Gov. Brown Vetoes Bill that Would Have Let WeHo Extend Bar Serving Hours to 4 AM


The “happy hour” will remain 2 a.m. for those worried about the possible impact of a bill that would have allowed bars to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. in West Hollywood and seven other cities.

Gov. Jerry Brown today vetoed the bill, known as Senate Bill 905 or the “Let Our Communities Adjust Late-night” (LOCAL) Act.

In a message explaining his veto, Brown wrote: “California’s laws regulating late night drinking have been on the books since 1913. I believe we have enough mischief from midnight to 2 without adding two more hours of mayhem.”

The bill was introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). It would have authorized certain cities to test extending alcohol serving hours over a five-year period. In addition to West Hollywood, those cities include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Coachella and Cathedral City. Each city would have the right to decide whether or how to implement the bill. For example, a City Council could have decided to extend bar hours to only 3 a.m. or to allow alcohol to be served until 4 a.m. only on weekends.

The California Restaurant Association, California Travel Association and the California Hotel & Lodging Association have supported the alcohol serving hours extension, as has the West Hollywood City Council.

However, the idea of extending alcohol serving hours provoked some debate in West Hollywood. On the one hand, WeHo is a city that depends heavily on revenue from tourists (the hotel room occupancy tax is the single largest source of revenue to the city’s general fund). West Hollywood is known as a nightlife destination, with its Boystown gay nightlife district on the west side of Santa Monica Boulevard and the many clubs on the Sunset Strip and relatively new ones such as Delilah in the Center City area.

On the other hand, West Hollywood is the city with the most restaurant/bar liquor licenses per capita in all of Los Angeles County. Based on the number of restaurant/bar liquor licenses in 2015, WeHo by the Numbers reports that West Hollywood also ranks No. 1 in all of California in licenses per square mile, with 116. An organization called the Safe WeHo Leadership Council has been formed to develop ways to reduce alcohol-related problems in West Hollywood.

City Councilmember Lauren Meister, the sole council vote against the extension, supported Brown’s veto.

“Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to commercial zones,  and I, thank Governor Brown!” Meister said. “ A 4 a.m. last call would impact these residents as well as place an unnecessary burden on public safety personnel.”

Councilmember John D’Amico, who supported the late-night serving option, said its failure wouldn’t hurt the city.

“West Hollywood will continue to provide a celebratory backdrop for entertainment and nightlife,” he said.  “Weiner’s bill was an attempt at expanding the nightlife economy, creating more value by expanding the hours.”

Capt. Sergio Aloma, who heads the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station, has spoken against extending alcohol serving hours to 4 a.m., citing concerns about drunk driving. The extension also has been opposed by a majority of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Commission.

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J Simmons
J Simmons
3 years ago

Let’s all thank Jerry Brown, because we know WeHo was onboard to be one of the test cities. In Los Angeles, it is different. It is a car city. Drinking and driving Kills. My goodness, we need Jerry Brown to come down and fix our city leaders. From the death on the sidewalk in front of The Whiskey (That was almost inevitable – Sunset, Packed Rockers, Speeding Cars, Narrow Sidewalks and People not caring. The entire small music sites should have crash proof poles to prevent any type of car jumping the curve with fans waiting on the small side… Read more »

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
3 years ago

What is sadly missing in much of this debate, and many others, is that we need to find a middle ground between West Hollywood as party central, and West Hollywood as a place that tens of thousands of people live. I think the pendulum has swung too far to the side of those who want WeHo to be Las Vegas Strip Reborn. Time to claw back a bit. Nightlife will not suffer as a result–it has clearly ballooned in the 100-year era of repressive 2:00 p.m. closing times. Kudos to Lauren Meister for being an advocate for sensibility in an… Read more »

Marc
Marc
3 years ago

Thank God. I’ve been living here for close to 15 years now, and it’s been sad seeing WeHo sold off to L.A.’s straight young party crowd. Half of the blame goes to Vanderpump, and her shallow reality-show lemmings for inflating this mess – but the other half goes to WeHo’s civic leaders, for being so money-hungry that they’ll greenlight any property development or bylaw which will dump big cash into city coffers regardless of its impact on things like traffic or the culture of our city. Thank you, Governor Brown, for refusing to let WeHo endanger its own residents and… Read more »

Tom Smart
Tom Smart
3 years ago
Reply to  Marc

……not to mention piece of mind/quality of life and a good nights sleep for those living around these bars.

