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Six clerks cited in alcohol sting

Original post made on Sep 23, 2011

An underage alcohol sting led to citations being issued to clerks at six local businesses for selling alcohol to minors after a decoy operation Thursday night.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, September 23, 2011, 1:16 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 23, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Good enforcement effort.

I worked behind the bar in a restaurant for a bit back in college, and carding was routine; but when things got really busy, you could probably slide in under the radar if you were on the mature side. With this in mind, I wonder if operations of this sort avoid rush times at restaurants or if the bee backs off when the liquor store clerk is obviously running hard.


Posted by chris, a resident of Del Prado
on Sep 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

wow get a life pleasanton cops. theres plenty of more important things you could be doing.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Thank you for a job well done PPD! BUSTED! HOORAY!

Posted by Peter Malloy, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

@ Chris- What do you suggest the police spend time working? Look at the bigger picture my friend; The issues are not necessarily a minor having one drink. It's the underage drinker having too many drinks and possibly getting into a car and driving. It's the businesses that have served the underage drinker now being sued for the underage drinkers mistakes.

That's why the police conduct operations like this. Good job again PPD.

Posted by Andy, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 24, 2011 at 1:21 am

I witnessed one of the violations. The decoy 'looked' 21 and she sat at a table with the menu. The bartender took her order and was cited for not carding her but she was never given a drink. When I saw her, I actually walked in right behind her, she looked mid 20's easy. I also spoke with another bar manager at another establishment and one of the decoys was using a fake ID and was turned away. I think it's a good reminder to these establishments to ID everyone. In todays world a 15 yr old can look 21 so the eyeball test is no longer valid!

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 24, 2011 at 1:39 am

Really Andy? What establishment was that that said they used a fake ID? Doubt you'll name that.

The decoys aren't allowed to use a fake ID and must say their true age.

Where did the decoy sit down for a drink at? Are you going to name them too?

Good job PPD and ABC! Some of these places were well known to be selling to minor for awhile.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 24, 2011 at 3:33 am


Your example brings up an important point. Operations such as this should not use decoys that might look to be over 21 to the average individual. If they are looking for establishments that serve underage patrons, the decoys should look underage.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 24, 2011 at 5:40 am

Chris, your jab at PPD on this blog was a fail. ABC handles this type of enforcement. They likely notified PPD and asked for their assistance while they did compliance checks. And if the Special Enforcement Unit went out there.... they were likely living up to their name as members of the Special Enforcement Team! Get your facts straight before posting something like that. I bet all the uniformed cops were doing more important things, hence the reason the specialized unit handled this.

Good job PPD!

Posted by Guest, a resident of another community
on Sep 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Half of these establishments I use to go to before I was 21- they all served me without ever IDing me. Glad they finally got caught! I think the worst on the list is Fernandos, then Fiesta, and then Albertos. Any person in their 20's/30's that grew up in Pleasanton most likely has been to one of these places and drank before being 21. I'm in my 30's now and remember a friend and I drinking at Fernandos because she wasn't 21. One of the bartenders would sit outside and smoke a joint once in a blue moon.

I saw a guy from Alberto's on the news this morning, stating that it's a family establishment. Um, since when is yelling drunk men at a tv screen considered family establishments? And I've seen a balloon lady before making balloon bra's and other sexual figures for patrons. Albertos being a family establishment, I think not.

Posted by Peter Malloy, a resident of Birdland
on Sep 24, 2011 at 9:32 pm

@ Andy- Really bad example, my friend. Good Job PPD!

Posted by Randy, a resident of Mission Park
on Sep 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

The younger residents will be offended by this type of enforcement, but the parents of those younger residents will be pleased with the enforcement. Actions like this save lives in the long run, like one person stated here it just may prevent someone from driving drunk, or maybe being intoxicated enough to make poor choices and find themselves in trouble.

I am glad that Pleasanton PD takes the time to be involved in these programs!

Posted by Another Mother, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2011 at 1:43 am

After having raised 3 kids (all over 21 now, thank goodness) my experience has been that kids get alcohol from their family's liquor cabinet. I don't see Meiko's as being a place where kids flock to get a drink. Or Alberto's either. Really. The whole thing seems weird.

