WeHo Public Safety Commission Takes Stand Against Extended Bar Hours

 

An apparently divided Public Safety Commission last night voted to ask the West Hollywood City Council to take a stand against a California assembly bill that would allow WeHo and five other cities to extend alcohol sales and serving hours to 4 a.m.

The bill was introduced in January by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). If passed and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, it would allow West Hollywood, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Sacramento and Long Beach to extend alcohol serving hours from the current 2 a.m. limit to 4 a.m. All six of those cities have endorsed the extension. The West Hollywood City Council endorsed an earlier and unsuccessful version of Wiener’s bill in April 2017 in a four to one vote, with Councilmember Lauren Meister voting against it.

Public Safety Commissioner Robert Oliver introduced the motion last night asking the City Council to take a stand against Wiener’s bill.

Oliver disputed the argument that extended hours only will affect the six cities named in Wiener’s bill, each of which will individually decide whether or not to implement the extended hours. He noted that many of those at WeHo’s bars and clubs live elsewhere, and there is a risk of them driving long distances while inebriated.

Oliver also said that comparing West Hollywood to cities such as Las Vegas and New York City, which permit alcohol sales until 4 a.m., didn’t make sense because most New Yorkers use public transit, and Las Vegas partiers are likely to be staying nearby on the Strip.

“I hope it’s not a done deal that our city will support this,” Oliver said. “I think we can oppose the legislation itself and then, if it passes, consider whether to adopt the change in our city.”

Commission Chairwoman Ruth Williams said she agreed “100 percent” with Oliver. Williams said the extended drinking hours might lure people from afar to drink in West Hollywood, increasing the possibility of crime here.

Capt. Sergio Aloma of the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station said the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has a representative in Sacramento lobbying against Wiener’s proposal.

“I don’t think that we should fool ourselves in thinking that local impact is going to be contained in the City of West Hollywood,” Aloma said. “Two hours of additional drinking certainly is going to have impact on cities outside West Hollywood. I also think it’s going to impact our local trauma centers …

“We’re going to absolutely have to rethink our staffing model and our deployment of deputy service. At 4 a.m., we don’t have the same staffing we have at midnight or two a.m.”

Aloma also noted that sexual and other violent assaults occur at local bars and clubs and that extended drinking hours might increase those incidents.

Oliver’s motion passed a four-to-two vote, with commissioners Desiree Sol and Amanda Laflen abstaining. Neither explained why she didn’t vote. Voting for the bill were Oliver, Williams and commissioners Jeffrey Waack and Marcy Norton. Commissioner Tory Berger was absent.


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J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

NO MENTION in story of the IMPACT TO RESIDENTS if bar hours are extended to 4am. Given the size & shape of WeHo, most RESIDENTS live within blocks of the two biggest night life hot spots. SANTA MONICA BLVD & THE SUNSET STRIP (it’s a gay & strait bar/club issue).
IN ADDITION: CATCH on Melrose is ALREADY A night time SOUND PROBLEM.
Extending hours to 4am without even addressing the current NOISE PROBLEM is irresponsible and NEGATES THE SUFFERING OF WEHO RESIDENTS & HOME OWNERS near that Noise from a restaurant/bar/club.

Greg
Guest
Greg

I don’t know anyone who drives to go out. All my friends walk.
And those more than a mile away use Uber, Lyft, a taxi, The Trolley, etc…
Millennials embrace ride sharing. They also embrace late night.

I think those opposed don’t understand the culture has changed.

And any idiot who drives under the influence can do it just as easily at 3:00pm as they can 3:00am. If DUI accidents are up then increase police presence.

We shouldn’t be afraid of staying open an extra hour.
This debate is nonsense.

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

I went to City Hall (online) to see if I could contact anybody from the Public Safety Commission by email.

Not only are none of the three names that I checked listed in the directory, there is no sort of “contact us” link or social page.

Does anybody have a clue how to offer my two cents from my computer?
Thank you.

Info
Guest
Info

Email Kristin Cook, who can relay it to the entire Commission. kcook@weho.org

AK-
Guest
AK-

I would have went to the meeting to discuss but the city council already voted. Our business has already started planning for the summer season with scheduling and hiring. Where was the Public Safety Commission when this was on the City Council agenda and discussion? This is a totally haphazard way of approaching the issue and shows that commission is either out of touch or not aware of what is happening until it is too late.

Manny
Guest
Manny

The Bill that you’re describing failed…..This is the new Bill that singles out certain cities.

Craig
Guest
Craig

This is a PROPOSAL for 6 cities to CHOOSE their closing time up to 4:00am. Perhaps we only extend it an hour and only on the weekends. Let’s give it a chance. It’s hard to believe progressive West Hollywood has more conservative laws than Indiana and Ohio. West Hollywood is known for its nightlife. If it scares you so much, try Utah. Some places with closing times later than California: Alaska: 5am Arizona: 2:30am Florida: 3am – 5am (it’s up to the communities to decide) Georgia (Atlanta): 4a Indiana: 3am Illinois (Chicago): 4a Kentucky (Louisville) : 4a Louisiana: 24 hours… Read more »

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen

What are the drunk driving statistics and domestic violence statistics in these cities?

Susan
Guest
Susan

So we’re blaming domestic violence on bars now?

Concerned Citizen
Guest
Concerned Citizen

The Sheriffs told us that there is an uptic in dv and dui when people drink more. Makes sense.

Craig
Guest
Craig

If all these places saw a dramatic increase in these statistics they would have changed their laws to close earlier.

