The Encinitas bar scene has been causing trouble for some time. A handful of businesses are serving alcohol in an irresponsible way — a way that promotes public drunkenness, DUI-related incidents and a host of other problems. It all happens in the evening, after 10 p.m.The vote last year was 3-2, with Barth and Shaffer voting for the DAO, and Kranz, Muir, and Gaspar voting against it. Instead, the council created another full-time, pensioned code enforcement position, which isn't even on duty most late nights and weekends!
But there is a solution. It’s called a Deemed Approved Ordinance, a new kind of law that establishes a set of responsible operating standards that all alcohol retailers have to follow in order to stay in business. This approach has been successful in many cities in California, most recently in El Cajon where problems stemming from liquor and convenience stores have declined substantially. According to the El Cajon Police Department, arrests for public drunkenness dropped 35 percent, and arrests for drinking in public dropped 26 percent.
Actually, Encinitas was considering this type of ordinance last year but it was stymied by the local hospitality association. Not wanting to offend the business community, the city backed off from the ordinance and instituted some half-way measures. But it’s been almost a year now, and according to many residents I have spoken with, the problems have not gone away.
Rachel Anne Morrison was killed just weeks later by a man driving home to La Jolla after drinking extremely heavily in downtown Encinitas.
Having defeated city efforts to crack down on problem bars, the "Encinitas Hospitality Association" has seemingly disappeared into the night.