Legislation requiring greater liquor storeowner
responsibility for illegal sidewalk activity survives challenge
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell authored the liquor store responsibility
By Pat Murphy
March 8, 2006
Supervisor Sophie Maxwell yesterday beat back a milder version
of her proposed requirement for liquor storeowners to call the
police when they see criminal activity on their sidewalks.
Amendments to the Maxwell ordinance submitted by Supervisor Fiona
Ma lowered owner responsibility to that already required by State
regulation, Maxwell said.
Ma explained amendments rationale.
"They separate activities inside the store from those outside
the store," Ma told colleagues in the Tuesday meeting of
the Board of Supervisors.
"The purpose is to hold the owner responsible for activities
that happen in his or her store where they have the best control
over the premises.
"In terms of the sidewalk, we'll hold owners responsible
for those activities they can safely address such as litter, proper
lighting, and graffiti.
"I continue to believe it is unreasonable to ask them to
put themselves in harm's way. Addressing crime in our City is
the responsibility of the Police Department and other law enforcement
- not business owners.
"I would also remind colleagues that the Small Business
Commission unanimously opposes this legislation," added Ma.
Maxwell retorted those amendments already are required by State
regulation and questioned political motivation.
"All of the things that have just been mentioned... the
store owners are already responsible for under the ABC (California
Alcohol Bureau of Control) regulations," stated Maxwell.
"So my question is, then, what legislative agenda are you
trying achieve here?
Liquor storeowners are not required to intervene or call the
police if owners believe their safety would be jeopardized under
the Maxwell ordinance, the District 10 supervisor noted.
"If they are already responsible for the outside within
20 feet - they are responsible for nuisances, they are responsible
for drunkenness, for prostitution, for all of those things from
the ABC - we are just bringing this (responsibility) locally.
"What we are saying here is that if they feel that their
lives are in jeopardy then they do not need to call.
"If they feel that their safety is in jeopardy we are recognizing
"We are not asking them to do anything that they do not
already have to do according to the ABC.
"What you are doing here is watering down what is already
there. You are making ours less restrictive.
"Why would you do that?"
Board of Supervisor President Aaron Peskin provided an answer.
"I think it's called politics," interjected Peskin.
The Arab storeowner network is a well funded association.
And Ma, a former aide to political heavyweight John Burton, is
a candidate for the California Assembly District 12 seat.
Ma recently hired Bill Barnes as legislative aide, who formerly
held the same position with Supervisor Chris Daly.
Daly withheld his endorsement of progressive candidate Jeff Adachi
in Adachi's successful race for San Francisco Public Defender
against Burton's daughter.
Supervisor Chris Daly
Daly, representing the heavily liquor store populated District
6, told the Sentinel he refused Adachi's requested endorsement
in order not to jeopardize Daly's relationship with Burton.
Only Supervisors Ross Mirkarimi and Daly joined Ma in supporting
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick is out of town due to a visit to London's
Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval absented himself from the Board floor
during final vote.