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I-1100: Chalk up failure to crowded ballot

Letter by Donald J. Fritz, Tacoma on Nov. 5, 2010 at 9:01 am with 20 Comments »
November 5, 2010 10:34 am

The recent election has essentially been a primary election for a preferred initiative to relieve state government from its retailing function, i.e, a monopoly on sale of liquor. Two options were offered, practically assuring that neither could win over the status quo. Had voters opposed to the status quo all voted for both corrective options, the matter would likely have ended in the hands of the courts.

Probably, most of us who viewed retailing as a function unsuited to government voted only for our preference of the two corrective options offered and voted against the other. Now that we all know that Initiative 1100 is generally preferred to Initiative 1105, a reoffering of only I-1100 versus the status quo in 2012, should make it possible to finally retire the state government from liquor retailing.

Leave a comment Comments → 20
  1. 1100 was a good idea and should have won. But, it was beaten by superior TV ads. It did not stand a chance when the opposition showed convenience stores and gas stations selling booze to kids. I am sure in the real world this would have been rare, but the concept was enough to deter votes.
    If 1100 supporters had spent ad time explaining the safeguards, it may have won.

  2. In other words, the anti 1100/1105 used a page out of the Republican Play book to frighten voters into voting against the people’s best interest?

  3. ronniew says:

    No, Donald and IQof88, I knew what I was doing when I voted against both measures. Nobody tricked me with opposing arguments or crowded ballots. Alcohol is a highly toxic poison (which I enjoy in moderation) and shouldn’t be easier or cheaper to get.

  4. Now the “Children” are safe.

    If 1 out of 4 places sell alcohol to minors, where the hell is the State Liquor control board? They have a 50% mark-up to pay for enforcement, but obviously they are not doing their jobs. Maybe they need to be investigated?

    Oh,, and I don’t think the other 46 states have dead children all over the streets like the no campaign insinuated.

  5. alindasue says:

    I find it interesting that I-1100 was only narrowly defeated despite the highly funded “no” campaign. I also found it interesting that a good portion of funding for the “no” campaign was funded by beer distributors who seemed to be more concerned with losing business if stores negotiated directly with liquor companies than they were about children’s safety.

    When it comes down to it, alcohol is alcohol. People get just as drunk on a couple beers as they would on a couple shots of vodka. If stores can’t be trusted to safely sell hard liquor, they shouldn’t be selling beer either. The “safety” concerns of the “no” campaign only make sense if the alternative was to confine all alcohol sales to the state liquor stores.

    Given how close the results were, if the “yes” campaign were to try again focussing on only one initiative, there’s a fair chance it might pass the next time.

    (By the way, I don’t drink alcohol at all. I-1100 just makes sense to me from an economic perspective.)

  6. To Donald Fritz, you say “a reoffering of only I-1100 versus the status quo in 2012, should make it possible to finally retire the state government from liquor retailing.”—? Well, that is your opinion, so just go right on thinking that. The same groups that opposed both initiatives (myself included), will also have 2 years now to strengthen their front and oppose it again, so don’t think we’re going away. For the same people ripping the beer distributors for their stance here, take a look at Costco, who threw boatloads of cash at the initiative. Boy, was it fun to watch all of Costco’s money go down the drain.
    For Costco and others that can’t see past a cheap half gallon of Vodka on this issue, it’s not about the State of WA in the liquor business. It’s about the increased frequency of drivers loaded out of their minds on alcohol, and driving for miles on the wrong side of the freeway. We are going to oppose any initiative that makes it easier and cheaper to get access to booze, period.. I’ve got teenage drivers, and sorry Mr. Fritz, but you will have another fight on your hands come 2012.

  7. Flanagan says:

    wallyz…you’re nutz….I have purchased my favorite shnapz in California and Hawaii in both the grocery store and drug store ……Why oh why do we have to be so archaic???? Get rid of state liquor stores and their state employees, state pensions and state health insurance and let others sell the stuff where they want. The idiot driving the wrong way down the freeway was just that, an idot. I am sorry there were two different iniatives to vote on..people were confused which I am sure helped defeat it. I hope they give it another try in 2012 as I will definately vote YES.

