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Letter to the editor: Alcohol ban in parks ‘not the Encinitas way’

At the May 20 Encinitas City Council meeting, the rush by Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Rudloff to legislate an across-the-board, scatter-shot law banning responsible adults enjoying a glass of wine as they celebrate the setting sun is highly disturbing.

What happened to the “less government is more” as a template for governing? Especially when it comes to creating legislation that cannot easily be undone, as longtime resident and speaker Denis Puscas noted at the podium. Mr. Puscas speaks for a much larger group of people, you may be sure.

As Puscas mentioned, it’s about the larger neighborhood coming together to appreciate community and celebrate sunset, most with dogs, once a week. It’s about neighbors, celebrating the quality of life together, here where we live.

This proposal by Director Rudloff banning alcohol at all city parks — citing cookie-cutter “continuity and consistency” for Encinitas sheriffs — is unnecessary and punctilious in the way that big government, unchecked, becomes its own worst enemy. And that is not the Encinitas way.

I’m blown away that this non-issue made it all the way to this dais. Who’s driving this thing? The only real take-away from this session that I could see is the potential liability in the combination of skateboarding and beer in the new Encinitas Community Park. If so, then set up new parameters for that park for 12 months and monitor that. End of story.

Ms. Rudloff’s credibility erodes quickly as she further names other cities that have alcohol bans, but fails to include the many others that do not. The four Encinitas parks where alcohol have been banned had everything to do with the combustible combo of homelessness and alcohol. Period.

And on the day before the meeting, Parks and Beach Superintendant Jason La Riva proposed new sunrise-to-sunset hours at many of the parks, including Orpheus. He said: “The city doesn’t want people congregating at night.” Yes, he said that.

Should Encinitas create a greater governmental monolith because we tidily want to make things “consistent” for the Sheriff’s Department? At what cost do we do that?

Although respected, the opinion of the Encinitas Sheriff Department is not sacrosanct, nor should it be. It serves the people, and the peace — not the other way around. Curtailing rights that Encinitas citizens now appreciate should not be so flippantly put forward. Once gone, they are lost. That’s the political rule of thumb.

Stephen Keyes, Encinitas


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