Social host ordinance falls

Tie vote not enough for City Council to approve effort to curb underage drinking


The absence of a council member helped doom a "social host" ordinance that failed in a tie vote of the Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday.

Councilman Jon Quinn, who is out of town, was an early supporter of the ordinance, including stringent provisions regarding possible jail sentences that were removed before the ordinance was presented for its second and final reading Tuesday. The ordinance fell in a 3-3 vote; the adoption of an ordinance requires four votes.

Councilmen Scott Myller, Steve Ivancie and Walter Magill voted in favor the legislation, which would have provided penalties for parents and other adults who allow underage drinking on their property. City Council President Loui Antonucci and councilwomen Meg Bentley and Cari Hermacinski voted against it. The law would have been the first of its kind in Colorado. A similar proposal also failed in 2006.

As they did at the ordinance's first reading in September, supporters turned out in force to speak in favor of the ordinance. They included representatives from Colorado Mountain College, the Steamboat Springs Teen Council, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the Steamboat Springs Police Department, the Steamboat Springs School District and local churches.

"Teen drinking in our community has grown out of control in recent years," said Austin Ritzel, a member of the teen council. "I find it both appalling and unfortunate that action was not taken sooner."

But unlike the September meeting, a few people also showed up to oppose the ordinance. Among their concerns was that the law would force underage drinking out of the relative safety of a home and into vehicles and the countryside.

"The big problem with this ordinance is not only that it will be ineffective but that it will make the situation worse," said Thomas Reuter Jr., a 1997 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School. "The parties that occurred in the houses were tame compared to the ones in the woods."

Although proponents agreed the ordinance wouldn't solve Steamboat's pervasive underage drinking woes, they said the ordinance would be a step in the right direction and a policy component in a multifaceted approach to combat the problem.

"I have had the sad responsibility over the past 10 years : of seeing the heartache and the devastation and the waste of life that is the result of the abuse of alcohol," Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said. "While this will not eliminate teen drinking, it will have an impact on this growing problem."

Council members who voted in favor of the ordinance said they were happy to support the community-driven proposal.

"I'm ready to break some ground and start changing some social norms," Myller said. "I just think it's crazy that parents would allow drinking in their homes with their (children's) friends. Doesn't that say it's OK? Maybe this ordinance won't do anything, but it's something. I can't sit here and do nothing."

Council members who voted against the ordinance said they understand the city has an underage drinking problem and would be open to other ideas to address it.

"The thing I think is we have a behavioral issue," Antonucci said. "I really think it's a problem that we can't legislate our way out of."

Hermacinski shared concerns relating to potential unintended consequences of the ordinance.

"To me, the only thing more scary than your kids drinking in homes is them drinking in cars with my kids on the same roads," she said.

City Attorney Tony Lettunich said he is not aware of any city policies that would prevent supporters from reintroducing the ordinance at a later date.

"It's something we obviously feel passionately about," said Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae, who said proponents may resubmit the ordinance when it can be considered by the entire council. "If we can, then I think we should. If we can't, we'll shift focus to different things : to keep our kids safe."

Other action

Also Tuesday, City Council unanimously approved the second and final reading of an ordinance creating a new city building permit fee. It is estimated the fee would cost $1,100 for a 2,500-square-foot single-family home and $6,520.40 for a 40,000-square-foot commercial property.

City planners were told to begin negotiating a pre-annexation agreement with the developers of 360 Village. Council reviewed a pre-application for the project, which proposes a mix of uses including 550 to 650 homes on 110 acres 1.3 miles west of city limits.


Gary Burman 8 years, 4 months ago

I am appalled that the City Council didn't pass this ordinance. It is true that it's not going to solve the problem of underage drinking, but it is a great first step. Contrary to Hermacinski's statements that no data are available that show a social host ordinance is effective, and that data are available that show an ordinance can even cause greater harm (e.g. incidence of drunk driving), a cursory search on the Internet last night turned up a study that discusses the effectiveness of social host ordinances, and that they do work. I could not find the research Hermacinski referenced.

Journal for the Study of Alcohol: Reducing harmful alcohol-related behaviors: effective regulatory methods. (Center for Health Policy, Law and Management, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina) Astract: "CONCLUSIONS: Although several criminal and administrative regulations were also effective in reducing heavy episodic drinking and drunk driving, the imposition of tort liability [e.g. social host liability] represents a useful addition to the arsenal of alcohol-control policies."

I am not a lawyer or researcher, but I was able to turn this up quicky because it was referenced by Santa Clara County staff in its recommendation of approval of a social host ordinance:,%202008/KeyboardTransmittal-0029914.PDF

I found the points made by the two professionals from CMC to be very convincing: we need to change social norms in order the change behavior. As Shaundra from CMC said, people didn't want to start wearing seat belts when those laws were first past, but now we accept wearing seat belts as a normal part of being in a car. It should not be the norm that high school students (and younger kids) use drugs and alcohol regularly.

We have to start somewhere. Alcoholism and alcoholic-related behavior have become the norm. A professionial from the VNA provided new data at the council meeting, stating that Routt County is now the number 1 county in the state for underage drinking. It's laughable that Steamboat Ski Resort can market itself as a "family resort" with a reputation like that hanging over the county. I would urge families to reconsider raising your children here - it is not a safe place, especially when our own city council can't pass what was repeatedly referred to as a "slam dunk" ordinance.

We have to fight back. Let's get this back on the docket when Jon Quinn is back in town and get it passed. And let it be only the first action that we take in reclaiming the lives of our children!

Not afraid to sign with my name, Gary Burman


Wayne Eller 8 years, 4 months ago

So sad that we have council members that do not recognize an enormous problem that is destroying our youth. Our society has less parenting skills or interest in their children than we once had and it is a shame. This law would either make parents be better parents or punish them if they were not. Call it "social drinking" if you like, but this is destroying our youth. I as a parent would like to see this law go a step further and also include drug use. Look at the stats. Nearly 70% of our students are using either drugs or alcohol on a regular basis---some both!! Shame on the council members that voted against it and shame on the parents or other adults that allow it. It will be too late when a child is seriously injured or dies of an accident or overdose. THINK ABOUT IT. ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE YOUR CHILD TO HAVE THIS POINT PROVEN?


Duke_bets 8 years, 4 months ago

Aich - Nice post..............I agree with all of your comments. Growing and selling is not a big deal based on the judicial system, but a couple of cocktails in a controlled environment is a big deal as far as the city is concerned. City officials and judicial officials are both elected by the same group of citizens, which makes your point even more valid.


Wayne Eller 8 years, 4 months ago

stirrunp Would you feel the same way if your child was at a party, was offered and he accepted alcohol or drugs and was later seriously injured or died as a result? I think not. Or at least I hope not for the sake of your child. Apathy is a terrible thing. "It does not matter until it happens to me". I am concerned for your child and mine. True, morality can not and should not be legislated. However; responsibility for ones' actions should be enforced. God allowed the blessing of having children and if your child was Baptised, think back to the promise that YOU made to bring up your child in a good home, protect and nurture the child in Gods' way and protect them from harm.


Kristopher Hammond 8 years, 4 months ago

Legislating morality is what we should do. It is immoral to kill, steal, hurt, and everyone understands the necessity of such laws because they are based in our cultural morality. Teenage drinking is not a moral issue, and teenagers and adults know it. On the eve of your 21st birthday you are immoral for having a drink but moral 24 hours later? Give me a break!

When a person turns 18, s/he is treated as an adult in court, in the army, and in every respect EXCEPT drinking. Think of it--an 18-year-old "man" with a wife and child can dodge bullets and bombs in Iraq but cannot legally have a drink in his home country. This same person can legally have a drink in every other country (except Saudi Arabia and other such progressive places). Where is the moral underpinning for this law?

Our teenagers are going to do the same things we did when we were teenagers--how can we expect otherwise? Passing an ordinance for the sake of "doing something" is senseless if it won't help solve the problem. Are the 18-20 year olds in "immoral" Europe and Australia drinking themselves to death? NO!! Because their drinking is legal, they learn to drink around adults rather than hiding it in the woods. Prohibition created more problems than it solved.

Who can explain to me how one can be a hero when s/he fights for country, but a criminal for having a beer when returning to the homeland? Should I be a criminal for offering a beer to that vet?

Fight at 18? Drink at 18.


trump_suit 8 years, 4 months ago

Why was this allowed to come to a vote when a known supporter in Jon Quinn was absent????????????????? ?Something does not feel right about that decision.

