Should the city charge fees to bars that stay open late and require a lot of police attention?

I just posted this story on Walnut Creek Patch, dealing with an idea that emerged at last night’s City Council meeting.

Council members were talking some more about if and how the city could help pay for the Masters Swim Team, school crossing guards, crisis counselors in Walnut Creek Schools, the Lindsay Museum, the downtown trolley, and the Walnut Creek Concert Band.
The idea has come up that six to 12 bars, which are open past midnight, require a lot of police attention during those late hours, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Maybe these establishments should have to pay a special fee for the impact on public safety they have.
You can read more on this proposed bar fee at Walnut Creek Patch. Some council members think it’s a great idea, others are not so sure. It would be great to see some of your comments there too.
Meanwhile, check back later on Walnut Creek Patch to read about how the council is likely to vote on saving or cutting other programs near and dear to many’s hearts: the Masters Swim coach’s position, school crossing guards, school crisis counselors, the therapeutic recreation summer camp for disabled kids, and the Walnut Creek Concert Band.

26 thoughts on “Should the city charge fees to bars that stay open late and require a lot of police attention?

  1. No – It's the City's fault because of the way the “stagger” closing times. If I was a Restaurant or Bar owner, I'd be ticked off if the city told me when I had to stop serving alcohol.

    Anyone going to the new “Library” WC Speak for closing a department opening this week?


  2. This whole thing is such a non-issue. According to the City budget the total Police spending is a little bit over 22 million dollars and according to the Chief of Police the cost associated with policing the late night bar scene is about 150,000 a year, which is less than 0.7% of the entire Police budget.

    I can't wait to see all the crusty old geezers here posting how the late bar scene endangers the safety of the citizens of Walnut Creek.


  3. WC has full-time school crisis counselors and a “therapeutic recreation summer camp for disabled kids?”

    Can the counselors and get rid of the “therapeutic recreation summer camp.” The parents should cover that cost if they want it.


  4. Crossing guards are Unnecessary. There are walk/don't walk lights, parents should teach their offspring how to use them.

    Enough Nanny society.


  5. Anon 11:52 – I am more worried about the idiots that do not know how to drive (or at least those who do not understand that a red light means STOP)and barrel through intersections when the kids have a crossing light.


  6. “Masters Swim Team, school crossing guards, crisis counselors in Walnut Creek Schools, the Lindsay Museum, the downtown trolley, and the Walnut Creek Concert Band”

    No city government should be paying for any of this stuff with tax dollars.


  7. June 2, 2010 10:30 AM
    “I can't wait to see all the crusty old geezers here posting how the late bar scene endangers the safety of the citizens of Walnut Creek.”

    Ya because its the geezers that are throwing people through plate glass windows at crogans right? Or that WC had to BORROW the Concord patty wagon to haul off the delta dumplings after a fight.

    If your dump of a bar/club needs a bouncer then you should get to pay more for the privilege.

    I don't buy the .7% either, busy nights are littered with non paid police reserves, which is great unless a reservist is need to cover sick leave or injury leave for paid officer(s) then a residential beat gets shortchanged.


  8. It's not just on weekends SM. On Sunday night every police officer in town spent an hour clearing out a “birthday party” from Pyramid on Locust. The party turned out to be a hip hop concert that was advertised in Oakland. The business called the police when the party goers got out of control and started destroying the place. The private security disappeared as the police arrived and surprise surprise no one paid the bill or the rental fee.


  9. Charging the bars is a good idea, but will never fly. All the bars have to do is cry to the council and take them out to lunch a few times to get their way. Just like the owners of 1515 Main. boohoo.. It's obvious the council can be bought. Looks like Skrel got a new house out of the whole thing. Just let the bars do what they want and don't listen to the police department's suggestions. Just don't cry to our police department when it happens. After all, you will have a concert band, crossing guards, and a new library. I sure am glad I don't live in WC anymore. What a mess..


  10. 8:01,
    You have just accused our City Council Member Gary Skrel of getting a new house by supporting particular business interests in Walnut Creek, yet you do not identify yourself or provide evidence.
    In my opinion you are both a liar AND a coward. And you say you also don't live in Walnut Creek anymore? Good riddance!
    I disagree with Gary on a few things but he does not sell out.


  11. Bob Brittain

    Thanks for being a rationale voice in city politics. One certainly can have different opinions about politics but to make anonymous unsubstantiated allegations of bribery is well over the line.

    But what else would I expect fro a bunch of teabaggers.


  12. I agree with Bob. Those comments were out of line. I also disagree on issues with the City, but that kind of allegation is crazy. I am proud to live in WC and comments like that don't help at all.


  13. You are right Bob. I apologize for making that comment. Frustration got the best of me. Mr. Skrel and the rest of the council is doing the best job they can with what they have. My apologies. I will keep my business out of Walnut Creek. Sorry readers.


  14. 8:01 p.m.
    I'm happy to allow people to post comments from readers, and to allow them to share their opinions on issues such as this. If you disagree with certain council members and how they have voted, or positions they take on pending issues, you are very much entitled to express your opinion. But please be careful. The sort of thing you are saying about a certain council member is asserting a statement of fact, and you are making a serious allegation. If you have evidence, then I would suggest you contact someone in authority who is in position to take action. Otherwise, please stick to writing about what you can back up.
    I could take your comment down, but it looks like other readers have expressed their concern about anyone making any kind of serious allegation about someone in the community.


  15. I'd say all four of those comments were made (a few minutes apart) by Bob. Don't get upset about people posting anonymously when it seems you are doing it as well bobby. So you think all is well in WC huh? If you think the Chamber and business owners don't have influence over the council you are not the sharpest pencil in the box. Do you really believe the Dudums give money to get council members elected and re-elected out of the goodness of their heart? How about when they give money to the Walnut Creek Library Foundation (which I know you are familiar with)? They doing that to be good citizens Bob? Or are these business owners smart enough to know that by supporting the pet project of Cindy Silva, or by donating to Mr. Skrel they will have a chip in their pocket. One that maybe they could cash in to get their bar hours extended even after the council set very clear guidelines. No police calls during the “probationary period”. Eight documented calls (and several undocumented ones) later the council (except Mr. Simmons) have a change of heart. Pandering to business owners and special interest groups at the expense of actual residents must change.


  16. 2:43pm, June 3,

    I made the comment under my name at 8:23pm. I did not make the following three comments at 8:30, 8:38 and 10:17pm, if those are the ones to which you refer.

    You can call me a liar, of course, but then it is my word against that of an anonymous disgruntled conspiracy theorist. I will leave it to the readers to decide upon the veracity of my statement.


  17. Yo Bobbo,

    I don't think that you are a liar, just a bit unrealistic in your view of how things work in Walnut Creek. Since you were very active in Ms. Silva's first race for Council you know what goes on and how the money comes in.

    At least be honest with yourself by stepping back and taking an unbiased look at the inner workings of political maneuvering in our fair city.


  18. Bob's participation in the Library project with Silva is one of the primary reasons we are in this mess. Now he, Silva, Regalia, Abrams and others are backpeddling BIGTIME. They are doing their best to lunch a smear campaign to blame the city's woos on the recession, the police department, the state etc etc. Anything to get the egg off their face.


  19. Anon 10:15 pm

    Right on!

    Sat and watched almost all of the City Council's budget discussions and was amazed at the dramatic hand wringing that was going on.

    The city staff has worked its butt off trying to bring in a balanced budget while preserving each council members current favorite project.

    It is almost amusing to listen to the wails and sobs about the economy, state raids and other sinister forces that have ruined WC's financial situation.
    BUT, nobody ever mentions the LIBRARY as being a major part of the problem.

    Blowing over $42 MILLION on one project, when they had warnings of lean times coming, is something that four members of this council will never acknowledge as using poor financial judgment spending the people's money.


  20. Yes. If they typically use more resources when they stay open past 10 p.m. then yest they should pay an additional fee to help cover those costs.

    Here's the deal.

    They pay the fee or cops park outside their place on Friday nites and pullk over everyone including the bikers parked on the sidewalks.


  21. How can Bob be so fricking blind? He knows first hand how elections work. You also know the feeling of obligation of a donation even if it is only $145 from someone. Now, multiply that number from a whole company like Hall Equitities or Dudum Entertainment… Now what? Yup, you now owe them.

    Also, you and Silva are personally responsible for agreeing to the building of a $40 million plus library. No regrets?


  22. June 2, 2010 10:30 AM: I am not a crusty, old geezer. I am a well-to-do, and well-educated individual who happens to not have very warm feelings for the folks (young or old) who come into town during the evening hours to get drunk and cause problems. I don't particularly care about coming into town on Saturday morning to get my haircut at one of our posh salons, only to find Starbuck's cups filled with urine sitting around the Plaza Escuela parking garage! Nor, do I find it amusing that the elevator and stairwell reek of urine. There may be those who are not annoyed by such things, and I suppose that is fine as this is a free country. However, I will exercise here my right to freedom of speech in order to describe the facts, and to make it known how our city smells no better than Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley on weekend mornings.


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