West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission showed opposition to a proposed California Assembly bill that would permit bars in West Hollywood, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. WeHoVille reported on the Monday night meeting, where the Commission recommended that West Hollywood’s City Council reject the law.
Senate Bill 905 was introduced in January by State Senator Scott Wiener. If approved by Governor Jerry Brown, S.B. 905 would allow the aforementioned cities to regulate when bars and restaurants would close, with an option for closing times between 2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
All six cities are in favor of the law, and West Hollywood’s City Council even backed an early version of S.B. 905 last year. But in a city meeting last night, Public Safety Commissioner Robert Oliver produced a motion encouraging the Council to oppose the bill, citing the potential problem of drinkers that reside outside of West Hollywood. Oliver believes these individuals will be more inclined to drive while intoxicated. Commission Chairwoman Ruth Williams agreed, and added that extended drinking hours might lead to increased crime. Oliver’s motion passed on a four-to-two vote.
Beaches WeHo beverage director Aidan Demarest opened a bar on Santa Monica Boulevard between Robertson and San Vicente in January, and is in favor of the bill’s passage. “I would be thrilled,” said Demarest. “I think it’s odd that LA has an 11 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. party time. It would be a really good thing, and more civilized. There would be less people running into bars where they pound (drinks) and leave. And LA is becoming a more sophisticated city with public transportation and Uber. We should be afforded a later curfew accordingly.”
L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is looking into the impact of extended bar hours, and are working against Wiener’s bill. West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station Capt. Sergio Aloma worries about the whole of Los Angeles. “Two hours of additional drinking certainly is going to have impact on cities outside West Hollywood,” Aloma said. “We’re going to absolutely have to rethink our staffing model and our deployment of deputy service. At 4 a.m., we don’t have the same staffing we have at midnight or two a.m.”