Community Commentary: Eatery will be responsible with alcohol license

I am writing this in response to the front page article June 9 regarding the possible approval of an expanded ABC license for a local business in the downtown Huntington Beach area ("ABC officials approve license".

I fully agree with the ABC officials in their determination to allow this restaurant to provide patrons with a drink with their dinner. It was noted by the agency and the local police that there has never been any trouble at this location.

The continued efforts of a few vocal dissenters to disrupt the business and practices of the merchants and restaurants downtown do not reflect their previously stated goals of having a balanced and profitable downtown. To address the concerns of the downtown residents, including some of those named in the article, a special ad hoc committee was formed and, with the input of those very same people, many policies were put in place to help reduce the problems that the residents identified.

At that time, many residents indicated that they wanted to "upscale" the businesses downtown to establishments that catered to an "older, more sophisticated" crowd. Ka Shabu is an excellent example of just this type of place. We are fortunate to have it downtown and we need to encourage its profitability. If allowing it to serve a cocktail will help, then it should be allowed. The article indicated that the restaurant had agreed to many restrictions (many that the competition do not have to abide to) to alleviate residents' concerns. To me, this shows a high level of respect for the opinions of the community.

Most fine dining restaurants serve alcohol and would not consider opening in a location that would not allow such sales. If the HB Neighbors are serious in their desire to have a more mature crowd downtown, you would think that they would realize this and try to encourage more of the type of place that Ka Shabu is. They need to recognize the fact that there needs to be a variety of establishments to choose from to attract that "older crowd" and that many of these places would potentially want to serve alcohol responsibly.

However, it seems that the mere mention of another ABC license is enough to send this group howling about the DUI rate for HB (which should be a tribute to our hardworking police) and not taking an objective look at the actual benefits that the business could bring to our great part of this town.

It is very tough to run a profitable business in the current economic conditions. We need to support and encourage our local businesses if they are to survive. The establishments in the downtown area are aware of the problems that are occurring and have taken many proactive measures to correct the issues and minimize the negative impacts on residents. The police are keeping a vigilant eye on the patrons, staff and management of these places, and strict enforcement of the rules is the name of the game.

As a longtime resident in the downtown area, I can assure you things are definitely better than they have been in the past, and we are continuing to improve the visitor and resident experience in Surf City. With a positive attitude and respect for all points of view, we can address any of the issues that come up and ensure that they are dealt with in a fair and evenhanded manner.

The simple request for another ABC license downtown does not automatically mean that there will be more problems. This is why I approve of the most recent request for an ABC license for Ka Shabu.

BILL CUPPY is a Huntington Beach resident.

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