renaissance

Drinking Rules Doesn’t Equate to Civil Liberties Violations

Editor,

 

Thinking about the social host ordinance and the related controversy I was inspired to read David Vanderveen’s essay (“Local Currents,” May 25 edition). After reading it I thought of an imaginary dialogue with my own son- as if he were a student caught up in this event. (Actually, I am proud to say he is a very happy new dad and a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics!).

So here’s how the dialogue would go:

Son: Mom I want to protest with my friends against the social host ordinance.

Me: No you can’t protest against the social host ordinance. You can protest against drone warfare, further cuts to education and health care, any more bailouts to Wall Street bankers, but you cannot disrupt school so that other kids can drink themselves stupid at their friends’ house.

Son: But mom, they said if they can’t drink in the comfort of someone’s home they’ll have to go drink in the hills.

Me: Yes, in the dark and cold with coyotes and spiders. How long do you think that party will last?

Son: But mom, Mr. Vanderveen said we are losing our freedom while the Arabs in Qatar are getting more freedom.

Me: I’ve read Mr. Vanderveen on the subject of liberty, democracy, monarchs and dictators. His arguments and conclusions are naïve and absurd.

Son: Why mom?

Me: Because democracy is born of struggle and revolution, not always bloody, but definitely bottom up. Monarchs, emirs, dictators and the like never willingly hand over power. If they occasionally get tipsy and talk up democracy it’s for the same reason they splash on aftershave: to make themselves smell good and look good to their subjects. Also, good Americans don’t support the results of covert CIA operations that overthrow democratically elected presidents, as was the case in Chile, installing the thug Augusto Pinochet. We just don’t espouse the benevolent dictator form of government because it goes against the very cherished principles upon which this country was founded.

Civil liberties? We lose our civil liberties when American citizens are detained without being charged or when our government spies on us. We lose them when we are harassed because of the color of our skin, choice of religion or economic status. We don’t lose them because the PTA and city council say you can’t allow with impunity your neighbors kid to get potted in your house while your off on a weekend jaunt in Vegas.

Son: And the argument that the ordinance doesn’t effectively deal with underage drinking?

Me: You have to start somewhere. It’s just one more tool that the community has in order to help do for kids what they and irresponsible adults aren’t able or willing to.

 

Mary Dolphin, Laguna Beach

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  1. LB Working Dad

    Mary, how did a letter on teenage drinking digress into your naive, liberal diatribe….. i thought all you utopian neo-libs have moved on past the evils of western imperialism, and greedy capitalists,,,,oh and as far as drone strikes and electronic surveillance and losing civil liberties,,, we live in a gritty, mean world where people want to kill us because of our skin color and our religion, i’d rather lose a few civil rights and than my pulse. if you’d travel outside your cushy bubble of LB you’d understand.

  2. Andrew

    That is absolutely horrible. You would not allow your son to protest?
    The cornerstone of democracy is protest. If you never question authority, then you will never fully participate in the democratic system.
    I’m all for protesting drone warfare, but frankly, a 16 year old kid will never have any impact on that. The Social Host Ordinance, however, could be changed by what we do in the coming weeks.
    For your information, we never in the course of our protests disrupted school days. We had a nonviolent, passive protest in which we wore suits to school. That is all there was to it. The reaction we got from the administration was completely undeserved.
    Under Tinker vs Des Moines, we have a right to peaceful protest during school as long as it does not disrupt the school day. Would wearing suits to school disrupt the school day? Of course not, and it would irrational to think otherwise.
    You have not considered the cold, simple fact that kids are going to drink. Denying that will get us absolutely nowhere.
    If you seriously want to deal with this issue, then confront the reasons for teen drinking. Laguna is one of the most boring towns in the United States, partly because the City Council does not allow concerts or any other form of recreational activity.
    There are a 101 reasons why kids drink, and not one of them will be touched by the Social Host Ordinance.
    If you talk more on this issue, I strongly recommend that you do some research first. These ordinances are, on a universal level, poorly written and ineffective.
    Even when they do have an effect, it’s almost always a negative one. In Santa Barbara, kids stopped calling the police to report alcohol poisonings when a Social Host Ordinance was put in place.
    I find your quickness to censor your hypothetical-teenage son disturbing, and because of this, I sincerely hope you are never allowed to be around young children.
    Even if they are wrong, kids need to be allowed to think and express yourselves. Your willingness to stop your child’s attempts to exercise his God-given right to speech disturb me,
    Frankly, that’s what should be illegal.

  3. Schuyler Vanderveen

    Yes, you’ve demonstrated that it’s very easy to win a one-sided conversation. Although you make some good points about Pinochet’s regime, you fail to recognize that in this hypothetical situation, you’re restricting your son’s ability to express himself and have political views separate from your own.

    It also doesn’t appear that you’ve read other SHO’s that have been passed in the surrounding areas. They often blatantly violate constitutional law and give unnecessary amounts of power to local police. Instead, I advocate awareness programs similar to the ones created to dissuade people from smoking cigarettes and driving drunk. You can’t legislate a culture change like the one our city is proposing, instead, it is their job to combat party culture indirectly and allow teens to decide for themselves that binge drinking is harmful.

  4. Adam Redding-Kaufman

    First off, I think that the author of this letter needs to acknowledge that a Social Host Ordinance is a step closer to a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking. Although at first glance this kind of a policy can seem positive, I can assure Mrs. Dolphin that there are unintended consequences. With more restrictions on alcohol, minors will hear the lesson that underage drinking is unacceptable, but will not stop drinking. Drinking will go to areas of more secrecy. Intoxicated girls who are sexually abused will fear to report what they’ve been through because of fear that they will earn their own consequences for being intoxicated. I would like to make it very clear that these are not threats by the teen community; I did not sit in my room and come up with potential unintended consequences. I have already seen my peers find alternative places to party when they cannot find a roof to do it under and I have already heard girls fear to report what has happened to them. I used to live above Aliso Beach. Some nights in summer, I would witness HUGE high school bonfires hosted by inlanders. Although Aliso Beach closes at 10pm, on nights where LBPD was busy, the beach would not close until much later. These kind of activities already happen, and I fear that an SHO could encourage them.

