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Drinking on the Beach in San Diego? Expect a Ticket!

It’s official – you aren’t any longer able to drink beer or alcohol on the beaches of San Diego, and it’s all due to the activities of mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer.

As expected, this kind of citywide ban has people on both sides of the fence feeling pretty passionate about the changes.

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On the one hand, you have people that were absolutely sick and tired of having their family barbecues and beach excursions ruined by drunken fools overjoyed at the changes. On the other, you have a whole small army of young people – and no small amount of tourists – upset that they aren’t going to be able to enjoy a beer or two while visiting some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet.

To say that this change has been divisive is the understatement of the century. If you’d like to hear arguments from both sides (as well as the impact that it’s had already), you’re going to want to check out this quick guide.

“It was the right thing for San Diego”

As a city councilman, Kevin Faulconer was the major “point man” behind the citywide ban on all alcohol – both sold at the beach as well as brought by individuals from home – at all of the San Diego beaches.

Even though the rest of the city council (for the most part) agreed with Faulconer and his new measure – or else it wouldn’t have passed – the general public wasn’t quite as one-sided in its praise for the decision. However, it’s impossible to argue that this kind of change was unprecedented by any stretch of the imagination.

For quite a while now, San Diego’s beaches have been some of the select few that actually allowed alcohol to be consumed on them throughout California. A number of beach communities up and down the Pacific coast began banning alcohol at their beaches in the early 1970s, and San Diego was one of the few open holdouts.

On the flip side (there is always a flip side), San Diego citizens actively rejected a similarly proposed ban in 2008, just seven short years ago. That bill was also proposed by Faulconer, and even though he was defeated he actively rallied his supporters and influenced his fellow council people to propose the bill once again – this time passing it.

“It’s a great idea!”

There are certainly quite a few people in San Diego that are more than happy with this proposal, especially those with young families that have complained – almost nonstop for a handful of years now – about their family excursions to the beach being interrupted by drunken nonsense of fellow beachgoers.

There’s also been environmental activists that have complained about the rising level of broken glass and empty bottles strewn about San Diego beaches, as well as the risks that these kinds of objects pose to the wildlife and vegetation so critical in keeping San Diego beaches so attractive.

Those in support of this particular change have also pointed to the Labor Day melee that broke out last year on the beach, requiring police in riot gear to show up and pepper spray proud goers to get things under control. However, North County DUI Attorney Michael D. Rehm points out that the ban does not apply to the expensive restaurants on the beach, so there does appear to be a double standard for those who can afford to drink on the beach and those who can afford to drink at the bar across from the beach.

It’s this kind of nonsense that allowed Faulconer to pass this bill without too terribly much opposition at the city council.

“I won’t be headed to the beach as much any longer”

At the same time, you have quite a few people – many in the local government – that aren’t exactly overjoyed with the new changes.

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Katie Keach (a member of the Pacific Beach town Council who disagreed with the new changes) argued that Faulconer was only making these moves as a political cover for his upcoming mayoral ambitions. On top of that, you have quite a few young (and those not so young) people in the community – including tourists – that are headed to the beach a lot less than they used to.

It’s impossible to tell exactly how much of an impact this is going to have on San Diego and its economy, but it shouldn’t be all that long until we are able to notice a change and dip in the businesses, bars, and restaurants that used to serve the beach area communities.

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San Diego’s Great Balboa Park

As far as historic landmarks in the amazing city of San Diego are concerned, few are quite as nationally (and even internationally) recognized – and beloved – quite as much as the Great Balboa Park.

A special part of one of the most exciting and popular cities in the country, this amazing piece of architecture and landscaping has been a big part of San Diego ever since it was first established back in 1915, this year marks its 100th anniversary and a variety of different special celebrations have been planned.

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If you’ve been thinking about taking a trip to San Diego and need just one more extra excuse to have some fun in the sun, you aren’t going to want to miss out on the Centennial celebration to embrace, honor, and recognize everything that Balboa Park has meant to this great city.

A bit of history regarding Balboa Park

One of the most innovative (especially at its time) areas of public space to be carved out in the middle of the downtown area of San Diego, this park was originally “reserved” in 1835 – making it one of the oldest dedicated public spaces in the United States.

It wasn’t until the 1915/1916 Panama California Exposition that it earned its name after the Spanish explorer Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, and obviously important fixture in the history of both Panama and California, as he was the first ever European explorer to have touched the Pacific Ocean from the New World.

The park was completely redone and redecorated to help celebrate this early exposition leading up to 1915/1916, and was then again transformed for the California Pacific International Exposition of 1935/1936.

This overhaul was led by local architect Richard Requa, and is considered to be one of the most successful “repurposing” of public space, ranking right up there with the overhaul of Central Park in New York City and the site of the World’s Fair in Chicago.

During both World Wars, Balboa Park became a critical part of the Department of Navy. It was used as a barracks of sorts, a training ground, and as an extension of the medical center in San Diego. It was even the original site of “Parris Island West”, the West Coast recruitment center for the Marine Corps during this time. Before more permanent facilities were built at Camp Pendleton.

After the world wars concluded, the park was reconverted back into public space, and has become one of the main attractions of San Diego ever since. It’s gone through numerous iterations, reinventions, and the neighborhood around this park continues to develop and redevelop from time to time.

The Future of Balboa Park

According to information published way back in 2000, more than 12 million people visit the park each year – and it’s easy to see why.

One of the most stunning natural landscaped areas in the United States, this park is truly something special. There are plans for a Centennial celebration, a year-long celebration, that would rival both of the exhibitions that were held in 1915 as well as in 1935.

So far, the City Council has been able to supply more than $2.8 million in public funds (combined with private donations far exceeding that figure) to help make sure that this grand spectacle is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

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If you’re looking to spend time in San Diego in 2015 through 2016, you’re going to want to make sure that you stop off at Balboa Park. There are going to be a variety of different of events held throughout this year-long celebration, including amazing firework displays, live entertainment, food from around the world, and a whole host of shows and displays of technology, culture, and arts that are true to life once in a lifetime kinds of experiences.

Balboa Park may be 100 years old, but she isn’t showing her age. This is still the central gem of San Diego, is still one of the most impressive stretches of public land in the world, and continues to be a golden representation of everything that this amazing city has to offer the people of the world.

Check out the Centennial for Balboa Park. You aren’t going to want to miss out!