If the cops want to really do something truly effective, they could survey the shoulder-tapping that goes on outside liquor stores and slap parents with fines when their kids have parties (with all that that alcohol from the family cabinets....) Most of the alcohol is taken from the family or, given freely.

Posted by John, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 25, 2011 at 7:15 am

"Pleasanton police news release said, adding minimizing alcohol sales to minors creates a safer environment for minors as well as for the rest of the community."

I'll add that minimizing alcohol sales to majors creates a safer environment for minors as well as for the rest of the community too. By the way, since when is a 19 or 20 year old a minor? Some of these people have risked life and limb to preserve our freedom. The have put themselves in harms way so that the terrorist can't destroy our way of life. Also, have a look at statistics. An drunk eighty year old is a greater danger than a drunk 20 year old behind the wheel. Maybe we should ban sales of alcoholic beverages to people over 70. Maybe we should ban sales of alcoholic beverages period. Food for thought.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 25, 2011 at 4:35 pm

It's illegal to drink and drive.

If you gotta drink, take along a non-drinking friend to do the driving.

Consider not driving and drinking at home.

drunk is drunk...others are at increased risk no matter your age...too many people lose their lives due to drinking...

Just because one has served in the military doesn't give that individual permission to put the lives of others in harms way.

I've reported others to the law if I know their names and I know that they have been drinking and/or drugging and driving. I don't care who it is. Too many innocent citizens have lost their lives due to intoxicated drivers.

Don't look to me for sympathy. There is no argument that will ever convince me that it's cool to drink and drive...tee hee hee, tee hee hee...

Posted by pull the license, a resident of Downtown
on Sep 25, 2011 at 6:22 pm

"Operations such as this should not use decoys that might look to be over 21"
In a word -- bull$%#@!
Of course they should use people who look older. That's the point. If the bar or liquor store does not check ID, no matter HOW old they look, the law has been broken.
Good job to the enforcers. I only hope that all of these places lose their liquor licenses permanently.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 25, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Pull the License,

Is the purpose to ensure that the establishment cards every patron, or is it to catch and punish establishments who intentionally serve minors?


Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:19 am

It is the responsibility of the ABC to enforce the Alcohol Bevrage laws of California. Period. Most of these establishments are not selected randomly. They have been reported as selling alcohol to minors. Without documentation they can go on selling alcohol to minors. This is one of the only ways to document the selling of alcohol to a minor. The clerk and the stablishment are subject to fines and possibly suspension and revocation of their liquor licenses. This should not be a surprise to any liquor license holder. It is the law.

Posted by Robert, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:24 am

Pull the license,

Are you kidding me?

It is illegal to sell liquor to anyone who is under the age of 21.
Not to someone who looks under the age of 21.

And the license owners are very aware of this law and the ramifications of breaking it.

Posted by Tango, a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Sep 26, 2011 at 9:57 am

I know that this started out as a story about underage drinking, but young people who drink when younger than 18, may succumb to being an alcoholic as they get older. Just such a person killed a very dear friend of our family and left a very big hole in our hearts. Great job Police people.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 11:22 am


The law is pretty clear - it is illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is under 21. It says nothing about if the person looks 21. Selling alcohol is a privilege not a right, and the businesses are responsible for their actions. Nonetheless, the decoy law says the decoy must appear to be under 21. None of us here knows what the decoys looked like so that's for the courts to decide.

Remember when those Livermore bars (Livermore Saloon and McKays I think?) sold to the underage? One of the underage drinkers ended up killing three people. Those bars faced large fines and issues with their licenses. These places in Pleasanton should be happy they were caught before something more serious occurred.

Another Mother,

Have you seen Meiko's at closing time on a Friday or Saturaday night? There were often 50 or so high school and just graduated high school aged persons standing outside. I bet that won't be happening anymore.

They should be happy they were caught by the police on this go around before someone was killed.

