Archive for Thursday, December 1, 2005

Democracy is at work; it’s time for us to vote

December 1, 2005

Baldwin City is seeing democracy in action. As promised, a group of Baldwin City residents opposed to the sale of alcohol on Sunday here have successfully filed a protest petition and have forced the question to a vote on Dec. 22.

That was a result of the Baldwin City Council approving Sunday alcohol sales in September. The council was split on the issue, with Council Members Ted Brecheisen Jr., Tony Brown and President Amy Cleavinger voting for the sales. Council Members Nancy Brown and Doyle Jardon voted against the measure.

That gave proponents of Sunday alcohol sales what they wanted -- the opportunity to sell alcohol in package form from their businesses. That's liquor stores and convenience stores. Such Sunday sales are already in place in many cities and towns in the state, including as close as Lawrence and Edgerton. Local businessmen felt they were losing money with Baldwin residents making the Sunday trek to those places to purchase packaged alcohol. Alcohol is allowed to be served in Baldwin's bars on Sundays, but only by the drink.

The vote also gave opponents of Sunday alcohol sales something, too -- a 60-day protest period to come up with a petition signed by a percentage of Baldwin voters who voted in the previous general election. That amounted to 85 signatures. The petition passers went over and beyond that by providing the Douglas County Clerk with a petition containing 150 names. After 85 of those voters were verified by the clerk on Nov. 17, the election was on. And, it had to happen within 45 days.

The council chose Dec. 22 as the lesser of many evils in the holiday busy time of December. Many people will be gone. Many people won't "find the time" to vote with their busy schedules.

It will be interesting to see how the election -- which is costing Baldwin taxpayers $2,000 to conduct -- will turn out. Will there be more for Sunday sales or more against? It's hard to say. But, it sounds like there are at least 150 against the sales.

They will vote.

For those wanting the sales, arrangements for absentee ballots or early voting will need to be taken care of. Or, show up at the polls.

Democracy is in action. How will Baldwin respond?

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