Tenderloin booze limits are uncorked

A renewed effort in the Tenderloin to quell the fights, public urination and other potential fallout from drinking cheap liquor is under way with city officials once again turning tostores in the area to step up and be “good neighbors.”

City officials met Friday to refocus an effort on creating an “alcohol impact area.”

Last year, Mayor Gavin Newsom and other officials worked to bring an alcohol sales restriction program to the Tenderloin. But obstacles — such as state and federal laws that pre-empted The City from creating restrictions on the type, manner and place of liquor sales — stalled the project, Newsom said Friday.

Some Tenderloin merchants expressed concerns at the time that competitors could reap the benefits of denied customers buying from nonvolunteering stores.

Dariush Kahan, the newly appointed director of The City’s Homelessness Policy, said a key consideration is encouraging stores to move to more fruit and grocery items. Officials are also investigating land-use issues such as permitting processes, the way licenses can be transferred to a family member and the inability to change products being sold, Kahan said.

Capt. Gary Jimenez of the Tenderloin Police Station, who attended Friday’s meeting, had hope for the effort.

“I think what [officials] are hoping is to create neighbors who will abdicate their making it affordable for people to get this substance,” he said.

But Ali Abdul, the manager of Pitco on Ellis Street, said liquor was a problem but the “main thing” was drugs on the street. Abdul said officials may be able to get merchants to abide by a prohibition on sales, but it may be a tough sell because it threatens a store’s bottom line.

dsmith@examiner.com

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