LETTERS TO THE EDITOR - Initiative 1100 and 1105 are dangerous, irresponsible

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Stop! Allowing private entities to sell hard alcohol is a bad idea. I'll admit there have been times when I have needed to buy such an item only to realize it was after hours and the liquor store was closed.

But that is a minor inconvenience when weighed against the alternatives. Both Initiative 1100 and 1105 call for closing state liquor stores and licensing private partied (i.e. groceries, convenient and big box stores) to sell these items instead.

Strike number 1: The huge loss of state revenue, at a time when our state government can't seem to balance a budget, is irresponsible. Taxes on liquor sales contribute about $200 million to county and city government per year. Much of this money goes towards police and fire departments (King 5 News).

According to the Liquor Control Board Walla Walla County received over $600,000 of this revenue so far in 2010-with the city of Walla Walla getting almost $400,000 of it.

Strike number 2: A loss of state jobs. There are currently about 315 authorized state liquor stores. If each store employs five employees that would be over 1,500 out of work. Mismanagement of revenue by our state government has already cost numerous jobs in many sectors. These job losses are not necessary.

Strike number 3: Public safety will be surely impacted negatively when liquor can be sold from an estimated 3,300 outlets throughout the state (King 5 News again).

State liquor store employees are well trained and diligently monitor sales to avoid selling to people who are intoxicated or underage. Do we really want to trust this to just any old store clerk over the age of 21 and at any time of the day or night? Each year the Union-Bulletin publishes a list of stores that violated the sales laws to minors alone. Many of these stores could be eligible to sell hard alcohol should either of theses measures pass.

As a former ID checker (aka "bouncer") I have witnessed many incidents where people were turned away because they appeared intoxicated only to go to another establishment to continue to "party." I don't want these people walking out of Wal-Mart, Costco or 7-11 with a bottle of Jack Daniels at 2 a.m. Do you?

If either Initiative 1100 or 1105 pass be prepared for more drunken driving accidents and fatalities. I'm voting "no" and I urge everyone to do the same.

Ray Hansen
Walla Walla

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