Mayor Bob Filner issues permit for Over-the-Line tournament event on Fiesta Island

Group: City plays favorites with alcohol permits

SAN DIEGO - The annual Over-the-Line tournament on Fiesta Island will go on as scheduled next month, thanks to Mayor Bob Filner signing a park-use permit Thursday for the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, which is embroiled in
a lawsuit challenging the long-running tradition.

FreePB.org, a group that opposes the city's ban on alcohol on city-run beaches, sued the city earlier this month, claiming it is playing favorite with permits.

FreePB.org, which has staged drinking-oriented events at Mission Bay in the past, has been unable to obtain city permits. Its leaders point to alcohol consumption at OTL.

The 60th annual tournament, set for July 13-14 and July 20-21, features thousands of three-person teams playing a form of softball. The event is famous for beer drinking, scantily clad female spectators and lewd but often clever team names.

Filner said the permit was conditional, recognizing that a court could place restrictions on the tournament. The lawsuit challenges city staff approval of OMBAC's California Environmental Quality Act exemptions.

The mayor added that the lawsuit raised important issues, which he hopes to "go over in depth" with all sides sometime after the tournament.

"We're going to have a fair permitting process in which everyone is treated fairly and equally," Filner said. "We need to get on with this year's tournament and we need to have those questions discussed in the future."

The mayor said the tournament was too close at hand for the issues in the lawsuit to be discussed now. OMBAC has rights, also, especially since it has received city permits for decades, he said.

Filner refused to answer questions from reporters regarding the tumultuous past couple of weeks in his office. He plans to discuss a variety of issues tomorrow at noon.

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