Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Editorials

February 28, 2013

The few speak

The ‘I don’t care’ faction was the bigger winner Tuesday

ASHLAND — The message is clear: The people of Ashland overwhelmingly support the sale of liquor by the drink on Sundays. Or at least those who live in the two downtown precincts in which the sale of alcohol has been legal since 1981 support Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages. Or at least the tiny percentage of eligible voters who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday want Sunday sales.

But the real winner of Tuesday’s vote were the vast majority who had so little interest in this issue that they didn’t bother to vote. The “I don’t care!” crowd clearly were the big winners Tuesday.

 Officially, the results in the Moore and Central precincts and the two absentee ballots was 159 in favor of Sunday sales; 50 against Sunday sales; and 1,291 not voting.

In one sense, the lack of interest in this election is understandable.

If you are a non-drinker who dines at a restaurant with a liquor-by-the-drink license, you already know you can enjoy a good meal at these establishments on Sundays. The fact that a diner at a nearby table may be having a beer or glass of wine with their meal will have little or no impact on your dining experience. Even on the days and nights when they have always been able to serve drinks, the overconsumption of alcohol has seldom been a problem at these restaurants. For the most part, drinkers and non-drinkers have been able to dine side by side with no problems. We don’t expect that to change with Sunday sales.

Most residents of the two precincts apparently were not convinced enough that selling drinks on Sunday was going to have such a positive impact on the economy of Ashland that it was worth their time to bother voting to support the Sunday sales, or they were not so opposed to the possible negative impact of Sunday sales that they rushed to the polls.

Only time will tell what the impact of Tuesday’s vote will be, but we suspect it will not have the tremendous economic impact that the most vocal supporters think it will have, and it certainly will not have the dire consequences that opponents of Sunday sales predict. We suspect life in the two precincts and the rest of Ashland will pretty much go on just as it has in the 32 years since alcohol sales were approved in what were four precincts in 1981 but have since been reduced to two precincts because of population changes.

As for the vast majority of Ashland residents not being able to vote on Sunday alcohol sales, well, there is nothing new about that. Other than the 2009 vote in which Boyd County voters overwhelmingly voted to go “moist,” residents of the entire city have not cast ballots on alcohol sales since 1979, when they overwhelmingly voted to remain “dry.”

 The failed 1979 vote on alcohol sales led the 1980 Kentucky General Assembly enacting a law that allowed residents of precincts deemed “economically depressed” to vote on the legal sale of alcohol. While the law was criticized as being “special legislation” that benefited only Ashland, it has led to precincts across the state approving alcohol sales.

Many Kentuckians do not like the precinct law, but it has been upheld by the courts and it has been the law in Kentucky for more than three decades. It is not about to change.

Would the outcome Tuesday had been different if all Ashland residents could have voted? Who knows? But the question is irrelevant because that was not an option. Just as they did 32 years ago, residents in downtown Ashland have decided how alcohol can be marketed in the two precincts. Some voted for Sunday sales, a few voted against it, but most did not even care enough to vote.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Good opportunity

    Morehead State University is using a highly successful program for outstanding high school juniors and seniors at Western Kentucky University to launch a similar program beginning this fall on the MSU campus.

    April 20, 2014

  • What's next?

    While virtually all cities in northeastern Kentucky provide their residents with some utility services — water and sewer, mainly, and sometimes natural gas — to the best of our knowledge, Olive Hill is the only town in the FIVCO region with its own electrical company.
     

    April 13, 2014

  • 'Waited too long'

    Lt. Garlin Murl Conner left the U.S. Army as the second-most decorated soldier during World War II, earning four Silver Stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during 28 straight months in combat.

    April 12, 2014

  • Enact HB 3

    The National Rx Drug Abuse Summit is under way hundreds of miles from eastern Kentucky in Orlando, Fla., but the three-day conference which runs through Thursday, was organized by Operation UNITE, the eastern Kentucky anti-drug group that knows all too well the devastating impact the prescription drug epidemic continues to have on this region.

    April 11, 2014

  • State officials cease efforts to stop advance of ash borer

    Kentucky’s war against the tiny emerald ash borer responsible for already killing more than 25 million ash trees in the eastern United States has ended in surrender — by state officials, not the tiny insect.

    April 8, 2014

  • Demise of apparel industry in Kentucky continues

    The steady demise of the once thriving clothing industry in small Kentucky towns continues with the latest factory to announce it is shutting down being one of the largest: Fruit of the Loom has announced it is closing its last remaining plant in Jamestown, a move that eventually will see the elimination of more than 600 jobs in the small town near Lake Cumberland.

    April 7, 2014

  • None on ballot

    The 2014 Kentucky General Assembly considered an unusually high number of proposed amendments to the Kentucky Constitution on such issues as casino gambling, the restoration of voting rights for convicted felons and the elimination of state and local elected offices.

    April 4, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Time runs out

    Two bills proposed by House Majority Leader Rocky Adkins and designed to boost the economy of this region have apparently died in the Kentucky Senate after being approved by the House of Representatives. Despite easily being approved by the Democratic-controlled House, neither bill was even brought up for a vote by the Republican-controlled Senate.

    April 2, 2014

  • Dismal numbers

    The good news is that the health ratings of all but two area counties improved in the latest ranking of the state’s 120 counties. However, before we pat ourselves on the back for those improvements, the overall health of residents of counties in northeast Kentucky remains rather dismal. Yes, we are improving but we still have a long, long way to go.

    April 2, 2014