News Details

Board of Supervisors Rejects Supervisor Spitzer's Social Host Ordinance

The Orange County Board of Supervisors rejected the proposed Social Host Ordinance (SHO) that would have been enforceable in the unincorporated areas of Orange County.  The ordinance was initiated by Supervisor Todd Spitzer, long-time advocate for DUI prevention efforts and MADD Outstanding Prosecutor awardee.  Supervisor Spitzer agendized the Social Host Ordinance in hopes of raising awareness regarding the dramatic problem that underage drinking and underage drinking and driving has become in Orange County.  His hope in bringing the SHO to the Board of Supervisors was to offer another solution in the fight against underage drinking and driving.  Spitzer also believes that the SHO would have brought attention to the dramatic youth health and welfare issues that have plagued Orange County due to underage drinking.

"I will continue to advocate for the SHO and its use as a prevention tool in Orange County," Spitzer stated.  "The SHO remains one of the four best practices in the prevention of DUI as advocated by the Orange County DUI Task Force.  I am pleased that the discussion has now been brought to the table here in Orange County."

Devastating statistics have shown the need for a Social Host Ordinance in Orange County.  "The numbers of Orange County underage youth drinking alcohol and driving has reached epidemic proportions.  In one year in Orange County, there were almost 1,000 underage misdemeanor DUI convictions and 150 Orange County minors who caused serious bodily injury or death in a DUI incident.  52% of underage minors are consuming alcohol at a friend's home.  The Social Host Ordinance would have helped combat this crisis," Supervisor Spitzer stated.

A Social Host Ordinance holds adults responsible for knowingly hosting an underage gathering where alcohol is being consumed.  The first violation would have called for a $750 administrative fine.  A second or any subsequent violation of the SHO would have resulted in a misdemeanor with a fine up to $1,000.  Currently 8 O.C. cities have a pure Social Host Ordinance.  These cities include: Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo, and Orange.  Other California Counties that currently have a County Social Host Ordinance include: Contra Costa, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, and Ventura Counties.

Four Best Practices regarding DUI Prevention were recently discussed at the O.C. DUI Summit in February of 2013.  The DUI Summit was co-hosted by Supervisor Spitzer, O.C. Health Care Agency, MADD, Auto Club, and Concordia University Irvine.  These Best Practices include: Social Host Ordinance, Responsible Beverage Servicing, Checkpoints/Saturation Points, and Educational Campaigns.

Speaking in support of the Social Host Ordinance at today's BOS meeting included: 

  • John Saliture, father of Allison Saliture – DUI victim killed in Cypress in 1994 by a driver who drank in a social home setting
  • Chief Kevin Rainey, Garden
    Grove Police Department
  • Desiree Vargas, daughter of DUI victim tragically killed in Irvine in 2004 by Brandon Friend underage (19-year old) DUI driver leaving a house party
  • Trish Kelly, Mayor Pro Tem City of Mission Viejo
  • Taya Chase, Victim of DUI crash in 2009 in San Diego where the 17-year old perpetrator had been drinking at a house party in a social host setting, Director of Court Services SCRAM, DUI Task Force Member, MADD Volunteer
  • Deputy Chief Mike Hamel, Irvine Police Department 
  • Silas Miers, MADD
  • Sharene Walter, Vice President of Advocacy, 4th District PTA
  • Dan Gleason, Garden Grove Drug-free Coalition
  • Dr. Jeff Hittenberger, Chief Academic Officer, O.C. Dept. of Education

In addition, formal letters of support were issued by Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Orange County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Al Mijares, The Hospital Association of Southern California, Fourth District PTA, Automobile Club of Southern California.

"This is not the last that will be seen of the SHO.  Many cities have expressed interest in pursuing a SHO, and my hopes are that the County of Orange may adopt this most needed ordinance sometime in the future," Spitzer said.

The proposed O.C. SHO and all related documents for this agenda item may be accessed at http://cams.ocgov.com/Web_Publisher/mainlist.asp?docid=00000038&docname=Agenda12_17_2013.htm&meetdate=12_17_2013&pagendatypeid=1&pisagenda=1