When it comes to loud and obnoxious parties, Cherryland and Ashland have had their fill.

Dealing with noise, loitering and large turnouts of teenagers is nothing new for these unincorporated communities.

That's why a proposed law to hit negligent hosts where it hurts — in the pocketbook — is drawing more than casual interest in these neighborhoods.

Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker's plan would impose a fine on people who rent, own or live on property where youths under the age of 21 consume, possess or areserved alcohol.

The first fine would be $750, going up to $2,500 for third and subsequent fines.

Hosts — whether present or not — whose parties get out of hand also would be liable for law enforcement, firefighting or any other government-related costs. The law would apply to private property or public places.

The new law will get a public airing at a Feb. 28 supervisors' committee meeting in San Lorenzo. If eventually adopted by county supervisors, it would be enforced only in unincorporated areas.

Kathy Gil, Cherryland Community Association president, said the idea of fining parents for a sheriff's response or county services is worth researching further.

But stemming problems before they escalate is important too, she added. Don't be shy, she urged neighbors who might not want to get involved.

"We also feel that neighbors need to make the calls to the Sheriff's Department to report noise, loitering and large attendance at a party," Gil explained.


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"We find that when we notify the sheriff, the parties are dispersed fairly rapidly."

Lai-Bitker introduced the crackdown less than a week after more than 100 young people attended a Jan. 19 party in a San Lorenzo home. Three people were shot, and two died.

Two other California cases also brought the problem close to home.

On New Year's Eve, members of a Yale University men's singing group were beaten outside of a San Francisco party. Witnesses said the attackers had brought alcohol to the party. The parents of the teenage hostess weren't home.

On Jan. 20, a Grayson woman was arrested on 12 counts of child endangerment and contributing to the delinquency of minors when she bought and served alcohol to teenagers. She later paid an 18-year-old to drive 11 other teenagers home.

The underage youths crowded into the cab and flat-bed of a pickup, and were injured in Patterson when the 18-year-old — later arrested for driving under the influence — crashed into a ditch.

The proposed law doesn't contain restrictions that could be challenged on constitutional grounds, such as limiting the size of parties or charging party permit fees.

And, Lai-Bitker noted, these restrictions would augment current laws that prohibit selling or serving alcohol to minors.

Currently, state law assesses a minimum fine of $1,000 and 24 hours of community service to anyone who provides alcohol to minors. A person can be punished by six months to a year in jail, plus a fine, for furnishing liquor to a minor who later is killed or injured.

People who make liquor available to someone already intoxicated are liable for injuries on and off the premises.

Have questions or comments on Lai-Bitker's proposal? Call (510) 272-6693 or (510) 278-0367.