here we go again

Friday, May 20, 2011

News stories from yesterday are reporting that the Ways and Means Committee of the Washington state legislature has passed a bill (Senate Bill 5942) that directs the state to seek private sector proposals for retooling the liquor distribution system. IF – a big if – this wimpy start actually makes it through the full legislature, then somehow (not sure how) the "private sector" (e.g. Costco and/or the wholesaler lobby) will make proposals which the Washington State Liquor Control Board can then yay or nay. Following that laborious process, presumably, any proposal that has survived goes back to the Legislature for a vote.

All of this dithering is typical of government in this neck of the woods, whether it's Seattle, King County, or Olympia doing the dirty dancing. I don't have the best memory in the world but... didn't the private sector mount two different proposals to get the state out of the liquor biz in last November's elections? Confusing and conflicted though they were, they still attracted a fair percentage of yes votes, and the consensus is that if a well-thought-out single proposal had been on the ballot it would have passed.

That proposal should be generated by the Liquor Control Board. It is their bailiwick, their system, their rules and regs that need to be amended. They should fix it. It's not that hard. IF you really want to do it. Clearly the WSLCB does not want to pull the plug on itself, even though it could still maintain a fair amount of control and generate plenty of revenue, while giving consumers in Washington a fair shake. How about putting the interests of consumers first? Wouldn't that be something!

For starters, how about looking south and seeing what Oregon, another control state, is up to? There you can actually find a liquor store that is well-stocked, with wine and booze, and (Good God Almighty, say Hallelujah children!!!) FOOD! Imagine that?! Selling booze and food at the same location. What a radical idea! And that's not all. Down in Oregon, you can actually buy a corkscrew in a state liquor store also. So you can open your bottle of wine. How amazing! How convenient. How can it require "private sector proposals" to make such changes in Washington?

Oh well. Since the world is ending tomorrow, none of this really matters, does it?

Allons mes amis...


Anonymous said...

For any who anticipate being raptured tomorrow and will be leaving wine behind, I will be happy to give that wine a home during my brief remaining life. Those of us who are left behind to face pestilence prefer to go down with a good glass of wine or two. If it will be hellfire, maybe a chilled Bandol rose would be good.

Anonymous said...


Pamela Heiligenthal said...

Hey Paul, what stores have you been shopping at in Oregon? I don’t know of any liquor store that sells wine, liquor and food! I’m afraid Oregon’s laws are just as wacky as WA.

PaulG said...

Pamela, this was a store in the NE corner of the Pearl District. Well stocked with wines and booze; some food and accessories also.

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