Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

"Social Host" Party Ordinance to Fine Parents

Santa Barbara Newsroom has an article today about a proposed City of Santa Barbara ordinance which would fine parents for hosting parties for teens where underage drinking is allowed. In the article, Mayor Blum describes one party where teens were charged admission. At the risk of sounding snarky, what weren those parents thinking? How irresponsible can you get? It's one thing to allow a glass of wine for your older teen at Thanksgiving or a major family gathering and teach responsible drinking habits -- another to promote heavy drinking among their peers.

My name isn't boB -- but doesn't that encourage bad habits and potential alcoholism because the parents are saying "It's okay to get trashed as long as you are at my house?" What about other people's kids? The "they'll find another way" argument doesn't work here for me...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Parents don't have the skills to raise their kids, so we need the government to help. I think this is a great idea.

5/22/2007 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe that alcoholism can be 'encouraged'. But I do believe the ordinance is a good one although kids will find a way to drink if they want to. They'll just head into the hills or something.

However, I was suprised at the comment our mayor made about the alcohol parties not being on the eastside or westside but in affluent areas. Why would anyone assume alcohol was a low income problem?

5/22/2007 10:28 AM  
Anonymous anon a rama said...

Could it be that rather then the Mayor pointing out the home drinking parties were not happening on the East or Westside she was pointing out that they are happening in the more affluent areas? I would be more inclined to believe it was happening in more affluent areas due to the attitude by some (and by some I don’t mean all) that they are special and that big money instantly makes them superior to the average Joe. Minimum drinking age - don’t be silly darling, they don’t mean us. We witness the behavior of these “special” people everyday in our city. (Rolling my eyes and shaking my head.)

It does seem completely out of whack that someone can join the military and be trusted to make life or death decisions at 18 but not legally drink alcohol in our country until they are 21. However, until this law is changed it is what it is.

I Googled drinking ages and found this site. As sophisticated as we citizens of the United States like to think we are, we are not so sophisticated when it comes to alcohol.

5/22/2007 2:10 PM  
Anonymous Don Jose de la Guerra y Noriega said...

Having lived quite a while in France, I can tell you what's weird about our population is this idea of binge drinking. In other words why do our kids drink beer by the keg and measure consumption in gallons per hour? Now of course in Montecito, where parents have a negative view of saying NO to their kids' desires (might hurt self esteem etc.), they have come up with this unusual methodology of having the binge drinking done at their house. They can buy the keg (you know, the problem of needing to be 21 to buy the keg, deposits etc.), and then what with everybody drinking themselves into an parentally approved stupor, no problem right? Sure you bet. Check the bedrooms. How do people think this stuff up? I remember my kids telling me about how 'everybody was going' and 'why can't they go' and 'Mr and Mrs so and so were such COOL parents, not like us.' And so it goes. But then they all drive SUVs in Montecito. (oops, I generalized again...sorry Fake name).

5/22/2007 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Jack Daniels said...

Geez yeah 9:58,

Why get the government involved by giving law enforcement the tools to punish people who get minors drunk for fun and profit. Let's just handle it ourselves! I'll get a shotgun and take out the accused myself. That'll save the taxpayers a bundle. Of course, being unregulated by any kind of government the hosts will no doubt be heavily armed. So what? Me n' you man! We can take 'em! You're with me right?

Britney showed us the way. Party 'til you rehab - then party some more!

While we're at it 'Arama , let's put drunk a 18 year old onto 6 lanes of freeway at 2:00 AM with 3 friends, some blistering beat tracks and a cell phone mixed into a 190 horsepower coupe.
It shouldn't take long for them to get wisdom. They'll be pretty freakin' enlightened by the impact.

5/22/2007 3:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon a rama, yes indeed she was pointing out these parties were happening in the affluent areas but i don't know why she had to mention the poorer areas as if the first assumption would be that the parties were in low income neighborhoods

i would naturally assume that these parties were happening in affluent areas & maybe that is because i grew up in a similar fashion with affluent parents supplying the booze so we'd drink at home (besides it stands to reason that you'd have to be fairly well off to be footing the booze bill for a bunch of kids)

however in my day, they never factored in the drive home after drinking- to my knowledge nobody got hurt & to some extent, these parents were able to monitor for excess

kids do need to learn how to drink responsibly- i know i had a learning curve before i got it

5/22/2007 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Truly Joe said...

Am I the only one that finds the ability of police to enter a house merely due to noise and then conduct an ID check on everyone inside to be unacceptable?

Seems to me a search warrant should be the way here in the USA. Party noise is not sufficient probable cause for a shakedown in my opinion.

Smell of pot - OK. Sounds of violence - OK. But loud music? No way. Let them get a search warrant.

