Houston Chronicle Sunday

Coun­cil­man’s busi­ness tick­eted for sell­ing al­co­hol to mi­nor

Boehme says he made mis­take in fig­ur­ing age

- By CAROL CHRIS­TIAN West University, TX · Michael Ross

In Texas, a mi­nor’s driv­ers li­cense is printed with a ver­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tion that puts the bearer’s photo at the bot­tom.

Adults are is­sued li­censes with a hor­i­zon­tal ori­en­ta­tion, photo on the left or right.

West Uni­ver­sity Place Coun­cil­man Ge­orge Boehme says that’s a use­ful tip he learned from the Texas Al­co­holic Bev­er­age Com­mis­sion agents who doc­u­mented his sell­ing beer Sept. 2 to an un­der-age cus­tomer at Ed­loe Street Cafe and Deli.

The res­tau­rant at 6119 Ed­loe St., where Boehme is a coowner, re­ceived a ci­ta­tion.

Ed­loe Street Deli was one of about 20 stops that day in a TABC sting, said Sgt. Gabriel Ramos of the agency’s Hous­ton of­fice.

When a young man came in about 7:10 p.m. to buy a beer, Boehme said he looked at his driv­ers li­cense but did the math wrong and sold him the beer af­ter con­clud­ing he had reached age 21.

Boehme said the res­tau­rant was un­usu­ally busy that Thurs­day and he had been called back to help af­ter go­ing home for the day.

With the in­ci­dent still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion Tues­day, Ramos said he couldn’t pro­vide de­tails about it or say whether a vi­o­la­tion was com­mit­ted.

A vi­o­la­tion by a per­son would be a Class A mis­de­meanor, pun­ish­able by a fine of up to $4,000 or a year in jail or both, Ramos said.

In the case of a busi­ness, an ad­min­is­tra­tive vi­o­la­tion can re­sult in a penalty rang­ing from a warn­ing to can­cel­la­tion of the al­co­hol per­mit, Ramos said.

The agency typ­i­cally tries to set­tle cases out of court, he said.

“The TABC’s goal in any case is vol­un­tary com­pli­ance,” Ramos said.

In 2½ years at the deli, Boehme said it was the first time he’d needed to ask for any­one’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion be­cause no one else un­der 30 had tried to buy beer or wine.

In a writ­ten state­ment Sept. 3 to City Man­ager Michael Ross and the City Coun­cil, Boehme said the mat­ter re­in­forced the need for any­one sell­ing al­co­holic bev­er­ages to “be for­ever vig­i­lant be­cause good in­ten­tions alone will not keep al­co­hol out of the hands of mi­nors.”

Boehme’s state­ment also said all Ed­loe Deli man­agers would re­ceive in­struc­tion on iden­ti­fy­ing un­der­age driv­ers li­censes, in­clud­ing the post­ing of the birth date (be­fore this date, 1989) of some­one who’s at least 21 years old.

Mayor Bob Kelly said the city takes very se­ri­ously the mat­ter of sell­ing al­co­hol to mi­nors and ap­pre­ci­ates the TABC’s en­force­ment ac­tions.

“Any place in West U. that serves al­co­hol needs to go that ex­tra mile and make sure they don’t put al­co­hol in the hands of mi­nors,” Kelly said.

carol.chris­tian@chron.com

Vin­cent Markesino is a $5,000 grant fi­nal­ist for Pepsi Re­fresh Project’s Do Good for the Gulf Pro­gram.

Markesino plans to cre­ate a free mu­sic camp for chil­dren in the Texas Gulf area. Camp DJ VTEC would teach 25 chil­dren ages 10-17 how to cre­ate and record demo tapes and mar­ket their mu­sic through so­cial net­work­ing web­sites.

He is among 32 fi­nal­ists an­nounced in the Do Good for the Gulf pro­gram in which Pepsi is in­vest­ing $1.3 mil­lion to fund ideas that help peo­ple and com­mu­ni­ties in the Gulf states in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

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