    I would also like to point out that a zero tolerance policy with alcohol will do nothing but restrict communication between parent and son, school and student, police and minor. Mrs. Dolphin be lucky to have this conversation with her “son” in the future with the way things are going. One has to look at the nature of an adolescent brain. Will teens really be open to talking to adults about drinking if the town places more consequences in relation to underage drinking? This is a step backwards for communication. Nobody is going to track their child, they rely on what their child tells them. Do parents wish to continue knowing the actual location of their son or daughter?

    When it comes to a student protest, I do not think that it would be appropriate to tell someone of my age what they can, and cannot protest about. I think that Mrs. Dolphin was uninformed when it comes to what the protest consisted of. The protest was to dress up in business attire, to convey that the student body of LBHS consists of people with their own beliefs and opinions. We wanted to express that it is not about the partying. There were going to be a few speeches in the quad at lunch. The protest had NOTHING to do with disrupting the learning environment. The opposers of this ordinance do not support underage drinking, we fear the illogical approach to underage drinking as well as the unintended consequences that could come with this. When it comes to telling someone that they cannot protest in a public area, yes, that is a violation of civil liberties promised by the Constitution as well as the Supreme Court Case, Tinker vs. Des Moines School District.

    When it comes to the excerpt on Democracy, I truly struggled to read it. I am currently learning in a school that preaches “express, rather than impress”. I was told, “if one ever has to re-read a piece of writing, it was the authors fault”. I really could not understand what was trying to be expressed about democracy.

    Before those interested write on this more, I would urge them to look at the impacts of this ordinance on other communities? Has it really been successful as a “tool”? Santa Barbara has reported severe negative effects.

    Connection is much more important than correction.

  5. James Cockrell

    We can take an easy example from history about how this ordinance is flawed. It is absolutely repulsive people think this would have any effect on underaged drinking…

    For example, the American prohibition from 1919 to 1933 is considered one of the worst blunders ever placed into the constitution. Many women’s unions and other unperceptive groups pushed the prohibition into law with the thought that it would reduce domestic violence in the home. Sure, this is a good thing! Less people getting in a bar fight, no more husbands coming home late as drunk as Ulysses S. Grant… Sounds absolutely grand, however, alcohol is embedded inside the very heart of our culture.

    Some historians believe that agriculture derives FROM alchohol, not the basic necessity of food. For thousands of years, across hundreds of culturals, alcohol has been consumed by the gallons. Why? It is part of the very NATURE of humanity. The prohibition failed because nobody really understood how far people would go to get a drink. Organized crime became rampant during this time period and is commonly related to the roots of the famous cliche Italian Mafias. The consumption of alcohol wasn’t illegal, but obtaining a bottle was difficult unless you went to somebody who had a gun, yet it still completely got out of control.

    The prohibition spawned countless problems and fixed less. It was repealed shortly after the Great Depression… The point I’m trying to make here is that drinking is a part of human equation. Attempting to stop it will have little to no effect and will only cause more problems than there were before.

    Think before you push that rock down the hill. An object will stay in motion unless acted on by a force. I can already see this force will be a young boy, just barely becoming an adult to pass out on the couch and let his childhood memories slip out into the void.

  6. Macklin Thornton

    There were several disturbing parts of Ms. Dolphin’s argument. And yes, I am being very generous by labeling it as an “argument,” as it does not deserve that label. In her article she made two argumentative fallacies: she failed to supply any original facts or data, and she used excessive emotional appeal while abandoning any logical appeal. This reveals that Ms. Dolphin’s weak argument and poor insight into the Social Host Ordinance (SHO). Further, her paragraph addressing American foreign policy and democracy made no logical sense. As my English teacher and William Zinsser, a well known writer and teacher, extol, “express, don’t impress.” Ms. Dolphin continuously seeks to impress (although with no success) and fails to express her ideas in an impactful and concise manner.

    Other than Ms. Dolphin’s writing, I am appalled at her blatant effort to censor her “son.” Why deny her son’s right to speak his mind? Is she scared of individualism? Is she scared that she does not have the proper, logical argument to uphold her authoritarian views? I pity her.

    Here are some commonly held views on oppression (I hope Ms. Dolphin takes notes):
    “Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
    “The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.
    “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” ~Thomas Paine
    “Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte

    Regarding her comment on “disrupting school,” she is wrong. Let me enlighten her to the facts. On Thursday May 10 at LBHS, we hoped to engage in an educational protest at school. The protest would have comprised supporters for our movement to dress professionally (suits, ties, dresses, etc.) to illustrate that we are respectable, mature young adults who want our opinions be heard. Additionally, the leaders of the movement (Andrew, Adam, Schuyler, and I) were going to give speeches at lunch about our movement and why the SHO will not work in a calm and informative manner. The school tried to deter us from speaking; however, they realized they could not legally prevent us from speaking under Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District unless we interfered with the natural course of the school day. Suspension could have been given to the leaders of the movement if anything to cause disruption happened during the day. I dressed professionally; however, our protest was crippled; we canceled the speeches, and only few came to school dressed professionally. Using the power of hindsight, I see that the vast majority of our school is apathetic, unfortunately, toward local politics, which is something that needs to change. It saddens me that “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people” (Martin Luther King Jr.). If I could relive the day over again, I would have given my speech. I heard from several sources that some teachers discussed our movement; however, it was one sided and favored the SHO. I am elated that discussion came up in class, but I am disgusted that teachers blatantly took sides. Our high school stresses “college and career readiness” and our acronym PRIDE but only when it suits the school or when it is about non-contentious topics. School stresses addressing all sides of an argument in order to come to a logical conclusion. Giving logical speeches and performing in local politics, we perform real life applications of our knowledge from school. Understanding this, why is the school fervently against our activism? Why does Ms. Dolphin condemn our engagement in our community?

    Now, let me give Ms. Dolphin and other supporters of the SHO evidence to support my stance well as my credibility.
    I am a senior at LBHS, a registered voter, and will be attending UC Berkeley next year. The readers may be thinking “great, another party crazed teen defending his right to illegally party.” Please, don’t judge me for my appearance or age. Although, I fit the targeted “teen” demographic, I would not be hurt or benefited by this ordinance. I do not drink, and I do not go to parties where alcohol is served. I have never been interested in alcohol, and probably never will. I am here to try to give an unbiased opinion and be a champion for freedom. I believe that this topic parallels the contraception battle on the capital. In both cases, the targeted demographic has been ignored. Women were ignored in the special House committee and guest panel; teens, in this debate.
    I am fervently against parents giving other kids alcohol for parties for the purpose to be “the cool parents” or trying to live vicariously through their kids. It is despicable. These parents only cheapen and tarnish my hope of a reformed culture. Despite the belief of many, I believe a relaxed alcohol policy is the best policy. Laws like the Social Host Ordinance merely target the effects of underage alcoholism, not the causes. We need to reform the culture.
    I, am opponent to repetitious laws or wasteful writing, believe they already have the tools to eliminate parents giving alcohol to minors. Coupled together, the National Drinking Age Act of 1984 and Article 20 Section 22 of the California State Constitution forbid adults to “sell, furnish, or give” alcohol to people under 21. In addition there are California penal codes in place to enforce the law. Why add more cumbersome and meaningless legislation? Why not use the tools we already have?
    To eliminate teen drinking, the City of Laguna Beach should not be in charge of finding alternate activities for teens; however, I think that they should stop restricting teen activities. The city should encourage and help schools, private companies, and etc. support activities for the teen age group. I have several friends who love downhill skateboarding and fishing. When the city constricted these activities, what was given in return? Nothing. The city continuously restricts its youngest citizens without allowing alternatives. Teens, wanting something to do on a weekend, found their alternative: alcohol. One solution is encouraging live music downtown. One thing teens enjoy, in addition to most adults, is music. Allowing bands to play in town encourages local musicians and gives teens an alternate activity other than drinking. In addition, the hosting store gains advertisement.
    Historically, the synthesis of targeting the effects and the tightening control over a problem only counter the desired goal. When the government constricts a group of people, those people will fight back. During the prerevolutionary years in America, Britain’s Navigation Acts only encouraged smugglers, one of which was John Hancock. In the case of the 18th Amendment and Volstead Act, government mandated prohibition only fomented an underground bootlegging market, which resulted in a huge loss of taxpayer money. In both cases, the restricted people found a way around the regulations. Today’s topic is no different. Constricting alcohol consumption will only create higher demand for it in addition to new ways to circumvent laws.
    Above all, teen alcohol abuse is a trust problem. If parents worry about their kids going to a party to drink, it is a reflection on their own parenting. Worrying about their kids at parties shows the parent’s fear that they failed to help their teen. It sounds harsh but that is the truth. The worry also conveys a lack of trust, which is the antithesis of the desired teen-parent relationship. Trust can be created through talking with the teen openly. One goal the coalition advocating the SHO presented was to “reduce access to alcohol.” Although this solution appears reasonable at first, reducing access only increases alcohol’s scarcity, which heightens its demand. Therefore, I offer a counter solution to this ordinance. Drinking is something that should be discussed openly in a family setting. This teaches teens how to drink responsibly. Drinking with parents cancels out the need for teens to binge drink because they no longer fear alcohol’s scarcity. Thus, I advocate the “Italian and French system” where parents drink with their kids.
    This system is advocated by John Cloud from Time. He chronicles “Psychologist Stanton Peele who wrote in his 2007 book that “When alcohol is presented as impossibly dangerous, it becomes alluring as a ‘forbidden fruit’ … The choice between abstinence and excess is not a good one to force on children.”” In North Carolina, professor Kristie Foley discovered that “kids whose parents gave them alcohol for parties were more likely to binge-drink.” However, “if kids actually drank with their parents, they were about half as likely to say they had drunk alcohol in the past month and about one-third as likely to say they had had five or more drinks in a row in the previous two weeks. As Foley and her colleagues wrote in a 2004 Journal of Adolescent Health, “Drinking with parents appears to have a protective effect on general drinking trends.””
    I beseech the city to at least entertain this idea. The citizens of Laguna will see a new youth that are more responsible and trustworthy. The solution is not more government; rather it is getting parents and the PTA involved. This is a family issue, one that cannot be resolved through creating a generation of sheltered kids that later become reckless urchins. To clarify, the Social Host Ordinance can help make irresponsible parents accountable and responsible; however, it does not curtail underage drinking.

    For those who took the time to read my rebuttal to Ms. Dolphin, thank you. I apologize if I appear to be engaging in ad hominem; however, I am merely trying to provide constructive criticism.

    “This letter is longer because I did not have the time to make it shorter” ~Blaise Pascal

  7. Mary Dolphin

    One of the best parts of having a son the age that you all are now is that I got the opportunity to hear so many different voices, so concerned about so many things. I think it is wonderful that you guys are so passionate about an issue.
    You all make some really good points, some I could successfully rebut and some I’d have to concede.
    When I originally responded to the column by David Vanderveen my letter was well over 600 words long.
    I had to cut it down and yes, I was concerned that my digression into democracy which was a response to Vanderveen’s comments on freedom here and in the Arab world would be hard to follow if someone had not read Vanderveen’s column. I was so appalled at the things that he said, I couldn’t resist.
    My son was allowed to do just about whatever he wanted to. However, I always let him know my thoughts on a subject and in reality if he’d been totally convinced that protesting on this issue was the right thing for him to do I’d have said,sure, it’s your choice.
    There are many facets of your arguments that I think if I had the time I could refute. Alcoholism is an extremely complex and almost intransigent problem to solve. I understand that. Without hard data on just about all facets, it is difficult really to know what to believe.
    But here’s the bottom line. I watched my brother begin drinking in the home of a very irresponsible adult when he was 17 years old. By the time he was 19 he was a full on alcoholic. He died a slow and painful death from alcoholism. I would and will always be in favor of anything that increases the level of community shaming directed at adults who in any way contribute actively or by their irresponsibility to making it more possible for young people to drink alcohol.
    Your parents are lucky to have such committed and thoughtful kids! Best of luck in the future.

