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Brighton Center bar to Cleveland Circle students: Stay the hell away

A crackdown on underage drinkers in Cleveland Circle has sent the fake-ID crowd outward in Brighton, forcing bars that want no part of them to step up their ID checking.

The news came too late for Porter Belly's, on Washington Street in Brighton Center, which found itself before the Boston Licensing Board this morning to explain why police snared two underage drinkers there one night in September - one of whom needed a ride down to District D-14 after he allegedly tried to evade a police detective asking to see his real ID, not the fake license in his wallet.

Porter Belly's manager Sean McCormack told the board he and his small staff were overwhelmed on Sept. 10 when a huge number of young people suddenly showed up - an apparent overflow from a welcome-back-to-school event at another establishment in Brighton, he said.

"We've never been this overwhelmed in a single half-hour period," he said, adding the two people - one with a Bud Light, the other with a rum and coke - did show IDs, which turned out to be fake.

McCormack's lawyer, Carolyn Conway, said the bar has been around for nearly two decades serving mainly the working-class men and women of Brighton Center, and wants no part of the younger crowd forced out of Cleveland Circle by a police crackdown. The pub has never catered to college students and "we want to stay that way," she said.

McCormack and Conway say the pub has taken a number of steps to keep students - especially the younger ones - away. McCormack said he's purchased a $985 license scanner and bright LED flashlights with which to peruse IDs particularly carefully. All of his workers underwent re-training in recognizing fake IDs and people too young to drink.

Also, they said, an extra staffer has been brought on for the Thursday-night entertainment. And the pub has gone with "softer" music for Thursday-night entertainment, of the sort that might send the younger set elsewhere.

McCormack said that since the incident, he and his staff have confiscated 25 fake IDs.

Board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini told BPD Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey that the hearing was, in a sense, proof that efforts to curb underage drinking at Cleveland Circle bars are working. Mulvey acknowledged that in 12 years, he had "never seen this type of crowd" at Porter Belly's. "This was something different for them."

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take.

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Comments

One of these days, we'll just make the drinking age 18 so we can stop all this nonsense.

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to stop all this nonsense. What we need to do is to hold the individuals responsible for their actions, and stop making excuses to haul establishments before the overbloated and needless bureauracy we call the Licensing Board.

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No I agree with MostlyHarmless. We need to lower the drinking age.

You're old enough to remember when it was 18 roadman.. the only reason it was raised was due to a few people who complained enough about it (i.e. Tipper Gore). And there's virtually no reason for it at all. None.

Lowering it to 18 would stop most of this nonsense. I hate to break it to folks, but the 18-21yo crowd is still drinking regardless of what the law says. All it takes is someone over 21 to head to the store for them. Yes I know it's illegal, but doesn't stop many people. All the law does is just create MORE bureaucracy that is really not needed.

But I'm also apart of the crowd that says.. if you can vote and serve your country, there's no reason why you can't have an alcoholic beverage too.

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I hate to break it to folks, but the 18-21yo crowd is still drinking regardless of what the law says. All it takes is someone over 21 to head to the store for them. Yes I know it's illegal, but doesn't stop many people.

It also means that they are "pregaming" in secret, in ways that are unregulated by those around them, in amounts far larger than if they just had a farking beer!

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Yes I agree with this statement also.

Lowering it would allow for drinks to be purchased at bars legally. And give the staff the right to shut people off. But right now, the 18-21yo crowd, gets shitfaced before going into a bar because they can't drink. Then the staff has to deal with them (and probably get cited anyways by the board), when in reality.. if they could just drink IN the bar, the staff can shut them off before this happens.

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I was 19 when they raised the drinking age in this state, so I remember it well. The main argument used was not to stop college aged persons from drinking, but to keep alcohol out of the hands of high school students. There were 2 proposals.One was to raise the age to 21,while grandfathering in current legal drinkers. The other was just to raise it to 19, with no grandfathering. Neither proposal would have affected me. However, they ended up compromising on raising it to 20 with no grandfathering, so I lost my right to drink for 6 months. I had a friend who could legally drink for one day, then was banned for almost 2 years. I'm sure there were others who had been drinking legally for almost 2 years, yet could not for one day, before being legal again.

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First job I got when I came to Boston at 18 was at a liquor store. Guess where me and my friends got our booze? Made me a lot of friends too....
I think technically any state can make the age 18, they just lose all federal highway funding, meaning millions of dollars. I might be mistaken on that...
US territories for instance, have drinking ages of 18. Virgin Islands, etc...

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That's much sadder then that no one will drop the age over 8%....

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Completely agree. In Sweden, they allow people to drink in bars at 18, but they are not permitted to buy alcohol to take home unless it's the 2.5% "Folköl." I believe you have to be 20 to buy harder stuff to bring home, otherwise you're drinking under the watchful eye of a bartender.

