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Backsliding on alcohol rules, or maybe moving forward

Some thoughts on changing Chico ordinances on alcohol
Second+Street+from+the+B+Line+bus+station.+Taken+by+Maki+Chapman+on+Feb.+28.+
Maki Chapman
Second Street from the B Line bus station. Taken by Maki Chapman on Feb. 28.

On Feb. 20, the Chico City Council voted to do a “dry run” on repealing its rule about serving alcohol on specific dates after midnight. The test would take place on graduation weekend, as well as Labor Day. And there are two definitive sides to the issue.

One side is that this will bring about a boom to bars within Downtown Chico. As we are fully aware, the bars stop selling alcohol after midnight, and many people go home.

Council member Addison Winslow noted during the City Council meeting that many people go home, but decide to keep drinking while they are there. If people were allowed to stay at the bar for another few hours, the bars would keep making more money, but also keep an eye on their patrons as they are legally allowed and are supposed to.

On the other side of this are people who still think about the infamous Playboy article in 1987 that said Chico State was the best party school in the U.S. Steps have been taken to limit this picture of the city, including this measure to limit the drinking that happens on particular holidays, like Ceasar Chavez Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, and graduation weekend.

I will point out that some drunken debauchery still happens – The Orion covered a couch fire that only happened a couple of months ago in December.

So what do I think this measure will accomplish? Almost nothing.

As someone who occasionally has a drink or two, it’s fairly well known that it is far cheaper to get wasted at home than it is at a bar. Liquor is cheaper, and you don’t need an Uber to get you home.

Does that mean that bars are going to not make as much money as they think they will? Absolutely not.

It is also important to note why Billy Aldridge, the Chico Chief of Police, picked those specific dates. He felt that Labor Day has not been an issue and that graduation weekend will have family members around to limit any kind of issues that drinking may cause.

I personally find these dates very amusing– according to the crime map of Chico police, Labor Day weekend last year–from Sept. 1 through Sept. 4–had 70 crimes committed, while Ceasar Chavez Day and the weekend after only had 34.

What will the test prove? I don’t know. I don’t think it will change much, if anything. But I think people are right to wonder what might happen.

Maki Chapman can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Maki Chapman, Reporter
Maki Chapman is a journalism major with a minor in German and is currently in his final year at Chico State. Having been interested in journalism for a long time now, he looks forward to working on The Orion again. In his free time he plays Dungeons and Dragons on the weekends. After graduation, he hopes to become a freelance journalist and writer.

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