  8. Mary Dolphin

    Hi LB Dad,
    Here’s how the puzzle pieces fit together. I did not begin writing about teenage drinking.
    I was considering the SHO controversy and then read an essay by David Vanderveen in which
    he said that the SHO was another loss of freedom here at a time when the Arab world is experiencing the
    growth of freedom. After that he basically drove over a cliff and I admit that in my letter I kind of drove over after him.
    So why would we liberals move on from the evils of western imperialism and greedy (predatory) capitalism (as compared to democratic capitalism) when these continue to be the very things which cause so much destruction, death and suffering in the world we share with other cultures and countries? (And by the way, we liberals also like to talk about all the positive things about this country, we just do it in a more nuanced way).
    And sure we live in a gritty, mean world where people want to kill other people- and for all kinds of reasons.
    But is your ability to deal with life as it is so fragile that you need burly surveillance guys on every corner and
    cameras watching all of us and having our bodies scanned and our brains probed? Is that really the world you want? An authoritarian world of security and eventual imprisonment? Sounds pretty ugly to me. And I’ve left Laguna Beach many times. I don’t want to add to your already perilously high fear level but personally some of the scariest people I’ve ever met were right here in good old Paradise.
    Best,
    Mary

  9. David Vanderveen

    Great discussion based on Mary’s straw man argument.

    First, the CIA did NOT install Pinochet, and he did hold free elections of his own accord. Those are the simple facts of Chile, followed by the fact that Chile’s economy has been the best-performing in Latin America. My point, as I said in the article, was not to support all the elements of Pinochet’s bloody past but to point out that freedom requires a social fabric to support it. Pinochet, like the Emir of Qatar, both seem to understand this simple fact that Alexis de Toqueville pointed out in our American experiment in the 1800s.

    What Mary forgets to mention is that our own American democratic experiment is founded on a much bloodier history and fabric than Pinochet’s. The American ideas on liberty come from European monarchies, primarily English, Dutch and French countries and political philosophies. Our liberty came from dictators and totalitarians who killed many more than Pinochet could have imagined. While I dislike dictatorships as compared to democracy, I prefer well-run kingdoms to the chaos of revolution without a focus on liberty for all people and a social fabric to support it. We don’t need more Iraqi foreign policy.

    Second, my point about the Arab world, as demonstrated by the Emir and other Arab world leaders I met with two weeks ago in Doha, was that they are rushing towards freedom via a variety of revolutions and evolutions while we, in America, continue to erode our own liberties. It is about the trajectories of our society versus theirs–they are working to give their populations more control while we are on a trajectory of giving more control of our lives to the state.

    Mary’s argument to her son completely misses the point of liberty. If you can only protest the causes of your parents, then you’re just a pawn of their ideology. The first amendment is fundamentally about having a political voice about any item of public policy. Allowing a parent, teacher, police officer or anyone else to dictate what you can or cannot protest is voluntarily accepting a political dictatorship in your life. It is antithetical to democracy.

    Adam, Andrew and Schuyler be happy that you don’t live under house arrest with a mother who forbids your protests unless they line up with her own ideology…her arguments about giving up your political rights “for a better society” are not just foolish, and they are not liberal–they don’t support liberty, they unwind it. When you are 18, and you live in America, you have the right to political assembly, protest and debate. Exercise your rights and don’t let parents or any other authority figure tell you that you cannot. They have no right coerce to your political opinion.

  10. Richard Henrikson

    Dave, my friend, I’m going to take issue with you here on several points. The notion that American liberties are being eroded is an often repeated canard that doesn’t bear up under scrutiny. In fact, the opposite is true.

    Fifty years ago, freedom, as we know it, was only enjoyed by a small fraction of American society – white men. Since then, various civil rights struggles and growing tolerance in the United States, continuing on to today, have extended those freedoms to most of our diverse population. It hasn’t been easy, but the track record is clear. The United States has been a textbook study in the inexorable expansion of freedoms in the last 50 years, and we are better off for it.

    On the other hand, the Arab world is a sad study in freedoms suppressed. Its march to freedom is starting from such a low level that any movement in freedom’s direction is seen as progress. Only in the last year has the Arab Spring shown a glimmer of hope, but that remains a promise as yet unrealized…baby steps. The Persian Gulf states (or Arabian Gulf as they call it) are conservative monarchies.

    In the United Arab Emirates, which I visited last week, the modernity and sparkle, of which there is much, is mostly a veneer on a conservatively-entrenched society. The 20% of society that are actual citizens are mostly bought off with ample benefits from the oil-rich monarchy. As such, there is no appreciable push for the basic freedoms we enjoy – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, voting for true representation. The remaining 80% of society are foreign nationals who are not full participants in society and whose presence in the UAE is tenuous if any real expressions of freedom are attempted.

    What is needed is an Arab Enlightenment of sorts, akin to that which swept Europe and North America in the 18th century. This set the philosophical stage for the great freedom revolutions of the time, and which are, themselves, works in progress to this day.

  11. Macklin Thornton

    I will post my response in sections since my first rebuttal has not been published.

    There were several disturbing parts of Ms. Dolphin’s argument. And yes, I am being very generous by labeling it as an “argument,” as it does not deserve that label. In her article she made two argumentative fallacies: she failed to supply any original facts or data, and she used excessive emotional appeal while abandoning any logical appeal. This reveals that Ms. Dolphin’s weak argument and poor insight into the Social Host Ordinance (SHO). Further, her paragraph addressing American foreign policy and democracy made no logical sense. As my English teacher and William Zinsser, a well known writer and teacher, extol, “express, don’t impress.” Ms. Dolphin continuously seeks to impress (although with no success) and fails to express her ideas in an impactful and concise manner.

