LETTER: Using children to sell alcohol?

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By The Staff

I find it appalling that city officials feel justified using school children in their efforts to legalize additional liquor sales in Taylorsville.

How else should we interpret the comments in last week’s Magnet regarding the city commission’s effort to have Taylorsville reclassified as a fourth-class city?

According to the paper, the city’s attorney, Dudley Dale, summarized that the new designation wouldn’t mean a lot to the community, other than increasing the flow of alcohol.

“My understanding is that there is not much difference as far as authority or additional powers…all it’s going to allow is mixed drinks,” said Dale.

Apparently the lure of more money has clouded the thinking of city officials who, instead of thinking about the long-term consequences that increased alcohol use and abuse might have on our children, are instead looking at how they can use our children to quench their thirst for more liquor.

Much of the criteria based on a reclassification of Taylorsville is based on population, and there simply are not enough people residing in the small city to warrant such a change. However, city officials suggest that if we count in the little kids who are bused into the community for school each day, we can then increase those numbers significantly, thus allowing more alcohol.

“There’s an issue from a factual standpoint that our population greatly increases during the day,” said City Clerk Steve Biven. “Just the number of students and teachers in the city limits during the school day could make that number jump by 2,000.”

Regardless of your stance on legal alcohol sales, to use schoolchildren as a means to increase the sales of alcohol should be troubling and should indicate that there is a severe disorder of priorities among some in public office.

This letter is not to protest the election process or the results. The voting was fair, but the apathy of those who decided not to participate in the election may very well haunt many Spencer County families who will suffer the effects of accidents, abuse and torn families as a result of this vote.

Proponents of legalized alcohol sales in Spencer County were quiet during the campaign and their strategy of silence was effective in lulling a majority of the voters to stay home on election day.

During the campaign, proponents failed to address the facts that homes and children are the likely victims of alcohol and abuse that often follows. These inconvenient truths were not ones that could be easily or convincingly argued, so their plan was to simply ignore them. Proponents stayed away from attempts to debate the issue and they were noticeably absent from the community forum where these issues could have been addressed.

But with the issue now settled at the polls, proponents are not shy at all about pushing their pro-alcohol agenda as far as they can. Citizens need to finally shed their apathy and tell officials it’s not acceptable to use school children to ensure more consumption of alcohol.

Instead of looking for ways to increase the sales of alcohol, responsible city and county leaders should be looking at ways to promote responsible limits, such as:

• Limiting the number of drinks sold at restaurants to two per visit.

• Prohibiting the sale of single beer containers, which often are purchased and then opened up in the car for consumption while driving.

• Revoke the liquor license of any establishment that is found to have sold alcohol to minors.

I realize these might not even be feasible since the state dictates many of these regulations and local government might not have the authority to enforce such provisions. However, instead of the city appealing to legislature for help in pouring more drinks, maybe they could lead the way in securing more rights for the local government to ensure alcohol sales are done in a responsible manner.

Instead of using children, why don’t we try protecting them?

John Shindlebower

Mt. Eden