Ojai officials have decided against a police request to ban alcohol in city parks after the proposal was met by a public outcry.
The Ojai City Council voted 4 to 0 this week to continue allowing adults to drink alcohol at softball games and other events, as long as law-enforcement problems do not escalate and park users work with police to monitor activities.
"This has not been an easy matter," Councilwoman Nina V. Shelley said after the vote settled a controversy that began last October when Lt. Larry Weimer of the Ventura County Sheriff's Department asked that drinking be prohibited without a special permit. Weimer, who serves as Ojai's police chief, cited several occasions last summer when deputies were heckled by softball players and suspected drunken drivers were ticketed leaving tournament games.
The issue was delegated to the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for a series of public hearings in which angry softball players accused the police of overstating the problem.