I am writing to address my concerns over the continuing discontent over the most recent beer & light wine ordinance for Water Valley. I have attended both Board of Aldermen meetings, in January & February 2015, where the ordinance was addressed by members of the public, and I anxiously await the revised version of the ordinance that the board has reported it is currently working on.
As a resident of Water Valley, my concerns lie mainly in what seems to be a severe lack of communication between the aldermen, the mayor, and many of Water Valley’s constituents, especially those who have attended these meetings to air their grievances over the perceived short-sightedness and unfairness of the beer & light wine ordinance. The board argues that the ordinance is not unfair, but the fact is that it unduly targets various businesses that serve beer & light wine, not to mention precluding businesses that might do so from coming to Water Valley. The mayor has, at both meetings, denied that the ordinance prevents incoming business, but it most assuredly does…and has.
The question I really want to ask is Why? Why is this beer ordinance necessary? Why does it include the complicated restrictions it does? Multiple times in the recent meetings, questions of this sort led to discussion of ordinances that are already being enforced in the city. So why do they need to be repeated in an alcohol ordinance? The ordinance is redundant in quite a few unnecessary ways, and the aldermen and mayor aren’t answering the questions of why in any satisfactory manner.
Both the attorney who represents the board and Mayor Hart have suggested the use of “common sense” when presented with some of these why questions. If common sense will handle these issues, then surely there’s no need for a new ordinance to do so. Another time, when the question of why establishments selling beer & light wine can’t display advertisements for those products, Mayor Hart answered, because “we want to hold down on some of the things you see in some of the towns…banners flying…” Not only do I not understand what that means, but even if I did, I’m not sure I’d consider it a satisfying answer. Satisfaction is something that seems to be sorely missing from this discussion. Business owners seem dissatisfied; Water Valley citizens seem dissatisfied; the aldermen and the mayor seem dissatisfied…at least with the former two groups’ dissatisfaction.
Frustration in the proceedings of the meeting last week seemed obvious when Mayor Hart told the room full of Water Valley constituents that he hopes we can let this go and “get on with [our] lives.” But it is more than apparent that the frustration is mutual, based on the mood in the gallery of that meeting. Perhaps meeting this frustration head-on by abandoning the current ordinance and orchestrating constructive discussion between business owners and city government to craft one more amenable to all parties will be much more helpful for all of us to get on with our lives.
Dr. Claire Mischker
I must confess I am not a beer connoisseur but might take a sip of my husband’s beer that he has ordered when we go out to eat. I prefer a sweet wine now and then. I’ve never been much of an alcoholic drinker but when I do it is in moderation. That stated, I feel that my voice must be heard on this so called “Beer Ordinance.”
As a voting citizen I have a right to voice my opinion and after re-reading the Constitution of the United States of America, I am awed at the tiresome debate that the forefathers put forth to create such a document that still stands the test of time. Believe me when I say I reread it because at the age of 15, when it was mandatory to read, study and write reports on the Constitution, I had no clue what it meant or if I even cared. I just wanted a good grade. I have thus learned that a lot of shouting, haggling, fighting, and even blood was drawn while drawing up this remarkable document.
I have read in earnest all the editorials and comments to the editor concerning the tweaking of the beer ordinances that was done behind closed doors. The supposedly “Powers That Be” (that are elected officials) have done something without consulting the businesses that will be affected. What happened to democracy? Our forefathers put forth a document that would establish that the people would conclude (which was a new concept) who represented them and that we would NOT have a king to dictate our rights and future. This is a small town and not much goes unnoticed, even if it’s not printed in the paper.
I wonder why others would want to push their authority when they have been elected by the people and get their emoluments (paid) by the citizens’ tax base. They answer to us and work for us, not the other way around. They should be asking their constitutes what they want, how to make this a prosperous town, not denying them to do business as they see fit. My understanding is this ordinance is requiring businesses that sell beer to submit to the city a detailed sales inventory of beer, what is that all about, the city will get the sales tax allotment so what do they care. If you sell beer in your establishment you must have male and female bathrooms, what is really going on?
When government starts dictating we as a citizen have the right to question, consult legal authority and even take it to a higher representative in authority.,
I may not be from here but I am a tax-paying citizen that has a right to be here. It’s called “FREEDOM” to live where you want, work where you want. If it wasn’t for all the new transplants, this town would not be growing like it has in the last 10 years. When we first arrived we bought property downtown and opened a restaurant for our daughter. Sorry to say, it only lasted six months. Why, because we weren’t getting enough local citizens to support it and we couldn’t sell beer. I never got it; we could sell hard liquor but not beer. Now that this town has gotten into the 21st Century and beer is allowed, the elected official wants to change things.
Prohibition is over, when it was enforced it only made the gangster richer and some law-abiding citizens to become bootlegger and gin runners because it paid more. More blood was shed during prohibition time because of a law that tried to enact a will over the people.
I appreciate the editorials that Jack Gurner and David Howell have voiced and printed. They keep citizens informed of the facts and knowledge is power. I’ve enjoyed Ms. Coulter Fussell’s “Hill Country Living” and her writings on how she feels about all this “Beer Business,” which in my opinion are fantastic.
Let your voice be heard. When election time comes around you have a right to correct wrongs by voting. Remember citizens, that all who have come before you have done so in the voice of “FREEDOM.” My husband’s ancestors fought to be free. My ancestors fought to keep their land, but that’s another story to be told concerning Monopoly.
/s/ Doni Burt
P.S. Do you know the dates and years the Constitution was ratified by the states? How many states ratified it?