The Glendale City Council voted this week to ask a state court to uphold the city’s right to prohibit the sale of alcohol by businesses that also sell gasoline.
The City Council voted 4 to 0 to file a lawsuit challenging a state law that prevents cities from imposing such bans after Jan. 1, 1989. The law also allows businesses that sold both gasoline and alcohol before that date to resume the dual sales.
City Atty. Frank Manzano said he will file a lawsuit in Superior Court arguing that the law unconstitutionally interferes with municipal affairs.
Council members said they would ask other cities to join in the legal challenge, but they are prepared to “go it alone,” Councilman Jerold Milner said. The California League of Cities has endorsed the state law.
“It’s a long shot,” Milner said. “But it seems to me we have to do it and let the Legislature know that we disagree with their actions restricting the independence of municipalities.”
City officials adopted the ban in April, 1986, at the urging of Glendale community leaders and parents. The intent of the ban, which took effect in May, 1987, was to curb the accessibility of alcohol to drivers, especially minors.
Similar Laws Elsewhere
About 30 California cities have adopted similar bans, although Glendale is the only municipality that ordered existing businesses to cease dual sales. City officials said Wednesday that they believe the city had seven outlets offering dual sales.
The state law, approved last year, does permit cities to restrict dual sales by new businesses--those opening after Jan. 1, 1989. But cities cannot impose those restrictions across the board. Under the law, cities must consider and hold hearings on each application before deciding.
Before the Glendale law took effect, Superior Court judges in Burbank and Los Angeles ordered Glendale officials in separate rulings last May to stop enforcing the ban against three gas station mini-markets that filed suit against the city. The city is appealing those rulings, Manzano said.
The City Council, preparing for the possibility that its legal challenge is not successful, also directed the city staff to prepare an ordinance that would require new businesses to obtain conditional use permits for dual sales. The ordinance would give the city the mechanism described under state law to review applications by new businesses wishing to offer dual sales.
Councilwoman Ginger Bremberg, a leader in the fight to preserve the ban, did not attend the meeting.