California Town Says ‘The Party is Over’ in 2005; Looks to Avoid Last Year’s Property Damages

January 27, 2005

The City of San Luis Obispo, California, has implemented an extensive plan to prevent a repeat of Mardi Gras partying that ended in a riot in 2004. The melee led to nearly 200 arrests, property damage and a call for law enforcement mutual aid.

A “Party is Over” ad campaign relies on strong graphics and no-nonsense messaging on a Web site (, and in posters, door hangers, print ads, flyers and TV and radio commercials to inform would-be revelers of the plans the City has made. Nearly 400 law enforcement officers will be on duty the weekend of Feb. 4. DUI check points will be spread through the
city and fines have been tripled for alcohol and party-related offenses.

The 2005 plan, approved by the San Luis Obispo City Council, was developed in cooperation with community groups, students and administrators from nearby Cal Poly State University and Cuesta College, along with dozens of city and government agencies. The plan relies heavily on communication and strict law enforcement to prevent problems in 2005.

According to City Police Chief Deborah Linden, “The Party is Over” effort is based on one-on-one communication and outreach. “Police officers are going door to door in neighborhoods to ask residents’ help in not inviting out of town partiers. We’re meeting with bar and restaurant owners, student and community groups, fraternities and sororities – all to communicate the seriousness of past problems and to request help in 2005,” Linden said. The planning effort has reportedly taken nearly a year and involved thousands of hours.

“San Luis Obispo is a prized community in a spectacular part of
California,” San Luis Obispo Mayor Dave Romero said. “People live here because of our unique, small town character. We’re popular with visitors for the same reasons. Unfortunately, Mardi Gras weekend has become dangerous and violent due to out-of-control behavior that jeopardizes the safety of our residents. We have no choice but to end the cycle of violence and discourage out-of-town partiers from coming to San Luis Obispo on Mardi Gras weekend,” he added.

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