City of El Cajon hopes to ban certain types of alcohol, certain container sizes

EL CAJON, Calif. - Store shelves may soon be missing some alcohol in one East County city. The city of El Cajon hopes to ban certain types of alcohol and certain containers.

Shelves packed with liquor are a common sight in stores throughout El Cajon. 

"We have a great number of liquor licenses per capita, the greatest in San Diego County," said El Cajon City Councilman Gary Kendrick.

Seventy-six businesses have a license to sell alcohol. The population in the El Cajon area is just under 100,000.

"The state of California has deemed that the city of El Cajon has an over abundance of alcohol outlets," said Kendrick. "There's actually a state moratorium on alcohol outlets in El Cajon."

City council members say it is time to do something about it.

They voted unanimously to work on an initiative that would ban the sale of small containers of hard alcohol, which are easy to hide, and fortified wines with more than 15 percent alcohol.

"It's called a deem-approved ordinance," said Kendrick. "This would allow us to put a whole host of new conditions on alcohol outlets." 

The hope is to eliminate underage drinking and to keep hard alcohol out of the hands of homeless people and others who may display public drunkenness.

"The thrust of this ordinance is to make El Cajon more family-friendly," said Kendrick.

Eleanor Garnica was out shopping with her grandson and she agrees.

"I wouldn't want him to be influenced by those alcohol beverages in small little attractive bottles, no," said Garnica.

It would be the first deemed-approved ordinance of its kind in San Diego County. There are 20 cities in California with similar rules.

"It's proven to be very successful in combating public drunkenness and crime," said Kendrick.

Garnica added, "We have to protect our children and it's up to us adults to protect them."

The ordinance would not affect restaurants or bars.

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