Monkey See Monkey Do
Guest
Monkey See Monkey Do

Just because all your friends and neighbors are doing foolhardy things doesn’t mean you should. Each one of the 15 states (& DC) you mentioned have widely different circumstances that you failed to take into consideration. It’s hard to take responsibility and stand up and set the right precedent but here is an opportunity for West Hollywood to be a leader in the personal responsibility and accountability department and not let the enhanced revenue of a few establishments sway common sense. Weho could be known as a SAFE city in the public safety context as it is with the LCBGQ… Read more »

Manny
Guest
Manny

Places that close at 2am:

Austin: 2 a.m.
Baltimore: 2 a.m.
Bloomington and Normal, Illinois: 1 a.m. on weeknights, 2 a.m. on weekends.
Boston: 2 a.m.
Champaign, Illinois: 2 a.m.
Charlotte: 2 a.m.
Denver: 2 a.m.
Houston: alcohol service stops at 2:00 a.m.
Kansas City, Missouri: 1:30 a.m. for most bars.
Los Angeles: 2 a.m.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul: 2 a.m.
Phoenix / Scottsdale: 2 a.m.
Philadelphia: 2 a.m.
Pittsburgh: 2 a.m.
Providence: 2 a.m. on weekends (1 a.m. on weeknights)
Rochester, New York: 2 a.m.
Salt Lake City: 1 a.m.
San Diego: 2 a.m.
San Francisco: 2 a.m.
Seattle: 2 a.m.

Craig
Guest
Craig

I am going to guess you don’t go out much.
With closing time at 2:00 they stop serving drinks, take your glass and start kicking you out at 1:30.
Peak time at West Hollywood bars/clubs is between Midnight & 1:00, which means most people only drink for about an hour.
If you don’t go out, you also don’t realize it can take 20 minutes just to get a drink.
Not sure why we can’t try extending by an hour on the weekends to see how it goes. Not all of us work 9-5 and go to bed early.

Manny
Guest
Manny

LOL….Compared to you, I guess not. Cheers!

Craig
Guest
Craig

Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city in the country. When you compare us to comparable sized cities like NY (#1) and Chicago (#3), we close the earliest. Let’s be a 1st class city and less like Utah.

Manny
Guest
Manny

So now you’re talking about Los Angeles.

Info
Guest
Info

Following your logic: if 2am scares you, move to Louisiana.

Craig
Guest
Craig

It doesn’t scare me, but apparently change scares you. This is a famously progressive city known for its nightlife. Our closing time should reflect that. If you don’t like being out that late then go home as early as you like.

C.R.
Guest
C.R.

Exactly Craig. The city has to progress on this issue, it’s long past due and it’s not going to end until it changes. If it doesn’t go through, the measure will continue to be brought up year after year after year because the demand is there and the supply is not. WeHo largely hangs it’s hat on nightlife, with brick and mortar retail falling off. It must continue to adapt and progress. Again, this is a pilot program, it deserves a chance and it can be limited to the weekends as a compromise. It’s reasonable considering all circumstances, and fair.

Rick Watts
Guest
Rick Watts

THANK YOU, Commissiiner Oliver, for your courage in saying “ENOUGH!” The LAST thing WeHo needs is more drunken idiots annoying our residents and endangering our streets.

Joshua88
Guest
Joshua88

The commission doesn’t have a social media account (not that it really matters), so other than writing letters, how and to whom do we voice our opinions?

Let’s try it.

Manny
Guest
Manny

Ok so we now know that this topic was indeed on the agenda but there was no link to the agenda within the Weho Calendar. Case solved, just an oversight or a glitch in the system.

More importantly, kudos to the majority of the commissioners for voting to recommend rejection of this 4am proposal.

But why the abstention from the other two commissioners? This is an important topic. Those two commissioners should have known enough to form and opinion. That’s what they’re suppose to do.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

sorry have to apologize.. there is an item 10e tucked in last that was overlooked that allowed for discussion on item. I can say that there was no public outreach to include any of the affected businesses. item was listed as an oral report of senate bill 905. receive and input. I did not attend the meeting and got wrong info from someone who attended. wouldnt it be great if public safety meetings were televised?

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

ADDENDUM: THE PUBLIC SAFETY LINK ON THE WEHO.ORG WEBSITE WAS BLANK YESTERDAY. This was verified by emails to Kristin Cook yesterday by other concerned residents. The agenda could only be found if you went the commission itself to read the agenda. The homepage link was not working.

JF
Guest
JF

Our neighborhood has collected 40+ letters from residenrs OPPOSING this bill. We have enough issues with crime, drunks and noise.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

HOLD ON HERE. I checked the Public Safety agenda last night before the meeting and this item was not on the agenda. This morning I found out that this ‘discussion’ and ‘vote’ were taken in the last ten minutes of the meeting during commissioner comments and most of the public had gone home. Sorry to be the debbie downer here but public meetings and commissioner’s are required to follow a code of Roberts rules of order… and that means that items such as this are open to the public for debate and discussion. In this case the city council has… Read more »

Scott Schmidt
Guest

Spot on Larry! If it’s not on the Agenda, discussing and voting is a Brown Act violation.

Larry Block
Guest
Larry Block

well heres how it really went.. the online agenda was blank…but the actual agenda at the meeting had an item 10e. So the public could not see the agenda. and there is the disconnect.

Actually...
Guest
Actually...

From 4/9/18 Public Safety Commission Agenda:

10E UPDATE ON THE STATUS OF SB 905 AMENDING ALCOHOL SALES UNTIL 4:00 AM
Subject: City staff will present an oral report on the status of SB 905 amending alcohol sales until 4:00 AM.
Recommendation: Receive and provide input.