Eye on I.V. Looks Back
An Update on the Social Host Ordinance, Fight Night, and Floatopia
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Reader, you’ll have to forgive me. I’ve been so busy getting the scoop on various Isla Vista institutions, events, etc., that I haven’t given you an update on things I reported on in the past. Good journalists always give a follow-up story if developments occur, and while I don’t consider what I do here hard-hitting journalism, I do want to bring you up to date on past stories.
The Social Host Ordinance
Last time I covered the Social Host Ordinance, it was February 25 and the matter was going to a vote on April 21. It would be awesome if I could tell you it came to vote as scheduled and everything was all sorted out, but we’re dealing with local government here, so let’s be real. The county released a fourth draft just last week, and the ordinance has undergone some major changes since it was first born, both good and bad.
The first major positive change - which might matter more to me as a word nerd but is critical nonetheless - is that a few of the definitions were changed. I’m particularly happy that the words “loud or unruly gathering” are no longer present anywhere in the document. They were a bit presumptuous and have been replaced by the more neutral term “party, gathering, or event,” defined as “a group of two or more persons who have assembled or are assembling for a social occasion or a social activity.” Later, the ordinance prohibits “unlawful gatherings,” which explicitly says nobody will host a party, gathering, or event where minors are consuming alcohol. The owner/tenant of the premise is assumed to have allowed or hosted the gathering, which is a public nuisance and punishable with a fine.
A previous draft had redefined “responsible person” to not include anybody who might be an owner or tenant, but did not know the party was happening. However, now “person” is defined as anybody who owns, rents, leases, or is otherwise in charge of the premises where the event takes place, regardless of whether he or she knew or intended that minors would be drinking. Additionally, this ordinance only looks like it punishes one person, but in I.V., many people are on the same lease and thus equally responsible for the property, and perhaps all “hosted” the party equally; does the county pick one person arbitrarily? The ordinance is forgiving in that it provides an opportunity for the person to attend a counseling or education program, but what if one person on the lease decides he or she wants to do that, but the others don’t or can’t? Is the fine broken down by percentage?
I should note that not all of these changes are bad. This draft of the ordinance no longer holds landlords responsible, which is great. They likely have nothing to do with a party. They can put no-party clauses in their leases all they want to, but those won’t stop renters here. Tenants know their landlord can’t come and check for a party at their property every night (it becomes an invasion of privacy after a while), so renters figure as long as they clean up before the landlord comes by, all will be okay. This draft also shifts the violation to a responsible person (not property), so there are no longer concerns about one violation happening with one set of tenants in, say, April, and again in November but with a new set of tenants who get charged with a “second violation” because of the April offense. However, offenses are no longer wiped off after a year; a second offense counts as a second offense, no matter if it happened two months after the first or two years.
This version of the draft is set to go before the Board of Supervisors on May 5, but I’m not holding my breath.
In my last column, I ventured into Duke’s boxing for my first foray into the boxing world - and absolutely loved it. Henry Calles, owner and coach extraordinaire, was preparing eight of his boxers for Fight Night, an annual philanthropic boxing event held by the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. But since then, PIKE has lost its charter with the university as the result of a hate crime that occurred in front of the fraternity’s house. Even though they tried to hand the event over to Pi Alpha Phi (the multicultural fraternity), Fight Night was cancelled, supposedly due to some sort of circumstantial and logistical reasons. To be honest, Fight Night has been under fire from the administration for years - holding an annual boxing event between huge frat guys who are high on adrenaline and inflicting pain on one another doesn’t exactly bode well for the reputation of UCSB - and I think this just gave the administration a reason to shut it down.
While the “official” Facebook event page for Fight Night says the event has been shifted to May 15, I’m still not so sure the university will let it happen. It’s too bad that the guys who have been training so hard for so many months have nothing now and that the Say Yes to Kids foundation that gets charity money from Fight Night will have to go without the funds this year. However, Fight Night did need a revamp - it’s still a bit too “fratty” for my liking - so maybe this will force future planners to change it up.
I’m not going to say much on this because, really, everything there is to say about Floatopia has already been said. We all had a great time. We left behind a lot of trash, which is unforgivably irresponsible. We were way too drunk to be in the ocean. But we like partying too much to keep this event from happening again. Floatopia 2 is set for May 9, and although there have been rumors of ordinances prohibiting alcohol on the beach, it doesn’t look like anything will be different except for tougher and increased law enforcement. My prediction? It will be smaller - by then, those of us on the quarter system will be waist-deep in research papers and midterms, and those on the semester system will be headed into finals - and since we’re actually pretty embarrassed by the atrocious amounts of garbage left behind, there will be a bigger cleanup effort.
It’s not a mistake if you learn from it, right?