The coming booze battle; the drys may have an edge | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 17, 2014

The coming booze battle; the drys may have an edge

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 9:52 AM

LOCAL RIGHTS: it's the battle cry (here on a sign in Star City) for those that want to prevent you from buying a six-pack in every Arkansas county. - TWITTER
  • Twitter
  • LOCAL RIGHTS: it's the battle cry (here on a sign in Star City) for those that want to prevent you from buying a six-pack in every Arkansas county.

A statewide vote is set Nov. 4 on allowing alcohol sales in all 75 counties. So far, the forces that oppose this idea (mainly to protect market share) have the financial edge.

A coalition of liquor stores — primarily those with big businesses in counties adjoining big dry populations — has put together a kitty of $1.2 million so far and is already pumping anti-local-control messages against the measure. Local control? Hah. What it means is that liquor dealers in places such as Pulaski, Conway, Poinsett and Greene counties want to whip up anti-firewater fervor so they can maintain lucrative monopoly positions at county lines of dry neighbors.

And what of Let Arkansas Decide, which spent about $160,000, with some retail store help, to get the measure on the ballot. David Couch, the Little Rock attorney who led the effort, says he doesn't expect to have a lot to spend, maybe $50,000. He'll have no TV. It's too expensive and mostly taken.

Walmart spent a huge sum trying to qualify local option elections in Faulkner, Craighead and Saline counties. It succeeded only in Saline, but faces a legal challenge that will be argued before the Supreme Court next week. Should the Saline measure get on the ballot, Walmart presumably will spend plenty at least in that market, which might include Little Rock media. But Couch said so far Walmart hasn't expressed an interest in joining his statewide campaign.

The majority of Arkansas is legally wet and another big section of it is "damp," full of "private clubs" selling alcohol. The local control argument is nonsensical when you think about it — we don't allow local control on dozens of political and moral issues, why should we on alcohol. But the campaign has a lot of money and will spin fables about how the amendment will wreck alcohol regulation. It doesn't. The legislature and ABC will still have regulatory authority. Would a court really say this amendment negated rules that prevent a strip bar selling drinks from opening next door to a church? I don't think so. But you can be sure the ads will say otherwise.

As I noted yesterday, the Mapco convenience store chain has sent out a Twitter message promoting the measure.

Tags: , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Trump-Putin: As bad as expected. At least.

    The reviews of Trump's meeting with Putin are not kind to the American.  Those who think the United States has been demeaned and diminished by a lying thug, it might be time to take a knee.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • One dead, another wounded in NLR skate park shooting

    North Little Rock police say one man was fatally shot and another wounded  in an apparent robbery about 3:45 a.m. today at the Riverview Skatepark along the Arkansas River at 2800 River Road, North Little Rock.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • The Malvern connection: Millions flow through it

    How a couple of former senators from Malvern find themselves in a legal controversy over a $4 million finder's fee paid to a Texas lawyer.
    • Jul 16, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation