September 17, 2014

Elyria
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Proposed Elyria ordinance targets underage parties

ELYRIA — A proposed ordinance being drafted by Law Director Scott Serazin would fine adults who host underage drinking parties up to $1,000 per party.

“We intend to toughen up our laws,” Serazin said Tuesday at an underage drinking prevention meeting at City Hall. “If it stops one parent from social hosting, it’s worth it, because it brings attention to this.”

People convicted of “knowingly” allowing minors to drink alcohol in their homes or businesses face up to six months’ imprisonment or up to $1,000 in fines or both, according to Ohio law. The law excludes parents or guardians if they are present when the alcohol is consumed.

Serazin said during the two-hour meeting attended by about 25 people that proving adults “knowingly” provided alcohol is difficult. He said some parents host underage alcohol parties believing they have more control over their children that way. Serazin said many parties don’t lead to arrests, injuries or deaths, “but that doesn’t mean there isn’t huge risk.”

Serazin said he hopes to draft the ordinance in time for City Council to vote on it next month to coincide with high school graduation, a traditionally heavy time for underage drinking.

Serazin said it’s expensive for police to have to respond to rowdy underage drinking parties, and a $1,000 fine would make parents more responsible. Rather than having to prove adults “knowingly” provided alcohol, the local ordinance would penalize them for “negligently” doing so.

“If you’re upstairs and all the kids are downstairs and they’re raiding your liquor cabinet, that’s negligence,” Serazin said. “Parents have to be much more vigilant when hosting parties with their children.”

Providing assistance to police for “party patrols” in which officers raid underage drinking parties also was discussed. Police Lt. Jonathan Pelko said officers need probable cause to enter homes and need residents to be their eyes and ears. He said police would respond to anonymous tips.

Pelko said besides enforcement, anti-drinking advocates need to change the culture that says underage drinking is acceptable.

“It’s going to take a lot of people and a pretty big effort, but I think this is a good start,” he said.

Changing the culture also should include not sending a “do as I say, not as I do” message, said Sherman Jones.

Jones, Utility Department superintendent, said he doesn’t drink, but attends political functions where alcohol is served and people drive afterward. Jones said some teenagers see it as hypocritical if their parents drink and tell them not to.

“The reason that our young folks drink is that we adults drink,” he said. “When we point the finger and say to young folks, ‘This is something that you shouldn’t be doing,’ We might have to stop and look inward and say, ‘Hey, this is something that I shouldn’t be doing.’”

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.

Drinking Prevention

  • The STOP underage drinking task force meets 1 p.m. June 12 to discuss “party patrols” to prevent underage drinking parties. The meeting is at the Alcohol Drug and Addiction Services office at 4950 Oberlin Ave., Lorain. For more information, call (440) 282-9920..


  • Sis Delish

    Impressive proposed legislation, for hypocrites. I can see it now, on the Board of this committee, Ken Carney.

    • Sis Delish

      Add Councilwoman Carolyn White of Sheffield to the Advisory Council…lol

  • stop ur whining part deux

    So if you have beer in your fridge, go out for the night and your kid and his friends get into it you can be found negligent and have to pay $1000.

    I have a problem with that. How many teenagers do things that their parents would not approve with out their knowledge? I certainly know I did.

    • Bob

      I see your point. But if either one of my kids did that to me. Guess who would be paying for the $1000.00. Cause it would not be me.

      But I am sure they are taking into account that the parents have to have knowledge of the party. Not kids sneaking beers while the parents aren’t home.

      • Matthew Baldauf

        You apparently didnt read it properly. It sais they no longer have to know. Not to mention the police now have a new way around illegal searches. All they need is an “anonymous tip” to get into your home.

        • Bob

          You are right. I didn’t read the story.

      • stop ur whining part deux

        That is the problem. Under this ordinance they do not have to know.

  • jz

    Bureaucratic nanny state mentality.

  • Mark B

    But yet in July and the weeks before and after the 4th people will be shooting off fireworks in Elyria , which is Illegal , and the police will do NOTHING. When you call and complain at 1am about fireworks keeping you awake , the Dispatchers will just inform you the it is The 4th of July for weeks before and after the 4th and NOTHING will be done .

    • Rtgh123

      You seriously cry to the police on the fourth of July about fireworks? Hahaha! I guess your living in a section 8 apartment by Cascade Park. You don’t roll out of bed to use your food stamps at Apple’s until noon. Put on your big boy undies (paid for with your welfare check, of course). The people who work hard to pay for your living expenses like to have fun on the fourth.

  • Chosen1

    Buy some earplugs little boy

    • Mark B

      sorry some of us have to work so you can continue to get your welfare check

  • bROWNS77

    I grew up in Brunswick and they will charge parents with 50 counts of contributing to delinquency of a minor if 50 kids are drinking, plus child endangerment and all kinds of other charges, way more than $1000.

    What if some idiot kid has drugs on him or something? Smuggles in his own beer/ bottle of whatever?

    I agree with knowingly, dont get me wrong, but kids hide things and can be very sneaky.

    The comment :

    “The reason that our young folks drink is that we adults drink,” he said. “When we point the finger and say to young folks, ‘This is something that you shouldn’t be doing,’ We might have to stop and look inward and say, ‘Hey, this is something that I shouldn’t be doing.’”

    That’s ridiculous and that man is an idiot!
    Should I not vote? Not drive ? Not get free coffee at Mc Donalds when i’m a senior?
    These are rights and privileges we receive as we get of age!

    My kids know swear words, ( from school mostly, and an occasional ” damn lawnmower” but know not to say them!
    I am an adult and if I want a beer on Sunday while im mowing the grass or watching Johnny Manzel take us to the Super Bowl , lol.
    That’s my privilege, I earned it.

    Im an American! Supposed to be free and be able to enjoy it!

    Discipline your kids so they can grow up and be a productive part of society!
    Dont tell me I cant have a beer Mr.Jones!

    Didnt they give that kid a job back at the city that got arrested for drug paraphernalia in his locker and driving the city truck around when he was pulled over?
    Hmmmm,….. Mixed signal there , Sherman !

    • Mark B

      don’t do as they do , do as they say , Liberals know what is best for everyone .

      • Rtgh123

        I thought right wing nut jobs know what’s best for everyone? What consenting adults can do in their bedroom, who can get married, who can have affordable healthcare, making a women’s reproductive decisions for them, deciding that personal religious beliefs apply to other people. People who vote Republican are so lacking in intellectual ability that it’s scary. More to the point, they’re proud to be dumb.

        • bROWNS77

          The crazy thing is I don’t vote on a party but I learned when I voted that you have to pick a party or you can only vote on issues, swear to GOD!
          I vote for people , not a party! This is and I’m sorry , a f*ucking joke!
          I just said democrat and that’s all that showed up in my selections?
          I can’t believe this country has turned to sh….

        • Mark B

          Or maybe telling us what kind of food we should eat, what kind of light bulbs we should use , or the type of health care we need .