As many incoming Gauchos may not know, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors passed the countywide Social Host Liability Ordinance on July 15, 2010, making it illegal for landlords or tenants hosting a gathering of five or more people to knowingly permit minors to consume alcohol on the premise.
In effect since December 1, 2010, the ruling allows law enforcement to enter the residency of anyone suspected of violating the ordinance and cite them for the offense. The Board of Supervisors passed the SHLO with a 4-1 vote with 3rd District Supervisor Doreen Farr casting the single opposing vote.
Although the measure took effect last December, the Isla Vista Foot Patrol spent several months issuing warnings instead of citations in an effort to educate the community.
According to Isla Vista Foot Patrol Lieutenant Ray Vuillemainroy, the numbers of citations will likely increase in the 2011-2012 school year due to the number of incoming freshmen unaware of the law.
“Obviously, I think all students should be cognizant of the law and know that deputies will be enforcing it,” Vuillemainroy said. “I do expect more citations because we will be getting a new influx of students and freshmen who aren’t always aware of the law.”
Vuillemainroy said the SBC Sheriff’s Dept. has issued 10 citations countywide, seven of which were issued in Isla Vista. First-time offenders of the SHLO are fined $500 and required to complete a mandatory education course. Second-time offenders pay $1,000 and any repeat offenses carry a $2,000 fine.
Former 5th District Supervisor Joe Centeno originally brought the legislation to the Board of Supervisors on behalf of his constituents’ concerns regarding underage drinking among local high school students. Members of the Isla Vista and UCSB communities voiced concerns that the measure would disproportionately impact the Isla Vista community as it is mainly comprised of households with more than five individuals between the ages of 18-22.
However, fourth-year physics major Kyle Naughton, president of UCSB’s Surf Club, said the law has had a negligible impact on Isla Vista’s party scene.
“I have heard of guys getting caught but I have not seen it. We have had parties broken up without [law enforcement] issuing a ticket,” Naughton said. “I think [the party scene] has changed, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t drinking.”
Additionally, Naughton said large crowds and houses in popular areas of Isla Vista, such as Del Playa Drive, might attract more attention.
“I think the best thing is partying off DP, where the cops aren’t as busy,” Naughton said.
According to Vuillemainroy, party attendees will not be fined, but underage drinking will still be prosecuted.