The Coast News Group

Alcohol training ordinance proposed in San Marcos

SAN MARCOS — San Marcos is a college town with tens of thousands of resident students, most of whom are under the age of 21. With DUIs on the rise, bars turning into makeshift nightclubs after 10 p.m., and the number of state Alcoholic Beverage Control officers at an all-time low, city staff has proposed an ordinance that would require alcohol handling training for all employees who serve alcohol.
The training is a three-hour class certified by Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC. Former ABC agents teach enrollees how to spot fake IDs, how to deal with intoxicated persons and when to cut off services when a customer has had too much. Under the ordinance, upon successful completion of training, an enrollee would get a certification card good for two years.
“It gets everybody on the same page and lets everybody know what the law is,” Barbara Gordon of the San Dieguito Alliance, a countywide prevention organization, said. “A waitress that comes in at 21 years old really doesn’t know what her liability or responsibility is.”
This kind of ordinance has already been enacted in several cities in the county. The San Marcos version is less strict. Failure to comply results in an infraction or administrative cite rather than a misdemeanor. While a business might lose its ability to sell alcohol, it won’t lose its business license.
The ordinance went before the Student and Neighborhood Relations Commission for review Feb. 8, and it received the unanimous approval of its members. The measure is now scheduled to go before City Council in early April.