Letters to the Editor for 2-8-2012
To the Editor:
As a member of the Corbin business community I would like to address a misconception that little or no investments in our community came as a result of the “moist initiative,” approved by voters in 2003, which is currently held by some individuals who are planning to vote against this opportunity Feb. 14 for us to move forward in our efforts to attract more business and larger industries to our community.
Applebee’s, Dino’s (formerly Tuscany Gardens), The Depot on Main, Fiesta Mexicana, Sherry’s Tomato Grill,(formerly Buckner’s) and the Tri-County Elks Lodge were a result of the moist vote passed in 2003. El Dorado’s built a new, larger facility to accommodate the increase in the number of people dining out. I do not personally have access to the exact amount of money that was invested in our community as a result of these new ventures, but based on private conversations; I think that it would easily exceed $6,000,000.00. This investment also increases the amount of property taxes that are paid to the City of Corbin.
Speaking from personal experience, my friends Rick and Holly Curry personally invested approximately $800,000.00 in renovating a vacant building in downtown Corbin with the opening in 2004 of The Depot on Main. My wife and I are now proud to be part of this restaurant. Rick and Holly Curry live in London, and both have told me in the past, that if London had gone “moist” before Corbin then they would have invested their $800,000.00 in their hometown. I thank them and appreciate their vision for our community.
Like in 2004, we now have investors waiting in the wings for the outcome of the special election. The voters in Corbin must decide if they will open up our community to new and expanded businesses, and the development of greater opportunities for economic progress that will impact Corbin in a positive way for years to come.
The Depot on Main Restaurant
To the Editor:
Is the Sale of Packaged Liquor a Cash Cow for Corbin?
The question is not “is it right or wrong to drink alcohol.” The question at the end of the day is, “will packaged liquor sales” and “beer establishments” make our community a better place to raise families. The prudent Corbinite should ask some serious questions.
Is it economically feasible?
Does it make money for anyone except the permit holder or the beverage producer? The answer is emphatically, “ No!”
The National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that Per $1 earned by county or city through tax revenue and fees from the sell of alcohol it COST $3-4 to sustain it socially through: (1) increased social service work with families, (2) extra policing, (3) increase in insurance costs, (4) increase in car accidents, and (5) an increase in ambulance usage, just to name some of the additional cost increase to the community. It is a losing cause. Time Magazine reported in their October 2011 issue that alcohol related expenses has risen to $224 billion dollars. An additional $116 billion was paid for by the public tax payer for alcohol related crashes. The state authorizes a city, who votes in such establishments, to impose a regulatory license fee because they know there will be increased costs associated with the establishments. “The regulatory license fee may be levied annually at a rate as shall be reasonably estimated to fully reimburse the city or county for any additional policing, regulatory or administrations related expenses,” KRS 243.075. In addition, note that the fees cannot go to pave roads or improve the community. The state law requires the city government to funnel the monies toward the need for increased policing that will be required. The law allows for distilled spirits and wine retail package license to be charged by the city, per annum, $600. The Alcohol Beverage Control will grant three packaged liquor store licenses for Corbin. That is $1,800 a year – that won’t pave my driveway.
The only people who will profit from this change in the law would be the producers of the alcohol and a few business men from outside Corbin that will grease their pockets through the sale of the liquor. Restaurants would drop to a 50/50% split in alcohol sales and food. Do we want to take our families to restaurants that half of all their sales are from alcohol beverages? We have only landed one national restaurant chain since the sale of alcohol in our restaurants was voted in, and we were promised more.
Maybe if we want to have a serious conversation about economic progress we should talk about other avenues of increasing revenue, like bringing more quality jobs to our area. This type of progress, rather than the sale of packaged liquor, would help support our families instead of costing them.
Is it socially healthy?
What is the long-term effect on the workforce? Dr. Jeffrey Wiese, medical professor at the University of California, and some of his colleagues at a San Francisco Veterans Hospital reviewed medical studies on alcohol use published between 1966 and 1999. Wiese’s research appeared in the June 6, 2000 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. “Although hangovers might be considered trivial - just desserts for the overindulgent - it has substantial economic consequences,” Wiese said in his report. “A recent study noted that alcohol use in the United States accounted for $148 billion in work related loss.”
The U.S. Department of Justice Report on Alcohol and Crime found that alcohol abuse was a factor in 40 percent of violent crimes committed in the U.S. About 3 million violent crimes occur each year in which victims perceive the offender to have been drinking at the time of the offense.
According to the U.S. Justice Department, Bureau of Justice Statistics, among spousal abuse victims, 3 out of 4 incidents were reported to have involved an offender who had been drinking. An estimated 32 percent of fatal accidents involved an intoxicated driver or pedestrian.
Among the 5.3 million convicted offenders under the jurisdiction of corrections agencies in 1996, nearly 2 million, or about 36 percent, were estimated to have been drinking at the time of the offense.
Some might contend that our communities already have liquor readily available to all ages, including under aged residents. This may be true, but the use and the effect of liquor will rapidly increase with the change in law. It will only make alcohol more accessible.
