Oops, they did it again
On October 18th the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors held a public hearing about whether Arden Arcade needs yet another liquor store. Under state law, "off-sale" (i.e. to-go) liquor licenses cannot be approved in areas that already have too many liquor stores and are located in high-crime areas -- unless local elected officials determine that "Public Convenience or Necessity" (PCN) would be served by granting the license. The 7-11 Corporation wanted to be able to sell alcohol at the proposed convenience store at the NW corner of Howe and Hurley. In August 2016 the Supervisors decided a convenience store would be OK for the site, but deferred acting on the PCN until October 18, 2016, claiming they needed more information about crime and vagrancy in the area. Lo and behold, the additional information turned out to be not a big deal because the crime rate was pegged at just 177% of the County's average crime rate, which is only 57% higher than the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) says is the level of concern. And the vagrancy problem was, you know, totally solved because the Valero recycling center at the other convenience store at the same intersection had been recently closed and, anyway, the Sheriff's Department did a sweep not long ago and arrested some homeless people. See? Poof! No more problems! So, to no one's surprise, the Supervisors (all except Supervisor Don Nottoli) felt it would be fine for 7-11 to add another store to the large group of businesses licensed to sell to-go alcohol in Arden Arcade and, besides, they thought the new convenience store would be a nice building. It appeared to be of no concern that many people had asked the Community Planning Advisory Council (CPAC) to reject the proposal, that the CPAC had indeed advised against the liquor store, or that the Supervisors heard public testimony against the proposal from businesses and residents. It didn't matter that alcohol sales in Arden Arcade bring in around $9-10 per capita (calculated from state of California budget) whereas problems caused by alcoholism in Arden Arcade cost $478 or so per capita (calculated from "The Costs of Alcohol Abuse in California"). It wasn't a problem that the ABC and the Sheriff's staff have repeatedly told public audiences that the Sheriff's conditions on liquor sales cannot be enforced without the public's help. Nor did it dawn on the Supervisors that their decision was in stark contrast to the gut-wrenching testimony they heard during the workshop on homelessness that preceded the PCN hearing, a workshop wherein the Supervisors were told that substance abuse among the homeless population was significant and needed to be addressed and that criminalization of homelessness (e.g. sweeps and arrests) was not the answer. Instead, the Supervisors bestowed Arden Arcade, already awash with liquor stores, with another liquor store.