In response to ongoing concerns about underage drinking in La Cañada Flintridge, City Hall is hosting a forum next month designed to educate parents about teens’ partying habits and how to keep their kids safe.
Titled “How to Survive Teen Parties,” the April 27 forum at La Cañada Flintridge City Hall will feature speakers from the county Sheriff’s and Fire departments, members of the city’s Youth Council, a school district representative, local parents and others who will share approaches for talking to teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol use.
The forum, which will also advocate better parent-to-parent communication, will be moderated by Will Moffitt, president of the anti-substance abuse Community Prevention Council of La Cañada Flintridge.
A joint effort of the Youth Council and city Public Safety Commission, the forum is a response to recent calls for the city to consider adopting a social host ordinance — a type of local measure that would penalize parents who allow teens to drink alcohol in their homes, supervised or not.
Public Safety Commission members chose not to recommend adoption of a citywide social host ordinance last year, as restrictions on loud parties and teen drinking already exist and taking those rules any further would violate Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department policy.
Under the department’s field operation directive for handling loud parties, deputies need consent, a search warrant or exigent circumstances to enter a home, said city Public Safety Coordinator Peter Castro. That means even if city officials passed an ordinance asking law enforcement to go around checking IDs at social gatherings, it couldn’t be enforced.
Social host ordinances in other cities rely on financial penalties for homeowners if deputies are called twice to the scene of a noise disturbance, but such a law is already on the books in La Cañada Flintridge.
“Our concern was having the right legal options to protect everybody, but at the same time making sure we’re not putting unenforceable laws on the books and that we balance people’s freedoms with public safety,” said Public Safety Commissioner Andy Beattie.
In lieu of punitive measures, Castro said City Hall decided instead on taking a preventive tack.
“This is really education for parents so they can have that conversation with their teenagers,” said Castro.
The forum will take begin at 7 p.m. April 27 at City Hall, 1327 Foothill Blvd. For more information, call (818) 790-8880.