The City of San Fernando council is considering allowing alcohol consumption at its park facilities.
Currently, alcohol is prohibited at all parks and city facilities. But the council, at its May 21 meeting, discussed making some exceptions.
The council members did not approve an ordinance change presented at the meeting, saying it was too broad and needed to be refined. It opted instead to receive input from the Parks and Wellness Department and the community.
An ad hoc committee, composed of council members Joel Fajardo and Robert Gonzales, was created and directed to receive feedback from the Parks, Wellness, and Recreation Commission, draft another ordinance, and bring the issue back to the council.
Councilmember Fajardo, de-
fended his proposal that was presented May 21, saying what he imagined is not the ordinance that was presented, which appeared to suggest the city was going to allow alcohol at public events.
Instead, Fajardo said, he envisioned exceptions for the enclosed facilities at city parks, such as the multipurpose rooms at Las Palmas Park and the Tea Room at Rudy Ortega Sr. Park being rented for a quinceañera, wedding, or anniversary — not necessarily for festivals or outdoor events.
He also suggested that the ordinance require event organizers to have event insurance, provide security, and the alcohol be distributed by a licensed vendor in the city, such as a restaurant that already has an alcohol license, not just “Uncle Willy who brings a bunch of kegs and there is no one really supervising it.”
Not everyone was in favor of the item. Ruben Rodriguez, executive director for Pueblo y Salud, a San Fernando-based drug, alcohol, and tobacco prevention organization, said the a change “is going to be bad” for the health of the community and the city.
“I think the city is doing good, I would hate to see us go back in time to a problem when we use to have something called ‘maquina musical,’ where the liquor industry would sponsor huge concerts in the cities and tobacco, with the inflatable tobacco cartons and all those kinds of things,” he said. “It’s not good policy.”
Rodriguez added his concern of alcohol being around playgrounds and children, or in the case that a hall is booked the same day as a baseball game.
City residents were encouraged to attend the Parks, Wellness, and Recreation meeting (scheduled the second Tuesday of every month) to provide their opinions.
In other action, the council voted to extend its contract with Liebert Cassidy Whitmore to continue to provide labor negotiator services and increase amount from $50,000 to $75,0000 — but not exceed the latter figure — and also appropriated $1,327,000 for the Pacoima Wash Bikeway Project.