LOS ANGELES (CNS) — Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz filed a motion Wednesday asking the council to oppose a bill in the state legislature that would allow bars in seven cities — including West Hollywood. to stay open until 4 a.m., citing concerns about a possible increase in drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths.
Senate Bill 930, introduced by Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, would approve a pilot program extending the hours bars, restaurants, taverns and nightclubs in select cities are allowed to sell alcohol from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. The other cities are: Cathedral City, San Francisco, Oakland, Fresno, Coachella and Palm Springs.
In a news conference Wednesday, Koretz called the proposed legislation a “deadly excuse for a business growth bill that does more to threaten the innocent public than help a few bars increase their nightly revenue.”
Although the longer drinking hours would be in West Hollywood, Koretz believes drivers would drive through his district of West Los Angeles after 2 a.m. and then return to Los Angeles in the early morning hours.
“Some drive straight for the early risers driving to work or taking their kids to a distant school, and aren’t used to dealing with drunk drivers,” Koretz said.
The West Hollywood City Council voted 3-2 last month to allow the city to participate in the pilot program.
“Many of us have explored and exhausted our options for innovative ways to continue to pay our employees and keep the doors open,” David Cooley, the owner of a bar in West Hollywood, said in an email to the Los Angeles Times. .
Cooley added that the program would benefit the hospitality industry and allow for more tax revenue that the city could spend on community services such as public safety.
Since the early 2000s, there have been numerous failed attempts to extend alcohol hours in California.
In 2018, the then government. Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bill that would have applied to Los Angeles, Long Beach, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Oakland and San Francisco, citing the potential increase in drink-driving.
“California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913,” Brown wrote in a letter to the legislature at the time. “I believe that from midnight to two o’clock we have enough mischief without adding another two hours of chaos.”
Koretz believes Los Angeles and neighboring cities will bear the brunt of the impact if the bill is passed.
SB 930 will appear before the state credit commission next week.
“I let my colleagues know that we can’t get tired now and give up after years of fighting,” Koretz said. “This bill was made to be followed quickly and Jerry Brown is not here to stop it this time.”