Law would target new liquor stores

Fortified wine and other high-alcohol drinks that can cheaply get people drunk would be targeted under a proposal to restrict booze displays in new city stores and ban new liquor stores from certain areas.

Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval plans to propose a bill at today’s board meeting, which, if approved by voters, would require new stores in San Francisco to use less than one-sixth of their store-space for liquor displays.Additionally, no more than one two-hundredth of their store space could be used for fortified liquor, such as high-alcohol wine and beer.

The proposal, which would appear as an initiative on the June ballot if Sandoval can gain the support of five of his 10 board colleagues, would also prevent new liquor stores from opening within 1,000 feet of a school, public library, recreational center or other liquor store.

“The overconcentration of liquor stores together with the sale of cheap fortified liquor causes a lot of social problems and public safety problems,” Sandoval said.

“You walk into certain liquor stores in the Tenderloin and they have nothing but fortified liquor on their shelves. … No one wants to be puritan about this and restrict the sale of alcohol, but what we do want to do is make San Francisco safer and also address the rampant alcoholism in certain neighborhoods,” he said.

Liquor stores could store and sell fortified liquor out of a backroom, according to Sandoval, but he said he doesn’t expect that to be common. “I think what’s more likely is that they will not be selling fortified liquor,” he said.

The proposed new law was described as a “form of prohibition” by Ted Strawser, who co-founded the unregistered Party Party political party to fight the “increasing suburbanization” of San Francisco.

“It will impact poor people, it will impact dense urban areas, and it’s not going to do much to the suburban areas,” Strawser said.

Strawser said alcohol restrictions at the last Halloween celebration in the Castro, jazz fest in North Beach and street fair on Haight Street were part of a “recent wave” of prohibition.

The proposed new law would not affect existing stores, according to Sandoval. He said similar restrictions are already in place in five liquor control zones.

Those zones are in the Tenderloin, the Mission, Bayview Hunters Point, and Haight and Divisadero streets.

The board’s agenda:

» Ban on sleeping at night, cooking in Golden Gate Park

» Research into the mortgage foreclosure crisis

» Allowing defense attorneys to obtain video camera recordings

» Property tax to fund affordable housing projects

» Self-imposed suppression order related to Ed Jew ethics investigation

Source: Board of Supervisors

jupton@examiner.com

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