New Liquor Stores Banned

A local liquor store owner prepares to sue the city for what they call "discriminatory" treatment.


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.

TVOR March 02, 2012 at 08:36 PM
It doesn't really matter much how many liquor stores we have. If people want liquor they will go where it is sold. Not much is accomplished by limiting liquor stores except for preventing the perception that Temecula residents are drunks.
SPB March 03, 2012 at 05:02 PM
JJ, they're illegals now? Which article are you reading? I guess anybody brown doesn't belong in JJ's America. Too bad for you demographics tell a different story. I guess capitalism is only a good thing when it applies to white people. Sad little man.
el prez June 30, 2012 at 06:48 PM
@cik blast - if theres more of YOU than ME, then maybe they should vote the way YOU think and not ME... here are your own words: "This is what you folks voted for, or ignorantly never consider when voting in a general election."
JJ Mclure July 01, 2012 at 01:40 PM
deport them
Jlo February 26, 2014 at 02:40 AM
JJ...You're not even from here you little bastard You might be white but you're fucking immigrant too so stop Discriminating against These people You little punk


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