This debate is not over should a person drink or not drink alcohol, the question at hand is, “Would the sale of packaged liquor make our community a better place?” Would packaged liquor stores enhance our best assets, namely our schools and the quality environment to raise a family? The answer is NO. Vote NO on February 14th for our children and our community.
Immanuel Baptist Church, Corbin
To the Editor:
In a few weeks residents of Williamsburg will be voting on whether or not to allow restaurants that can seat at least 100 people to serve alcohol by the drink. I am adding my voice to the voices of others who are opposed to this measure.
First, I acknowledge that those who want to drink alcohol will find a way to do so. However, not allowing people to drink alcohol in restaurants will at least save my family, myself, and others from having to tolerate those who have had a bit too much and who start becoming loud or worse. It will also save the restaurant owners and employees from having to deal with more difficult situations than they already do.
Second, individuals who come to restaurants and who do not wish to drink may feel undue social pressure to join their friends in having a drink or two. As much as all of us want to respect the decisions of others, we do not always do so. Sometimes the pressure we put on others to conform is too much and we make others do what they have tried to avoid. We don’t need to add more temptation than is already out there.
Third, our police force in Williamsburg and Whitley County already responds to many calls each day. Serving alcohol in local restaurants will undoubtedly lead to additional calls and danger for them.
Fourth, local counselors who work with individuals struggling with alcohol addiction already have a large case load. Certainly not everyone who drinks socially is or will become an alcoholic, but the probability that individuals will develop a problem would most likely increase if alcohol was readily available.
Finally, serving alcohol by the drink in restaurants inevitably leads to the expansion of alcohol sales in other ways. Corbin voted to have alcohol sales by the drink in local restaurants several years ago. On Tuesday, February 14, Corbin residents vote on whether to allow the sale of packaged liquor of any type. We do not need to take a first step down a slippery path.
I hope others will join me in voting against alcohol sales in Williamsburg.
The local area CANNOT afford alcohol sales because for each dollar in alcohol and tobacco taxes and liquor store revenues that goes to federal and state coffers, these governments spend $8.95 on the consequences of smoking and alcohol abuse and addiction.
Additionally, I have some problems with the numbers provided in the February 1, 2012 letters to the editor by Mr. Kurt Kraus, Chairman of the Citizens for Economic Progress. In his letter, Mr. Kraus stated, “Danville is doing nearly $20,000,000 but they are a larger city”, allegedly referring to the dollar value in gross sales between beer (malt products and distilled spirits (wine and liquor). The only part of that quote that is factual is that Danville is a larger city, a little more than twice the size of Corbin. Danville’s population is 16,218 whereas Corbin’s population is 7,304, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The problem with the numbers that Mr. Kraus’s provided is that the City of Danville, according to their own website, had less than ONE TENTH of the estimated sales reported by Mr. Kraus and the Citizens for Economic Progress. During that same time frame (7 fiscal years) the City of Danville averaged approximately $88,620 in license fees and tax revenues (by the drink, liquor pack, malt beverage pack). Please visit Danville’s website for yourself at: http://danvilleky.org
In 2009, Danville voted to go fully wet and to have Sunday sales of alcohol/liquor. This vote did increase Danville’s revenue reporting during the fiscal year 2010-2011 which averaged $98,024 per quarter and for the fiscal year 2011-2012 as reported thus far, averaged $132,642. Therefore, the City of Danville is on track to earn $530,568 for all alcohol/liquor gross sales in this current fiscal year. Mr. Kraus claimed that Corbin which is half the size of Danville could, “realistically earn $400,000 on beer and $500,000 from distilled spirits” in taxes. The TRUTH is that we can see from the numbers reported by the City of Danville, that at most, Danville will earn roughly $500,000 plus on gross sales. Considering that Corbin is a little less than half the size of Danville and ignoring considerations to the economic differences of employment rates and disposable incomes between the two cities, Corbin at best, might possibly, earn a little less than half of what Danville does, but what would the cost total?
Let’s now consider the issues that come along with earning money from alcohol/liquor sales. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) May 28, 2009, for each dollar in alcohol and tobacco taxes and liquor store revenues that goes to federal and state coffers, these governments spend $8.95 on the consequences of smoking and alcohol abuse and addiction.
Let’s take the CASA studying into consideration and ignore their findings on smoking (which is bad for you) and assume that only half the $8.95 expense is related to alcohol. That means that for every one dollar gained in alcohol/liquor revenues there will be an expense of $4.47. This means that Danville’s revenue of $530,568 will actually cost the city, state, and federal government $2,371,638. If we then use Mr. Kraus’s city comparison and consider that Corbin does go wet, we can “realistically” estimate that a wet vote will cost the City of Corbin in excess of $1,185,819. The numbers tell the TRUTH and the TRUTH is we CANNOT afford to have or expand alcohol/liquor sales in the area. Please vote against alcohol/liquor sales! Please move to repeal all alcohol/liquor sales in the area.
Proverbs 1:29 - For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
Proverbs 20:1 — “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
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