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Editorial: Statewide vote for 'wet' counties is wrong

Posted: May 27, 2014 - 11:18am

After several failed attempts, a statewide push to make all counties in Arkansas “wet” or alcohol-sale-friendly, has been approved by the attorney general. If enough signatures are collected in the next month, a ballot initiative could be placed in front of every voter in Arkansas in November, the same time we will all be voting for several state and national offices.

Even before this latest news, there has already been a local effort to have a similar law passed in Faulkner County — there are still those canvassing for signatures at the county-level.

Although it may seem to be a simple question — do we want easier access to alcohol in our city and county — there are other issues to consider, and this latest development can actually create a situation where those who have nothing to do with Faulkner County can tell us how our community will be from here on out.

If a ballot initiative does make it to the state voters in a few months, then those people in Little Rock and Fayetteville will decide whether we will begin to house liquor stores on our blocks and makeshift beer and wine aisles in our grocery stores. While we have nothing personally against these images — we have certainly progressed passed the days of prohibition and bootlegging — it says something that the ability to create parts of our community the way we see fit could be taken away from us.

Conway, along with several other cities in Arkansas, have participated in an experiment over the past few years that allows us to be a “damp” county. Many restaurants have become in a sense private clubs, with no real differences to restaurants in larger areas in the state. Because of that, if you want to have a burger with your beer or a glass of wine with your steak, there are many places where that is possible. It has allowed Conway to grow and to bring more things to more people. No longer do you have to trek 30 minutes for a fine meal and everything that comes with it.

We believe it’s an experiment that has worked. The downtown scene has thrived, and Conway has become a hub for more familiar franchises (with many more on the way courtesy of Central Landing, among other developments). But what happens if that experiment is changed not by our own people, but by those who do not help provide nor care for the community of Conway? Shouldn’t the decision of what we make our area reside with the people who have committed to live in it?

There are many questions that can be raised by shifting from a dry (or damp) county to one that is wet. There will be concerns from businesspeople, law enforcement and city planners. The last time this concern was addressed was nearly 40 years ago, and although times are always changing, it is nice to know that it has been the people of Conway who have been able to dictate that change.

This isn’t a human rights issue, like various ones being waged in our capitol. This is about the ability for the villagers to have a say about the village in which they live.

We’ve done pretty well so far. We shouldn’t have anyone else telling us it doesn’t work.

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mikeng1994
0
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mikeng1994 05/27/14 - 12:27 pm
5
2
I disagree with your

I disagree with your assessment.

wampuscat13
29
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wampuscat13 05/27/14 - 12:42 pm
3
1
I disagree also. I'm tired of

I disagree also. I'm tired of having to drive 20+ minutes and waste the gas just to buy some beer. Going out to a restaurant and being able to buy alcohol is an improvement but it's more expensive going out.

Igor Rabinowitz
9586
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Igor Rabinowitz 05/27/14 - 12:49 pm
3
0
Disagree

This is a biased skew of costs, with little regard to social costs. In fact the entire argument could be inverted to same effect.

Curious: Does the LCD accept advertising from county-line liquor stores?

regular_joe
139
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regular_joe 05/27/14 - 01:13 pm
2
1
You disagree, but you don't address the point of the editorial

The editorial doesn't weigh in on whether or not local liquor sales are appropriate, morally correct, or otherwise. The main point of the editorial is that people in Dumas, Ar, or Piggott, Ar, or West Memphis, or Little Rock, or Mena or Fayetteville, should NOT GET TO VOTE on what does or does not happen within the confines of Faulkner County.

Now, I'm not sure I AGREE with that, as laws are made at the state level that govern other commercial enterprises (used car sales, insurance, etc etc), and I'm not sure I see the difference.

That's really what this editorial is about. Not whether we want alcohol sales in Faulkner County, but whether somebody else outside of Faulkner County should get to decide.

mikeng1994
0
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mikeng1994 05/27/14 - 01:28 pm
2
0
I fully got the intent

That's why I disagree. If it is a state board who regulates the licenses, then it should also be a state vote if the entire state is wet. Do you really think that Pulaski and Conway counties want to see Faulkner go wet? It would seriously cut into their bottom line without a doubt.

Here's the deal, and its not directed at you at all Joe, all voters go out and sign the petition for Faulkner to be wet. In fact sign all the petitions for everything. Whether you vote for or against the issue doesn't matter if you sign. All issues should be allowed to to be voted on, instead of a few individuals carrying out their will on the population. I signed the marijuana petition last election. I voted against it.

justoffcenter
900
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justoffcenter 05/27/14 - 02:09 pm
2
1
It is a money thang

If people in Faulkner Co do not want beer sales on Main St. don't buy beer and they will close and move on. I don't think people from LR or Fort Smith will drive to Conway to make us sale beer.

I bet the City will spend the extra cash on Christmas trees and highway overpasses just the same as any other money.

No one will 'make' Faulkner co put in a beer store, don't be dumb.

crypted quill
11321
Points
crypted quill 05/27/14 - 02:41 pm
2
2
"...we have certainly

"...we have certainly progressed passed the days of prohibition and bootlegging — it says something that the ability to create parts of our community the way we see fit could be taken away from us."

You mean like...a few in a community decide we should be 'dry' and that's 'taken away' from the rest? Of 'us'...

What if a few decide sharia law is best for 'us'...and see fit for officials of the caliph carry out the penalties?
*adultery: death by stoning.
*highway robbery: execution; crucifixion; exile; imprisonment; or right hand and left foot cut off.
*theft: right hand cut off (second offense: left foot cut off; imprisonment for further offenses).
*slander: 80 lashes
*drinking wine or any other intoxicant: 80 lashes.

mikeng1994
0
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mikeng1994 05/27/14 - 03:27 pm
2
0
Extreme

but very good examples in my opinion. Everything should be voted by the people. If its not a good thing, the courts will hopefully fix it and set things straight. But everyone should have their say. You might wind up on the losing side, but that's the way it goes.

regular_joe
139
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regular_joe 05/27/14 - 03:55 pm
1
0
sorry

Sorry, MikEng1994, I wasn't talking to you. Should've been clearer. You simply disagreed, you didn't say anything else. I was really directing my comment to the one about being tired of driving to LR.

lachowsj
6040
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lachowsj 05/27/14 - 04:05 pm
3
0
Disagree with the point of the article

Maybe the people of Mayflower, Greenbrier and Vilonia don't agree with what Conway is telling them. Should they be able to become wet if they choose? Alcohol laws administered by a state board should not have to contend with a mishmash of laws from county to county or from locality to locality.

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