2019 CAPA Summit Wrapup: From Local Power to Statewide Clout

CAPA recognized some local heroes in 2019On Thursday, November 7, the approximately 150 attendees of the 4th Annual California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) Summit were confronted with two stark facts: advocates for a healthier California face daunting challenges, and in the face of those challenges, they can achieve remarkable victories. The Summit marked the end of a long and difficult legislative session, highlighted State Sen. Scott Wiener's seemingly unstoppable bill to extend bar closing hours suddenly killed on the assembly floor, in no small part due to local pressure applied by the coordinated efforts of CAPA. Membership celebrated that victory, but with that celebration came the realization that there were many more fights ahead.

In recognition of the emerging power of a united CAPA voice, the Summit theme was "Building a Movement." The event opened with a recognition of individuals who were integral to that building effort. First, CAPA issued an award to Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Koretz, his Communication Director Alison Simard, and his Director of Policy and Legislation Jeffrey Ebenstein. Councilmember Koretz was an early and vocal opponent of extended last calls, even as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti endorsed the bill. With Koretz and his staff's willingness to stand up against the blatant harms threatened by the bill, backed by the voices of Los Angeles residents and the members of CAPA, the Los Angeles city council issued a resolution condemning the bill, leading to its defeat on the California State Assembly floor.

CAPA was also proud to commemorate the vital public health and safety contributions from California Assembly Member Tom Lackey; Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Krekorian; Community Promotora Mirian Castro, and CAPA Co-Chair Richard Zaldivar.

necklaces hand made by oglala artisans to commemorate victories in alcohol preventionThe awards took the form of Wakinyan Thunder necklaces, handmade and individualized pieces by Oglala Lakota artists and activists Kathryn Thunder Hawk and Robert Swimmer. "The necklaces were made with good energy, with good thoughts, and blessings," presenter Veronica de Lara, CAPA co-chair, explained. "Each piece is meaningful in Lakota culture and they provide strength and fortitute to those in a path of service to all."

Between rounds of awards, attendees broke out into special topic sessions, including:
  • Social Justice Movements
  • Community Engagement
  • Authentically Integrating Voices of the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Proactive Legislation

"I'm proud of what CAPA accomplished this year," said Mayra Jiménez, Advocacy Manager for CAPA. "But alcohol is not a simple problem. It attacks the most vulnerable, and the industry is so committed to hiding the harm. We need to make sure everybody's voice is heard loudly in this fight."

The session concluded with a special presentation from California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).  The session was intended to both make the workings of ABC transparent and to provide a venue for dialogue between the community and the department. Following a presentation on ABC operations and pending legislation--including the implementation of AB 1221, which mandates responsible beverage service training for all California bars and restaurants--ABC Director Jacob Appelsmith stood for a lively Q&A session. Copies of the ABC presentation are available on the CAPA website.

The Summit closed with a reiteration of the goals and challenges facing CAPA and everyone working in the harm prevention space. Attendees were left to think about what they could accomplish in 2020. Hopefully, the answer was, in part, "More than we thought we could this morning."

WATCH Councilmember Krekorian's speech from the 2019 CAPA Summit.