    Other than Ms. Dolphin’s writing, I am appalled at her blatant effort to censor her “son.” Why deny her son’s right to speak his mind? Is she scared of individualism? Is she scared that she does not have the proper, logical argument to uphold her authoritarian views? I pity her.
    Here are some commonly held views on oppression (I hope Ms. Dolphin takes notes):

    “Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” ~ Benjamin Franklin“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” ~Martin Luther King Jr.“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” ~Thomas Paine“Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte

  12. Macklin Thornton

    Continued…

    Regarding her comment on “disrupting school,” she is wrong. Let me enlighten her to the facts. On Thursday May 10 at LBHS, we hoped to engage in an educational protest at school. The protest would have comprised supporters for our movement to dress professionally (suits, ties, dresses, etc.) to illustrate that we are respectable, mature young adults who want our opinions be heard. Additionally, the leaders of the movement (Andrew, Adam, Schuyler, and I) were going to give speeches at lunch about our movement and why the SHO will not work in a calm and informative manner. The school tried to deter us from speaking; however, they realized they could not legally prevent us from speaking under Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District unless we interfered with the natural course of the school day. Suspension could have been given to the leaders of the movement if anything to cause disruption happened during the day. I dressed professionally; however, our protest was crippled; we canceled the speeches, and only few came to school dressed professionally. Using the power of hindsight, I see that the vast majority of our school is apathetic, unfortunately, toward local politics, which is something that needs to change. It saddens me that “the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people” (Martin Luther King Jr.). If I could relive the day over again, I would have given my speech. I heard from several sources that some teachers discussed our movement; however, it was one sided and favored the SHO. I am elated that discussion came up in class, but I am disgusted that teachers blatantly took sides. Our high school stresses “college and career readiness” and our acronym PRIDE but only when it suits the school or when it is about non-contentious topics. School stresses addressing all sides of an argument in order to come to a logical conclusion. Giving logical speeches and performing in local politics, we perform real life applications of our knowledge from school. Understanding this, why is the school fervently against our activism? Why does Ms. Dolphin condemn our engagement in our community?

    Now, let me give Ms. Dolphin and other supporters of the SHO evidence to support my stance well as my credibility.I am a senior at LBHS, a registered voter, and will be attending UC Berkeley next year. The readers may be thinking “great, another party crazed teen defending his right to illegally party.” Please, don’t judge me for my appearance or age. Although, I fit the targeted “teen” demographic, I would not be hurt or benefited by this ordinance. I do not drink, and I do not go to parties where alcohol is served. I have never been interested in alcohol, and probably never will. I am here to try to give an unbiased opinion and be a champion for freedom. I believe that this topic parallels the contraception battle on the capital. In both cases, the targeted demographic has been ignored. Women were ignored in the special House committee and guest panel; teens, in this debate.

    I am fervently against parents giving other kids alcohol for parties for the purpose to be “the cool parents” or trying to live vicariously through their kids. It is despicable. These parents only cheapen and tarnish my hope of a reformed culture. Despite the belief of many, I believe a relaxed alcohol policy is the best policy. Laws like the Social Host Ordinance merely target the effects of underage alcoholism, not the causes. We need to reform the culture.
    I, an opponent to repetitious laws or wasteful writing, believe they already have the tools to eliminate parents giving alcohol to minors. Coupled together, the National Drinking Age Act of 1984 and Article 20 Section 22 of the California State Constitution forbid adults to “sell, furnish, or give” alcohol to people under 21. In addition there are California penal codes in place to enforce the law. Why add more cumbersome and meaningless legislation? Why not use the tools we already have?

  13. Macklin Thornton

    Continued…

    To eliminate teen drinking, the City of Laguna Beach should not be in charge of finding alternate activities for teens; however, I think that they should stop restricting teen activities. The city should encourage and help schools, private companies, and etc. support activities for the teen age group. I have several friends who love downhill skateboarding and fishing. When the city constricted these activities, what was given in return? Nothing. The city continuously restricts its youngest citizens without allowing alternatives. Teens, wanting something to do on a weekend, found their alternative: alcohol. One solution is encouraging live music downtown. One thing teens enjoy, in addition to most adults, is music. Allowing bands to play in town encourages local musicians and gives teens an alternate activity other than drinking. In addition, the hosting store gains advertisement.

    Historically, the synthesis of targeting the effects and the tightening control over a problem only counter the desired goal. When the government constricts a group of people, those people will fight back. During the prerevolutionary years in America, Britain’s Navigation Acts only encouraged smugglers, one of which was John Hancock. In the case of the 18th Amendment and Volstead Act, government mandated prohibition only fomented an underground bootlegging market, which resulted in a huge loss of taxpayer money. In both cases, the restricted people found a way around the regulations. Today’s topic is no different. Constricting alcohol consumption will only create higher demand for it in addition to new ways to circumvent laws.

    Above all, teen alcohol abuse is a trust problem. If parents worry about their kids going to a party to drink, it is a reflection on their own parenting. Worrying about their kids at parties shows the parent’s fear that they failed to help their teen. It sounds harsh but that is the truth. The worry also conveys a lack of trust, which is the antithesis of the desired teen-parent relationship. Trust can be created through talking with the teen openly. One goal the coalition advocating the SHO presented was to “reduce access to alcohol.” Although this solution appears reasonable at first, reducing access only increases alcohol’s scarcity, which heightens its demand. Therefore, I offer a counter solution to this ordinance. Drinking is something that should be discussed openly in a family setting. This teaches teens how to drink responsibly. Drinking with parents cancels out the need for teens to binge drink because they no longer fear alcohol’s scarcity. Thus, I advocate the “Italian and French system” where parents drink with their kids.This system is advocated by John Cloud from Time. He chronicles “Psychologist Stanton Peele who wrote in his 2007 book that “When alcohol is presented as impossibly dangerous, it becomes alluring as a ‘forbidden fruit’ … The choice between abstinence and excess is not a good one to force on children.”” In North Carolina, professor Kristie Foley discovered that “kids whose parents gave them alcohol for parties were more likely to binge-drink.” However, “if kids actually drank with their parents, they were about half as likely to say they had drunk alcohol in the past month and about one-third as likely to say they had had five or more drinks in a row in the previous two weeks. As Foley and her colleagues wrote in a 2004 Journal of Adolescent Health, “Drinking with parents appears to have a protective effect on general drinking trends.””

    I beseech the city to at least entertain this idea. The citizens of Laguna will see a new youth that are more responsible and trustworthy. The solution is not more government; rather it is getting parents and the PTA involved. This is a family issue, one that cannot be resolved through creating a generation of sheltered kids that later become reckless urchins. To clarify, the Social Host Ordinance can help make irresponsible parents accountable and responsible; however, it does not curtail underage drinking.

    For those who took the time to read my rebuttal to Ms. Dolphin, thank you. I apologize if I appear to be engaging in ad hominem; however, I am merely trying to provide constructive criticism.

