Letters to the Editor

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LIQUOR: Costco only interested in bottom line

Letter by Michele Simon, JD, MPH, San Rafael on June 14, 2010 at 2:10 pm | 27 Comments »
June 15, 2010 10:10 am

Just how low is a big-box retailer willing to stoop to undermine state authority over alcohol to increase its bottom line? Costco is willing go dangerously low. The retail giant is making its employees gather signatures from customers in Washington for a ballot initiative that would eliminate the state’s control over spirits sales.

Initiative 1100 would remove the state’s role in the sale of alcohol once and for all, as well as remove current restrictions on volume discounts, among other worrisome provisions that would deal a serious blow to state-based alcohol regulation.

Why does Costco want to privatize spirits sales in Washington? So it can sell spirits “at competitive prices” – and if that means by the truckload if a customer is so inclined, why not?

Costco is now reaching deep into its pockets again in an attempt to prevail this November. According to Publicola, “…new campaign finance reports show that the wholesaler backed up its announced support for the initiative with a $350,000 check.”

Whatever happens come November, how Costco is using its employees for political gain is a slippery slope. If this move is effective in changing Washington longstanding law, what’s to stop other big boxes from using their manpower and spending a ton of dough to change laws to their favor?

Marin Institute opposes the action Costco is taking in Washington state. Company employees should not be used for political gain, especially when control states have been shown to benefit public health, while privatization undermines it.

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