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No more beer and baseball field Jon Campbell | Mon, Apr 26 2010 04:02 PM

The Chula Vista City Council voted Tuesday to outlaw drinking at the Rienstra Sports Park near Orange Avenue. The ban went into effect immediately, and signs prohibiting alcohol consumption will be posted by the end of the week.

Councilman Rudy Ramirez led the push to address drinking at Rienstra Park after leaders of a local youth baseball league brought the issue to his attention.

Ed Lopez, public information officer for the South Bay Little League, spoke to the council and urged them to pass the Rienstra park ban. He said as the weather has warmed up in recent weeks, more adults are hanging around the park, and he feared that drinking could escalate into a fight or other problems.

"The problem is that adults are getting too carried away drinking ... they're there tipping them, and tipping them and tipping them, and eventually there's going to be a problem," Lopez said.

Ramirez originally brought the item to the council in February and asked the Police Department to compile a report of any problems that have been reported at the park.

The Police Department said they'd received four reports from the park in the past year; one report of theft, one "miscellaneous" report and two citations for smoking. The memo said that on a per acre basis, the park has a lower crime rate than any other in the city aside from Eucalyptus Park.

Ramirez said the fact that the park is not a police hotspot right now doesn't mean that it couldn't become one. He said the purpose of the ban is to be proactive.

"Just because there weren't a lot of calls for service doesn't mean that there's not a problem ... it's a difficult thing to gauge but you have the leaders of these sports leagues asking for help, and I think it's important to provide that help," said Ramirez.

Ramirez said he doesn't support a blanket ban on alcohol in all city parks, but he considers the Rienstra case a special one. The primary users of the park are the Little League teams, said Ramirez, and the park doesn't feature the kind of picnic areas or other facilities that would make it popular for parties featuring alcohol.

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