Despite protests of the sponsoring charitable organization, the City Council has banned beer sales along the city's Fourth of July Parade route.
The council voted 3 to 1 last week to deny the Huntington Beach Host Lions Club the right to sell beer on the holiday, as it has in the past.
Councilman Jim Silva cast the lone opposing vote, saying he thought the council's action is unfair to the Lions Club and came too late to allow time to plan alternatives.
"I can't see punishing the Lions Club, especially at this late date," Silva said.
The Lions Club uses proceeds to benefit the vision impaired.
Despite the charitable nature of the event, the majority noted that both the city staff and the Downtown Residents Assn. have urged a ban on the outdoor beer sales.
"I have the greatest respect for the Lions Club and what they do" to help the vision-impaired, said Councilman David Sullivan, but the fact is, "they are serving beer, and if somebody has enough beer, it causes problems. . . . I have to come down on the side of caution."
The council majority noted that last July 4, Huntington Beach saw disturbances from rowdy young people, many of whom were intoxicated. The Downtown Residents Assn. had requested the ban on outdoor sales of beer to help prevent similar disturbances this year.
Joe Whaling, president of the Lions Club, protested that the club's outdoor beer booths have not been the source of the problems. Club members strictly enforced age limits and consumption amounts, he said, adding that it is private parties in the downtown area that are source of rowdiness related to drinking.
Police Chief Ronald E. Lowenberg agreed, saying Lions' beer booths have not caused the police any problems in previous years.