Just Saying


Deb Smith 8 years, 4 months ago

Doesn't this proposed ordinance say that adults can't host a party serving alcohol to those under aged without that child's own parents being present? Do you want someone else to make decisions about your child drinking underage? Yes there are cultural differences in how you choose to raise your own child to learn about alcohol but this ordinance does not interfere with how you raise your own child. By allowing this to happen aren't we (again) in our party culture here in Steamboat's OK as long as you don't drive, as long as you keep your grades up, as long as adults are there, as long as you take my keys.....

My first teen entered SSHS 1995. I have a teen currently at's bad - far worse than when Reuter and Beall were there. (They know what happened then - do they know what's happening now?) I hear first hand from my child - 80% of my friends do it. Their parents say its OK as long as they keep their grades up... everybody does it MOM. You're a wierdo

Those who are working daily with youth of this community are speaking passionately in favor of this ordinance - counselors, sports club, coaches, school personnel, local health care (VNA), police officers, youth group leaders. Who's missing? These people all see the seriousness of this situation in our community and are desperately trying to change things. They are hearing about it from the kids. This is only one of many efforts being made by this group. Their work is starting to make a difference. They need support from everyone-everyone

We have one of the most beautiful, healthy, caring communities in this country. Why are we the #1 county in Co for alcohol/drug abuse for teens? Why is our suicide rate off the chart? There is plenty to do. Adults that care about kids. I believe that the accepting culture of drugs and alcohol in this community has got to change - dramatically. School, judicial, coaches, community leaders and parents need to continue to come together NOW to change this climate.

We need our community leaders to engage to help bring this issue back to at least a more normal state ... it's not just our community we know but it's bad here. Its not just Friday night in the springtime. It's everyday, its before Biology, its at sporting events, its in cars, its in fields and its in parents homes.. and its not just alcohol. Kids aren't drinking a few beers - they're drinking a handle.

This is only one small way to make a statement. To help create a safe place without pressure for those kids who don't want to drink. To say - it's OK if you have a drink in your home with your parents...but not to host a party without them there.

Cari, Louie and Meg - please reconsider your position. Make a statement that says we're concerned about this issue and this ordinance is the right thing to do. Why wouldn't you? Jon hope you're on board. Thanks to all the hard work of those who are working on this. You are making a difference.


Gary Burman 8 years, 4 months ago

Shawant, You answered all of your own questions in your first and second sentence.......(Legislating morality is what we should do. It is immoral to kill, steal, hurt, and everyone understands the nessesity of such laws because they are based in our cultural morality.).........You asked for an explanation. Here, I'll explain for you. When a person drinks themself to death, that is called KILLING yourself. When an adult provides alcohol and a place for a teenager to use it, then teaches the kid how to binge drink subsequently leading to said teenager's hospitalization or death, said adult has HURT said teenager, STOLEN their sobriety and committed an immoral act of being an accomplice. This ordinance is not about prohibition. It will help to protect my child from winding up being influenced by irresponsible adults who want to get him drunk in their home. A returning war hero? A beer? Your family? Fine. But he or she is no hero to themself or their family and friends if they return home only to die of alcohol poisoning. Addiction is a deadly disease, lets not spread it around. I just did a search. Try it for yourself. "Teenage binge drinking in Europe" it turned up numerous articles stating that teenage binge drinking is a major problem. In Germany, a study stated that 20% of 12-17 year olds binge drink at least once a month. They state that twice as many young people are being admitted to hospitals with alcohol poisoning than were just a few years ago. In Britain it's even worse. Ireland has been out control for even longer. Contrary to what you believe, Europe does have the same problem. There are places in France where the Government has started declaring dry areas at night because teenage binge drinking is getting out of hand. Shawant, try the same search for Austraila. Again, epidemic levels of binge drinking. The more I read, the more I learn that when kids see binge drinking as a cultural norm, as in at home with adults, they learn to see it as proper or good moral behavior. Binge drinking yourself to death is not proper or good moral behavior. Period. Anyone who thinks it is, is an addict and needs treatment before they die or cause someone elses death. Whats tough is that I can't stop them from killing themself. But this ordinance can help to prevent them from taking my child with them.

Not afraid to sign with my own name Gary Burman


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago

When I was a child, the social norms in my community were that "nice" kids did not misbehave in any way. No bullying. No stealing. No alcohol. No talking back. We obeyed anybody's parents who happened to be around, because our own parents expected us to show respect for adults.

High schoolers who had sex were shunned by "nice" kids, and there weren't many of them around who let it be known that they were sexually active. Pregnancy was an automatic expulsion from school. Even if a student got married, they were required to transfer to a different school; adult high school, or "night school."

Society began to change in the late 1960s, and suddenly sophomores in high school were being dragged off the band bus for possession of marijuana while none of the seniors on the bus had ever seen the stuff before, much less smoked it.

The permissive society we have today is a result of the breakdown of the family and of morality during the 60s and 70s. I'm sure that todays kids aren't doing anything that wasn't done back in my day, but a lot more of them are doing things that were unacceptable for anybody back then. And, anyone who says things are better today needs to take a hard look at teenage fatalities due to drug and alcohol abuse. There's the proof that it's "bad." QED

We live in an era where you probably can't become an astronaut if you habitually abuse drugs and alcohol in school, but, ironically, you can become the leader of the free world. Look around at a screwed up economy, a high crime rate, and all the other social ills we endure, and you can thank the breakdown of morality and of the family for most of it. When it becomes okay to break the law with the blessings of so-called "responsible adults," what else should we expect?


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago

Why are we number one? Come on.

Look who gets arrested for trafficking.

Look who they hire to represent them.

Look at the sentences handed out.

Hypothetically, doesn't it seem obvious that an attorney who has "the goods" on all the local officials would have lots of leverage to obtain favorable treatment for his clients?

It would be very interesting to know what it cost the most recent trafficker to obtain a 90 day sentence, compared to the $40,000 charged by the same attorney to defend a kid who was protecting himself from a hate crime and broke his tormenter's jaw.

I can show you the paperwork on cases where local officials did unlawlful favors for attorneys. We just don't know if there was a quid pro quo involved. One thing I'm pretty sure of, however, is that the way to protect yourself from someone turning state's evidence in return for a plea bargain deal is to make sure nobody who has "the goods" on you ever ends up charged with a crime.

Or, maybe it's even simpler. Going easy on kids for MIP and pot and pills to keep them "out of the system" would seem to be an act of kindness -- right up to the point where the kid gets run over by a car because he's passed out in the street. Roll the dice enough times, and an eleven is going to come up and bite you. Our local public officials continue to let the kids roll the dice, and that's why Routt County is the worst.


flotilla 8 years, 4 months ago

Can a petition be filed against this decision? As a grad of SSHS in the nineties... it is bad. And I have only seen it get worse. However, I believe a lot has changed. Some parents here have gotten so caught up in looking, acting, wanting to be "cool" that they have forgotten to be parents. They teach their kids by showing them how greed and materialism runs their lives. So who are the role models? Hollywood. In the 60's and 70's, how many "child"/ teen actors and "performers" existed? How many now?
Can't parents tell when their kids are high? Drunk? Why let them spend the night elsewhere if you suspect it? Be proactive, pull their butts out of school and solve the problem. I don't quite see how you can't pick up the phone and call X's folks and ask if they are really there and if they are drinking. Do some investigating... it really isn't up to the community at large to track your kids down. My parents tracked my ass down... Gary commented that he was suspicious that his son was using... so it turns out his suspicions were right. I think if this is seriously what it take for Steamboat to pull it together, fine. But maybe SKI CORP should review their extra cheap season passes for CMC students. You know, the ones who are destroying rental homes and acting like idiots on the mountain and throughout town, probably the ones that are selling your kids drugs and pharmies? Maybe reward the people that work their butts off year in and year out, pay mortgages and RC taxes, and can't afford to ski still.


Duke_bets 8 years, 4 months ago

So, the city wants to bust parents if a kid has a few beers in their house............But, the city doesn't seem to concerned (90 days in jail) about a business owner who runs a full blown drug operation.

It seems that emotions are disturbing the brain waves for some.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


It's not the "city" that rendered a 90-day sentence. It's the state employee sitting in the judge's chair who you have a right to vote against when they come up for retention in the general election.

Local attorney Kris Hammond seems to have extraordinary success in getting his drug-related clients off easy.

If you look back at the history of the Don Nord marijuana trafficking case (he had more than was allowed even by the bogus Colorado "medical marijuana" license4) Judge Garrecht issued an order holding law-enforcement officers in contempt for refusing to return contraband marijuana. This was overturned by a federal judge in Denver, and rightfully so, because under federal law, any marijuana not dispensed and used with a valid physician's prescription or in an approved research program (approved by the federal government) is "contraband."

Mr. Hammond was a law firm partner with Chief Justice Mick O'Hara for a number of years (at the firm of Oliphant, Hammond and O'Hara) before he was appointed to replace Judge Thompson, and then replaced Judge Doucette as Chief Justice upon Doucette's retirement. Judge Hill, who only became a judge about two years ago, certainly had contact with both O'Hara and and Hammond during her private practice as an attorney (with the firm of Klauzer and Tremaine, I believe it was).

Who really knows what kinds of deals were cut, secrets were shared and favors were rendered in a small town legal community during the years of private practice?

One thing is certain, however, and that's the fact that when you hire Mr. Hammond you appear to do very well before the local judges. 90 days in jail for such a huge trafficking operation is certainly something that bears closer scrutiny, and after all, isn't this thread about kids being able to obtain drugs and alcohol with impunity, and the negative effects of that situation on the community?

A kid died because he was able to obtain controlled substances out in our community. Our judicial system sent a big message that growing and selling pot is not a big deal. It doesn't take a smart lawyer to see what's going on. Now if we only knew WHY . . . ?


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


Just to be clear; the governor appoints judges.

The voters retain them in office by a vote on the general ballot every few years. We don't "elect" them from a field of qualified candidates. Appointments are political decisions, and we all know what that gets you; people who owe somebody a favor.


Duke_bets 8 years, 4 months ago

aich - How does a governor become a governor? They are voted in..................Judges are retained by voters. So, in the grand scheme, the process is very similar.

I can actually see you in an argument about the color of snow.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


Okay, you can have the yellow snow when we melt it to make tea.

My only reason for emphasizing the point is that people who don't like the way things are run in the justice system need to be made aware of how to change it; by voting the judges out.

There are people among us who think "support" means "thinking kind thoughts." Support has to be tangible to make a difference.


Scott Wedel 8 years, 4 months ago

Seems to me that the biggest criticism of this social host ordinance is that underage drinking already violates a series of laws (minor in possession, contributing to deliquency of a minor) and so there is no need to deal with a new law which biggest consequence might be to move the drinking to outside someone's house. Why enact another law when the police and prosecutors appear to be unable or unwilling to use current laws to combat the problem?

Seems to me that there is no debate on the seriousness of the problem. If that is the case then ACT LIKE IT IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM. Assign police officers to find and bust underage drinking even if it means fewer officers patrolling or such. Offer rewards for tips to parties where there is underage drinking. Make the reward $25 per underage drinker so that there is real money for busting a big party.

And start busting parties by setting up a perimeter before knocking on the front door to stop the underage people at a party from simply running out the back when the cops show up.

It should not be that hard to make underage drinking parties too likely to be busted for anyone to consider hosting one.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


When the police do not enforce a law, and the DAs don't prosecute, there's got to be a good reason.

Doesn't it seem likely that the children of prominent people in the community are regularly involved in these shenannigans, and that there's too much of a chance of catching one of them?

Haven't you ever heard that, "friends don't let friends' kids get arrested and prosecuted for MIP?"

I know there are millions of kids who can have a few drinks, get home safely, sleep it off, and never suffer from it in the long run. Isn't that what college is all about? It was when I that age.

On the other hand, when people are getting killed as a result of unchecked abuse, then it's time to crack down.

Everybody is different, and some people can handle the stuff. In my experience, most kids (not all) who had the gumption to get into a good college on their own merits also had enough sense to keep things cool and not attract the attention of the authorities. On the other end, we had kids getting popped for DUI or killed in auto accidents while they were still in high school. Seems now like it's the uncontrolled power abuser who's the norm, and that's probably due to the fact that we've tolerated innocent experimentation to the point that kids feel they're entitled to do whatever they want.

Most human brains don't mature until age 25. Some don't ever make it. This community openly tolerates drug and alcohol abuse, and even counts on it to fuel the local economy, and so I think it's reasonable to theorize that some people who either grow up here and have kids, or move here to enjoy the cultural climate, see substance abuse as one of life's joys. Can you imagine a tea-totaling parent tolerating alcohol abuse in their home?

