Houston Chronicle Sunday
Councilman’s business ticketed for selling alcohol to minor
Boehme says he made mistake in figuring age
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.
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.