Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Izzo Reiterates Opposition to Underage Drinking Ordinance

To the Editor:

At the Jan. 12, 2005, Board of Selectmen meeting a “sense of the meeting resolution” on the underage drinking ordinance was discussed. That simply means the Board of Selectmen has no legal authority to vote on such a ordinance only the RTM can legally implement it.

Because of my apparent lack of support, [First Selectwoman] Diane [Farrell] asked that I attend a forum on underage drinking before taking this SYMBOLIC VOTE. I did so on Wednesday.

For the public record, I am holding to my original position and do not support a new underage drinking ordinance for some of the following reasons in no particular order of the importance:

1. The police did not request this ordinance.
2. The PTA maintains a neutral position and did not endorse this ordinance.

Basically, this ordinance would allow the police to enter private property and ticket underage drinkers. If that drinker is under 16 he (she) must pay a $90 fine and must go to juvenile court. If over 16, pay a $90 fine only. No court appearance.

Here is a possible fallout: Perhaps only one or two children are drinking—do the police ticket everyone? Most likely, yes. So certainly innocent kids will be ticketed. A record will exist and newspapers may print their names if 16 years of age or older.

I have not seen any police records that indicate any frequency of such parties. Ordinances on the books already allow any adult to be ticketed for serving minors. The key words here are PRIVATE PROPERTY and POLICE POWER

I could go on at some lengt, but I see no need. My position remains the same, “parents should parent and police should police.”

When my sons were growing up my wife, Joan, and I had a curfew for the boys. It, of course, grew later as they grew older, but we always made sure we were awake when they came home. I’ll bet the same tactics will work today.

In my view, we shouldn’t be in any hurry to turn our parental responsibilities over to the police.

Selectman John Izzo
Westport

2 thoughts on “Izzo Reiterates Opposition to Underage Drinking Ordinance

  1. IF parents were actually mindful of their responsibilities, perhaps we wouldn’t need to amend the existing ordinance. When I was growing up, I didn’t have a curfew. But I did know that if I broke the law, I would have to suffer the consequences. This applied to breaking the speed limit as well as to drinking without my parents’ permission. Most of those who oppose the amendment to the ordinance simply want their children to be able to continue to break the law without the threat of legal consequences. Would these same parents suggest an end to speeding tickets as well so their precious darlings could speed with impugnity?

  2. The Drinking Ordinance:
    To Endanger and Disengage the Underage

      It is evident that the recent underage drinking ordinance that has been introduced by the town of Westport has caused a substantial amount of controversy since its implementation. In recent years, as the prominence of underage drinking has become more apparent, it has become inevitable that a serious piece of legislation cracking down on underage drinking, such as this new drinking ordinance, would be established, widely supported, and eventually carried out by local authorities. However, as the extensive negative effects of the ordinance have begun to spring up through the roots of a confined and frustrated youth, it has become clear that the same mothers, fathers, and staunch adversaries to the presence of underage drinking in Westport are not truly looking out for the best interest of the underage, and should quickly rethink their position in regards to the best way to oppose underage drinking.
      The drinking ordinance has now given Westport police the authority to enter onto private property, ticket drinkers who are underage, provide those over sixteen with a ninety dollar fine, and those under sixteen with a juvenile court date for appearance. The ordinance also provides those caught drinking underage with a record of the arrest and a print up in the newspaper. Long gone are the days when parents allow their kids to have a few friends over to drink a few beers and have a barbeque in the sanctity of their own homes. The high school house party has become nearly obsolete for fear of the effects of this ordinance. Although Westport parents and members of the community would be thrilled to know that their children now fear having house parties, most adults are too naive and ignorant to notice that by eliminating the casual get together or house party from the lives of underage drinkers, they are nearly ensuring that their children become exposed to the numerous dangers from binge drinking, like alcohol poisoning and hospitalization.
      As kids become more and more frustrated from a lack of drinking and partying in a social setting, there is a greater inclination to participate in intense binge drinking before large social events like proms and community dances like the

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