Posted by Jeff Gallagher
I hate it when I have to agree with any one person from the Tea Party. In this case, I have to agree with their official stand against another infringement on rights and responsibilities just for the sake of grandstanding.
I first wrote of the Social Host ordinance back in 2011 when the city of Irvine City Council decided social engineering was de rigeur. While I might expect this of liberals who think that no one is capable of making a decision without government agency guidance, this piece of work actually was dreamed up by Republicans under the guise of “child safety”.
At the time, even OC Board of Supervisors (then Candidate) Todd Spitzer touted the necessity of the law on his Facebook Page,
saying it was good public policy. Fine, but then he decided to show up at the Irvine meeting to espouse the need for such law (and paint himself with that law & order brush for his upcoming run for OCDA). Spitzer, who should know better than to trample the rights of individuals, stood before the Irvine City Council and insulted every parent in the city by, basically telling them they are all irresponsible. And you know what? Their city council agreed as they implemented a new “Social Host Ordinance” supposedly designed to eliminate underage drinking at parties.
A couple of weeks ago, he did the same thing on a grander scale. He put before the Orange County Board of Supervisors the same basic ordinance that would apply to unincorporated areas of the county. Only this time, it wasn’t so easy. At the November 5th meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Spitzer grandstanded again, initiating discussion on the Social Host Ordinance. The huge amount of opposition caused the board to take the time honored tactic of continuing the item to December in hopes the opposition would just go away.
Instead, the Orange County Tea Party, a group I am usually loathe to discuss here, took up the torch and ran with it. Calling the Social Host Ordninance supporters misguided, the Tea Party sent out a call to action to the OC BoS meeting earlier this week in an attempt to rally their troops against Spitzer’s proposal. Apparently it worked, because the Board subsequently refused to pass the ordinance. “If we think we’re going to stop all these tragedies by getting further and further into people’s homes and lives, you’re not,” said Supervisor Shawn Nelson.
In my article two years ago, I said that I agree in principle with supporters of the ordinance: stop or lessen underage drinking by making it a crime to furnish alcohol to minors. I also said then that there are plenty of law already on the books to do just that. It has been a crime since before I was born to sell or furnish alcohol to kids. In fact, the law is more broad than that by making it a crime to do or fail to do anything that would contribute to the delinquency of a minor. Furnishing alcohol to minors certainly falls under that.
The Tea Party boys and girls, however, point out the real issue with enacting local ordinances such as this. With a state law, interpretation and discretion to enforce are maintained in a uniform manner. That means that each community must enforce the law the same way. When each community is allowed to enforce their own standard, the law can actually become obscured and confusing – what may be legal in one place is illegal in another. Local ordinances have their place in enforcing standards that are likely to affect only their own community. Issues of underage drinking, however, are of equal concern throughout the state and even the country. A uniform standard of enforcement is not only desirable, it is necessary.
Spitzer, of course, doesn’t see it that way. As an opportunist, he is more concerned with making a name for himself for his upcoming run for district attorney rather than do what the BoS is actually charged with.
On Tuesday, it was evident the community was disgusted with adding useless laws that will not help in enforcement of community standards and, therefore, only serve to promote Spitzer’s political agenda. Spitzer and his ordinance were sent packing by the rest of the Board, who saw this ordinance for what it actually was – or wasn’t.
Spitzer, in our opinion, would make a pretty good DA. He would certainly do better than Tony Raukaukus, the most corrupt DA in the state. But, if he expects the vote of the conservative stitch here in the Real OC, he needs to understand that the law should be implemented with a minimalist approach designed to protect the community, not interfere with the rights and responsibilities of parents.