Jacksonville Daily Progress
The Cherokee County Conservative Women’s Group is to be applauded for being the first to provide a venue for the two sides of the alcohol election debate to meet and deliver their positions in a public forum.
Other political, merchant and citizen groups should now follow these ladies’ lead and set times and places for representatives from both committees to repeat the performance — and both Progress Jacksonville, which supports legalizing alcohol sales in Jacksonville, and Family First Jacksonville, which opposes such sales, should be at the ready to not only make their arguments as they did Tuesday, but expound on them and continue to offer support for their respective cases.
Whether the city will allow alcohol sales in convenience and grocery stores is a decision left to the voters, but the voters must be informed before they go to the polls.
It’s also a decision, once made to allow those sales, that cannot be reversed easily — as one person said, “Once you open that door, there’s no closing it.”
The voters of Jacksonville not only deserve to hear arguments from both sides of the issue, but they should be allowed the time afterward to do their own research — there is more at stake with this issue than just whether or not Johnny Local can buy beer at the convenience store.
Will alcohol sales boost Jacksonville’s economy, as Progress Jacksonville argues? Or can our economy grow as rapidly without alcohol sales, as Family First Jacksonville argues?
Should the sale of beer and wine be allowed in town because there are health benefits of both, as the “pro sales” folks have said? Or would having such ease of access only be a temptation too great to control for many, as the “anti sales” folks say?
It was high time for these two groups to come together in a single venue and present their respective arguments, and allow each other to present counter arguments as appropriate.
It needs to happen again and again between now and May 8.
We owe it to our voters to give them as much information about both sides of the issue as possible.
And we owe it to ourselves, as voters, to make what we believe will be the absolute best choice for the future of our city.