    “This letter is longer because I did not have the time to make it shorter” ~Blaise Pascal

  14. Adam Redding-Kaufman

    Mary, I would really encourage you to “rebut” the points that you think you can. It would help our argument, this discussion, and our cause. “The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him or her to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” -Friedrich Nietzsche. The best arguments are often made in the face of opposition. If you express your counterarguments, everyone here can better shape their opinion as long as we all remain levelheaded.

    When it comes to your comments on alcoholism, I can completely agree. It also runs deep in my family. In the beginning of my life, I watched my grandma decline in her alcoholism. At 5 years old, I watched my grandmother take her last breath because of alcohol related causes. As a psychiatrist, my father has a job that specializes in alcohol abuse. I can agree with you that alcoholism is a horrible, complicated disease. The worst part about this ordinance is that we will have to choose which is worse. In my opinion, the unintended consequences (which are actual results that came from research of consequences from the SHO) will be much worse than the hypothetical decrease in alcoholism (which is very, very hard to be tested to see if the SHO had any relation to it whatsoever). The reason I shaped this opinion was because I put research into the positive effects, as well as the negative effects. The negative effects seemed to be much worse than the positives.

  15. Mary Dolphin

    Hey Dave
    I was pretty sure you were going to say what you said about Pinochet and Chile.
    I’m not at home or I’d refer you to a scholarly, non biased account of what most lIkely happened in 1973.
    Without references at hand I suggest you read what you can find that Henry Kissinger said on the coup.
    Our country was complicit in both the overthrow of Allende and the democratically elected president of Iran some 20 or so years earlier.
    Those are the most well known. According to the history book on latin America that I have, eventually, after 17 years in power Pinochet allowed free elections. As of then, it is estimated his regime had tortured and murdered over 11,000 dissidents. Basically by the time he step slightly aside, the opposition was devastated. The democratic life of the peoPle of Chile was destroyed and the economy that replaced it was a very individualistic, every man for himself economy. The upper classes won. Everyone else sunk. Also, midway through the eighties I believe, the copper Mines were nationalized as we’re the banks. It was definitely not free market capitalism.
    (got to go….. )
    Mary

  16. Mary Dolphin

    Hi Dave,
    It would be more correct to say that our country was complicit in the overthrow of Allende in 1973. I refer you to anything that Henry Kissinger said on the subject of the coup. It seems pretty clear just from his comments that we were deeply in support on many levels of the overthrow.
    Pinochet did step aside somewhat after 17 years in power in 1990 I believe but that was after decimating the opposition and democratic culture, that favored a more egalitarian economy.He stepped aside when it was clear that the upper classes on whose behalf he was operating had firmly regained power. The upper class benefitted from the overthrow, the common man sunk. The economy began to perform better but the copper mines, a major source of wealth were nationalized as were the banks. This was not free market capitalism and it wasn’t democracy.
    A social fabric means free people, freely supporting each other and each others’individual and common interests. A social fabric that is knit together with the blood of the people who dissent from the powers that be isn’t the fabric of democracy; it’s the net of totalitarianism. I just don’t think you are going to find any scholar of history or political science that is going to put de Toqueville in a philosophical bed with the Emir of Qatar.
    “Our liberties came from dictators and totalitarians”. What are you saying?
    George Washington,Thomas Paine, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison.. these guys were dictators and totalitarians….. Dave….. you’re driving over that cliff again! And at the bottom of the chasm is where you say the benevolent dictator form of government might be the way to go. What?
    The Emir of Qatar is the absolute authority over a population of several hundred thousand people. He is basically, since he is a descendent and member of the Al Thani’s a legal mafia capo- these people own this country. It is theirs’s. The people who live there are their subjects.I frankly can’t see how anyone who believes in civil liberties could rub petro greased elbows with oil soaked emirs. It gives me the creeps. The common man and woman in the middle east is fighting back. Like I said in my letter, the emirs and monarchs talk it up as a public relations ploy. They have no intention of willingly handing over the reigns of power to the people, I mean the subjects.
    For the sake of the kids who care about this, I regret being somewhat flippant in my letter. Actually I would have said something similar to what was in my letter to my son but in a more open and thoughtful way and my son respected my opinion because it was given as an opinion. I was anything but an authoritarian parent. And in my letter, I never say I believe that the kids should be denied the right to protest. I totally believe in protest anywhere, anytime. Protest can get a little chaotic and I’m not sure that jibes with your well run kingdom idea. There’s a little contradiction there.
    I said nothing about a better society either. I support a community coming together to strengthen social norms. Shame is a powerful inhibitor. Adults who even think of permitting alcohol in their homes for the consumption of minors, or who are the least bit cavalier about teen drinking should feel paralyzed by shame at the thought. By the way, my imaginary son was about 15.By the time my son was 18 that bird had flown the coop.
    Thanks for your response. This was fun!
    Mary

  17. Mary Dolphin

    (Sorry about my redundancy above. I did’t know my iphone submission went through)
    Adam,
    Thanks for asking me to rebut your points in order to strengthen you arguments and add to the conversation. It’s so great when people can have different views and positions and politely and respectfully share them and hopefully go from thesis to antithesis to synthesis. That’s the best way to know which direction to go in.
    Sometimes you and your friends, like me I suppose, write things that I don’t understand, that either aren’t clearly written or contradictory or just not comprehensible. I’d like to see a very simple outline; one column of potential positives, one of potential negatives and then some supporting data accompanying the points.A lot of the discussion seems to me based upon conjecture- my own included.
    Here though is something I’d try to rebut and do it without data because I don’t have any. I’ve tried to imagine a couple of scenarios. 1: three kids are at a friends house, the parent is out and one of the friends drinks to the point of unconsciousness. I just can’t fathom the other two looking at their comatose friend and debate whether or not to call 911. How would that go? Friend A: hey look, oh no, Johns totally comatose. He’s hardly breathing. We’ve got to call 911. He might die!!” Friend B: Wait! If we call 911 your folks might get fined $750.” Friend A: You’re right. Let’s not call”. So is the choice between whether to possibly save a life or save someone’s parents a $750 fine? That’s the part I just don’t get. Is that really how it goes?
    All for now. But thanks again for inviting me to participate further in the conversation. Do realize though that I was being a bit flippant in my letter and clearly I’m not prepared to make more thoughtful comments.
    Thanks and thanks for sharing your personal experiences. I think that’s what makes anyone’s arguments more compelling.
    Also, again, I’d say your folks are very lucky to have such a thoughtful son. Might even tell them I said so!
    Mary

