Mayor sends letter to downtown businesses

Huntington Beach Mayor Joe Carchio has sent a letter to downtown restaurants and bars asking them to help the city reduce drunk driving and other alcohol-related crimes.

Carchio asked business owners and managers who serve alcohol and provide entertainment downtown to not allow in new customers in 30 minutes before closing or serve alcohol 15 minutes before bar time.

Other suggestions included providing single-serving drinks after midnight, posting signs that urge customers not to drink and drive, providing new employees with training on how to responsibly serve patrons.

Carchio also asked that the businesses provide taxi vouchers throughout the night to departing customers and install high-quality video surveillance systems and make recordings available to police.

"I don't know if it's the (cure-all), but it's a start," he said. "You know you have to start somewhere, and you don't want to come down with a heavy hammer at the beginning."

Baja Sharkeez owner Ron Newman came up with similar suggestions after learning the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) was investigating his business because of the number of customers leaving the bar drunk, causing fights and getting behind the wheel.

Carchio, who penned his letter in May, said the city must strike a balance between remaining business-friendly and being good to its residents. Many Huntington Beach downtown residents blame the city for the problems in downtown.

"We realize that we owe it to the residents downtown to address the problems we have," he said.

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