Posted by Lugnut, a resident of Danbury Park
on Sep 26, 2011 at 11:38 am

Pull licenses and place a sign in front of their place of Business stating they soild to miniors. They can have the right to appeal. On another note those that frequent the Jelly Donut, observe how often the till is not rung up. Thdrawer is open and never rung up unless you ask to be receipted. Violation maybe?

Posted by ?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Lugnut - Given your previous posts, you are either part of the police department or have friends there.

If you think something illegal is happening at Jelly Donut, why aren't you turning them in or investigation?

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

report submitted...

Posted by Another Mother, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Um...I think the kids were going there to eat. It is a restaurant.
I don't think 50 kids were planning on getting a drink there.

I don't have my head in the sand...I know too well that underage drinking is rampant. But after years of having teenagers, my experience has been that they get their stuff from home. You have to put the alcohol in a locked cabinet (and swallow the key :) Well, not really, but you need to hide that key really well.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 26, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Overzealous enforcement is bad policy: it violates the intention of the law and creates the impression that the enforcement agency is engaging in a shake-down, which creates resentment and a deterioration of the respect the public has for the law and law enforcement.

If your goal is to identify and punish establishments that knowingly serve minors, then use decoys that look underage rather than decoys who look to be of age. Using decoys that appear to be of age does not identify individuals who are knowingly serving a minor. It identifies individuals who think they are serving an adult; and these are not the people you are after.


Posted by a mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 26, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Many establishments have "if you look under 30..." or "if you look under 40..." I hated being carded - wasn't the case where I grew up in Europe returning here at 23 (at the time 18 for beer and 21 for liquor). People said be happy you look young. At 35 I wasn't - I did wonder why. The last time I was 40 and my companion was 35 or 36 looking older than me (she was coming home from a funeral.)

Yes, most kids get liquor from their parents (often opened bottles contain the same liquid content - water.) We had a talk with our kids. The liquor now stays the same proof. No, it is not under lock and key. For our neighbors they quit drinking when their kid started.

OK the PPD went after the establishments. Worried about under age drinkers (19 is not a minor) - have PPD stop and breathalize under age drinkers who they think are drinking. That's an infraction or more. Such drinking can even impact the driver's license. It does not matter that the person is far away from a car. Please let's not go there! That's like San Diego which puts more emphasis on illegal drinking than stopping crime especially around campus. PPD should be emphasizing patrols on Vineyard and around the Stoneridge area - areas that keep appearing in the PW in the Police Report section. I'd rather have safe neighborhoods than worry about a kid drinking.

Posted by Ben, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Sep 27, 2011 at 1:02 am

Mom, did you not read the above comments? ABC handles this stuff, not PPD. Any cop cant just stop random under age drinkers and have them blow. They need a lawful reason to request that unless it is by consent.

Correct, it does impact their license IF convicted but dont make up your own laws and put them on here. In order to be cited for driving with a blood alcohol over .01, they have to be driving. It is a vehicle law. Any random kid on the street who blows over .01 cant have his license suspended. He or she has to be driving. The only thing that could happen is booked for drunk in public or minor in possession.

My info source? Brother is a DUI attorney.

Lastly, you suggest that cops breath test under age drinkers? But you also put you want them to focus on driving around instead of worrying about underage drinking? Which one is it?!

And I would be willing to bet the cops are already 2 steps ahead of you on patrolling problem areas.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 27, 2011 at 3:00 am


What proof do we have the person looked over 21? None. Even if we did the places still sold to someone who is under 21. The goal isn't to stop places that "knowingly" serve to people under 21 - the goal is to stop places that serve to people under 21 knowingly or not.


I say a great deal of crime is a direct result of alcohol use (fights, stealing, etc). Alcohol makes people do things they wouldn't normally do.

Posted by Mike, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Sep 27, 2011 at 7:05 am


I disagree. I feel that the purpose of the law is to deal with individuals and establishments that knowingly and willingly serve minors.

Tricking bartenders and waiters into serving a minor by sending in a decoy that any reasonable person would eyeball as of-age is horribly wrong.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Sep 28, 2011 at 1:31 pm

entrapment happens...

Posted by Jack Fuller, a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 15, 2011 at 1:45 am

I suppose that businesses are now responsible for raising other people's children. Good job PPD!

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