San Diego

A Look at the Beach Booze Ban, 10 Years After the Pacific Beach Riot

This Labor Day weekend marks 10 years since the infamous, booze-fueled beach brawl in Pacific Beach. Police showed up and riot gear to calm down the rowdy crowd. The holiday chaos sparked the movement to ban booze at the beach – a ban still hotly debated in the community.

“The locals are not the problem; it's the people from out of town, they come here and ruin it for us,” Carl Wade, a longtime Pacific Beach resident, told NBC 7 on Saturday.

Wade thinks the beach alcohol ban was the wrong thing to do.

“It hurts the businesses, it hurts the locals, and it didn’t benefit the city,” he added.

Curtis Hummel agrees.

He was there a decade ago when police confronted a crowd of rowdy partiers on Labor Day 2007.

“It was going good all day until some out-of-towners started throwing bottles and stuff at the cops,” Hummell recalled.

The San Diego City Council banned alcohol on the beach after the fight, on a temporary basis. Voters narrowly approved a permanent ban in 2008.

For lifeguards, the alcohol ban has made their jobs a little easier.

“Just as many people are coming out, but it’s just a nice, calm atmosphere,” said San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero. “There are no fights.”

Lifeguards said there is also less trash left behind.

Some San Diegans also feel more at ease without booze on the beach.

“I think people in the neighborhood feel a little bit safer. And, personally, I walk the beach all the time, so it really does feel safer,” said local Paula Delgado.

While some people still long for days of enjoying a drink next to the water, the days of beer-fueled parties on the sand are now part of San Diego’s history.

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