Alcohol Justice and the COVID-19 Crisis

The Marin County Civic Center and Spaceport is calmingThis is a quick update on how Alcohol Justice will continue to achieve our public health and safety mission as the alcohol industry watchdog during this very challenging time.

Our offices in San Rafael, California and Los Angeles, California are now temporarily closed with all staff working remotely from the safety of their homes. We are following the recommended best practices for social distancing and sheltering in place. We trust that this is also the response you are taking to protect yourself, your loved ones, and friends.

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Sacramento Paralyzed in the Face of Opioid Crisis

a picture of a demonstration safe injection site put together by San FranciscoWhen it comes to legislation dealing with California’s opioid epidemic, it seems that the legislature’s and Governor’s motto is, “Do as little as possible.”

While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that last year’s national drug overdose rate had its first decline in decades, California’s rate went up. In fact, California’s opioid overdoses have gone up 16% since 2016. Last year, the Urban Institute estimated that nearly a quarter million Californians lacked local access to buprenorphine or methadone treatment, usually the first step in recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD).

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On #GivingTuesday, Make Your Stand Against Alcohol Harm

December 3 2019 is Giving TuesdayTuesday December 3, 2019 is #GivingTuesday which kicks-off our year-end fundraising campaign. If you give through FaceBook on #GivingTuesday, your gift will be doubled. This month we would like to raise $1,000 to support the critical work we have been doing since 1987 to reduce alcohol-related harm. Your generosity helps us continue to fight negative industry practices and policies which threaten the health and safety of our families and communities. Please give through FaceBook on #GivingTuesday and see your gift doubled.

Here are just a few achievements for 2019:

  • Once again, we led the fight that stopped a policy to extend hours of alcohol sales to 4 A.M. in California bars, restaurants, and clubs
  • We published The High Cost of the 4 A.M. Bar Bill: A cost-benefit analysis of extended alcohol trading hours in Los Angeles by Alcohol Research Group (ARG)
  • Our powerful new advocacy tool - OneClickPolitics - provided a channel for our constituents to send over three thousand messages to California legislators and the Governor
  • Our Youth For Justice program celebrated its fourth year of providing youth leadership training for young people and their parents who reside in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael
  • Membership and active participation in the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) and the Los Angeles Drug and Alcohol Policy Alliance (L.A.DAPA) increased throughout the year and played a significant role in stopping the 4 a.m. bar bill

These achievements represent just some of the challenges we face annually from Big Alcohol. Our effective response would not be possible without your engagement and financial contributions. This continued support of our works helps to amplify our collective voice and extend our positive influence at national, state, and local levels. Your assistance makes a real difference in protecting public health and safety. Please donate through FaceBook this year and help move us closer to a healthier and more peaceful tomorrow.

DONATE to Alcohol Justice on #GivingTuesday and see your gift doubled.

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.