San Luis Obispo Council votes for youth curfew

May 4, 2011

San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 Tuesday to make it illegal for minors to be out late at night.

The curfew, sought by Police Chief Deborah Linden, makes it illegal for minors to be in public places without an adult from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and from midnight to 5 a.m. on weekends.

Eleven exceptions include going on an errand at the direction of a parent, attendance at school or religious events and emergencies.

Minors found breaking the curfew face fines of $100 and/or 10 hours of community service for a first offense, a $200 fine and/or 20 hours community service for a second offense and a $250 fine and/or 25 hours of community service for a third offense. After that, Christine Dietrick, the city attorney, said minors can be prosecuted for a misdemeanor.

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Well here’s some irony for you; all of you who having been the most upset at “Constitutional Rights” being violated should perhaps actually READ the Constitution; with that suggestion, here is a passage: “Certain of the above rights are restricted, or “disabled”, for minors, but the definition of who is a minor and the extent to which each of these rights are disabled for minors, is limited to the jurisdiction over which each government has general legislative authority, which for the U.S. government, is “federal ground” (see below). Minors are the only class of persons whose rights may be disabled without a need to justify the disablement as arising from the need to resolve a conflict with the rights of others, either through statute or due process. The disablement consists of the assignment of a power to supervise the exercise of the rights under the headings of “liberty” and “property” listed above to a guardian, by default the parents, who acts as agent of the State for the purpose of nurturing the minor. The disability is normally removed by statute providing for removal when a certain age, such as 18, or condition, such as marriage, is attained. The disabilities of minority can also be removed earlier by court order or, if statute allows, extended beyond the usual statutory expiration by court order in cases of incompetence. The right to vote is not included among the disabilities of minority, but is defined separately by law, so that removal of the disabilities of minority does not in itself affect having the right to vote.”

Now, if you doubt me that this is from our US Constitution, here is the link dealing with Constitutional powers and rights. Basically, a minor has no claim of “rights” unless they are emancipated, which is addressed in the ordinance. Please explain to me then how “unConstitutional” this ordinance is. It may seem like it is, it may send a confusing message to minors, but think about how it was when you were growing up; were you able to “do” anything you liked? It wasn’t just your parents that controlled what you could or could not do, it is also the law.


Oh I feel safer already.

The reason given for this draconian rule is that this new ordinance is going to combat truancy? So, you are assuming that if kids are home in bed this will automatically cause them to return to school?

What a bunch of idiots! ( is that over the top?) What is it that you are really worried about? vandalism? Just be upfront with us.

Anyway, seems like the city is really focusing on all the important issues to help this city recover. ;)

Justified and supported because it follows the same basis that allows restriction of Teen Driver Licenses.

But this ordiance creates a separate jurisdiction which allows probable cause to protect youth as well as fines to penalize youths and parents for revenue and spite.

There is a good and a bad about it. And I have always said that it is what one makes of it (selection process and training of officers being critical) that will later be perceived as proper or abuse.



The goals of enacting a curfew are reasonable. But I’m uncomfortable with the message that the curfew sends. I don’t feel that a LEO needs an ordinance to check on someone who looks like they’re up to no good. I feel that parents should be making the deadlines to be at home, not the city council.

You’re right, the parents should be making those deadlines,,the key word is ‘should’.

I just learned that the curfew law was CRAFTED by none other than San Luis Obispo police Chief Deborah Linden!


We have been in a police state for some time now. I am reminded of that this allergy season when I am subjected to providing all of my information just to get a perfectly legal medication (because it contains pseudoephedrine), so that I can be tracked. California Peace Officer’s Association is responsible for that gem, which apparently had NO IMPACT WHATSOEVER on production of methamphetamine. They are still trying to get pseudoephedrine taken off the market altogether. If that were to happen, you would likely see me turn into a violent resistor out of self defense, because me no like when I can’t breathe, and that is a cruel cruel fate for them to be indifferent to.


Do you really think the politicians or even city/county board members “craft” laws? Seriously? It’s always staff. I’d bet Chief Debbie even farmed out much of it and just put her name on the submittal to the council.

It’s like saying Congress makes laws! They just pass them (rubber-stamp-like, often, sometimes along party lines). There is no way any one person could do all that work – our tort system is screwed up beyond useful so that it’s basically impossible for any one person to draft any legislation on their own.