  18. Adam Redding-Kaufman

    More than likely, in that situation 911 would be called because those friends care about each other. However at a party, you must realize that there is a lot more going on. Judging by other ordinances, to identify that intoxicated minors are at the party, police will have to make sure to ID and breathalyze at least three minors. This essentially means that police will be more aggressive when they show up at these parties because they need to “catch” three minors. With added consequences to partying, people will continue to party, but will fear the police and their consequences more. So, when someone passes out, there is almost an unintelligible line of what is “too much”. Because teens fear these added consequences, they develop an attitude of “Oh he’s fine”, “I’ve seen someone twice as drunk turn out ok!”, “he can sleep this one off”. It’s not that they don’t care about saving someones life, it’s that they don’t let the thought that this person could die enter their conscience in the first place-they convince themselves that everything is ok.

    This “hypothetical situation” is not made up. When Santa Barbara passed a Social Host Ordinance they noticed that reports of alcohol poisoning and overdose decreased (http://www.dailynexus.com/2010-06-03/social-host-ordinance-produces-unintended-consequences/).

    The SHO undeniably has positive results, I just fear that the negative results are much worse. If you are interested in positive/negative results, Ventura published their research of the after-effects of an SHO. I am actually somewhat reluctant to post this link because of the extreme bias that lies in the authors diction. Please focus on the statistics, more than the “analysis”. The numbers speak louder than words in this case. Anyways, Ventura’s ordinance did show that it was harder to get alcohol after the ordinance was passed. However, look at the statistics, police reports for “parties” INCREASED in all three cities, yet ER visits DECREASED in all three cities. This was a FLAGRANT piece of data that was ignored by reviewers of Ventura’s Social Host Ordinance. (http://www.evalcorp.com/publications/VCBH_SHO_Impact_Evaluation_Report_FINALv2.pdf)

    This ordinance turns the youth away from going to adults for help. If more and more restrictions are placed on teen drinking, teens will fear the consequences of their drinking, regardless of the danger they are in. This is already shown through evidence; I have also seen similar results myself.

    I have only dipped my feet in the ocean. I could discuss various, dangerous unintended consequences almost indefinitely. It’s been a pleasure to inform you Mrs. Dolphin.

  19. David Vanderveen

    Mary,

    I appreciate that you have opinions. Saying that the US supported Pinochet’s coup d’état is very different than saying that the CIA overthrew Allende. Yes, we had a battle ship off the coast, but I think you also have to agree that it was mostly an internal military coup, not an American exercise.

    For more information on what I appreciate about Chile, I point you to a good friend’s wiki page, who was also one of the ‘Chicago Boys’ of Chile, Jose Pinera: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Pi%C3%B1era. I’d be happy to bring him to Laguna for a discussion of Chilean history and more importantly, how best to organize and run social security programs around the world (his Chilean program has been an economic miracle that has been replicated in 30 countries).

    A social fabric has to be developed before liberty can succeed and grow. A major oversight in American foreign policy of the past decade was Rumsfeld’s view that if we simply liberated a country, peaceable free elections would follow, like we had in America after our own revolutionary war. What he missed was that you have to have a fabric like we had BEFORE the Revolutionary War for the liberty to work AFTER the liberation. The Bolshevik Revolution or Jacobin Revolution are other examples where the lack of a fabric to support the liberty ended in what the Plato considered the worst form of government–the tyranny of democracy without rights for individuals, better known as mob rule.

    What Pinochet and the Emir both understand are that a fabric is required for liberty to flourish. Pinochet built an amazing platform for liberty that has been the bain of left wing social communism in Latin America–it works better and has been the model of how to manage a country in that region. The Chicago Boys persuaded change and did it voluntarily, without the boot of Pinochet in most cases.

    The Emir is spending massive amounts of money on education in Qatar–it is the #1 government expenditure. Women who work for Sheikha Mozah (the Emir’s wife: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozah_bint_Nasser_Al_Missned) are not allowed to wear the burka and the World Cup in 2022 will require more liberal laws around drinking and other social behaviors in the country among other reforms. Qatar is progressing towards liberty and the Emir is driving that vision for his people while avoiding chaos and destruction.

    What is surprising to me is that we feel that we need more laws to combat underage drinking in a small town like Laguna Beach. Our police have enough laws to fight underage drinking already, and the correlation between the “problem,” which is based on a California Healthy Kids questionaire that our kids admit they mess around with, is the sole basis for the PTA and School Board advocating stronger police powers.

    Simple questions, like: Do we have a big problem with high school students and DUI in Laguna Beach? or, Do we have a big problem with high school students and Minor in Possession in Laguna Beach? are unasked and unanswered. It certainly does not appear that we do from a poll of high school students and parents or from police blotter searches.

    The SHO proposal is akin to Mayor Bloomberg’s 16 oz soda ban. It’s a ridiculous over-reach from city leadership that somehow think more power and a stronger police state–that unwinding the liberties of families and homeowners–will somehow improve our life here in Laguna Beach and solve problems.

    Dictators can move culture because they control so much of what occurs in a kingdom. Democratic leaders cannot. In a democracy, culture leads and government follows. 55 mph speed limits don’t work, because people don’t drive 55 and don’t think they should. Prohibition didn’t work when my grandparents were kids because people didn’t think that they shouldn’t not drink. Anti-drug laws don’t work, because too many Americans think that they should be able to use drugs and will find ways to buy them. Passing a law doesn’t change the practices of a people.

    What the city and school have right now are engaged students who want to discuss and debate the proposed public policy. THAT is exactly what a public school in America should be supporting, engaging and encouraging. It’s exactly why we do have public education–to empower better citizenry.

    It appears from your later commentary that you do believe students should be engaged on this issue as you applaud them for their discussion. The only way for this city to get students to change behavior and be more responsible with alcohol is to work with them, not fight them. I cannot imagine a better way to develop our own local social fabric than to engage in direct conversations with our local youth and young adults, research what the real problem is and test and implement solutions that actually work.

    I’m pretty sure the most effective solutions will be those that are arrived at in agreement and implemented mostly by students themselves.

  20. Mary Dolphin

    Hi Dave,
    Thanks for the views you shared and your basis for holding them.
    Im sure our opinions won’t change too much on the subject but I respect that you went to the trouble to clarify how and why you believe as you do.
    I guess I’d have liked your essay more if you had focused more on just the SHO here in Laguna without bringing the whole other topic of democracy in the Arab world into the discussion.
    I want to think more about the points you’ve made before responding but that will have to wait for now.
    Thanks
    Mary

  21. Mary Dolphin

    Adam,
    Youve shown that you know the material, that’s for sure.
    I wish I was at my computer at home and had time to put into the discussion but won’t be back in town till next week.
    Thank you for informing me.
    Mary

  22. Mary Dolphin

    Just read again the longest posts. I agree with many of the criticisms of my writing but I’m glad I wrote what I did. I think its so great to know that you all who are against the SHO actually have put quite a lot of thought into this. If my “attempt to impress” failed, it at least provoked some great discussion. I hope lots of people read your posts and give as much thought and study to this as you all have.
    Thank you much.
    Mary

  23. LB Working Dad

    Mary, as you love to quote the idea that Salvador Allende was “democratically elected” , he was not, he was bought and paid for the soviet union and eastern bloc, then literally shoved down the throats of the Chillean people,,,, as was Pinochet was bought and paid for by thed U.S…. your flowery image of a brave latin democrat is a bit fuzzy. i suggest you try reading more history books than watching msnbc,,, you can start by reading the autobiographies of the peopole that lived it.

  24. LB Working Dad

    Mary, i was also curious, since you strongly disagree with the use of drone strikes and sureveillance in general, what is your stance on President Obama’s use of drone strikes (of the 300 drone strikes since 2004, he has personally authorized all but 32). do you plan on protesting this and his failure to close Guantanamo (as he promised in his 2008 campaign), his troop surge in Afghanistan, and his continued use of the domestic surveillance package he inherited from pres Bush? the left is oddly silent on this.

  25. Mary Dolphin

    Hi LB Dad,
    I’m guilty of shorthand pronouncements no doubt that signal my political outlook- saying “democratically elected” is like that.
    So the situation was complex. From a brief scan of a book
    called ‘Hostile Intent: U.S. Covert Operations in Chile’ I realize that it is simplistic to say that. (It seems from what little I have read so
    far plus the reviews on Amazon that it is a very scholarly, well researched and even-handed history of the events). I’m a little confused by your reference to Pinochet, sorry. I don’t know why people need to get so testy just because they disagree! I hate MSNBC, I’m more of a Naom Chomsky kind of liberal, and I don’t like to watch much television at all. Reading more history books? Now thats a great suggestion. I don’t have a flowery image, also, of a brave latin democrat although I suspect that he probably was somewhat brave. He killed himself rather than be taken prisoner.”Give me liberty or give me death!”? Or maybe he was just depressed. Someone said, and it was meant to be derisive, that he was a Marxist. As a working dad I think the two most basics tenets of Marxism might appeal to you. (And this is about the extent of my knowledge of Marxism)They are, that the workers, the people who produce should be both the owners of the means of production as well as the recipients of the benefits. Also, a famous quote is “From each according to his ability and to each according to his needs” Now isn’t that nice?
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Mary

  26. Mary Dolphin

    LB Dad,
    I am not disappointed in “the Left” because I haven’t had
    high expectations from what is refered to as “the Left” since just before Bill Clinton, and after Clinton, I had even lower expectations.
    I will not vote for Obama. I wasn’t disappointed in him because I had no
    expectations of him. I don’t know why people on “the Left” are unwilling to go after this administrations failures. I recommend
    a great book by Roger Hodge called the Mendacity of Hope: Barak Obamas
    Betrayal of American Liberalism. And betrayal it is.
    I don’t protest anymore. I think it’s a waste of time.
    Mary

  27. LB Working Dad

    Mary, great comments, i look forward to reading more,,,you are obvioulsy well read and a good free thinker.

  28. Mary Dolphin

    Thanks! Hardly a better compliment than that!
    Mary

  29. Michael Massaro

    Mary, I have to admit, you know we don’t always agree on everything – but in this little debate, you’ve been a class act. Topics like the ones here can get pretty nasty. Thanks for taking the high road. bravo. =)

  30. Adam Redding-Kaufman

    After reviewing my research, I made a mistake in analyzing Ventura County’s data. I am clarifying my data just in case anyone draws off of this discussion in the future. Calls for party disturbances increased in Camarillo while alcohol related emergency room visits decreased. This potentially shows that teens are less likely to go to adults for help when they are intoxicated. In Thousand Oaks and Ventura, calls for public disturbance increased while alcohol related emergency room visits increased. This shows that people consumed unhealthy amounts of alcohol regardless of the SHO.

  31. Mary Dolphin

    Thanks Michael! What a nice surprise to see your name here! You know I’ve learned the hard hard way how much can be lost by taking the low road and how much can be gained by taking the high road. Thanks for your compliment. As time passes, wounds caused by alcoholism can heal; misunderstandings can be corrected and
    hopefully something good can be salvaged from the wreckage as it fades away. Again, so good to see you posted here! Hope you post again.
    Mary

  32. Mary Dolphin

    P.S. Michael,
    A little history to make things clearer: We were all young and we had a mutual friend, way, way back then, whose mother, Val Greenwald, an extremely dysfunctional and lonely person, would keep her cupboard liberally stocked with Red Mountain wine . Her favorite thing on those summer nights was to ply the kids who gathered at her house, including a very important person we both know, with as much Red Mountain as all could consume. It was so tragic to watch and I was so helpless to stop it. I knew it was the start of a road that would lead to a tragic ending even then.
    Thanks again for writing.
    Mary

  33. BikeWorldUSA Bicycle San Francisco Jersey

    I love it when people get together and share thoughts.
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