Fresno pulled from pilot program to test 4 am last call to sell alcohol

City leaders spoke out against SB930, which will allow cities to adopt a 4 am last call at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Fresno leaders voiced their opposition to Senate Bill 930, which will allow cities to adopt a 4 am last call at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno city leaders are voicing their opposition to a state bill allowing cities to enter a pilot program testing a 4 am last call for alcohol sales at restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

If passed into law, Senate Bill 930 would give control to cities to adopt a 4 am last call for eligible businesses.

Standing alongside Fresno City Council members on Tuesday, Lynne Goodwin expressed her opposition to the bill.

Her daughter was killed by a drunk driver 15 years ago.

"Why would we extend the circumstances to allow that to happen?" she said.

Senate Bill 930 would allow seven cities across the state to enter a pilot program, testing out the 4 am cut-off time.

Fresno is listed as one of those cities, a decision ok'd by the administration of former mayor Lee Brand.

Current mayor and former police chief Jerry Dyer agreed to the program, too, as long as there was 100% local control in how it was implemented.

"I believe it would give us a competitive edge in our downtown Fresno economic development and revitalization," Dyer said.

Citing concerns surrounding the issue, the mayor reached out to State Senator Anthony Weiner, who authored the bill, asking to be taken off the list.

"He agreed, understood, and said that Fresno would no longer be considered. I understand at this point it's going through the process of removing Fresno as a pilot city," said Dyer.

Chief of Police Paco Balderrama said since 2020, there have been 42 deadly DUI crashes. Only three of those took place this year.

He said proactive policing has brought that number down this year.

The number of DUI arrests is up.

Balderrama said the city's new street racing public safety task force will be out looking for drunk drivers.

"If this does come into law, we'll make adjustments as we need to and as long as it's done in a responsible way and limits the licensing to select places, I think it's something we can manage," Balderrama said.

Council Vice President Tyler Maxwell along with members Garry Bredefeld and Miguel Arias plan to bring a resolution before the Fresno City Council to ensure Fresno stays out of this program.

"The juice isn't worth the squeeze. We cannot afford this in the City of Fresno - from a monetary standpoint but also from the amount of lives lost," said Maxwell.

Those sentiments were echoed by groups against the proposal, saying that the impact would be felt beyond City of Fresno limits.

"Folks will travel anywhere from 7-40 miles from their last drink to be able to get another drink," said Alcohol Justice Executive Director Cruz Avila.

The California Restaurant Association president said they support the fact that it gives local control for cities to decide whether it will work.