February 9, 2012
Another solution to Walnut Creek's rowdy downtown bar scene? Ban alcohol sales to men under 30
Over the past week, Police Chief Joel Bryden announced that he is adding more police officers to weekend night patrols. The city is talking about drafting an ordinance to regulate individual bars, and bar owners, concerned about the negative news reports, held a press conference to say that they would do more to refuse service to potential trouble makers and to work with police on maintaining safety downtown.
It's good that this issue has been getting the attention it deserves. I don't think a lot of residents have a problem with Walnut Creek having a nightlife. We're just aggravated by the idiots who come into town, drink, get drunk and then get into fights.
There is one strategy I haven't seen mentioned in any news coverage of the issue.
In looking back over the press releases from the last three outbreaks of violence on Dec. 31, Jan. 8 and Jan. 29, I see some common characteristics among the suspects. For one thing, all are from out of town but that goes with the territory of Walnut Creek being a regional destination for dining, entertainment and nightlife.
Even more noteworthy, almost all the suspects are men in their 20s.
So, men in their 20s. Hmm.
I don't know. I remember being in my 20s and going out with men in their 20s. And, they definitely don't make the best boyfriends. They are commitment-phobic and self-centered. Men in their early 20s are at their sexual peak, which means they've got all that testosterone raging inside them. And, who are the group of Americans most arrested for violent crimes? I should dig out some US Department of Justice statistics but I'm pretty sure it is men their late teens and early 20s.
So, you take this population group, with their high potential for general idiocy, give them disposable income, free time and a place to consume copious amounts of alcohol.
You've got a recipe for drunken brawls.
So here's my proposal to stop fights from breaking out in downtown Walnut Creek: the city should adopt an ordinance banning sales of alcohol to men under 30 on Friday and Saturday nights and on New Year's Eve -- let's say starting after 8 p.m. The same rules could also apply to times when a Bay Area sports team is playing in a big televised final -- or the night of World Cup women's figure skating finals. Believe it or not, some guys find that competition to be pretty emotional.
Restaurants and bars would have to continue carding young looking adult customers. But, if the customers are male and born after January 1982? No pale ales. No mojitos.
And for this law to really be effective, Safeway, CVS Pharmacy and 7-Eleven would need to be bound by ts restrictions as well. Giving the antisocial tendencies of this population group, they should have no opportunities to purchase alcohol in downtown.
And, if things quiet down, maybe the city can gradually roll back the restrictions to men under 28, and then men under 25.
Posted by Martha Ross at 5:43 AM