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What we need to do is to hold the individuals responsible for their actions

Yes

stop making excuses to haul establishments before the overbloated and needless bureauracy we call the Licensing Board.

Kind of agree. I'm pretty critical of the board at times, but this is definitely something under bars' control (as opposed to someone randomly deciding to jump into the harbor without any warning).

We don;t need to lower the drinking age

We live in a country where 18-20 year olds can have an impact on ours laws and leadership, and can stand on the front lines to protect these laws, leaders, and the country itself, but can't have a drink. One where they can start accumulating student debt that they'll never be able to repay, but can't drink to forget it. One where, by current standards, a Bud Light is more dangerous to this age group than guns or cigarettes. Bud light being terrible aside, something has to give.

We should probably lower the drinking age, or raise the voting/enlistment/loan eligibility/smoking/gun permit ages.

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...that would eliminate jobs the require zero skills (including hack cops).

The taxpayers suffer again by paying for all these welfare, jobs programs for uneducated males.

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Or much care about enforcement of things like fire-exit laws, I guess.

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Oh, yes he does!!! Also, the town is overrun by those post-graduate Beckys and Brohs who are still acting like their in school. Look at the lines on West Broadway outside Lincoln any Thurs, Fri or Sat night.
Yuppies, not so much.

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Why is enforcing the drinking age such a high priority here? Don't we any have real crime to deal with? (maybe not?)

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So, drunk driving isn't a 'real crime'? People DIE because of drunk drivers. Underage drinkers get behind the will and kill innocent people. Is that not real enough for you?

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Drunk driving is bad regardless of the person's age; you don't really have a point. Why not set the drinking age to 80 if having one above 18 helps so much?

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No thanks. We don't need to encourage the under-21 set to drink and drive anymore than they already are!! Check yourself.

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Back in the 70's, they lowered the drinking age to 18 and what happened was that the 18-year-olds bought booze for even younger kids. Raising the age of the "under-aged drinkers" was a one justification for raising it again.

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one of whom needed a ride down to District D-14

A trip of roughly 200 yards.

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as a neutral observer of the bar scene who has lived very close to both BC and BU but has zero connection to either school, i think the underlying story here is most bars that have closed or are getting in trouble recently are ones overrun by BC kids, who from many experiences of me and my friends tend to embody the very idea of 'amateur hour' — they travel in huge, insular groups, have remarkably little self-awareness, have lots of parents $ to make problems go away, and cannot hold their liquor. not to say other schools' kids are 'better', but how often do we hear of this type of stuff happening around the Allston/Fenway/Huntington bars?

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As a BU grad, I should jump on the chance to rag on BC, but in this case I can't. My take is that schools closer to downtown Boston simply have more bars to go to. As such, all the BU and NU (etc) kids spread out more than the BC kids who are more limited in where they can go without taking a ride on the T.

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exactly this, students at other schools had more options.

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on the students caught with fakes? I know there are potential felony charges, but does the law actually tend to come down hard in these cases?

Yes, bars should be diligent in checking ID's, and yes, they should face the board (see, I'm not always critical of it) when people slip through the cracks. But the problem is, people will always slip through the cracks, because there will always be sources of "good" fakes, no matter what steps bars take.

Realistically speaking, it'd be nearly impossible to significantly cut out the sources with anything less than a federal task force and a major program, and it's pretty obvious that going after the bars doesn't actually solve the problem, or it wouldn't even be a problem at this point.

That leaves the ID holders. While I'm not saying lives should be getting ruined over a college kid trying to have a night out (assuming that's all the ID is being used for), it seems that the best way to go about this would be to come down hard enough on the people using these IDs to make the risk not worth it.

Of course, exercising some common sense and making the drinking age 18 would probably do the trick too.

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In Brighton Municipal Court, both for being a minor in possession of alcohol and providing fake IDs, one for resisting arrest. I suspect the part about having to check "yes" in a box next to a question about whether you've ever been convicted of something on a job application might be more of an issue than whatever fine they might get.

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How often do these cases end up being plea deals, small fines, stern warnings, or other end results that don't act as enough of a deterrent?

To me, this seems like a cat and mouse game that's never going to end. Students will keep pouring in, IDs will keep being distributed, bars will keep getting caught, new ones will take their place, and the cycle continues.

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Nobody in the history of crime has ever paused to consider the deterrent nature of a criminal proceeding. That's obviously hyperbole, but to say that we need to reconsider the lack of deterrent as a problem is what got us into the "war on drugs" and "three strikes...no, one strike and you're out" and "death penalty". Dealing with a minor charge is a deterrent...if you think enforcement is going to happen. Even just having your night ended early with no reward of sweet alcohol victory is going to be something that keeps you from trying again in the future (we can discuss how it drives drinking underground in a different topic/thread). But enforcement has to be vigilant. Getting caught once a year or knowing that none of your other friends ever get caught lead you to accept the risk. But if the risk is instead a guarantee then *that* is when you think twice about consequences of your actions.