Why does Mayor Blum want to change the law for `a couple households'? Seems to me the Bully Pulpit will work just fine.

5/22/2007 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the most ill-conceived ordinance---especially in a City where just last year the voters approved an initiative dictating that the police shouldn't enforce existing marijuana laws---now we'll make a law telling the police they can enter private citizen's homes to police what adults are doing in their own homes?!?!?!?

5/22/2007 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An increasing number of laws controlling alcohol and the various punishments for underage drinking seems inevitable - it's part of a slippery slope stemming, IMHO, from an unreasonably high legal drinking age to begin with.
Turn alcohol into an evil illegal thing and suddenly there's a thrill in acquiring it and consuming large amounts of it (hello, Prohibition). Introduce good wine and good beer that's complementary to good food and good company, and the sin we associate with alcohol should become invalid.

Don't see that law changing anytime soon, though. Go ahead and punish the parents who perpetuate the perception that drinking alcohol is a sinful thrill. Quelle bummer.

5/22/2007 9:06 PM  
Anonymous Jack Daniels said...

I like the way you people think.

That's right. Damn that overbearing guvmint.

What right do they have to tell us what to do in our homes. Serve up all the booze you want!

Hell, little Dakotah and Montana are going to have to deal with it sooner or later. Might as well teach 'em to hold their liquor when they're 12!

If it was good enough for their alcoholic parents it's good enough for them.

And don't you worry about fetal alcohol effects, that's just brain damage the taxpayers can pick up the tab for along with broken homes, foster children and 70 percent of the prison population.

It's all good!

And annon 9:06 I'm disturbed that you don't see the reason for binge drinking. Hell, it cost me billions to promote binging as a glamorous "lifestyle choice".
For goodness sake, in my business, addiction is the name of the game. And so far we've been able to avoid the mess the tobacco companies are in.

Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. They named an entire regulatory agency after us baby!

I don't give a flip for who gets destroyed.

It's all just a good time y'all!

5/22/2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Jack- Give it a rest. Your over the top sarchasm is pointless. Why is the assumption that every interaction with alcohol is "binge drinking"? I'm just about tired of all the simpering AA types projecting their failure to control themselves on everybody else in the community.

.., “ said Lt. Fotheringham. “In reality, everyone comes to that location and everybody leaves. The tragedies still happen.”

Brillient analysis, Lt. Aren't there already laws that cover DUI? Do we get to fire the police for allowing a tradgedy to happen if they pass this ordinance? After all, unwarrented search should solve the problem, right?

How about we implant all pubescent teens with birth control and don't allow them to breed until they can prove they went to parenting class, have the financial resources, the mental acuity, no defective genes or disease, no history of family alcoholism and are legal residents? That will prevent a lot more tradgedies too

This concept of police intruding onto private property to see if there is anything "illegal" going on is anathama to the US Constitution.

Let's face it. We can't legislate morality and responsibility so why do we try so hard. Is it just to make us feel superior to the "lawbreakers"? Over the last few decades (i've lived here), this area has increasing slipped into the hypocracy defined by Moral Majority and MADD. Anybody find it incredibly ironic and hysterically funny that the founding mother of MADD was arrested for DUI? Not to mention all the polititions and celebrities accused of all manner of misanthropicies? (yeah, I just made that word up).

Where does it all stop? When we're all confined to our homes to prevent anymore tragedies? (See how easy it is to go over the top JD?)

"Give me Liberty or give me death"

5/23/2007 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maria Zate reports on the Mighty Ducks?

Guess no one reads the online website, including the employees Been up there for over 12 hours.

Bright spots shine in Goleta revival

Maria Zate

May 23, 2007 12:00 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Jiggy and the Anaheim Ducks held off the Detroit Red Wings to earn a second trip to the Stanley Cup finals.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere shut out Detroit for the first two periods as Anaheim built a 3-0 lead, then withstood a three-goal outburst by the Red Wings in the closing period to take a 4-3 victory Tuesday night.

5/23/2007 2:01 PM  
Anonymous truly joe said...

u got it, sa1.

soon we'll all have 24/7 video/audio monitors on us, and if you step out of line, whack.

hey - the good folks never do anything wrong, so, y not?

only baddies will get a whack.

5/23/2007 6:23 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

While reading these comments and sippin on a glass of Two Buck Chuck I can't understand why people would be against an ordinance. Yeah we're all hypocrits about one thing or another. But to take this so personally and start assuming that the framers of the constitution would be against this is self serving. The reactions are overblown.

Here's the scenario>>>>I call the police because there is a noisey party at the house across the street, dsicturbing the peace of those in the hood wanting to enjoy their legal quiet enjoyment of their own home. I also inform the officers that I did in fact see underage drinking and driving to and from the house across the street. The police show up and notice that the people milling about on the portico, in front of the house seem a bit young to be out let alone with alcohol on their breath.

