reduction over time. I believe the key is to make certain that these voluntary suggestions become requirements of entertainment permits as they come up for renewal or as new EP are issued.

In addition for new restaurants it is important to find a way to add restrictions to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to prevent restaurants from morphing into bars. I expect you will see far less protests and activism from citizen groups in the downtown if we can insure that a restaurant stays a restaurant.

There are other cities in Orange County that have areas of heavy concentration of establishments serving alcohol who have found ways to manage the consumption to reduce the risks to life and quality of life. I would encourage you to meet with the city staff of Fullerton who crafted their successful ordinances and policies to understand what has worked for them.

In addition to your bulleted suggestions, I would add the following requirements:

  • No drink specials should be sold after midnight. This would include redemption of coupons such as the ones being sold on Groupon for two times the value of anything purchased. A managed decrease in the volume of alcohol consumed after midnight will decrease the level of intoxication at 2 am.
  • Maintain a full listing of establishments with the details of their entertainment permit restrictions, allowances, occupancies, and closing times to be used as a planning tool and reviewed in total, before any new establishment or any entertainment permit renewals are approved. Adjust closing times to stagger them as entertainment permits come up for renewal. This will reduce the 2 am flood of intoxicated drivers into the streets, by batching them in smaller more manageable groups, that the police will better be able to control.
  • Work with BID to increase the number of cabs available at night; as a cab shortage is a current problem. Taxi vouchers add no value if one must wait for an hour in a taxi queue.
  • Drinks need to be served to the person who will be consuming the drink. Currently there are establishments where drinks for large groups can be ordered by a single person at the bar and then carried back to a group. This prevents the servers from being able to apply the RBS/TIPS training and ABC max drink limitation or to monitor the ratio of drink per person. Require that the serve can verify that drinks are being sold are at the 1:1 ratio per order.
  • Require restaurants to clearly post occupancy permits for each area of their establishments (sidewalk patios, back patios, inside dining room and balconies) so that the police can clearly see when the occupancy of a given area has been exceeded. Currently, many establishments are not posting their patio max occupancy signs and in the evening hours are clearing tables and chairs off the patios and converting the patios to standing room areas with significantly more people than allowed. By posting these signs clearly the police will be able to quickly identify when occupancies have been exceeded.
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Mayor Sets New Rules for Downtown Bars and Restaurants

By Joe Carchio
Mayor of Huntington Beach

Editor: The following letter was sent by Mayor Joe Carchio to all restaurant/bars with entertainment licenses in downtown Huntington Beach.

One of my primary goals during my term as Mayor of the City of Huntington Beach is to enhance and improve public safety for our residents and visitors. Information released by the California Office of Traffic Safety revealed that there were 195 fatal an injury related traffic accidents in our city involving driving under the influence in 2009. That number resulted in Huntington Beach being ranked number one out of fifty-six cities our size in California. It is my hope that through a combination of enforcement and education, we will be able to reduce the number of intoxicated drivers on our roadways, and thereby reduce the number of fatal and injury related traffic accidents, in future years.

I have been advised by the Chief of Police, and data maintained by the police department supports, that may people arrested for driving under the influence have been drinking in downtown establishment that offer entertainment prior to their arrest. As the owner, or manager, of a downtown restaurant that serves alcohol and offers entertainment, I request that you strongly consider adopting the following policies. I believe implementation of these policies by all downtown restaurants that serve alcohol and offer entertainment would help to achieve my goal of enhancing and improving public safety for our residents and visitors.

Proposed Policies:

  • No new customers allowed 30 minutes before closing.
  • “Last Call” at least 15 minutes before closing.
  • Only single sized drinks, and no multiple drinks after midnight.
  • Signage, posters and advertising “Do Not Drink and Drive.”
  • Mandatory “Responsibly Beverage Service (RBS)” training and certification for new employees within 90 days and existing employees every 12 months. The training shall be provided by an ABC approved RBS training provider.
  • Installation of a high quality video surveillance system that is available at all times to the police department.
  • Provide taxi vouchers through the night and to customers leaving at the end of the night.

It is my hope that all downtown restaurants that serve alcohol and offer entertainment will voluntarily implement these policies. IN my meeting with Chief of Police, I formally asked him to impose these policies on any establishment where the Police Department has determined there is a problem related to intoxicated customers. If these conditions are imposed by the Chief of Police, it will occur at the time your Entertainment Permit is renewed.

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