Thank you so much for your editorial (“Sobering decision,” Jan. 21) concerning the upcoming beer and wine referendum. You perfectly expressed the very deep-seated beliefs I and a good many other Bladen Countians have about the referendum’s allowing beer and wine sales to take place all over the county.
This referendum is being pushed and supported by three groups of people: 1) those who stand the chance of profiting, at the expense of others, by directly selling beer and wine, 2) those who believe it is going to attract business and boost our local economy, and 3) those who feel their rights are being violated because of not being able to drive down the street to purchase alcohol; but having to drive to one of the four townships in Bladen which sell alcohol. I take strong exception to all three groups.
There are already 40 outlets in Bladen which are legally permitted to sell beer and/or wine. That should be enough. There is no evidence to show that businesses will be attracted to our area if beer and wine sales go county-wide. Repeatedly I have asked those making this statement to give evidence of one business that has expressed interest in coming to Bladen if this referendum passes. I am still waiting for that evidence.
Also, the amount of income being earned by Clarkton, East Arcadia and White Lake show that the income received is very minimal. There is plenty of evidence state-wide and nation-wide to show that the cost for every dollar earned from alcohol sales is quite high. This is not a boon to our economy,but a bust!
To those who would have to drive a few more miles to get beer or wine, just plan ahead. Problem solved.
One of my big disagreements with this referendum, as you also pointed out, is that it would take away the right of the local populace to govern themselves on this issue. While I love all of Bladen County and the citizens who live here, the passage of this referendum would allow the county to dictate to the town in which I live, Bladenboro, that we will allow the sale of beer and wine when we have always been dry. Bladenboro stood strongly against it in 2001 by winning the vote against the sale of beer and wine, 68 percent to 32 percent. Dublin, Tar Heel and the rest of Bladen County will also have their rights to govern themselves stripped by the passage of this referendum.
This referendum should have never gotten on the ballot countywide. That really is bad government. This, at best, should be a local township’s issue and decided by the people who pay the taxes in that township.
In addition to all of this, as you also stated, we are firmly entrenched in the Bible Belt and an accurate interpretation of the Scriptures say plenty about alcohol. Thank you again for your very excellently written editorial.
Rev. Bruce Cannon
Director of Missions
Bladen Baptist Association