Humans are horrible at judging risks. Probability LARGELY outweighs Severity (although why that is the case is again for another thread and largely unknown by criminologists). So, increasing the severity doesn't dissuade people (I wonder how many people would use a fake ID if the likelihood of being caught was 0.001% but the penalty was death...I bet quite a few).

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let's just stick with the status quo then, right?

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I didn't say that at all. In fact, I believe I laid out what the correct answer is. I just didn't underline it for the reader.

The answer is to attack people's cognitive biases when it comes to risk determination. If they pay attention to probability over severity then attack probability. More cops doing their own ID checks and busting underage kids drinking and bars serving underage kids means more kids ending up with the consequences and more bars losing business on mandatory closing days. If kids start thinking "I know lots of people getting their fake IDs taken" and bars saying "I can't let another underage drinker in here because they're always finding them here and writing me up", then both the kids and the bars are going to straighten up because they're tired of getting caught, not because when they do get caught the bar is losing their liquor license or the kid is going to jail for a month or something.

Attack the probability they get caught and they'll straighten up. The same goes for speeding. You stop speeding in certain places if you know cops are "always at that one spot". The times you then drive there and don't see a cop are less impressive in your memory than the times you go through and see one which reinforces your bias until it just sticks with you that "that's a place where cops like to speed trap". Either way, you start going by there at the speed limit even if the rest of your drive you're doing 20 mph over the limit. And that sticks with you for months if not longer before you start to think they must have "gone somewhere else to trap".

Increase the probability of getting caught, not the severity of the punishment.

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Terrorists use fake IDs, so shouldn't we be concerned?

But, of course, if its illegal aliens using fake IDs, they can't be held accountable and have to be let off easy for merely being "undocumented".

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Because there's a huge problem with a guy mowing a lawn, living his life and minding his own business, and no problem at all with a drunken entitled douchebro out on a spree.

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IMAGE(https://anotherschwab.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/miss-the-point.png)

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...that Cleveland Circle get a good, neighborhood bar? I know suitable locations are scarce, but having lived in the neighborhood for over 20 years, it would be nice to go somewhere for a pint or two close to home. I guess I'll just have to keep walking down to Washington Square. When I was about 40 I had my first and last encounter with Roggies. At the time I lived next door and locked myself out of my apt. I was waiting the hour or so until my wife got home so I figured I would go into this new place for a beer. I walked in and was looking at the taps to make my choice when the owner asked if he could help me. I said I was interested in a beer and he said he wanted to see my license, my MA driver license mind you, and he scrutinized it, walked in the back of the restaurant with it for about 5 minutes, then came out. I asked if there was a problem and he said something like the license didn't look like others. I said it's a MA driver license and I didn't need a beer if he didn't want to serve me. He finally did but it was obvious he didn't want adults in his bar, so he got what he wanted, I never even thought about going back. And the weird thing was he continued to say hello to me when I would see him as I passed by the place. I would just sort of look at him and keep walking without acknowledging him more than brief eye contact.

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Here, have a bank branch and a few nail salons.

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But do they? If 18 - 20 year olds want the drinking age lowered they can do what 18 year olds did back when they could drink and be drafted but not vote. They can get the law changed.

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Remember that the Commonwealth lowered the drinking age to 18 in 1973 in response to public pressure. The rationale was that if you were old enough to vote or carry an M16 in southeast Asia you should be permitted to have a beer.

The age was raised back to 21 by a number of states after it became clear that the lower drinking age was responsible for a "significantly higher number of alcohol related traffic fatalities". BU Today: Alcohol on Campus 10/21/10.

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The problem was the increasing "need" to drive everywhere, not behavior by 18 year olds per se.

The age was REQUIRED to be raised as a result of FEDERAL pressure - denial of highway funds if a state did not comply. Vermont was a hold out, and MA considered holding out, since neither state (at the time) was getting much federal highway funding.

It never had anything to do with actual measured pre- and post-intervention public health or risk analysis surrounding youth and drinking, sad to say. It had a lot more to do with "Just Say No" neo prohibitionism and moralistic pronouncements than any sort of actual data beyond drunk driving issues in states where there are few alternatives.

In fact, the "designated driver" intervention is widely believed to have resulted in the greatest reductions in drunk driving in the period since the threat of withholding transportation funding by the federal government, not the increase in drinking age that put the US on a par with liberal Islamic countries (and way past what other developed western countries set their drinking ages at - 16 to 19).

