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Paul V. Coates -- Confidential File, May 26, 1959

May 26, 2009 |  2:00 pm

May 26, 1959, UCLA Faculty Center

At UCLA's new faculty center, there are three lounges for men -- and two for women.

Confidential File

Drinking Can Become Overly Free and Easy

Paul_coatesI know that this will come as a shock to my many fine-feathered drinking companions but I'm forming an alliance with the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

It'll be a brief one, I suppose.

In the first place, the girls from WCTU and I just don't have enough in common to make it a lengthy affair.

Secondly, I'm a slightly built boy, and carrying heavy placards denouncing Devil Drink wouldn't do me any good in the sacroiliac.

But if they're willing to overlook my rather notorious past and take me in for a while, I'd like to be on their side.

It's about a matter currently being kicked around in Sacramento. A matter called SB 1093 -- a Senate bill which is advertised as a piece of legislation to remove the 1 to 1 1/2-mile liquor sale ban around universities and state colleges.

May 27, 1959, Ex-Convict The WCTU had its representatives in the state capital spouting gloomy warnings that passage of 1093 would destroy the right of parents "to send their children to schools without cocktails."

But last week, with amazing efficiency, the upper house shot the bill through. Now, it appears that it'll get the same speedy ride in the Assembly.

And now, after checking a little more deeply into the proposal, I'm beginning to wonder why.

If the bill were merely to decide the questions, "Should students walk or ride to the nearest pub?" I'd say let them walk.

But the law which our solons suddenly want to wipe off the books decided a lot more than that.

It included in its ban certain types of institutions and hospitals where it would be dangerous, or at least, ill-advised, to have bars and liquor stores at the premises' gates.

Among those currently protected is the Veterans Administration facility at Sawtelle, which houses nearly 6,000 men.

Col. Robert Brigham, manager of the facility, pointed out to me yesterday that Sawtelle "is a hospital, not a jail."

There are hundreds of old men there whose medical progress could be badly hurt if beer joints and bars and liquor stores were strategically spotted around its perimeter.

Property owners in Westwood Villiage and Brentwood, near UCLA, have fought for years to keep their areas free from cheap taverns and bars. By state law, this area would be opened up. So would the areas around SC,Pepperdine and dozens of other schools.

If I were naive, I'd be amazed at why our elected representatives were so anxious to enact legislation which hinders more than helps the welfare of the people.

Locales for Beelzebub's Broth

The only persons who'll gain are those who jump in and grab off the choice locations for bars or liquor stores. I'm aware that some of the individuals who've been lobbying the bill through have the best intentions of putting up nice cocktail bars in restaurants or hotels.

According to the bill, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will have the authority to refuse applications, more or less arbitrarily, within the immediate vicinity of colleges and institutions.

Under the present ABC administration, this might be fine. But the new law will be on the books for a long time.

I guess our solons figure there'll be no more Bill Bonellis around in the future.

I wish I could be that certain.