Still, your point is valid, if not slightly off the mark: Debroah Linden is as much a concerned citizen as anyone who wants a law created/changed/eliminated. We do need to trust the police force to be somewhat expert in certain areas. The check-and-balance is that the work is reviewed and passed (or not) by a representative citizen body (which it was).

Good for Deborah for taking the interest to do this (it is her job, like it or not); BAD for the council for passing it! (I don’t like the idea of curfew, etc.) I’m not holding anything against anyone, sometimes bad laws get passed, and what is bad in one person’s eye is good in another’s. Here the system worked, just not to the majority’s (here, anyways, it seems) liking.

I emailed John Ashbaugh to ask him about his vote on this, and his response was very informative. He mentioned that there were members of the school board who wanted this ordinance to combat truancy. I mentioned to him my concern that this ordinance could give the police too much authority to stop and question anyone and he too is concerned about abuse of the ordinance, but if you really stop and think about it, what business does a teenager (or possibly younger) have being out after 11 pm alone? One could argue that a sixteen or seventeen year old could have a valid reason for being out, and that is addressed via the various exceptions. I get the underlying concern about a “police state” and government having too much authority so I am almost of two minds about this ordinance; in the end I think that so long as the police are not distracted from “real” law enforcement problems in enforcing this ordinance, and there isn’t abuse, then the ordinance should be a solution that helps keep teenagers from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Please, think about it; if your kids or grandkids are out and about between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am and they don’t have a valid reason for being there, what is wrong with a police officer asking them why they are out?


Councilman Ashbaugh, last night, made one of the most offensive comments I’ve heard yet– one of the “exempted” activities is being on the sidewalk in front of your own residence. Ashbaugh had concern that some youth live in large apartment complexes with lots of adjacent sidewalk–he was concerned that this might allow them “too much room to move about”. That–to me–is incredibly offensive.

Second, I greatly abhor the mindset that a 3rd party gets to decide if a person is within “valid reason”. Your assertion that a person may not have a “valid” reason for being out takes away their freedom and makes it subject to your judgment and values. Just the same, this horrible ordinance gives every police officer the discretion to decide what is “valid” for other people. We simply don’t do that in America! (except that we do).

This doesn’t come down to what you consider right for your kids or grandkids. It comes down to whether youth have freedom and rights that are not subject to police whimsy the same as any other citizen.

And that doesn’t mean an officer cannot ask what kids are doing, look out for them, and otherwise give them a lecture. It just means police don’t get to force citizens to conform or cite people that aren’t doing anything illegal. This criminalizes the act of simply being free and about. It’s very wrong.

Excellent reply slorider!

@bobfromsanluis – giving police to stop and question people is less intrusive on freedoms than not letting people out of their homes after a certain time. A cop can ask me all he wants, I’ll tell him whatever I want. While I’d not want questioning, I’d much rather NOT have anyone’s freedoms completely impaired. I understand where you’re coming from, but for me, it is not worth the loss of liberty to have curfews.

The arguement that just because curfews were done back in the day and are still in effect in some communities today does NOT make it right!

Remember when the country was first formed RENTERS could not vote and WOMEN didn’t get the right to vote until the 1920’s!

So basically if you live in SLO and you are under 18 then you better not go outside during CURFEW (except for the 11 exceptions) or risk being arrested by the police! If this is not NAZI Germany all over again I don’t what is!

FYI to all SLO minors… get together and form a religious group called “Church of the Night” were you worship at ANY time of day or night at any public place you so desire!. I believe the United States Constitution trumps the San Luis Obispo City Council!

This is no big deal. I grew up in South Cal the 60’s……class of ’67

We had a curfew……………..10PM if you were less than 18

Government was smaller then, so that arguement carries no weight.

So government cannot be intrusive if it is smaller? Yikes.

Me too and IMHO, if a curfew is mandated it should be in the south county and Santa Maria. That’s where the bulk of juvenile gang activity takes place. How about all those late night “hate crimes”?

If you area teen and out after dark you had better be on your porch or doing homework…

I’m with you Paso Guy, I don’t get all the up-roar. Curfews have been around for a long long time and they’ve done nothing but good. I’ve never heard a parent complain about curfews before this article. Frankly I’m blown away at how far backwards people are willing to go because they’re so paranoid of losing their freedom. This entire argument of theirs is absolutely ridiculous. We need laws, and regulations because some people are just too stupid or/and too irresponsible to live without them, that’s just the way it is and the way it’s always been.