Hoping to sway the opinion of the 3rd District supervisor and county Alcoholic Beverage Control, a local convenience store is asking patrons to sign a petition in favor of its liquor license application.
Customers and visitors can opt to sign a petition in support of the Isla Vista Deli Mart obtaining a license for off-site liquor sales. In his first day of collecting signatures, store owner Michael Hassan said 120 people have signed on. The petition asks 3rd District Supervisor Gail Marshall and the county’s branch of the state ABC agency to grant the convenience store its license, despite being initially denied by Marshall’s office.
“I’m trying to get as many as I can,” Hassan said. “Every person helps.”
Marshall’s office sent a letter to the ABC on Jan. 6 denying the store’s application. Without the 3rd District supervisor’s approval, Hassan’s only other option is to relocate to another part of the county if he wants to obtain a license. State law dictates that only a certain number of off-site liquor licenses can be allocated to a given area based on census population data.
In addition, 62 people have filed formal papers protesting the store’s application, according to the ABC. Thirty of the protesters are UCSB employees – some who live in Goleta, others residing as far away as Ojai. Opponents say I.V. has too many liquor stores and that one more would only increase alcohol-related crime.
In his Jan. 7 letter to then-1st District Supervisor Naomi Schwartz, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services George Pernsteiner said he is “convinced that the ‘party scene’ on Del Playa and neighboring streets is associated with and enabled by the consumption of alcoholic beverages.”
“I am convinced, further, that such consumption is associated with many of the large number of arrests and citations in that area,” Pernsteiner wrote in the letter. “Therefore, I believe it inadvisable for yet another such license to be issued for Isla Vista.”
But Hassan said people who do not live in I.V. should not decide its fate.
“Sixty people cannot control 14,000 students,” he said. “They know that one more store will not increase alcohol consumption in I.V. It will only provide competition for the students, and they are the people who live in I.V.”
Even if Hassan is able to gather a large number of signatures, ABC District Supervisor for Santa Barbara County Ed Macias said the petition would only be considered as an exhibit, not evidence of public demand for the license.
“We’ll take [the petition] into consideration, but that’s all hearsay,” Macias said. “You need a person in the room to testify.”
Pete Biehl, a second-year physics major, said he would like to see more alcohol sales competition in I.V.
“It should be fair market,” he said. “It seems that every store has one. [The Deli Mart] should be given the opportunity to sell [liquor].”
Hassan said he is happy with the current level of support he has received from patrons.
“Everybody who signed it said they would bring friends,” he said. “I thank everyone who signed it and are going to sign it, and even the people who don’t sign it because it’s freedom of choice. They live in I.V., and they should decide.”