Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Klein, Crespo Call for Tough New Laws Aimed at Curbing Alcohol Sales to Minors

  Amid a startling new report that uncovers the extent of underage alcohol sales in the Bronx, Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo called on the New York State legislature to quickly pass several tough measures aimed at slashing alcohol sales to minors. On Monday afternoon, New York State Governor Cuomo and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) released shocking results from a seven-day sting operation targeting underage alcohol sales across New York City conducted earlier this month.

More Bronx retailers were caught making underage alcohol sales during the sting operation than any other borough. According to the SLA’s report, 26 different Bronx retailers sold alcohol to minors.

The lawmakers called for passage of their legislation while standing outside of one of the accused retailers, a Rite Aid Pharmacy at 1710 Crosby Avenue in the Bronx, joined by Community Board 10 President, John Marano, the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnernship Executive Director, Frances Maturo, Skyview Wine & Spirits Owner, Gary Wartels, and Owner of McCabes Wine & Liquors and President of the Retailer’s Alliance, Jeff Saunders.

Both lawmakers believe that curbing the use of fake IDs is the key to the key to slashing illegal sales. Their legislative agenda, known as the Card Hard package, focuses on reducing the use and effectiveness of fake IDs at New York retailers. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo signed a Klein/Crespo bill increasing the penalties for using a fake ID.

Senator Klein said,  “Illegal liquor sales are putting our children’s lives at risk each and every day. If we’re serious about stopping this problem, we need a comprehensive approach that makes fake IDs too easy to spot and too costly to use. We have the technology to stop underage sales—now we need to get it into every retailer across the Bronx.”   

Assemblyman Crespo said, “Underage drinking poses a serious problem facing our communities. Federal government research into underage drinking tells us that last month alone 26.4% of underage persons ages 12 through 20 used alcohol and binge drinking among the same age group was 17.4%. Alcohol use remains extremely widespread among today’s teenagers with nearly three quarters of students (72%) having consumed alcohol. Among underage drinkers, 30.8% paid for the alcohol the last time they drank.  It is obvious that New York needs to do more to eliminate fake IDs as a tool available to our youth for accessing alcohol."

The Card Hard package would:

  • (S.7126) Incentivize beverage retailers to purchase scanning devices by enabling store owners to purchase an ID scanner (at a cost of $300-$800) in lieu of paying a $2,000 or $5,000 fine. 
  • (S.5668) Legalize the confiscation of Fake IDs by store employees.
  • (S.4102) Strengthen defenses for businesses that use scanners and employ best practices.

The following Bronx stores were caught by a State Liquor Authority sting operation:

· Oneida Grocery, 4201 Oneida Avenue
· MMJ Wine & Spirits, 4251 Katonah Avenue 
· Katonah Family Grocery, 4293 Katonah Avenue
· NI Liquors-4024 Boston Road
· Live Lovely Liquors & Wines, 3491 Boston Road 
· Deli N Grocery, 1724 Bussing Avenue 
· 7 & 7 Grocery, 857 E 241st Street
· Lexus Deli Grocery Store, 4052 White Plains Road
· Abrahams Middletown Wines & Liquors Inc., 3001 Middletown Road
· Genovese Drug Stores, d.b.a. Rite Aid Pharmacy, 1710 Crosby Avenue
· Silver Deli Grocery, 1497 Williamsbridge Road
· Genovese Drug Stores, d.b.a. Rite Aid Pharmacy 2748 East Tremont Avenue
· Shop Smart New Orleans Mini Market LLC, 2542 E Tremont Avenue 
· MLS Deli Grocery Corp, 2550 E Tremont Avenue
· Family Deli & Lotto, 2463 E Tremont Avenue 
· 892 E Tremont Liquors, 892 E Tremont Avenue
· King Deli Express Grocery, 920 E Tremont Avenue
· Family Grocery, 919 E Tremont Avenue
· 885 E Tremont Deli Corp., 885 E Tremont Avenue
· Tremont Gourmet Deli & Grocery Inc., 851 E Tremont Avenue
· Ralphys Deli Grocery, 676 E 180th Street
· Bella Deli, 671 Kelly Street 
· Roxy Grocery & Convenience, 935 E 163rd Street
· Torres Food Market Inc, 841 Dawson Avenue
· Waseem Deli Grocery, 865 E 167th Street
· Salcedo Grocery & Deli, 1318 Lafayette Street


Left - Senator Klein speaking about the problem of underage drinking, and the new regulations.
Right - Assemblyman Crespo voices his concern about the underage drinking problem.

Left - Community Board 10 Chairman John Marano thanks Senator Klein for his concern of the problem of underage drinking.
Right - Mr. Gary Wartel liquor store owner representing the owners who have refused to sell to underage youths says that those merchants who sell to underage youths give a bad reputation to all merchants.

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