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the article I cited:
Raising the drinking age to 21 was a choice that was dictated by the research evidence that was coming out of the experiments in the 1970s and early ’80s, when a lot of states switched from having a drinking age of 21 to a lower age, sometimes as low as 18. Researchers took a look at what was going on in those states compared to similar states that had not made the change, and it was very clear that changing the law was resulting in a higher number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities. Based on that evidence, MADD began to push for a uniform age 21 law. Researchers then began looking at the impact in those states that had switched to 21 as they came online, and you could immediately see the benefits in reduced traffic fatalities. BU Today 10/21/10

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In the 1980's people were still resisting seatbelt usage, carseats weren't as standardized, and car designs themselves were more dangerous. Hard to compare then with now.

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That time also saw a sharp rise in the number of young people in the population, and in the number of cars owned by young people. It was an era where people went from having a single family car to a car for each driver, including young people.

It was also an era where disinvestment in public transit was reducing options previously available.

Finally, the issues with the "after" have been raised: seatbelt use, designated driver, etc.

I do outcomes evaluation for a living - this is not a study that has benefitted from the years of understanding of the impacts of concurrent social trends. In fact, it is pretty soundly torn apart in the literature as being poorly controlled for such trends.

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Massachusetts raised the drinking age to 20 in 1980 on it's own. Then a year or so later raised it to 21to be in alignment with the other states.

I am not sure that the reason for changing the drinking age to 21 was based on the highway funds, but more so to not have folks from other states coming to Massachusetts to drink, getting inebriated and then getting on the road for the ride home.

I was in college at the time. Had the 'right' to drink at 18. The age changed to 20; I had to wait several months to be able to purchase alcohol again. Then they changed the age to 21 and I was not legal again for another couple of months. It's all a bit blurry now.......

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How about lowering it to 16?

The way it works now, is that teengaers go to college hundreds of miles from everyone they know and learn to binge drink. They binge drink at parties full of strangers, then return to a dorm full of near-strangers, and hope that if something bad happens, one of those strangers will do the Right Thing and get them medical care, and hope that one of those strangers doesn't do the Wrong Thing and let them wander off alone, die in a pool of their own vomit, or assault their blacked out body.

Wouldn't it be better if teenagers learned to drink around friends they know and trust, where Moms or Dads or trusted older siblings were available to haul someone off to the hospital or monitor someone's sleep once things go south? Where the teenagers have some sort of support network of people they can rely on to help them out when they make a bad choice?

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Where its 15 for beer and wine, 16 for liquor, and enforcement is weak. Generally kids start drinking at home earlier and in social situations with little "newness" effect to go binge. The other thing is that kids have plenty of experience drinking before allowed use of something deadly like a car or motorcycle.

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Don't you know that it's unpatriotic and un-american to make policy comparisons between Europe and America, especially on tractable domestic policy issues like these?

Uncle Sam is crying into his beer right now, all because of you. We didn't win two world wars to start following the examples of a bunch of socialists who think they're better than us with their metric systems and multi-party political systems and renewable energy.

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Germany doesn't have drinking ages, they have purchasing ages (or rather "ages as which it is legal to sell alcohol to someone").
It is illegal for anyone to provide beer and wine to anyone under 16, and hard liquor to anyone under 18 (some exceptions apply when parents are present).
If you're caught with a beverage you're not old enough to have the police will confiscate it but there is no equivalent to "minor in possession" - the cops will make sure it wasn't bought with a fake ID and then go after whomever provided the alcohol.
Also, getting to and fro is typically a lot easier to accomplish without driving, and if you are driving you really do not want to get caught doing so drunk.

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Germany is 16 for beer and wine, 18 for all other liquor... and for driving.

The Czech Republic was apparently 18, but anything goes if your parents are there ...

Switzerland varies by Canton, with some 14 for beer/wine, others 16 or 17.

Canada is 18 or 19, province depending.

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...it is not the case that people, including young people, never drink and behave badly in Germany. But in my limited observation, they do seem to have less of an obsession with tying one on. "Drinking" vs. "getting plastered" is maybe the distinction we need to work on, and there's no age line for it.

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Last night. Rampant sharing of nude selfies by high school and some Jr. High students.

Nobody in the segment questioned how odd it was that one student was arrested and forced to plead out for taking a nude selfie of himself to send to his girlfriend as both the abuser and victim, when he had been regularly getting naked and having sex with his girlfriend perfectly legally!

OK to get naked and have sex at 16 or 17 all you want, just never send a nude selfie of yourself to your sex partner, because that then makes you a felon and sex offender. The picture is so much more dangerous than being there in the flesh according to the law.

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Porter Belly's will probably shutter like every other non-nail or -hair salon business in Brighton Center.

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Recall when that place was the Shamrock in the mid-90's- Place was a bucket of blood and recall reading in one of the local weeklies that they discovered one night that a good % of the crowd in there one night was under 21- and a few under 18

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