Fresno City Councilmember Tyler Maxwell (center) speaks against SB 930 that would allow the sale of alcohol in bars as late as 4 a.m. Alongside him are Councilmembers Garry Bredefeld (right) and Miguel Arias. Photo by Frank Lopez.
Written by Frank Lopez
Three Fresno City Councilmembers are voicing their concerns over a proposed bill that would change the rules for how late bars could stay open.
Council members Garry Bredefeld, Miguel Arias and Tyler maxwell held a press conference at Fresno City Hall Tuesday morning to discuss their opposition to SB 930, a senate bill proposed by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) that would allow for the sale of alcohol in bars as late as 4 am in select cities as part of a pilot program.
The cities in the pilot program would include Fresno, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Coachella and Oakland.
Members of the groups Alcohol Justice and California Friday Night Live were also present to speak against the bill.
The council members announced that they will be bringing forward a resolution at the Aug. 11 City Council meeting to oppose the bill.
Mayor Jerry Dyer initially said the move could stimulate business in the Downtown Fresno area, but has since pulled his support for Fresno being involved in the pilot program.
In 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed SB 905, which would have created a five-year pilot program that would permit alcohol sales until 4 am.
“Nothing good will result from people drinking alcohol from 2:00 in the morning to 4:00 in the morning. Initially Fresno was going to be a pilot city but Mayor Dyer decided to remove Fresno as a pilot city, and I greatly appreciate that,” Bredefeld said.
He said that the bill is dangerous, and if it passes, the chances for Fresno residents to be injured or killed due to more drunk drivers on the road will increase.
In 2021, the Fresno Police Department made 1,680 DUI arrests in Fresno—an average of five arrests per day.
Arias said that a majority of the bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the city don’t serve alcohol until 2 am. Businesses in the Tower District have last calls that range from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., per the request and recommendations of the Fresno Police Department.
“I spoke to the businesses downtown and Tower, and not one of them recommended a 4 a.m. last call. What they ask for is to expand permits, to expand their kitchens and restaurant, and to do outdoor dining. They know that a 4 a.m. last call would mean adding a whole new shift of employees—which is very hard to find at this point,” Arias said.