By Pueblo y Salud
A three-year effort to improve the health and safety of Palmdale residents will culminate on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at 8 p.m., when the Palmdale City Council is scheduled to adopt strong alcohol control policy.
The Palmdale Prevention Community Council (PCC), a coalition of more than 20 health and community organizations, would like to encourage all Palmdale residents to attend this very important meeting.
City Council meetings start at 7 p.m., but the Sept. 2 meeting has an item on the agenda that will delay the action on the alcohol ordinance at least until 8 p.m. This item has already gone before and has been passed by the Palmdale Planning Commission in June. It now goes before the City Council for final ratification and adoption. [Read the ordinance here.]
If enacted, the new alcohol ordinance has the potential to stay and, possibly, reduce the number of liquor stores in ZIP codes 93550 and 93552. This is important because of the correlation between alcohol outlet density and the high rates of violent crime in both of these ZIP codes. Among other things, it will ban the sale of alco-pops – malt beverages with very high alcohol content packaged in a manner to attract youth consumption.
“We started advocating for policy change as soon as we found evidence showing that young residents, mostly students of local middle and high schools, were being adversely impacted by the large number of alcohol outlets in the area,” stated Dr. Jenneth King, church administrator at Word of Life Outreach Ministries and member of the PCC. She added that, “Youth should not have to live in environments where there’s a liquor store on every corner; it sends the wrong message that this is OK and counters all we try to teach our children at home and at school.”
Pueblo y Salud, a health agency working to inform and educate community residents and policy makers about the connection between alcohol availability and alcohol-related problems, have conducted studies and research in Palmdale for many years.
Waunette Cullors, Project Coordinator, stated that, “The new goal is to establish a mechanism to ensure enforcement of the new policies once they are adopted.” She added that, “This has not been emphasized by local city officials in the past, but is an element we are all looking to address in the future.”
Previous related story: Community sends clear urgent message: ‘Our children are being hurt!’
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