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Filed by
Carla Virga
October 05, 2016
Compaining of
Public Employee
Yuba City
Short Description
Yuba City (Darin Gale) Discrimination Against Local Merchant Kumar Kairam

With no city ordinance preventing sales of single 16 oz. beer in Yuba City and without going before the Yuba City Council, Interim Development Services Director, Darin Gale, prevented Kumar Kairam, the owner of Yuba City’s Washington Market, from selling single 16 oz. beer like other Yuba City merchants.  He is not restricted from selling packs of beer, wine, or hard liquor.

Kumars customers, who are able to purchase 16 oz. single cans of beer at nearby stores, have requested the 16 oz. singles at his store; but his off-sale general license issued by the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) has an operating condition limiting the size of single sale containers. The condition states beer in containers of 16 oz. or less cannot be sold by single container. The other stores do not have this restriction. In response to his customers’ requests, Kumar petitioned ABC to modify this condition on his license to instead specify that single cans in 12 oz. or less cannot be sold individually.

ABC notified the neighbors and the City in order to determine if there were any objections to granting his request. There were no objections from neighbors or from the Police Department. However, the interim Development Services Director at the time, Darin Gale, sent a letter to ABC stating “the City does not support the proposed modifications. Specifically, the City does not support the modifications of items 3 and 4, which changes the size of containers alcoholic beverages can be sold in a single or individual serving.”

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Following notification by “the City” that “the City” would not support modification of the license to change the size of containers alcoholic beverages can be sold individually, ABC then notified Kumar via email of “the City’s” opposition to his request, stating:

“On July 2, 2015, I received a letter from Yuba City Community Development stating they are opposed to your request for modification of conditions 3 and 4 regarding single sales and size of containers.”  

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Jason Rikard, a candidate for Yuba City Council, heard of Kumar’s plight and rallied supporters at Kumar’s Washington Market in August 2016. The video was posted on Facebook’s “Jason Rikard for City Council 2016.”

Jason met with Darin Gale and Arnaldo Rodriguez and held another rally at Washington Market on September 3, 2016, where he updated the supporters.

Rather than accept responsibility and admit their roles, “the City” (Arnaldo Rodriguez, Yuba City Development Services Director, and Darin Gale) dug in and continued their false narrative laying the blame on ABC. Rodriguez sent a letter dated September 2, 2016, to Kumar stating:

“At this time, City staff is not in favor of supporting any modifications to the existing ABC conditions given that per ABC records, there were two violations of existing conditions, one of which occurred in 2012 while the other was in 2015"

Darin Gale and Jason Rikard were interviewed by Lou Binninger of Lou's Saturday morning radio program "Live with Lou." Rather than accept any responsibility, Gale claimed it was ABC preventing Kumar from selling 16 oz. single beer.  He even suggested Kumar reapply and pay another application fee.  Good luck finding the fee ABC will charge for the modification:


Again, the statement is made that it is "the CITY" not supporting the modification:  

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For clarity, here are the further facts with regard to the violation Arnoldo is referring to in 2012 and 2015. According to the ABC.CA.GOV website, the violations on Kumar’s license are in reference to Section 23804 of the Business and Professions code, which states:

23804. A violation of a condition placed upon a license pursuant to this article shall constitute the exercising of a privilege or the performing of an act for which a license is required without the authority thereof and shall be grounds for the suspension or revocation of such license.

The violations stemmed from the very reason why Kumar is requesting the modification. In both, a fine was assessed; however, ABC did not suspend or revoke the license. It is common practice for vendors to stock their items in stores according to sales trends. As a result, the beer stockers, not knowing the conditional limitation of Kumar’s ABC license, stocked the 16 oz. beer in his store -- because the same item was being stocked in all the other stores and is a popular seller.

The violations would not exist if the City would agree to the modification of his license to allow for the sale of the 16 oz. single.

Arnoldo stated he is denying his support of the modification because of the violations that occurred as a direct result of the very same City-imposed condition Kumar is asking to be removed. The very reason Kumar was subjected to a fine was because “the City” will not allow him sell the item in the first place -- typical government run-around.

YES, IT IS THE CITY (EXECUTIVE STAFF) – NOT THE STATE (ABC). According to all documentation, it is not the state that opposes the requested license modification. Documentation proves it is “the CITY” opposing Kumar selling 16 oz. single beer.

The 16-oz Beer ‘Nazis,’” an article written by Lou Binninger, was published on the front page of the September 7, 2016 edition of the Territorial Dispatch, stated, in part:

Kumar Kairam, the owner of Yuba City’s Washington Market is a victim of regulatory abuse. He decided to add alcohol sales. The state’s Alcohol Beverage

Control (ABC) and Darin Gale, the city Community Development Director, concurred but Gale objected to the sale of single 16oz cans of beer. Gale says Kumar can sell a 24 oz. single, but not a 16 oz. Selling 16 oz. ‘singles’ is bad for the neighborhood according to Gale. Kumar’s store is in a residential area. There was no ordinance, no public debate, just Gale’s perspective and ruling.

Kumar says another store one block away across from a park and apartments sells ‘singles.’ This smells of crony capitalism, a government via arbitrary rules and regulations creating winners and losers.

A popular request of customers, Kumar says he is the only store forbidden to sell 16 oz. singles. He is losing business while trying to put three kids through college.

“Where are your 16 ozers?!” He then has to explain over and over a rule that makes no sense to anyone and refer patrons to the store a block away. Kumar pleaded with the city to reconsider, making numerous trips to City Hall to find someone to listen. A year passed, but he heard nothing.

The ABC and the chief of police have no problem with him selling 16 ozers. City officials said they tried to call him to convey their decision... “No 16 ozers for you!” However, no one took time to stop by for a visit.

Yuba City council candidate Jason Rikard heard about Kumar’s plight. Rikard organized a gathering at the market. A video of the event made it to Facebook to inform the public about the government abuse.

Rikard says, “It has nothing to do with beer, but with the arbitrary decisions of city government. It was neither a city council nor the people’s decision.” Rikard argues that the ‘singles’ issue is another example of a government gone wild, interfering with our personal freedoms.

Kumar Kairam is the poster boy for hard work and determination. After arriving here, he worked the fields and then minimarkets. Eventually he could afford his own store. His most difficult challenge turns out to be government. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Yuba City executive staff is restricting this one business from selling an item other businesses are allowed to sell, and apparently they are standing firm with this decision. We hope our elected City Council members support equal opportunities for businesses and will reverse this discriminatory, tyrannical decision.

Steps Taken

At 9:15 a.m, October 4, 2016, in an effort to determine and report whether Darin Gale acted alone or had the support of anyone within Yuba City’s administration at the time he wrote his June 9, 2015, letter to ABC opposing Kumar Kairam selling  single 16 oz. beer, I telephoned the “Administration” listed on Yuba City’s website. No one answered, and the call went directly to voicemail, where I left my name, telephone number, and short message. Thusfar, there has been no return telephone call.


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