So, it's not that a bunch of pillar-of-the-community types just happen to end up with kids who abuse drugs and booze. The kids abuse because too many parents ALLOW it, and that includes standing in the way of law enforcement efforts that would penalize it. The kids of "good" parents get caught up in the rituals, and the ones prone to over-abuse die from other parents' negligence.

In today's economy, and with immigrants flooding in to take the professional jobs, can we really afford to be raising a town full of "slow buffalos?" That's what we're doing. Some of these kids are already having the best years of their lives, and it will only get worse from here. That's a shame.

I can tell you from personal experience that life does not get shorter. It gets longer. Kids in a hurry to experience adult pleasures may miss out on the productive years that provide a comfortable lifestyle later on. It's really better to have a good education and a steady day job before you decide to spend the weekend drunk or ####ed-up. You've got to be really well-set to spend the whole week that way. The kids don't have sense enough to know that, and it appears, neither do a lot of the parents.


Scott Schreiber 8 years, 4 months ago

Prohibition doesn't work! Education does. Why are there less problems with DUI and related (crimes) in Europe? Because alcohol is introduced at a young age in a familial setting. Because alcohol and drug abuse are addressed by the family and not shrugged off on the schools and the police.

People need to take responsibility for their own actions and the actions of their own children. Personal responsibility has been replaced with legislation in America, all of our problems are easily surmounted with new and ever more restrictive laws regulating personal freedom.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


Maybe you need to check some facts. DUI is less of a problem in Europe because (1) not as many people own cars, (2) most who are alcohol addicted are on the "dole" and don't have to make a pretense of working for a living, (3) the populations are not as spread out from where they live and work, and (4) DUI is treated extremely harshly. It's a "go to jail today" offense. Same in Japan.

DUIs in this country are a product of a permissive society and the lingering "pioneer" culture of wide-open spaces which puts people on wheels instead of on their feet. Add in the disrespect for authority and diminished family/community values, and that's why we have the problem.

I was in an airport in France waiting to board an airplane, and a young man snatched a woman's purse and tried to run away. He didn't get fifteen feet. The crowd fell on him like an avalanche and pummelled him with fists, umbrellas and carry-on baggage. The same attitude is extended to all areas of personal conduct, and friends and neighbors don't facilitate dishonesty, violence, DUI, etc.

The reason we have a DUI problem is that people are not "policed" by their community in addition to the law-enforcement agencies. If anyone except the Sheriff had to fear someone calling the cops every time he got behind the wheel, we wouldn't have a DUI problem either.


Steve Lewis 8 years, 4 months ago

Isn't it fair to say, regardless of who supports this ordinance. all see a problem to address in teenage drinking? The community split on this ordinance suggests it is no silver bullet. There were no villains in this vote.

Many other steps must be taken before this one, and the bulk of those speak to improving the social and family environment of our teenagers. Fighting their party alcohol is what we do when we've already failed them.


aichempty 8 years, 3 months ago

Allowing kids to be a bunch of substance-abusing whiners in their spare time is not, I think, an improvement.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago

We live in a society where unwanted children are disposed of with the other biohazardous medical waste.

So, fathering or carrying a child that's aborted just because you didn't mean to have it carries no reflection into what kind of parent you're going to be to the kids you decide to keep? Isn't that like giving Michael Vick a pet dog to love now that his dog fighting career is over?

Our society disposes of children without a second thought. Oh, so THEN we're supposed to give them 110% of our love and affection when they get old enough to be taught and to know the difference between right and wrong? I don't think so.

The sad state of kids on alcohol and drugs is a reflection of the sad state of human nature when too much personal freedom, and freedom from responsibility, are tolerated.

Some of our kids might as well be wildebeasts trying to get across a crocodile-infested stream in Africa. Most will make it, but a few unlucky ones will pay the price for allowing all of them to take chances.

It's a lot easier to wait until something bad happens to one of them, and then bring out the Teddy Bears for the memorial display.

Nothing short of trying an adult for murder for supplying alcohol or tolerating drug use is going to change anybody's mind. Oh, but when that finally happens . . . it's going to get EVERYBODY'S attention.

There's a lady being prosecuted for second-degree murder for leaving a loaded hand gun where a kid could find it and shoot another kid (kids like 5 or 6 years old were involved). How much further do you have to stretch it before an adult gets tried because a kid chugged a fifth of bourbon and dies at a party hosted by the adult? Not too far, I'd guess.


Scott Wedel 8 years, 4 months ago

Seems to me that the unspoken history of this social host law is to admit that using the legal system to go after kids that are drinking is a failure because not only do some parents tolerate their kids drinking, they will pay for a lawyer to defend their kid's teenage drinking.

So the unspoken intent of this social host law is to try to legally go after the parents that tolerate their kids drinking and might even use a lawyer to defend their kid if arrested for minor in possession.

The possibility of this social host law having any effect is nil because if the parents will lawyer up their kids to defend themselves then these parents will also get their own lawyers and also defeat the charges. If the evidence won't support contributing to the deliquency of a minor then the parent is certainly sufficiently removed from the situation to claim ignorance of their kids drinking.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago

"Lawyering up" costs a couple of thousand bucks. That's a sure and certain cost for the parents no matter how the case comes out. The money may not be a problem for some parents, but others may think twice about allowing misbehavior in the future once it costs them a couple of rent payments.


playa46 8 years, 4 months ago

I find it very strange how adults continue to try and protect thier kids from the "big bad" world of sex, violence, and drugs. Now, I am not supporting any of these things in anyway for teens to do these. But what I think bothers me the most is that people need to feel safe all the time and that protecting teens from many things is what is "good".

I have never done any of these things and I am well educated and lemme tell ya, I want to see lives being lived rather than simply following a set of rules. We are born, work hard, rest and die, nothing more.


aichempty 8 years, 4 months ago


We do it for two reasons. First, a person shouldn't be allowed to ruin their life before they know what they're doing.

Second, if you have assets that can be taken by the courts to pay restitution for your kid's crimes, or if you face paying thousands in legal fees on their behalf, it's a matter of preserving what you've earned for a better purpose.

My wife and I just got a very touching thank you poem from a kid who was making Cs and Ds three years ago, upon his admission to the college of his choice (no, not CMC) because we stayed on his back to make him do what was necessary to succeed in school. His loser friends will be going to work if they can find jobs.

Oh, did I mention? Most of the loser kids are the drug users?

How about legalizing pot for anybody over 30? That might make sense. Parents could use pot to calm them down from dealing with teenagers.


playa46 8 years, 3 months ago

"Ruin there life"?

Uh... I do know what marijuana does to the body and hopefully I never do it. However, many, many reasons point to the fact that Marijuana should be used for medicinal purposes.

These are just a few sites too... please do some research.

You definitely sound like a good father, however calling someone in your statement a "loser" is a state of opinion. You son's "loser" friends could simply refer to you as his "loser dad".

The 30 idea makes sense too.

Feliz Nuevo Año!!!!! (Happy New Year)


Steve Lewis 8 years, 3 months ago

Aich, I'm glad your kids and yourself are above average. I had always thought that anonymous people were, by definition, average. Either way its a poor frame from which to desparage your child's "loser friends", or our legal community.

I disagree that so much teenage behavior rides on how parents manage our kids' personal freedoms. Our teens' behavior follows more from how we parents manage ourselves, and the world we build around ourselves.

The world these kids face is greatly changed from the one we faced. There is a lot of information in front of them today suggesting that things are not going well.


MrTaiChi 8 years, 3 months ago

I live in a state where there is a state social host law. In the past couple of years a local husband and wife were charged with hosting parties for their son and his friends and furnishing alcohol for them. The son borrowed a car during one such party and took off for a joy ride with three other teenagers, one of whom was only a visitor to the area. On a winding country road the vehicle got airborne at over 120 MPH and the two female passengers were killed. Of course the driver survived but is now wearing a Thomas Collar, perhaps for court appearances. His parents face prison time when they are tried by the County DA and if convicted.

Obsession with sex, rebellion and rock and roll seem to be hard wired into adolescents. Most survive to function as reasonably responsible adults. Social Host laws do serve as a deterrent to some parents and will bridge some children from adolescence to adulthood. Some children will get the message that underage drinking is dangerous if they have to skulk off to remote locations and connive to buy liquor illegally. There is an entirely different message conveyed when adults facilitate illegal drinking in their homes.

Steamboat residents should be asking themselves, however, who will prosecute the violation of the local ordinance? Sometimes state prosecutors refuse to do so and the job is left to the City Attorney, a lawyer not generally specialized in criminal law.


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