Council to consider social host ordinance

Laguna Beach could become the fourth city in Orange County to pass a social host ordinance depending on the outcome of Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

The council will determine whether it wants to move the ordinance forward to a second reading, which is the staff recommendation.

The ordinance would fine parents or adults for knowingly serving alcohol or drugs to minors, Police Chief Paul Workman said.

Exceptions include parents serving alcohol only to their own child, serving alcohol for religious purposes and prescription drugs.

The law would not apply to kids raiding their parents' liquor cabinet or sneaking a bottle of booze into a back room during a family gathering, he said. The ordinance is meant to target certain behaviors that officers in the field do encounter from time to time. There would have to be evidence that the adult knowingly served the alcohol or furnished drugs.

The Laguna Beach Community Coalition — which is made up of 16 agencies that include the school board, school officials and Mission Hospital Laguna Beach — support the ordinance as one tool to curb alcohol and drug use in the city. Opponents of the ordinance have questioned the coalition's members. The coalition said it does not have members. Anyone in the public is free to attend their meetings.

Parents at a recent informational meeting questioned Workman and Capt. Jason Kravetz on whether the ordinance would alter their 4th amendment rights and allow police to more easily enter their homes. Police informed them this is not the case.

Currently police can enforce California Penal Code 272, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which is a misdemeanor. However, Workman said it is difficult to prosecute with a CPC 272.

If the ordinance passed, it would give police the option to issue a civil citation instead of file a misdemeanor, Workman said.

The wording of the ordinance and its details will be discussed during the meeting.

The meeting will convene at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

For more information, visit the city website's page dedicated to the ordinance at

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