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Alcohol on Promenade

The Aug. 8 article regarding action by the Santa Monica City Council to end alcohol consumption outdoors at midnight on Third Street Promenade is rather ironic.

The Times reports that the owner of the 3rd Street Pub & Grill was one of many who advised the council that it was tampering with an atmosphere that the city and the Promenade merchants had worked hard to create. Yes, it’s true that they, through the city-funded Bayside District Corp., did revitalize the moribund Promenade. The city benefited from its investment with increased revenue from taxes on retail sales, food, alcohol and cigarette subventions. Property owners benefited too.

But if the atmosphere is really attracting the type of late-night clientele that the article describes, let’s agree that it could be dangerously inimical to the benefit of the community. The need for city services for crowd control, crime prevention and prosecution of criminal activity could escalate to where the added revenue would be cost-negative, and image-derogatory (for reference, see Westwood Village).

Tom Carroll, the executive director of Bayside District Corp., told me that in the three-block Promenade area there are 36 alcohol beverage licenses. In a letter published in The Times two months ago, Assemblyman Tom Hayden put the license number at 45. Does this mean that outdoor consumption of alcoholic beverages is necessary at 14-plus sites in every block in order to enhance atmosphere?

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Right now, it appears that the City Council acted wisely before the situation got completely out of hand. As for owners who say they want to police themselves: When you want the biggest bang for your buck, it might be very hard to hold back that bang while in pursuit of the buck!

Shame on the city of Santa Monica for allowing this excessive number of alcohol licenses. The only mollification is that the Promenade is not immediately adjacent to residential areas.

But praises to the council for recognizing the need for some small mitigation measures.

JEANNE DOBRIN

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West Hollywood


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