Alcohol Ban is Bad Idea

Occasional behavior problems associated with the consumption in a couple of parks in Gilroy, California, have led to a proposal to virtually ban alcohol consumption in two public recreational areas.

One section of the proposed ordinance would require a permit to consume alcohol at the parks. To this proposed requirement, the Gilroy Dispatch poses logical questions: “Would the permit cost money? If so, how much? How long would it take to obtain such a permit? Any permitting whatsoever would make it harder for a family to wake up on Saturday morning and say, ‘Hey, it's a beautiful day. Let's have a picnic in the park. Sandwiches, check. Sodas for the kids, check. A bottle of wine for mom and dad…’”

The proposed ordinance also prohibits any distilled spirits beverages in the parks. To this, the Gilroy Dispatch asks: “Could someone please explain why a margarita is so much more evil than a glass of wine? Surely it is the behavior of the consumer that should determine whether alcohol consumption is socially acceptable, not the variety consumed.”

The ordinance would also prohibit alcohol at any youth events in which a majority of the participants are under the age of 21. The Gilroy Dispatch asks “What about a 10th birthday party, where the host and hostess would like to serve the adults beer with their hot dogs, while the majority of the guests, average age 10, guzzle punch and break open the piñata?”

The newspaper then observes that

“This ordinance is being proposed in response to complaints about public drunkenness and vandalism. Surely a more appropriate response is to use the tools we have: arrest people who are drunk and disorderly in public.

“There is a huge difference between the use of alcohol, and the abuse of it. This country tried banning alcohol. That prohibition was overturned.

“Why should it be illegal to consume a legal substance in a socially acceptable way in the city's parks?”

The editorial concludes that “The only effect of the proposed ordinance will be to infringe on the rights of law-abiding citizens to enjoy the parks we pay taxes to support.”


  • Booze ban? Bad idea! Gilroy Dispatch, March 2, 2006.

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Filed Under: Legal