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Calif ABC tries to sneak through a big new bureaucracy: Deconstructing the failure to disclose or inform

The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has launched a major initiative without proper notice to the public or the industry according to San Francisco Attorney John Hinman.


In addition, a Wine Industry Insight examination of archived ABC web sites could not locate  any mention of LEAD during site captures for the month of August. The LEAD notice was allegedly available August 9, (PDF Download)  but was not readily available, prominent or easily located on the ABC website.


While LEAD is now mentioned in a website drop-down menu, it was absent on that same menu during the month of August. Screen captures of the site are available further down in this article.

Hinman raises the issue

A post on the Hinman and Carmichael web site charges that,

“A proposal is in the works to create a massive ABC bureaucracy collecting personal data on every person in California who works in the alcohol sector of the hospitality industry.

“The new rules will require scientific training of every server before being allowed to pour a glass of wine, and mandates hundreds of changes to current industry customer service practices.”

Further that post notes that:

“The 2017 Responsible Beverage Service Training Act, effective on January 1, 2020, has a laudable purpose: to train servers in the state in how to spot signs of intoxication and prevent drunk driving.

“Unfortunately, the ABC didn’t get around to releasing the details of how the Act would be implemented until August 9, 2019, six weeks ago during the summer vacation season.

“This was while the state wine industry was in the middle of preparing for harvest and the hospitality industry is in its high vacation season.

Inadequate disclosure

No communication or notification was made to ABC licensees via email or regular post.


In addition, an examination of the ABC web site demonstrates that the proposed regulation, comment provisions and comment deadlines are not mentioned on the ABC’s News release or its Industry Advisories pages.


Indeed, the only apparent mention of the proposed regulation is buried in small  type (Under “education”) on the ABC home page and assumes that the program is already in operation Register for LEAD (Licensee/Server Training).

September 23 Screen Capture

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 6.20.34 AM


Hinman is urging licensees to request that comment period be held open.

He said that comments can be sent to  to request additional time for comments.


The comments must be received by the deadline: noon TOMORROW (Sept. 24)


More information:

Deconstructing a failure to communicate


Logging on to the 2019 captures of the ABC website at Archive.Org (aka. “Wayback Machine) reveals that —that ABC made no mention of LEAD or any comment period.


While buried in a drop-down menu, any notice of the regulations or the comment period would not be apparent to a visitor looking for new developments.


In most cases, the entire web pages are captured below to allow the reader to view the absence of notification for the LEAD program even as less important topics are given prominence.


August 9, 2019 Alcoholic_Beverage_Control_Trust_-_Innovation_-_Professionalism_-_2019-09-23_08.48.41

August 24, 2019


In addition, clicking on the “Regulations and Rulemaking” drop-down menu for August 24 …

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 9.35.21 AM

…yields nothing.

Actually, the link defaults back to the August 7 site capture because does not index a page which has not changed since its previous archive.

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 9.41.28 AM

Note: does not capture every site on the internet every day, so they don’t have any captures between Aug 9 and Aug 23.

However, a September 3 site capture is no more revealing.


Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 9.02.11 AM