Is San Diego ready to host the "Leisure Olympics"?
Brought to you by FreePB.org, the folks who stuck up for those famous -- or infamous -- "Floatopias"?
Police Chief Bill Lansdowne, citing safety issues, has denied "Leisure Olympics" organizers a special event permit to stage a “family-oriented”, mid-summer gathering at Crown Point Park, on the shores of Mission Bay.
They want a BYOB arrangement -- which they say is hardly unprecedented under city permit regulations -- so attendees can roam with adult beverages.
Plans call for accommodating some 200 attendees who will be charged about $40 apiece for a picnic lunch, a kids’ Jumpee structure and a variety of games on the sand.
It’s a non-starter, as far as San Diego Police Department is concerned.
FreePB is now appealing that decision to a higher authority.
To get a city permit, police say organizers need to fence off a so-called "beer garden" area, supervised by licensed security guards who'll check IDs.
And, get insurance protecting the city from any legal liability.
The city is still reeling from those rowdy, boozy, trashed-filled, holiday-weekend Floatopias during the summer of 2010 -- using a since-closed loophole in the voter-approved 2008 alcohol ban at beaches and coastal parks.
At the time, FreePB's website offered the revelers moral support and clarification of legal issues.
Now, special event organizers must wade through hundreds of pages of protocols, requirements and restrictions which police have cited in denying FreePB’s permit application.
"I don't agree with it, but unfortunately that is the law, so they have to abide by it,” said East Village resident Sean Krejci, when asked about the issue during a Monday morning game of bocce with family and friends in Crown Point Park. “I would say, if I were them, get some donations and get some security guards. Unfortunately, you're going to have to get off the couch and get a permit."
In response to that, FreePB co-founder and board member Rob Rynearson offered this observation in a later interview, Monday afternoon: “You know, there are additional expenses with a beer garden that put an undue burden on small event organizers."
Rynearson argues that the city routinely grants BYOB exemptions and permits for events such as Over-the-Line, San Diego Bayfair, and other large beach and coastal-park gatherings.
"Now what the city's trying to say is, if you're an old-timer connected to the political structure, that you get this special treatment – and individuals and small groups are discriminated against.”
FreePB will press its case to the City Council's Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee on Wednesday.
There's no appeal from the committee's decision, except to take the city to court.
The group's attorney, Cory Briggs, is a veteran of litigation with the city and major private interests.