Harsh? Maybe. But measures needed
With school starting today, many Sonoma State University students consider the Rohnert Park City Council a buzzkill for having doubled the penalties for rowdy off-campus parties. But the truth is the council was justified in taking such strong action.
According to the Public Safety Department, during the eight Augusts from 2005 to 2012, officers responded to a total of 741 complaints about out-of-control parties. Over the course of eight Septembers, the responses was 746.
That alone shows the previous rules on rowdiness weren't really sufficient. And when the council discussed urgency measures last week, it had plenty of anecdotal evidence to work with as well — including personal stories from council members themselves.
The ordinance, which was adopted as an emergency ordinance and took effect immediately, doubles to 120 days the penalty for rowdy parties. The penalty for breaking the ban is a $500 fine.
Harsh? Maybe. But it's already clear that some people didn't get the memo. Just a day after the new rules were passed, two Sonoma State University students were taken into custody on charges related to obstruction, public intoxication and resisting arrest.
One woman was even arrested on suspicion of “felony lynching.” Yes, that's defined in the California Penal Code as “the taking by means of a riot of any person from the lawful custody of any peace officer.” Apparently police believed that was warranted because one of the women allegedly tried to prevent an officer from arresting the other. That particular charge was dropped on Friday, but even so, that part of this story still deserves a thumbs-down.
A cork in the fundraiser
Do it yourself. The hands-on approach is so popular that it's got its own cable channel. Organic gardens. Holiday crafts. Beer and wine. Some of these projects were on display at the fair. But if you're a home vintner or a home brewer, the state is drawing the line at philanthropy.