This letter was sent to the VC Reporter in response to the article referenced below.
Why complain when you know you’re doing something wrong?
That is the question some residents of Ventura ask themselves every time they walk by Caffe Bella in famous downtown Ventura. In the article “Downtown bar upset with ABC enforcement” (VC Reporter, 6/25/2009,) Paul Sisolak relates the severity with which alcohol officials are enforcing alcohol sale laws. In the article, Caffe Bella’s owners complain about being “raided” after being found to be violating their alcohol license agreement.
According to the article, the Caffe must comply with the “50/50” rule, where alcohol and food sales must be in even proportion, but in 2008 the Caffe sold $9,000 worth of food and $41,000 in alcohol.
During Caffe Bella’s “raid,” the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) forced everyone in the bar to pour out their drinks — and that’s when the complaining started. The owners felt the patrons were “terrorized,” and that the law is “archaic,” to boot.
Some people in downtown Ventura are grateful for the actions of the ABC for enforcing the law. If alcohol-serving establishments would comply, people downtown might have more of a sense of safety, see the streets cleaner, and won’t have to witness alcohol use. In a recent article in the Ventura County Star, statistics show that Ventura has the highest concentration of bars of any city in the County (more than 300), and that alcohol is a factor in higher crime rates.
On the business side, they say they’re taking huge hit on sales because drinkers are scared to go into a bar now. Now even across the downtown area some bars and restaurants are nervous about a visit from the ABC. So the question still lingers: why complain when you know you are violating your license? This is just like driving under the influence — you’re going into the wrong direction, my friend. In my opinion you’re scared because you know you’re doing something wrong.
— Mario Apolinar, 18