To the editor:
It was unfortunate that Brown County commissioners did not support the Social Host ordinance. I think there was a lot of confusion as to what it was and wasn't. The ordinance is another tool that law enforcement has to control underage drinking. There already is a law about furnishing alcohol to a minor, this extends that to providing the place to drink it. It makes adults responsible for allowing and promoting alcohol consumption on their property.
The ordinance isn't about imposing a fine on people who are not at home when a party might occur or expecting them to control a large acreage where a party might occur. It is simply this... the law says it is illegal to consume alcohol if you are under 21 so if you provide liquor or host a place where minors can drink, you are promoting illegal activity.
It felt like the commissioners were siding with rural constituents who were saying that they didn't want anyone tell them what they could do on their property. But if it's illegal, it's illegal... property ownership doesn't make them immune to the law. It would seem the job of our commissioners is to support our legal system and its laws and not allow "safe places" where laws can be broken.
You may disagree about the age at which it should be legal to drink by allowing minors to drink on your property. If that is the case, work on changing the law. Allowing underage drinking isn't something you can decide on, it's the law no matter what opinion you have.
As director of United Way, I work with a number of youth organizations that promote legal, alcohol-free activities as well as teaching responsible citizenship. There can be no better way to teach our youth than to set an example that reflects the law of the land.
United Way Director