Loiterers on the Peninsula: Parents Must Share the Blame

Commenting on the proposed curfew enforcement for minors in Newport Beach, Carol Sobel of the American Civil Liberties Union is quoted as saying, "Simply being on the street is not a reason for curfew--hanging out is a ritual of growing up." I wonder if Sobel would feel the same way if the "hanging out" was being done next to her bedroom window every summer night (and often all night) as it is for many permanent residents of the Balboa Peninsula?

Minors are not simply on the street, they are noisily on the street. They set up street camps in groups of as many as 50. They compete loudly for each other's attention. Often the ghetto blasters are blaring or an auto tape deck with full amplification is roaring from a parked car.

Compounding the problem are the magnet parties that draw the young people here. When police break up the loud parties, as they inevitably do, those under 18 scatter up and down streets and alleys--yelling, cursing, howling and crashing through private property until the police have left. Ten minutes later, they are all back and the party is in full swing. Officers feebly try to control these mobs but are hopelessly understaffed.

Any parents who believe that West Newport at night is a place for innocent fun should station themselves at a street intersection of Seashore. They will see the beer, wine and booze being passed around. Fake I.D.'s and older friends enable local teen-agers to buy all the liquor they want. Watch a while longer and the toke or the hash pipe will be shared. Drugs seem easy to come by on any street corner here if you have the price.

The early curfew is a step in the right direction but it will only be as effective as its enforcement. The city will need more police rigorously enforcing the law and returning constantly to see that the young violators comply.


Newport Beach

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