Monday, October 24, 2011

Vote NO on 2011 Washington Initiative 1183!

Why I'm voting against Washington I-1183  
All things being equal (whatever that means), here's what I would like to see in Washington State: More stores like the wonderful Liquor Barn in Kentucky.  Much more fun and interesting and informational and, yes, communal than the slimy, sleazy, dreary, fluorescent-lit, porn-store-out-on-the-interstate feel (not that I would know) that is our current set of state-controlled liquor stores.  These are not stores meant for browsing or speaking to other liquor-seekers, but places to duck into in order to take what you want before sheepishly walking out into the rain, paper bag tucked under your arm...

Tea Thyme (vodka infused with Earl Grey tea bag, honey water, muddled backyard thyme with thyme for garnish).
That said, I'm voting against 1183 which, in a nutshell, is stated thusly on the ballot:   
"Initiative Measure No. 1183 concerns liquor:  beer, wine, and spirits (hard liquor). 
This measure would close state liquor stores and sell their assets; license private parties to sell and distribute spirits; set license fees based on sales; regulate licensees; and change regulation of wine distribution.
Should this measure be enacted into law?
[  ]  Yes
[  ]  No

The Official Ballot Title was written by the Attorney General as required by law and revised by the court. The Explanatory Statement was written by the Attorney General as required by law. The Fiscal Impact Statement was written by the Office of Financial Management as required by law. The Secretary of State is not responsible for the content of arguments or statements (WAC 434-381-180)."
My brother-in-law's perfect manhattan.
Here are at least 3 of my reasons for voting against 1183:

* Costco (a store I frequent and enjoy and which is relatively good on the scale of good/bad businesses) has dumped many millions into this fight in support of this measure, not to mention the last 2 or 3 of the same topic. Such outlay is deeply suspicious for multiple reasons, at least one of which is because...

* This measure controls the size of stores that can sell liquor (which is either touted or ignored on the VOTE YES commercials and depending on what misleading information is in that particular commercial). If I read the Initiative correctly, liquor-selling stores must be over 9,000 square feet. Thus, whatever this bill is, it is not free market capitalism (which is, ironically, one of the main arguments for it).  Rather, it is more, if not monopolistic, then pre-determined to create winning and losing businesses. Obviously, Costco is over 9,000 square feet.
My point:  Costco and others are selling this change as being good for businesses, prices, consumers, yadda, yadda, yadda (yeah, it's actually in a dictionary or two, but I digress), but it is mostly just good for their businesses.  Thus, Costco is a bad actor here and is intentionally misleading Washingtonians.  What else are we not being told in their publicity campaign?

*Also, as the Voters' Pamphlet's (VP) "Argument Against" correctly argues, Washingtonians have recently voted against such a change multiple times. But clearly the goal here is for deep pocketed corporations (certainly not actual people) to keep bringing it up until the voters submit. Not my version of democracy even though, as Mitt Romney proudly reminds us, "Corporations are people, my friend." Well, not in my Constitution.

* Despite the size requirement, VP estimates that there will be over 1,400 licenses liquor retailers in the near future (up from 328 current state stores).  Thus...

*Those for 1183 argue that b/c selling-to-minor penalties will increase, little or no increase in alcohol problems (i.e. drunk driving, teens accessing alcohol) will exist. They also argue that increased revenue will go to fire/police, thus tacitly admitting, at least in part, that there will be increased problems.

OK, maybe that was more than 3 reasons, but that's enough for now...

I urge you to Vote No on I-1183, but to also keep drinking safely and interestingly.
My brother's jalapeño and cucumber margarita.
PS: Here are a few other good reasons to Vote No, taken from my facebook page discussion on the same topic (unedited):

Samantha K:  Another reason is that although Costco is generally "good" as far as corporations go - they pass on the 10% distributors fee to suppliers that currently state liquor stores. This is why many of our state's small distilleries are against this initiative. I think writing in what is essentially their own tax loophole is hurtful to these small businesses. They also have threatened to not carry those distilleries product should they openly oppose this initiative. I guess that's politics but I don't like this side of it. Our firefighters at large are against it - which matters to me. All of your other points are good too 
Danny O:  Additionally, stores like Costco (and other big-box contributors like Target and Wal Mart) are dumping cash into this while asking us to "trust them" that they won't collude or mark up the prices higher than they are now. I'm sure it wouldn't happen right away (they have a point to prove) but there wouldn't be anyway to stop it once it started. After all, its a hell of a lot easier to eliminate a liquor control organization than start a new one after its abolition. When was the last time we could trust these guys anyways?

Andrew M:
"Teens are going to get alcohol anyway" is not convincing me. I'm against this issue too.

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: Initiative 1183 PASSES. State stores will be out of business by next year. Costco spent the money, Costco won the election.

    It's an old story: