GUEST VOICES: California Alcohol Policy Alliance 3rd Annual Summit Wrapup

Public Health and Safety Advocates From Across California Gathered to Recognize that We Are "Better Together"

by Sara Cooley Broschart, MPH, Advocacy Manager Emeritus, California Alcohol Policy Alliance

CAPA Third Annual Summit plenary session attendees enjoy a good laugh together, for we are a merry merry bunch (aka "We few, we happy few")Over one hundred attendees from 13 counties gathered Thursday, October 11, at The California Endowment’s Center for Healthy Communities in Los Angeles to celebrate the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA)'s legislative successes of 2018—and strengthen their relationships and skills for 2019. Many were already members of CAPA, though new faces were spotted and welcomed. After all, the theme of the conference was "Better Together," and all shared the common goal of collaborating to stop the rising alcohol harm in California.


Richard Zaldivar of The Wall Las Memorias Project and Veronica De Lara of Pueblo y Salud served as emcees and are CAPA Co-chairs for 2019. They were joined by Director of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, Jacob Appelsmith, in welcoming participants and urging collective action to keep our California communities healthy and safe. Eight other members of ABC leadership attended, including Legislative Director LaKenya Jordan, who shared her insights on important happenings at the Capitol this session. Keynote speaker Dr. William Kerr from the Alcohol Research Group shared state-of-the-art stats with the group in his talk, “US Trends in Alcohol Use Problems and Alcohol Policy in California.” He was followed by Bruce Livingston of Alcohol Justice who named names (and showed faces) to further everyone’s understanding of Big Alcohol and what CAPA is up against.

The positive energy in the room was palpable. It was an unprecedentedly strong year, since of the five positions CAPA took on legislation, all five went our way. Due to our actions inside the Capitol and across the state:

  • Art galleries will still have to get a license to serve alcohol (AB 2460 – Harper)
  • Powdered alcohol remains banned (AB 2738 and AB 1207 – Brough)
  • Cannabis-infused alcohol products are banned (AB 2914 – Cooley)
  • Bar closing times will be kept until 2am (SB 905 – Wiener)

Thousands of emails, calls, letters and meetings led to this success. Thank you and congratulations to the organizations and individuals who raised their voices. It is not every day when we communities get to see the change we’ve been working so hard towards, so let’s all enjoy it while we can.

Previous Summits had only been an afternoon, but this year participants spent a full day together. They had the choice of two of eight workshops including training on talking to the media, lobbying, and the workings of state government. ABC led two workshop sessions that solicited community input: one of Responsible Beverage Service training and the other on its website redesign. There was also a strategy session for the 4 a.m. Bar Bill, since Senator Wiener has already vowed to bring it back.

For the third year, CAPA honored Alcohol Prevention Heroes, who were recognized as having championed alcohol prevention and/or policy in the press or government or had gone the extra mile in mobilizing community, recruiting members, and/or exceeded expectations in CAPA campaign activities.

  • Councilmember Paul Koretz, Los Angeles City Council, District 5
  • Stephanie Mencimer, Reporter, Mother Jones, author of “Did Drinking Give Me Breast Cancer?
  • Pueblo y Salud, San Fernando 
  • Sarah Blanch, Regional Director of Los Angeles Projects, Institute for Public Strategies

The day’s festivities closed on an uplifting note as participants were encouraged about the Power of CAPA and recommitted themselves to working toward keeping alcohol-related harm out of their communities. Before traveling to homes across the state, everyone enjoyed a reception with soft guitar, passed appetizers and conversation and hopefully refreshed and revitalized for another year of hard work!

All materials from the day are available online on the CAPA site: And save the date to join us next year: Thursday, November 7, 2019, in Los Angeles!

READ MORE about the victories for prevention in 2018.

READ MORE from the Summit's workshops and pressentations.

CAPA 2018 Summit Thank You Flyer