New liquor stores are banned in Temecula, and one shop owner plans to sue.
The voted unanimously at a meeting at the on Tuesday to bar any store in Temecula from getting a license necessary to sell distilled spirits.
An application by a local convenience market caused city officials to revisit their alcohol policy.
on Rancho California Road applied in 2010 to upgrade its license so it can sell harder alcohol.
The owners applied two other times since 2002, and each time, they were denied. To read about what happened, .
In January, 2011, the City Council voted to put a moratorium on new liquor stores for 11 months. To read about it, .
The shop owners feel the city is discriminating against them.
"This is a very clear case of discrimination," said Sami Jihad, a spokesperson for Stop Quick, after the meeting.
The owners are Iraqi-Americans who left their country to escape religious discrimination. Here in America, they feel they're meeting discrimination due to their nationality, they said.
Jihad recalled a story of a friend who wanted to open a shop. He had trouble with his city's officials, so Jihad offered a piece of advice.
"I told him, if you go out and find an American guy to help you, it will probably be approved," he said.
His friend took his advice, and he got his project approved, Jihad said.
One of the shop's owners said he pulled some council members' emails through a public records request and claimed to find evidence of discrimination.
So, the liquor store owners plan to sue the city, according to co-owner Sarmad Bidi. "I want to see these people in jail," he said of the council members.
The city had been meaning to review its liquor store policy for years, Mayor Pro-tem Mike Naggar said during the meeting.
"This is something that should have been done eight, nine years ago," he said.
The use of the word "discrimination" made at least one council member uneasy. "I'm really uncomfortable with this," Councilmember Chuck Washington told the audience in the council chamber.
The council simply needed to put a cap on the number of liquor stores in the city, he said.
Councilmember Ron Roberts feared if the city approves the license for Stop Quick, they would have to approve every application.
"We're opening Pandora's Box," he said. "How are we going to tell them no if we approve this?"
After the council cast their votes, about 10 people filed out of the council chamber, one saying loudly, "That's not fair."
Banning liquor stores outright is unusual. Out of the 16 cities officials examined when crafting this ban, only one -- Glendora -- had a liquor store ban. The others just regulated where the liquor stores can operate, according to city documents.
The six liquor stores and supermarkets that already have the licenses in the city will be unaffected.
Update: More information about the reason the owners of Stop Quick are planning to sue the city was included at 1:07 a.m. on March 2.