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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

One for the road

So, will the girls be even prettier at closing time?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The last call for drinks is 2 a.m. in California, but one lawmaker believes that's just too early to set down the shot glasses and beer steins.

State Sen. Mark Leno's proposal to let the liquor flow until 4 a.m. as a way to draw more tourists — and with them more revenue and jobs — is already spawning a sharp debate from Sacramento to watering holes in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Leno said the measure would make the state more competitive with other hotspots like New York, Las Vegas and Miami that serve alcohol later into the wee hours of the morning or 24 hours a day.

Night-spot owners say a later last call will be good for business, but law enforcement officials argue that it increases the chances that cities will see more public drunkenness, violence, drunken driving and possibly fatalities.

More public drunkenness and drunken driving. Gee, ya think? The story has a great line that could be filed in the "wise things our mothers always told us" folder: "I feel like nothing good happens after 2 a.m."

I'm not quite sure how they think a 4 a.m.  last call will boost tourism. Do they imagine a family sitting around the dinner table planning a vacation and someone saying, "Well, screw California is all I'm saying -- if they won't let me drink until 4 in the morning they're sure not gettin' my travel dollars!"

My experience with closing times leads me to believe that the last hour -- whenver it is -- will always involve lots of last-minute chugging. I don't care what the closing time is just so I know it and can stay off the streets.