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Coalition urges audit of California's alcohol-licensing agency

L.A. community group formed after Dodger Stadium beating says regulators have not issued a citation at the ballpark since the 1990s despite growing complaints about drunken hooliganism.

June 24, 2011|By Paul Pringle, Los Angeles Times
  • LAPD officers patrol Dodger Stadium after security was bolstered in the wake of the beating of Giants fan Bryan Stow on opening day.
LAPD officers patrol Dodger Stadium after security was bolstered in the… (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles…)

A community coalition formed after the Dodger Stadium beating of Bryan Stow called Thursday for a government audit of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control because the agency has not issued a citation at the ballpark since the 1990s.

"It seems like they're just ignoring the problem," Richard Zaldivar, who launched the coalition, said of the ABC's response to growing complaints about drunken hooliganism at the stadium.

The Times reported last month that the ABC, the authority that enforces alcohol-licensing rules, last cited a Dodger vendor for a violation in 1999. It has taken no enforcement actions at Angel Stadium since at least 1992 or at Staples Center in the last nine years.

ABC spokesman John Carr said the agency's inspectors are spread thin, with more than 82,000 businesses to monitor statewide, so their visits to the sports venues are infrequent.

In addition, he said it is often difficult to prove that a vendor knowingly broke the licensing rules, such as by selling to an underage patron or someone who is drunk.

Carr said the agency would "cooperate fully" with any audit.

Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan, was attacked in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on the opening day of the team's season and remains hospitalized. Los Angeles Police Department officials have said excessive drinking has been a factor in reports of increased violence at the stadium.

The Los Angeles-based Coalition Against Excessive Alcohol Use and Violence at Dodger Stadium consists of 22 social service organizations, churches and other groups.

In addition to the audit, the group called on the Dodgers to stop alcohol sales at the end of the sixth inning, rather than the seventh as the ABC requires, and to enlist the LAPD in stepping up anti-gang measures at the stadium.

The coalition also asked for a detailed accounting of the ABC's use of four free passes to each Dodger game, which are provided by alcohol vendors as a licensing condition. Carr said the passes are used only for inspections.

paul.pringle@latimes.com

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