Sharing Control: ABC Reaches Out to Community

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On September 7, 2016, representatives from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Department (ABC) solicited requests and suggestions for better alcohol control strategies from public health and community safety advocates—a first-of-its-kind collaboration.

"We don't know of another case in which ABC leaders have reached out to community representatives," said Thania Balcorta, co-chair of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA). She was joined by participants representing organizations in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco regions. Newly appointed ABC Chief Deputy Director Helena Williams and three other prominent members of the department met with the group.

The public health and safety representatives voiced concerns that industry interests were drowning out the needs of communities impacted by alcohol sales. Recent trends underline this issue, with ABC struggling to recruit and retain agents even as total alcohol licenses steadily rise. Participants also requested improvements in enforcement of existing regulations, better vendor training, and better transparency and public access to ABC data.

Lastly, the group requested that ABC continue its commitment to engaging public health and safety groups in the conversation surrounding alcohol policy in the state. "We believe this meeting is the first step in a new and positive working relationship," said attendee Eric Collins, chair of the San Diego Alcohol Policy Panel.

Read the full press release.