Alcohol in YOUR County?
How would YOU vote?
What if it was suggested that you bring something into your town that would be entertaining for lots of people? This would bring lots of money into the town, since people from all around would come to your town to enjoy it. What if you then learned that this exciting new attraction could potentially cause nausea, head and neck injuries, intercerebral anyuerisms, subdural hematomas, seizures, back injuries, arryhtmia, and even heart attacks? What would you decide?
You would have voted against a roller coaster. This is a decision very like the one counties face when deciding whether to allow alcohol sales in their county.
Citizens of the county in which I live were very divided on this issue when they voted over a year ago about making the county wet or keeping it dry. No one agrees on every aspect of it, even now that the choice has been made.
Some classmates and I interviewed several business managers, and asked them their opinions about the issue. The three questions that interested me were:
- Did you support the idea of allowing alcohol sales in the county?
- Were you surprised by the outcome of the vote?
- Do you still take the same position on the topic as when you voted?
The answers to these questions are just little snippets of the opinions many of the citizens of this county held. Among the interviewed managers were two managers from a local supermarket, the manager of a pharmacy, the manager of a popular restaurant, and a liquor store manager. The results were, to say the least interesting.
The managers of the supermarket we interviewed thought it was a good idea to bring alcohol into the county, but were very surprised when it actually happened. The pharmacy manager was against selling alcohol in the county, but was not surprised by the result.
Alesha Robertson, author of a 2007 letter to the editor, printed in the local newspaper, says,
"I still enjoy going into grocery stores without alcohol sections, and restaurants without having to be confronted with drinking."
This is the argument those who fought against allowing alcohol into their county were making, as well as expressing the fear that the availability of alcohol would lead to more DWI's.
The manager from a liquor store says,
"In a way I thought it might help [the county] grow, but it might be bad, because there might be more DWI's"
A popular restaurant here in town now serves alcohol, and its manager thinks it's a great idea. In a restaurant like this, people wanting alcohol are required to show an ID.
According to David Wilder, who also wrote a letter to the editor in 2007,
"The bootleggers do not check the ages of our youth. Retail stores would be required to."
Wilder argues for more availabilty of alcohol in the county, because of this and other reasons, such as added revenue and less expensive liquor. A bootlegger will charge more for liquor, because it is harder to obtain, but a retail store sells it for a more reasonable price, leaving the consumer with more money to spend, save, or invest.
Naturally, the biggest economical effect alcohol sales will have is on liquor stores, since they open up specifically to sell liquor. A local liquor store owner was actually divided on the issue. He says,
"I thought people were going to say 'No way.' or 'Definitely', but, from what I heard, it was pretty close."
The vote in my town was ridiculously close. According to an online newspaper source:
"Of those who voted in the election, 2,302 favored alcohol sales, while 2,266 were against the measure."
I, the analyst has difficulty determining anything from these results other than the citizens of this town were not unified at all on the issue. While grocers and pharmacists argue among themselves, a restaurant manager is sure of his opinion and a liquor store owner becomes more and more convinced that allowing alcohol into the county was a good idea.
So what would you choose? Would you abstain from even looking at the roller coaster, worrying about potential dangers that occur, by the way, very very rarely? Or would you ride the roller coaster, knowing the risks?