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Friday, February 22, 2008

Sandoval to SF: Lose the Booze

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2008 at 11:03 AM

An Examiner article reports today that Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval would like to see the number of liquor stores opened in San Francisco reduced. A proposed measure would ban new stores from opening within 500 feet of another store, a school, or children's recreation center. Initially, Sandoval introduced a bill that placed the number of feet at 1,000, which would have effectively banned the opening of any new liquor or wine stores within city limits. Currently, San Francisco has the highest concentration of liquor stores per capita in the entire state of California. You hear that, guys? We're number one! We're number one! (click 'more')

Sandoval blames the businesses for "creating problems in San Francisco's poorest communities," and says, "I think it will reduce violence and improve community safety." Bruce Livingston, executive director of Marin Institute, an alcohol-industry watchdog group, agrees that the measure will reduce, you know, "social ills." Rich Hillis, a deputy director in the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development framed the controversy this way," Are we sure we want to forever ban any new wine shops in Fisherman's Wharf through a ballot initiative?" In other words, do we really want to limit rich tourists access to booze when all we really want to do is take it out of the hands of the irresponsible poor? Do liquor stores really "create" problems or do they just lubricate existing ones? Measures like this always seem a tad paternalistic, attacking an easy target like alcohol instead of critically examining the deeper issues that contribute to crime and poverty. –Andy Wright

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Andy Wright


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