Wouldn't that be probable cause to enter the house? Shouldn't the police intervene to stop the party and arrest the adults suppliers. Shouldn't underage drinkers be detained and returned to their moms and dads. Shouldn't the adults who allowed or instigated the party get an extra fine for the service the city provided to intervene on hoods peace and safety. Just consider the fine a fee.

5/23/2007 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Jack Daniels said...


You're right of course.

I'd Suggest staying off the road for a few weeks though. What with Prom season and all.

What are the odds we'll be hearing about dead teenagers?

Or how about the young woman in Montecito who ran down a pedestrian after having a lovely time drinking by the pool? Daddy knew just what to do. Send the car out of town for repairs so no one would think his little girl killed a man.

The reason we try to legislate behaviour is simple. It keeps morons from serving alcohol to children. Failing that, it keeps otherwise sane and responsible people from taking justice for themselves.

Some people serve alcohol to minors by the keg. Some people think that's wrong.

It's not a civil liberty issue. It's a life and death issue.

Ah, but let's don't fight.
Let me buy you another drink!

5/23/2007 9:40 PM  
Anonymous truly joe said...

don-o, as far as I can tell the idea is to make entry and ID checking allowed on noise alone, with no evidence of underagers.

If noise is the issue, make a noise ordinance. But noise alone is not probable cause for underage drinking. Visual IDing of age is notoriously unreliable, so someone standing at the door peeking in will just have total freedom to make a claim of underagers whenever they want.

Now if a drunken underager is verified by ID and is caught and leads the cops back to a noisy party, fine, but that is a way higher standard than noise alone.

5/24/2007 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why isn't anyone considering prison time, not just fines?

5/24/2007 7:15 AM  
Blogger Spencer said...

Santa Barbara Seems to be sinking I think I can put a pin point on it. I grew up in the middle of a cornfield in indiana. Did we have our share of drunk nights sure of course we did. BUT Getting drunk at who's ever parents were out of town's house was NOT our only thing to do. There were plenty of other things to keep us busy, Restarants were open later, Coffee Houses were busy and open well past midnight. Movies were shown past 9pm. There was a local music scene that was housed in All Aged Venues that ran till 10 or 10:30. Maybe if we focused on making santa barbara a town that is not afraid of sundown that maybe we could help curtail the underage drinking and partying that is going on... Just and Idea.

5/24/2007 2:31 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

Joe O and Spencer

Just a follow up;

Joe O: The probable cause issue you describe isn't an issue with me. There already is a noise ordiance that can be applied. This proposed ordiance adds fines for supplying minors. So again what is wrong with that?

Spencer: Your comments reminded me of a hearing at city hall several years ago when the city updated its noise ordinance. Weirdly the hearings revolved around keg partys and fines for those partys. One chick even appeared at the hearing to complain that the fines would interfere with her keg purchases!

The noisey scene downtown that interferes with residential life and businesses as well was detailed but never really addressed properly and with the new residentail units downtown I think the city police will be busier than ever trying to babysit those with childish attitudes such as the club and bar owners. When you have a business you should not allow your activities it to spill over into someone elses property rights.

Spencer, I agree that the city needs to "plan" a music scene for all ages. I do think that there aready is a lot of what you describe your want here. The darkness of downtown rather than sundown is what people do not like. I don't mind the city having a healthy entertainment/arts district. New Orleans I don't want to emulate, Austin perhaps. Santa Barbara should be all its own but what has developed so far is not what I expect for a city with such talent and supposedly responsilbe people. Lastly Spencer there is plenty to do here for all ages and when I hear someone complain that there isn't, I realize they're simply bored of themselves.

5/26/2007 5:44 AM  
Anonymous truly joe said...

noise ordinance violation is an infraction, and by itself does not allow entry, id checking, and searching of the premises.

What I read suggested that visual ID of an apparent underager while issuing a noise ticket would allow entry, search, and ID checking. that is too much.

5/26/2007 5:22 PM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

truly joe said....(5/26 5:22pm)

The noise oridnance infraction can lead to escalation if the noise is not abated. When there is a teen drinking party in the hood it is obvious. I guess the police could missuse the ordinance but I do not beleive that this will lead to survelliance anything like the your previous statement about "24/7 video/audio monitors." I would not stand for it and neither would the majority. By the way I agree with another post that perhaps jail times should be considered.

5/27/2007 6:53 AM  
Anonymous truly joe said...

but this new idea allows entry on the first visit in response to a noise complaint, if an officer thinks he seez an underager.

now if a party won't quiet down and there is disturbance of the peace, that is another thing entirely. but that power already exists, nothing new needed there don-o!

