Although the Social Host Ordinance came into effect on
Dec. 1, the little buzz about it on campus, in newspapers and
around town is disconcerting.
The SHO threatens to undermine constitutional principles
of privacy and security while providing little realistic benefit
for the Isla Vista community. In fact, the newly passed ordinance
is so clearly in violation of the constitution of California
and the United States that it doesn’t take a law degree or a
Ph.D. to realize that our liberty is being infringed.
Take the Fourth Amendment, for example:
“The right of citizens to be secure in their persons, houses,
papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures
, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly
describing the place to be searched, and the persons
or things to be seized.”
In addition to undermining constitutional law, the SHO
also places disproportionate and dangerous authority in the
hands of law enforcement, allowing specific IVFP officers to
interpret and enforce the ordinance. Under the SHO, County
law enforcement has the ability to issue citations to hosts who
“knowingly permit” the consumption of alcohol by minors
on their property. Specifically, if a cop ascertains that five or
more people are gathered in a household and consume alcohol,
they need only suspect that one or more of those individuals is
a minor in order to enter said property and fine the residence.
The newly passed ordinance clearly infringes on our civil
liberties, allowing officers to individually interpret and enforce
an already ambiguous law. Legal matters should not be left
open to the interpretation of individual police officers, but
should adhere to the integrity of the law in question. However,
the SHO allows officers to essentially guess whether minors
are breaking the law inside of an Isla Vista reisdence
One of the only clear points in the law is the penalties
stipulated for offenders. Violation of the ordinance results in
steep penalties for party hosts: $500 and a mandatory educational
class upon first offense, $1000 for a second offense and
$2000 for a third. With Minor in Possession citations, noise
violation regulations and Drunk in Public tickets already part
of the Isla Vista party repertoire, the new ordinance would be
entirely redundant and ineffective in curtailing alcohol abuse
among minors.
The spontaneous, laid back nature of I.V. in general
ensures that regular carding of random guests at gatherings
would be entirely unrealistic. Furthermore, the ambiguity in
the wording of the law foreshadows an ambiguity in the future
implementation of the law. Who specifically is a host? Who
is responsible for the actions of underage party guests making
their rounds in Isla Vista?
Where is the outrage? Where is the legal, organized
resistance against the implementation of this unjust law? The
Daily Nexus can only do so much, but we are confident that
these truths are self evident: we are endowed with the rights
to feel secure and protected in our own homes.
Perhaps it will take the $500, $1000 or perhaps $2000
ticket to overcome your apathy. Perhaps it will take a police
officer showing up in your house without an invite to spark
your indignation.