  8. JudasEscargot says:

    I love how people keep talking about eliminating this state employee and that government employee, not thinking that they are taxpayers also that contribute to the local economy.

    Outsource all the jobs to India, shut down the government and let’s see how “private enterprise” survives with no one to sell things to. Ever notice that Walmart is building a new store in Thurston County? With all the State, county and city jobs, I wonder who they plan on selling things to.

    As to booze sold to minors – when was the last time you saw a sting at a liquor store. Try NEVER. Those employees won’t risk a decent paying job. Tell Mr. 7-11 clerk that just turned 21 with his minimum wage job that he can’t sell to his underaged friends……..

  9. It’s time to behave like the libs do, keep putting it on the ballot until it passes. You see the libs have an advantage- they believe in doing the same thing repeatedly until they get a different result.

  10. Sumner401 says:

    Crowded ballot, poor legislation, fixing what isn’t broke, yeah…whatever you want to call it.

  11. Sumner401 says:

    they believe in doing the same thing repeatedly until they get a different result.

    Like cutting taxes and expecting that to create jobs?

  12. ronniew says:

    Alindasue — sometimes all alcohol isn’t the same. Sure you get just as drunk per drink, but it’s a lot harder to get alcohol poisoning from beer simply because you can’t drink as much of it as fast. Try chugging several beers in a row. You’ll puke because of the volume and the carbonation.

  13. What ronniew is advocating is social engineering, pure and simple. Let government decide what kind of booze you can drink and where to get it, making distinctions between “good” liquor and “bad” liquor. Which is fine, just interesting to hear you admit that social engineering isn’t necessarily all bad…

  14. It should be obvious to all but the most obtuse, both I-1100 & I-1105 were no more than poorly disguised attempts to siphon off profits from the State and put this money into the hands of greedy individuals.
    It seems that many people are now seeing the results of privatisation of services being relegated to unscrupulously run private enterprises.

  15. letsworkitout says:

    What is the advantage to having it in the stores? Really? It won’t lower the price, so what is the reasoning?

  16. letsworkitout — you’re probably right about the price not going down. I know alcohol is cheaper in California and Arizona, which are both places you can buy it everywhere. Proponents of the initiatives said it would lower the price but since we’re all used to paying so much the stores would probably set their prices right where they are now. Free market rules say you can charge whatever people are willing to pay and we’ve already proven we’ll pay more in our state.

  17. Squid — or maybe I just don’t want MORE of my tax dollars going to revive bums who would drink themselves almost to death if more potent alcohol alcohol were easier to get.

  18. letsworkitout says:

    If the alcohol was in stores then my guess is the state would raise the tax rate on alcohol to make up for it. I just don’t see a real reason to pass a bill such as this.

  19. The problem with initiatives is that they fall short of creating meaningful legislation. Their singularity doesn’t allow them to address whatever situation they create, from all angles. There is no debate, and quite often their measure turns out to be unconstitutional.

    This initiative is no different. It potentially opens doors that many in this state don’t want to be opened, in the name of cheaper, more accessible booze.

    The state legislature would do well to consider changing the way liquor is sold, and I would expect them to take more into consideration than this initiative ever could.

    Voters are not as confused as the opposition makes them out to be. Most of us can clearly see the forest and the trees.

    Maybe people like Donald J. Fritz should get involved with the legislature instead of doing the initiative end around.

  20. It failed, because more people thought about it and voted against it. Both sides were well advertised. Both sides (including Costco’s weak email to its customers), had fairly slanted arguments; but people still made a choice.

    Here are a couple reasons why 1100 should -not- have passed:

    The Liquor Control Board is a lean run organization. The Japanese came over in the early 1970s to study LCB’s computerized warehousing system. The LCB received Federal recognition for their computer processes. The stores are also run lean and have had computerized point-of-sale systems in place since the mid 70s that cut inventory by more than half.

    The unreasonable markup (51.9%) charged by LCB is mandated by the Legislature (some of whom, likely hoped this would kill the goose that laid the golden egg). The markup should only be the cost to run the state stores. Any other revenue should be taxes. However, the markup still goes to the state fund where it is distributed to other state needs as well as local police and fire departments.

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