A little wine for the Sunday table

Published 3:24 pm Friday, October 28, 2011

When we came to Bainbridge in the early 90s, after all the furniture was unloaded, and after rummaging through boxes to find those things you can’t remember where you packed them, it became necessary to stock the empty pantry.

It was Sunday afternoon, and behold, there was the Winn-Dixie on Shotwell Street, a grocery chain of which I had frequented many times in Tallahassee.

Shopping and gathering the usual stuff for dinner that night plus other things for the week, when I went through the checkout, the cashier said to me, “Sorry, no wine sales on Sunday.”

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No wine sales on Sunday? This is the 20th Century. Is this a foreign country? Is there no sanity here? Have we come to a dry town, dry county, dry state?

This is bass country. Do they drink iced tea while casting a line?

No alcoholic sales on Sunday?

Now today, we see how tough economic times are changing perspectives on this issue. To allow alcohol sales on Sunday, first the issue had to go through the legislature. So as not to get all Georgia legislators sent back to the boondocks because they voted for alcohol sales on Sunday, they passed the buck to the local folks.

We gotta vote on it. Local majority will rule at the ballot box. Up or down. Yes or no.

The legislators were seeking new ideas to generate new funding sources. This was one of the ideas, which they reasoned, would generate more sales and more collection of sales taxes. As you know, of the 7 cents we pay in sales taxes on each dollar, 3 cents come back.

It also was an additional idea to put more revenue into the state treasuries as well. The idea had been proposed in prior sessions, but former Gov. Sonny Purdue opposed it, and said he would veto any effort to pass a new law. New Gov. Nathan Deal said he would support it.

So here we are. Bainbridge City Council and Decatur County Commissoners first have to pass a resolution to allow the referendum for citizen approval or disapproval.

At a recent meeting, Councilman Dean Burke brought up the issue, but no one followed. The feeling now is, after some reconsideration, it will be brought up again next month.

Naturally, there will be opposition to it.

Ministers already have spoken against Sunday sales. But that’s what preachers are ordained to do.

It’s a revenue issue foremost, and others would argue it’s a moral issue. After all, how many days in the week do we need to stuff wine and beer into the fridge?

While we are at it, let’s also put on the ballot the question of allowing alcoholic drinks to be served in restaurants on Sunday. City councils and county commissions retain the rights to regulate hours of sales. That’s not under question.

So let’s vote on it. Up or down. At least we have the American Democratic opportunity to vote on it. The majority shall rule. We can live by the results either way.

Big banks and big business have taken away our rights to govern for the masses. At least there’s something basic remaining to vote on.

Jim Smith writes a weekly column for The Post-Searchlight. You can leave a comment on his email at bainbooknook@yahoo.com or on www.thepostsearchlight.com.