The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

March 21, 2013
Sacramento supervisors to take up 4 a.m. last call

Sacramento County supervisors could go on record Tuesday against a bill that would allow cities and counties to let bars and restaurants have last call at 4 a.m.

The staff recommendation says the Board of Supervisors should oppose Senate Bill 635 because the consequences of permitting alcohol sales to continue from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. "could be significant as they relate to health and safety risks."

"Later hours of sale result in problems which take a number of forms, such as public drunkenness, assault, rape, theft, begging and vandalism," the staff report says. "Consequently, the costs of community services such as police and medical services will be impacted."

The bill's author, Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, says it's about more local control and potential for tax revenue.

He and supporters, which include the California Restaurant Association, say the later last call would boost local economies and help nightlife districts in Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego compete for tourism dollars with cities such as Las Vegas, New York and Miami.

Under the bill, a local government would have to seek permission from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to allow the 4 a.m. last call in certain areas, on specific days of the week, or both. Each bar or restaurant wanting later hours would also have to get approval from the state ABC.

As I wrote earlier this week, I'm concerned that neighborhoods near nightlife districts might be burdened. I also worry about whether state ABC has the resources and right attitude to protect residents.

Supervisors are scheduled to take up the issue at 11:15 a.m. Tuesday. The bill is set for its first Senate committee hearing on April 9.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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