Gov. Brown Vetoes Bill that Would Have Let WeHo Extend Bar Serving Hours to 4 AM


The “happy hour” will remain 2 a.m. for those worried about the possible impact of a bill that would have allowed bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. in West Hollywood and seven other cities.

Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed the bill, known as Senate Bill 905 or the “Let Our Communities Adjust Late-night” (LOCAL) Act.

In a message explaining his veto, Brown wrote: “California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”

The bill was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). It would have authorized certain cities to test extending alcohol serving hours over a five-year period. In addition to West Hollywood, those cities include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Coachella and Cathedral City. Each city would have the right to decide whether or how to implement the bill. For example, a City Council could have decided to extend bar hours to only 3 a.m. or to allow alcohol to be served until 4 a.m. only on weekends.

The California Restaurant Association, California Travel Association and the California Hotel & Lodging Association have supported the alcohol serving hours extension, as has the West Hollywood City Council.

However, the idea of extending alcohol serving hours provoked some debate in West Hollywood. On the one hand, WeHo is a city that depends heavily on revenue from tourists (the hotel room occupancy tax is the single largest source of revenue to the city’s general fund). West Hollywood is known as a nightlife destination, with its Boystown gay nightlife district on the west side of Santa Monica Boulevard and the many clubs on the Sunset Strip and relatively new ones such as Delilah in the Center City area.

On the other hand, West Hollywood is the city with the most restaurant/bar liquor licenses per capita in all of Los Angeles County. Based on the number of restaurant/bar liquor licenses in 2015, WeHo by the Numbers reports that West Hollywood also ranks No. 1 in all of California in licenses per square mile, with 116. An organization called the Safe WeHo Leadership Council has been formed to develop ways to reduce alcohol-related problems in West Hollywood.

City Councilmember Lauren Meister, the sole council vote against the extension, supported Brown’s veto.

“Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to commercial zones,  and I, thank Governor Brown!” Meister said. “ A 4 a.m. last call would impact these residents as well as place an unnecessary burden on public safety personnel.”

Councilmember John D’Amico, who supported the late-night serving option, said its failure wouldn’t hurt the city.

“West Hollywood will continue to provide a celebratory backdrop for entertainment and nightlife,” he said.  “Weiner’s bill was an attempt at expanding the nightlife economy, creating more value by expanding the hours.”

Capt. Sergio Aloma, who heads the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, has spoken against extending alcohol serving hours to 4 a.m., citing concerns about drunk driving. The extension also has been opposed by a majority of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission.


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J Simmons
Guest
J Simmons

Let’s all thank Jerry Brown, because we know WeHo was onboard to be one of the test cities. In Los Angeles, it is different. It is a car city. Drinking and driving Kills. My goodness, we need Jerry Brown to come down and fix our city leaders. From the death on the sidewalk in front of The Whiskey (That was almost inevitable – Sunset, Packed Rockers, Speeding Cars, Narrow Sidewalks and People not caring. The entire small music sites should have crash proof poles to prevent any type of car jumping the curve with fans waiting on the small side… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Guest
Alan Strasburg

What is sadly missing in much of this debate, and many others, is that we need to find a middle ground between West Hollywood as party central, and West Hollywood as a place that tens of thousands of people live. I think the pendulum has swung too far to the side of those who want WeHo to be Las Vegas Strip Reborn. Time to claw back a bit. Nightlife will not suffer as a result–it has clearly ballooned in the 100-year era of repressive 2:00 p.m. closing times. Kudos to Lauren Meister for being an advocate for sensibility in an… Read more »

Marc
Guest
Marc

Thank God. I’ve been living here for close to 15 years now, and it’s been sad seeing WeHo sold off to L.A.’s straight young party crowd. Half of the blame goes to Vanderpump, and her shallow reality-show lemmings for inflating this mess – but the other half goes to WeHo’s civic leaders, for being so money-hungry that they’ll greenlight any property development or bylaw which will dump big cash into city coffers regardless of its impact on things like traffic or the culture of our city. Thank you, Governor Brown, for refusing to let WeHo endanger its own residents and… Read more »

Tom Smart
Guest
Tom Smart

……not to mention piece of mind/quality of life and a good nights sleep for those living around these bars.

C.R.
Guest
C.R.

This is a good example of how Democrats often lack enough of a spine these days in sticking to progressive ideas. The intent of the legislation was to assist these cities in efforts to advance competitively with nightlife in other parts of the nation as well as around the world, and to allow more freedom to those patrons who choose to partake in later service in businesses. A restriction on personal freedom is never a good look for any politician, especially a Democrat. Hypocrisy is the drink of the day. Cheers to the boring NIMBYs.

Manny
Guest
Manny

I’m ok with the competition. Other states and countries can serve as late as they want and let nightlife linger into daylight. West Hollywood and all of California will do just fine with what we have……..and you may want to save the “progressive ideas”, “personal freedoms” and the use of the positive term “NIMBY” to argue something more interesting and worthwhile.

Hungry Late
Guest
Hungry Late

All that, and you still can’t eat a decent dinner out past 10 pm hardly anywhere in the Los Angeles area. Provincial town.

Manny
Guest
Manny

Go to “Catch”.

Late dinners was one of their big pitches and enticements to justify being on the roof of that building…..or maybe try an earlier lunch.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

Mel’s Diner 24 hours. Best steak and eggs in LA for $12.00, same price as a cocktail on most of the bars on SMB.

Mike
Guest
Mike

As an “old geezer” I’m thrilled to bits for the Governor’s veto.

Awesome Weho
Guest
Awesome Weho

Nothing good happens after 2AM.

Steve Martin
Guest
Steve Martin

I don’t think this is fair to simply say that those opposed to longer bar hours are just killjoys. There is a cost to extending hours to 4 a.m. not to mention impact on the community for people living adjacent to popular night spots. This would create a huge scheduling challenge for the Sheriff’s Department and we would have to absorb the extra costs. We would have to determine if the benefit out weighed the burden. I am glad that Lauren Meister had the courage to stand up to the herd mentality of the Council to at least ask the… Read more »

JJ
Guest
JJ

exactly.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Guest
Eric Jon Schmidt

Best idea ever. Kudos to the Governor and Ms. Meister. Lives will be saved because of their common sense and care for the entire community and not just one special interest. Ms. Meister has my Vote

Manny
Guest
Manny

Thank you Gov Brown for stepping up and rejecting another reckless bill by a very dangerous Senator.

With last call for alcohol at 1:55am, West Hollywood will continue to be a unique destination and a good place to live.

L Hemsley
Guest
L Hemsley

Well said!

Bring on the geezer comments
Guest
Bring on the geezer comments

All the bitter, old curmudgeons will be happy about this. Can’t wait to hear all the praise for Jerry. 🙄

JJ
Guest
JJ

Has nothing to do with age..has to do with the issues/problems we have now that we don’t have under control. You don’t compound a problem when you’re not even close to solving the problem. Our own sheriff’s dept. said they wouldn’t have the staff to deal with the problems the extended hours would bring. Perhaps as you age a bit you’ll get the knowledge necessary to know that the effects of extending the hours would have brought more negatives issues to the community that lives here…more negative than positive. Need a drink after 2am…go home and enjoy all you want… Read more »

JJ
Guest
JJ

Very, very happy to hear that Gov. Brown vetoed this. We have enough problems already and we can’t even manage those.