Emailed my Metro Council Representive
by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon
I just emailed my Metro Council Representative about possible changes to alcohol sales laws for the city. Here is what I said.
To Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis:
As a resident of your district, I wanted to contact you in support of the change to allow alcohol sales on Sunday and later closing times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I think it is important that as Baton Rouge grows we adopt policies that will allow us to better compete with New Orleans for both tourism and residents. Currently a tremendous number of our residents leave the city for New Orleans for their special occasions because of the later closing times in New Orleans. I think this is a crippling blow to our ability to develop a lively and popular downtown. As a growing city, we need to grow and change in order to stay competitive. Recently with the passing of the CATS related property tax we took an important step towards the changes that need to happen to be a real competitive large city. This is another crucial step to be able to compete with the likes of New Orleans, Atlanta, and Austin.
I don’t know anything about your personal views on alcohol. I understand a number of people do find alcohol to be immoral and are opposed to its sale on Sunday (or in general) as a result and undoubtedly many of them are voters whose beliefs you have to address. I have a two pronged answer to this issue.
First, I believe that imposing ones personal beliefs on others goes against the freedom our country stands for. I think it is important to respect people’s rights to their choices unless they take an action that endangers others. If a Jewish or Muslim official wanted to outlaw pork sales because they believed them to be immoral we would not allow that to happen. Similarly if a Mormon official was seeking to shut down every Starbucks due to opposition to caffeine they would undoubtedly meet a tremendous reaction against it. We can not let individual’s moral views on alcohol influence public policy any more than we would allow the outlawing of pork or caffeine.
Second, as a country we experimented with alcohol prohibition in the past and the effects were disastrous. Simply put, individuals who want to drink will do so regardless of government efforts to stop them. In prohibition efforts to stop drinking lead to organized crime and dangerous bath tub booze. Right now our alcohol sales restrictions lead to already drunk people deciding to drive to New Orleans at 2 am to continue their night out. It is a lot less dramatic than organized crime but it is still a negative and dangerous side effect of the restriction.
Thank you for considering my argument in favor of change and progress for our city.