The new thing is allowing officers to just look in a house on the first visit in response to a noise complaint, allege that there is an underager (based on visual ID), and WHAM, entry, full search, ID checking.

bad, bad idea, and the another step toward 24/7 video/audio monitoring. if a serious disturbance of the peace is going on, fine. But a little noise should not be an excuse for a full shakedown.

5/27/2007 10:44 AM  
Anonymous donaldo de Santa Barbara said...

truly joe

numero uno: The police are already standing in the doorway....looking in.

numero dos: "if an officer thinks he seez a teenager," well that is subjective just like many other assesments in law enforcement and substantiated in case approximation is generally accepted if substantiated. Perhaps a early 20-something could be mistaken as a teen and a 30-something unlikely, a 40-something (and beyond) would suggest not only unlikely but incompetence. Perhaps a neighbor substantiates the assessment with a statement, audio or even video. For you, when is it o.k. to intervene?

numero tres: Don't you think you're overstating the for 24/7 365 audio/video monitoring case?

numero quatro: so again what's wrong with an ordinance that results in fines those supplying minors.... even if it is their own casitas?

5/27/2007 10:38 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"numero uno: The police are already standing in the doorway....looking in."

Maybe we can have them check green cards know, as long as they're there. Worked at UCSB last week.

"24/7 video/audio monitors." I would not stand for it and neither would the majority."

What makes you think "the man" will give a crap what you will stand for. You'll do what they say and you'll like it. This ordinance isn't up for vote. People with money and influence get whatever ordinances they want. Britain has 4 million video monitors already. What makes you think we're far behind? Do you know the FBI will readily share whatever info they have on you with foreign gov'ts in a tit for tat arrangement? Don't look over your shoulder Don-O, you may not like what you see. Pretty soon your two buck chuck will be forty buck chuck when the vinyards have to pay living wages to citizen pickers cuz we drove the cheap labor back home.

5/28/2007 9:26 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

"numero quatro: so again what's wrong with an ordinance that results in fines those supplying minors.... even if it is their own casitas?"

Firstly, is a noisy party the only reason police will be called? What's to prevent a vindictive neighbor from calling 911. Once the police arrive, won't they have to go through the whole house to make sure there aren't minors being served? It sounds like three 20 year olds sitting quietly watching TV might be enough to get the homeowner jacked up. What happens after the third time? Jail? You really think all the extenuating circumstances can be ironed out without the help of a $300/hr lawyer? Of course, maybe thats what they're fishing for. Just like the higher parking fines to fund whatever it was. (anti-gang stuff?). What happens when everybody toes the line and parks anti-gang funds?

These kind of knee jerk ordinances stay on the books forever you know. That's why sex toys are illegal in Alabama.

5/28/2007 9:58 PM  
Anonymous truly joe said...

well, check out amendment numero cuatro in the bill of rights.

I think entering, searching, and id-ing is unreasonable based on one visit of an officer for a noise complaint. don-o, I guess we just diagree on this. I suggest you just post a nice big sign on your door `Police always welcome to enter, search, and ID everyone in this humble abode anytime at all'. But don't force others to subscribe to your views on searching homes.

Nope, unreasonable search is a step on the road to 24/7 monitoring.

I'm totally against underage consumption of liquor. I'm just more against using that excuse to nudge as toward a police state.

5/28/2007 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I this day and age it may be time to take a 2nd look at the bill of rights and revise it. We need this law!

5/29/2007 1:07 PM  
Anonymous sa1 said...

Well spoken Alberto (1:07),

You, George, Dick and Karl ought to get together, overthrow the gov't and have it your, uh nevermind.

5/29/2007 10:18 PM  
Blogger taceohat said...

I implore adults to call their county supervisor and ask for a copy of the ordinance and read it. It is horribly written and contains MANY loopholes that may work against you as well. This is not written like the city ordinance that was trying to curb high school drinking. This can target anyone having a gathering of 5 people or more where 2 minors (under 21) are present. It is another excuse to come into your home without warrant, violate your privacy and to top it off - they will charge you for the emergency response (law enforcement time, equipment). It will also discourage people from calling 911 because they will be afraid to be liable for the expenses. Additionally - it is very unclear who is liable. It is open to charge the property owner, property manager, anyone on the lease - whether they were there or not - and the property gets a strike - so if new people move into a house/apartment that received a strike and they have a party that is considered "loud" then their penalty is higher even though it is their first offense. I think everyone would want to curb high school drinking but this ordinance - as it is written - will not do that and their is not enough emphasis on education.

Please contact your supervisor. You can go to and click on Board of Supervisors. There will be a hearing February 17th on this matter.

2/10/2009 11:23 AM  

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