Keep Bars Open Longer? Opponents say No!

San Diego opponents of legislation that would allow cities around the state to extend the closing time for bars to 4 a.m., from the current 2 a.m., said today the bill would create problems that would spread into the community.

The substance abuse prevention advocates spoke out against SB 384, introduced by Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. They proposed to allow the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to license establishments to sell adult drinks for an extra two hours if the business complies with local requirements.

``I don't really see where it's really going to benefit the people in the community,'' Lisa Bridges of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance told NBC San Diego.

``It only benefits those that are in the alcohol industry -- those that are serving alcohol in restaurants and in bars,'' Bridges said. ``Now, that would get put on the backs of the people in the community. ''Wiener calls the bill the Local Act.

``Nightlife is crucial to the economy and culture of many of our cities, and we should be doing more to empower our communities to support nightlife,'' Wiener said. He said the bill, which passed the state Senate and is now before the Assembly Appropriations Committee, is a ``nuanced approach to empower -- but not require -- local communities to extend alcohol sales hours.

''Bridges said it was ``really crazy'' that someone would put bar profits over public safety.

The San Diego opponents -- who also included representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Pacific Beach Community Planning Group -- contend that an extension would create extra burdens for law enforcement, strain the ABC and exacerbate crime.In comments in March to the publication CityBeat, Anderson said, ``You always run the risk of DUIs whether it's 4 o'clock in the morning or 2 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I think you can stay out past 2 a.m. and not overdo it.''

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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