Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Twelve cited for social host violations

By Nao Braverman
It has been a year and two months since the city of Ojai’s implemented the social host ordinance, a law that imposes a $1,000 fine to those who host parties where underage drinkers are present. Both adults and minors can be cited.
So far sheriff’s deputies have cited a total of 12 in the Ojai Valley since the ordinance was enacted, including six within the city limits. The city’s ordinance defines a party with underage drinkers as a gathering of five or more minors where at least one has alcohol or is under the influence of alcohol. The unincorporated areas of the Ojai Valley fall under the Ventura County social host ordinance which was enacted almost three months later and is slightly stricter, fining those who host a gathering with two or more minors where one has alcohol or is under the influence of alcohol.
Four of the violators in the city were male and two were females. Five of those cited in the city were between the ages of 19 and 23 and one was 49. All citations were prompted by phone calls to the Police Department from neighbors.
At last night’s council meeting, Ojai Police Chief Bruce Norris discussed the ordinance with council members and reported on its effectiveness to date.
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