C.R.
C.R.
3 years ago

This is a good example of how Democrats often lack enough of a spine these days in sticking to progressive ideas. The intent of the legislation was to assist these cities in efforts to advance competitively with nightlife in other parts of the nation as well as around the world, and to allow more freedom to those patrons who choose to partake in later service in businesses. A restriction on personal freedom is never a good look for any politician, especially a Democrat. Hypocrisy is the drink of the day. Cheers to the boring NIMBYs.

Manny
Manny
3 years ago
Reply to  C.R.

I’m ok with the competition. Other states and countries can serve as late as they want and let nightlife linger into daylight. West Hollywood and all of California will do just fine with what we have……..and you may want to save the “progressive ideas”, “personal freedoms” and the use of the positive term “NIMBY” to argue something more interesting and worthwhile.

Hungry Late
Hungry Late
3 years ago

All that, and you still can’t eat a decent dinner out past 10 pm hardly anywhere in the Los Angeles area. Provincial town.

Manny
Manny
3 years ago
Reply to  Hungry Late

Go to “Catch”.

Late dinners was one of their big pitches and enticements to justify being on the roof of that building…..or maybe try an earlier lunch.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
3 years ago
Reply to  Manny

Mel’s Diner 24 hours. Best steak and eggs in LA for $12.00, same price as a cocktail on most of the bars on SMB.

Mike
Mike
3 years ago

As an “old geezer” I’m thrilled to bits for the Governor’s veto.

Awesome Weho
Awesome Weho
3 years ago

Nothing good happens after 2AM.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years ago

I don’t think this is fair to simply say that those opposed to longer bar hours are just killjoys. There is a cost to extending hours to 4 a.m. not to mention impact on the community for people living adjacent to popular night spots. This would create a huge scheduling challenge for the Sheriff’s Department and we would have to absorb the extra costs. We would have to determine if the benefit out weighed the burden. I am glad that Lauren Meister had the courage to stand up to the herd mentality of the Council to at least ask the… Read more »

JJ
JJ
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

exactly.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
3 years ago

Best idea ever. Kudos to the Governor and Ms. Meister. Lives will be saved because of their common sense and care for the entire community and not just one special interest. Ms. Meister has my Vote

Manny
Manny
3 years ago

Thank you Gov Brown for stepping up and rejecting another reckless bill by a very dangerous Senator.

With last call for alcohol at 1:55am, West Hollywood will continue to be a unique destination and a good place to live.

L Hemsley
L Hemsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Manny

Well said!

Bring on the geezer comments
Bring on the geezer comments
3 years ago

All the bitter, old curmudgeons will be happy about this. Can’t wait to hear all the praise for Jerry. 🙄

BEWARE OF ALCOHOL & ALCOHOLIC BEHAVIOR
BEWARE OF ALCOHOL & ALCOHOLIC BEHAVIOR
3 years ago

This decision is timely and of great importance as it coincides with an issue of national scope concerning alcohol consumption and mischief that in all likelihood affected the behavior of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nomination for the Supreme Court. In Pres. Trump’s favor, one must acknowledge his personal aversion for alcohol consumption citing the negative effects on his family namely his father and death of a brother given to alcoholism. He will need to revisit his aversion. Yesterday many witnessed the outrageous conduct of a nominee attempting to make a case for his credibility. His past and possibly current… Read more »

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