Following the footsteps of other local cities, the Garden Grove City Council approved the first reading of a proposed “social host” ordinance that will try to eliminate underage drinking in the city.
The proposed ordinance will make it illegal for adults to knowingly provide alcohol to minors under the age of 21 at private parties, events or gatherings. Violators, if approved, can be subject to a misdemeanor criminal charge and citation fines that can include administration and police
City Attorney Tom Nixon said that are exemptions to the ordinance such as protected religious activities protected or parents and guardians providing alcohol exclusively to their child.
Also, the ordinance will exempt adults who take responsible steps to notify authorities if minors are unwilling to cooperate.
Currently, several local Orange County cities adopted various social host ordinances, including Huntington Beach and Orange.
During the meeting, Todd Elgin, a captain for the Garden Grove Police Department, said that Garden Grove does experience private parties and events that the ordinance can eliminate.
“We think what the social host ordinance does is gives us another tool to deal with this problem,” Elgin said.
Dana Mann, from the Garden Grove Drug Free Coalition, commended the city council for taking up the task to move forward with an ordination.
Mann said she witnessed the effects of an underage drinking party during a simulated event called “Reality Party for Parents,” which she said she was surprised by her personal reaction.
Mann also said ordinance is fully supported by the coalition and will help raise awareness of the ordinance whenever it is approved.
“We will send our message loud and clear that if you host these parties, you will be penalized,” Mann said.
Council members also discussed the intersection of Lampson Avenue and Manley Street, after hearing about two severe accidents during the past couple of weeks.
GGPD Police Chief Kevin Raney reported that a 31-year-old male was fatally killed on May 29 after his vehicle flipped over after the vehicle hit another one.
Raney said that the investigation is still pending of the accident. An official Raney said the conclusion of the investigation will take about six weeks.
A pedestrian was also involved in a hit-and-run accident in the intersection. The pedestrian injuries were moderate, Raney said.
City staff reported that flashing light beacons were added recently to help ease some of the traffic problems. Director of Public Works Bill Murray said that traffic light improvements will be coming to the intersection later this month.
Raney also said that DUI checkpoints will be added around the area in the future.
The council also honored Garden Grove Unified School District superintendent Laura Schwalm for her 40 years of service to the third largest school district in Orange County.
Schwalm will be retiring at the end of this month. She began her work for the district as a student teacher. She became superintendent in 1999.
During the meeting, Schwalm thanked the city for its support during her tenure as superintendent, commending both the city and the police department.
“I’m humbled by your acknowledgement but it’s been an honor to serve this great community,” she said.
She also thanked the city manager’s office and the GGPD for their service to the school district.