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No Party Ordinance Approved!

Santa Cruz City Council voted to approve the "no party" ordinance tonight. It will go into effect in 30 days from today.

The vote was five to two in favor of the broad sweeping ordinance, which with its current language, disproportionately punishes renters and students who hold two or less parties within a 12-month timeframe, sends letters to the parents of 18-21 year olds, and letters upon the first warning to landlords, does not create an appeals process, nor did it create measurable criteria for what constitutes a violation of the "quiet enjoyment of public property."

The council did have seven conditions, which at the time of this writing, were not publically available to this reporter. I suspect others will cover the details of any concessions which were made by the Council.

Tim Fitzmaurice asked for 120 extension, and both he and Tony Madrigal voted "no" against the ordinance's passing. The first reading two weeks ago was a unanimous vote. Perhaps the large turnout of opponents to voice concerns against the ordinance had some affect on members of the Council.

Opponents of this ordinance will be meeting to organize soon to campaign for the repeal of this draconian ordinance unfairly targeting students and young people.

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Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

Excellent! I shall not hesitate to call 911 when I notice noisy gatherings of persons under 21 drinking. Hopefully they get arrested for that too so their licenses will be suspended! Any measure to reduce drunk drivers and preserve peace is wonderful. Thank you city council!

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

So let me get this straight,...

If the language is too general, and it is enforced
equally across the board, (as all laws should be),
that means that technically, if I throw a birthday party for Grandma, she goes to the pokey?

Have people lost their minds?
Another example of the fish rotting from the head.
This kind of nonsense has to be stopped at the source, meaning the Fools on Capitol Hill.

Good luck in defeating such an insane ordinance.

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

"unfairly targeting students and young people."

and unfairly targeting renters.

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

As the policy adopted by the City council to impliment the new ordinance makes clear, the title "no Party ordinance" is more than a little misleading. It is about out of control parties. Here is the policy the council adopted so you can see for yourself.

Council Policy in support of the “Party Ordinance�

The Santa Cruz City Council does not intend that every call for police service with respect to neighborhood noise and party issues will necessarily result in tenants and landlords involved being identified as subject to the “Loud and Unruly Gathering Ordinance.� Often the police are called by overly sensitive neighbors, or the party about which they are called is annoying a neighbor without being so “loud and unruly� as to justify official warnings, fines, or the payment of city costs. Sometimes, a simple warning to “turn down the music� or to “go inside and keep the noise down� will suffice without further criminal or civil sanctions. Using their discretion, police officers may even, on occasion, decide to break up a party and send people home without believing the party is so unruly as to deserve the sanctions provided under Municipal Code section 2005-20.

It may also be the case that the residents of a house, rather than the neighbors, call the police to deal with outsiders who have “crashed� a party without an invitation and the residents are very cooperative in helping the police to identify the uninvited guests and willing to prosecute them for invading their home. It is certainly not the intent of the Santa Cruz City Council to warn or fine or charge city fees to the residents or landlords of a house in such a situation, but rather to hold the guilty individuals responsible. (Not withstanding this comment, calling the police after the neighbors have called would hardly be a defense against the police implementing Ordinance 2005-20.)

However, when the police arrive at the scene in response to a call from one or more neighbors and find one or more of the following kinds of common problems -- huge crowds, drunken and out of control behavior, destruction and abuse of neighborhood property, excessive noise, fights, public urination, drinking by minors, hostility and lack of cooperation with police on the part of residents and party attendees – the provisions of the Loud and Unruly Gathering ordinance 2005-20 will be invoked by the responding officer or officers.

It is expected that the Police Department will develop its own General Orders and appropriate training to implement the intent of the Loud and Unruly Gathering ordinance as described here generally in this Council policy.

How convenient - ignore 38 comments from the main story

How convenient for Mike Rotkin (if it's him) to step in after the fact with an empty comment about "appropriate training". Too bad he didn't respond to the substantive issues raised in 38 comments on the original story, elsewhere on IndyMedia ...

Fact: Mike's ordinance makes new occupants pay for the actions of prior occupants. This applies to new tenants as well as new property owners.

Fact: Mike's ordinance uses one phone call as a trigger and leaves the responding officer complete and absolute discretion.* The old arrangement, whereby two separate calls had to come in, was more reasonable. Now, one person with a vendetta can target a tenant or property owner just by making a phone call.

Fact: Mike's ordinance singles out one specific problem (loud parties) and imposes an unspecified, unlimited police response fee, plus 33% administrative overhead. Meanwhile, you can beat up people, damage property, commit hate crimes, do all sorts of malicious things, and the City won't charge you for the police response.

Again, I favor regulation of loud parties, but in a way that respects due process.

* Here's the exact language: "9.37.020. RESPONSE TO LOUD OR UNRULY GATHERINGS ... (a) The OFFICER [my emphasis] has determined that a loud or unruly gathering exists ..."

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

Dear Mr. Rotkin,

You mention that the "No Party Ordinance" is a bad name because you claim the new ordinance won't be used against most parties. But that information is deceiving. Why?

You mention that one of the criteria that makes a party suspect is "drinking by minors". That quote describes the vast-majority of high school and UCSC students' parties. This is an anti-youth bill. Santa Cruz is netorious for it's lack of a night life, and now you'll have teens driving over to San Jose to get drunk. Shouldn't we worry more about drunk drivers on Highway 17 than a few underage kids stealin' some beers from the fridge?

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

> hostility and lack of cooperation with police on the part of residents and party attendees

Define, please.

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

Didn't police already and always have the power to break up parties, as well as issue household-sized $1000 tickets for "noise violations"? I don't understand why any of the irritated homeowners didn't just get on the police about enforcing existing laws if they wanted to make their general irritation at the rest of humanity known.

Let's see, I can go fight in a war overseas, but if I am making too much noise my mommy gets called? Way to give me a taste of those famous American liberties.

No Party Ordinance Approved!

come to the city council meeting to discuss enforcement of this law on July 26, 7pm.

Re: No Party Ordinance Approved!

This "$1,000 per Party Ordinance" is brutal against the students in Santa Cruz and anyone who hosts parties of 2 or more people. In an effort to get the ordinance repealed, or at least to have its fines and definitions reconsidered, I have created I would appreciate anyone with concerns about the ordinance to discuss it in my forums, which I will present to the City Council when a sizable following has been established.

I feel that this ordinance is especially unfair in my case, in which I have very few neighbors and if the cops are ever called it's because (distant) neighbors call police at 1:30am when they want the noise to stop so they can sleep, not to see me incur a $1,000 misdemeanor. The police are inconsiderate to my situation and this ordinance allows them to hit me with an uncontestible ticket, because there's no denying that I had 2 or more people when they arrived. I am disturbed by my lack of representation so I am trying to unite concerned citizens to affect change.


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