Rarely do I write anything political, not because I don’t have views, but just because I like to have good manners. Sometimes things get SO contentious on Facebook and the blogosphere. That said, I STRONGLY URGE people to vote NO on Washington State Initiative 1183. I am speaking up about it because I don’t think this is as much a political issue as a public health issue. The simple truth is that 1183 will result in four times the amount of stores that can sell hard liquor. A lot of focus is placed on the danger to teens. I think that misses the point. The greater access to hard liquor will increase drunk driving regardless of whether the drivers are of age. I don’t think the possibility of lower liquor prices to consumers to be worth the cost to public health.
I also oppose the initiative because the wholesale pricing deregulation makes it easier for the large wine producers in our state to offer deep discounts simply because they can, due to economies of scale. The small winemakers–I know a few–will not be able to compete.
Now I’ll get a little political, although I believe it is more a justice issue than a political one. The supreme court ruled a couple of years ago that corporations have equal rights to individuals with regard to First Amendment protections; therefore, there can be no limits imposed on how much corporations spend on political advertising. Costco, the wholesale warehouse chain based here in Washington, has spent $22 million on its Yes on 1183 advertising. $22 million! They stand to make a lot of money through hard liquor sales; obviously at least $22 million. Looks to me like they are trying to buy this election. Are we going to let them?