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A curfew's coming to SLO

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Better be home early kids, or the bogeyman will get you. Actually, the cops will.

The San Luis Obispo City Council voted 3-2 at its May 3 meeting to impose a curfew on unaccompanied minors. Starting in early June, anyone younger than 18 out on the streets between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on weekdays, and from midnight to 5 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights will be subject to a fine. SLO is the last city in the county to enact a nighttime curfew for minors.

Violators will be fined $100 and/or assigned 10 hours of community service for a first offense, $200 and/or 20 hours for the second, and $300 and/or 25 hours for the third. Parents who “knowingly permit their minor child to violate the curfew” are subject to the same penalties.

Councilwoman Kathy Smith voted against the curfew, saying the penalties were too harsh. Councilman Dan Carpenter also voted against it, pointing out that only 20 minors were arrested in SLO in 2010 during the hours the curfew would be in effect. He said that little of the troublesome nighttime behavior affecting the quality of life in SLO has to do with teenagers.

“My biggest concern is with those over 18—not the under 18s,” he said. “My feeling is this is a matter better handled by parents.”

Only one audience member present at the meeting was young enough to be affected by the law, and he was eager to say what he thought of the curfew.

“I don’t think it’s up to the City Council to tell us what time to go home or when to go to bed at night,” said Peter Lee, 17, who came to meeting with his mother. “It’s our parents’ job to do that.”

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