Sunday, October 10, 2010

Olympian (WA): "Vote NO on Initiatives 1100, 1105"

The Olympian (Editorial Board):
LIQUOR MEASURES RAISE SERIOUS MONETARY, SAFETY QUESTIONS FOR STATE---According to the state Office of Financial Management, Initiative 1100 would cost the state general fund between $76 million and $85 million over five years. Local governments would lose between $180 million and $192 million over same period.

OFM estimates that Initiative 1105 would cost the state general fund between $486 million and $520 million over five years, while local governments would lose between $205 million and $210 million over the same period.

Put in local terms, Sheriff Dan Kimball said city and county government in Thurston County would lose $2.09 million a year. The county would take the biggest hit -- $710,997 -- with Olympia and Lacey each losing about a half million dollars. For the county, Kimball said, that's the equivalent of eight sheriff's deputies.

We also believe Kimball's public safety concerns deserve consideration by voters. Under either initiative, the number of liquor outlets would increase dramatically, from 315 statewide to an estimated 3,300. Hard liquor would be available from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. and with those increases in availability and hours, Kimball expects to see more drunken drivers, more domestic violence, more alcohol abuse by youngsters and more deaths.

He notes that between 2006 and 2010, undercover sting operations found that 25 percent of mini-marts and convenience stores in this county sold beer and wine to underage minors. That is similar to the noncompliance rate for convenience stores and mini-marts across the state, according to Jim Cooper, with the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention. Think about it. The sting operations show that minors using their legitimate driver's license need to visit only an average of four stores before a clerk will sell them beer or wine despite their underage status. Now we're going to allow those same stores to sell liquor?

State liquor stores have a 94 compliance rating, one of the highest rates in the nation.

Each liquor clerk, in essence, is serving the role of liquor enforcement officer. That's not going to happen at convenience stores and mini-marts, Kimball argues. MORE...

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