Shut Up and Swallow

How We Ended Up with Two Flawed Liquor Initiatives and Why They're Our Only Hope

Shut Up and Swallow

Mark Kaufman

DRAB, SCARCE, AND USUALLY CLOSED There are only 22 liquor stores in the city of Seattle—or one liquor store per 27,364 residents.

Washington is one of just 18 states in the country that control all retail sales and distribution of liquor, and it's been this way since prohibition. There are only 22 liquor stores in the city of Seattle—or one liquor store per 27,364 residents. Bars and restaurants are each allotted only one store they are authorized to buy liquor from, and the stores themselves run on a child's curfew, some of them closing as early as 6:00 p.m. on busy Friday and Saturday nights. Clearly, the state has no concept of happy hour.

And if a liquor store runs out of something a restaurant needs to make its customers happy? Maker's Mark, for example? Until that assigned store gets a new shipment of Maker's, that restaurant is shit out of luck. If the liquor store that's been assigned to a restaurant closes early, but another liquor store across town is still open? Again, that restaurant is shit out of luck—going to another store is against the rules of the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB). If the state doesn't carry a product that a restaurant's customers want or if it discontinues a product? Once again, shit out of luck.

To say nothing of how difficult it is for an adult to buy a bottle of liquor after 5:00 p.m. on a Sunday: There isn't a single liquor store in the state with its lights on.

Obviously, our legislators in Olympia should've gotten Washington State out of the liquor business long ago. A state auditor's report released in January showed that the state could make as much as $277 million in additional revenue over five years by privatizing the sale of liquor, based on an estimate that the number of liquor outlets statewide would jump from 315 to 3,357. Neighborhood grocery stores and convenience stores and gas stations would suddenly have the ability to sell booze until 2:00 a.m., as they do with beer and wine. Bars and restaurants and everyone else could buy liquor like adults—at the store, with their groceries—and they could do it past 5:00 p.m. on Sundays, like they do in most states.

We've had the opportunity to change our archaic liquor laws, but our elected representatives have dragged their feet like dancers in a clubfoot ballet—shuffling around, sidestepping, and ultimately shooting down privatization bills every legislative session for the last 13 years. Some bills have proposed sweeping changes, while others would've allowed more private stores to contract with the state to make liquor slightly more available. But the legislature hasn't budged.

There are reasons they drag their feet—bills failed due to a split Democratic caucus, intense pressure from the state employees' union, and teetotaling moralists on the right.

Money is also an issue. The state makes a lot of revenue off the markup of selling liquor and on the taxes it tacks on top of the markup. Last year, the state made $360 million in revenue off of liquor markup and taxes. That money goes directly into the state's general fund and toward city budgets to pay for things like health care, foster care, and road maintenance.

It also pays for the WSLCB, which in addition to liquor sales is in charge of liquor regulation and enforcement. (Yes, it's weirdly contradictory that the same body is in charge of promotion and regulation, like someone offering you a drink with one hand while preparing to slap you in the face with the other for being a goddamned lush.) The money the state reaps selling liquor is also used to penalize private businesses that don't follow its strict rules. For instance, the state stupidly penalizes nightclubs that let musicians drink on stage during a show.

Getting the WSLCB out of the liquor-retailing business would allow it to focus on what it does effectively (safety and enforcement—the WSLCB has a 94 percent compliance rate for not selling alcohol to minors) instead of what it does poorly (retail liquor from drab, Soviet-bleak stores).

But the contradiction serves a certain harmony. "We pay for ourselves in the markup," says Brian Smith, spokesman for the WSLCB. "Without it, we can't run enforcement, licensing, alcohol-awareness programs, or the liquor control board."

Nevertheless, things look like they're going to change for the WSLCB—whether it likes it or not.

It's about time.

The legislature's inaction on liquor reform is why we now have not one but two initiatives on the ballot this November seeking to get the state out of the liquor business. Each of them is problematic, but both of them appear to have a good shot at passing—both are polling at more than 50 percent. And in spite of their problems, if both passed, that wouldn't be such a bad thing—because having to reconcile them would finally force Olympia to

do something.

One of them, Initiative 1100, is heavily supported—and largely funded—by Costco. Of the two, it provides the most dramatic changes to our system. Right now, the state regulates liquor manufacturing, liquor distribution, and liquor sales. I-1100 would privatize sales and allow any business to become a distributor, for a fee. Current distributors "can stay in business, but they'll no longer have the monopoly the state currently provides them," says I-1100 spokesperson Ashley Bach. By June 2011, the liquor control board would start accepting liquor applications from private businesses that already carry beer and wine, and open up licensing options to new retailers. Costco is behind the initiative because it allows big retailers—like Costco—to become distributors as well as retailers. This means they can buy directly from wholesalers and then turn around and sell liquor to other liquor stores, restaurants, bars, and individual customers.

The Washington Restaurant Association, the Independent Grocers Alliance, and the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association (SNMA) have all endorsed I-1100 because "it's the most open market, it provides the most choice," says Pete Hanning, owner of the Red Door in Fremont and president of the SNMA.

But small-scale Washington wineries and microbreweries see things differently. The Washington Brewers Guild calls I-1100 "the greatest threat the Washington craft brewing industry has experienced in a decade." They say that with I-1100, craft businesses will be pushed off the shelves as selection is choked out in favor of volume. "It repeals all current wine distribution laws that significantly impact small wineries," says Annie McGrath, spokeswoman for the Washington Wine Institute. "We've got some pretty great laws on the books for wineries that open up access for small guys to get into the marketplace—a retailer can't require a winery to pay for shelf space or advertising or menu printing, for example. This initiative repeals all these key protections." (On the bright side, you'd be able to buy a bathtub full of Maker's Mark at Costco for a song. Whereas a bottle currently costs $34 in Washington liquor stores, the same bottle in California—which has a model closer to I-1100—costs only $20.)

But that discount to consumers comes at a cost to the state. The state's Office of Financial Management (OFM) estimates that I-1100 could cost Washington up to $85 million in revenue over a period of five years, and local municipalities as much as $192 million. (Everyone's calculations are confusing and contradictory—depending on whom you talk to, the state will either lose millions or make millions by getting out of the liquor business.)

The other initiative, 1105, is backed by distributors and preserves the state's three-tiered buying system (distributors buy booze, beer, and wine from wholesalers across the state and country; retailers then buy from distributors, who deliver all over the state) while privatizing retail sales. Charla Neuman, spokeswoman for I-1105, says, "If you are both a distributor and a retailer"—like Costco seeks to become—"you can charge yourself much lower prices than other companies buying from you," putting competing small businesses at a disadvantage. Unlike I-1100, Neuman says, I-1105 "protects small businesses." (Perhaps, but it's also true that back in the era of prohibition, when the three-tiered system was created, distributors were the mob. I-1105 essentially preserves a moblike monopoly on distributing booze, which is why it's being funded by distributors to the tune of $2 million.)

I-1105 could cost the state up to $520 million over five years and municipalities as much as $210 million, according to the OFM. If those numbers prove to be accurate, this would translate into huge hits to education, health, and social-services funding, among other things.

The municipality of Seattle could lose as much as $7 million annually. "If either initiative passes, we lose money," stresses George Emerson, an economist with Seattle's Department of Finance and Administrative Services. Last year, Seattle received $7 million from liquor markup and taxes, according to Emerson. The city uses this money to fund law enforcement, road improvements, and social services.

"The OFM is completely bogus," counters Neuman. "1105 will not cost the state money."

It's true the state's numbers aren't completely accurate—the state won't speculate on how much money in liquor taxes will be generated once more stores are selling more booze, or how many more liquor licenses the state will be able to sell. Additionally, under I-1105, stores would be required to give the state 6 percent of gross sales—revenue that would go into the state's general fund—for five years after they obtain their license.

Of the two, I-1105 is the better policy. It doesn't repeal laws that help craft breweries and wineries, and it contains wording that ensures privatization would "generate at least the same annual revenue for the state and local jurisdictions as under the current state control system, as well as at least an additional one hundred million dollars" over a five-year period. (The campaign contends their measure will bring in $130 million over five years.) The initiative outlines how this will be achieved: by instructing the WSLCB to set new liquor-license fees; by having the WSLCB recommend a new, higher liquor tax (in order to offset the liquor markup the state will lose); and from the sheer quantity of new liquor retailers selling more booze (which means more liquor being taxed).

Meanwhile, the I-1100 campaign doesn't dispute the fact that its initiative will cost the state money. "We're not saying for sure that the state's going to come out ahead," says spokesman Bach. "We believe there are a lot of ways that the state can make up the money." The surest way would be by raising taxes.

"If we're losing money on the markup, we'll have to set the liquor taxes higher, so that the state comes out revenue neutral," says state representative Ross Hunter (D-48), who is the chair of the House Finance Committee. Here's Hunter's problem with the scenario: If Tim Eyman's Initiative 1053 also passes this November—an initiative that would require a nearly-impossible-to-achieve two-thirds majority in the legislature to raise any taxes—legislators would be hamstrung. The legislature would be unable to raise liquor taxes until the 2013 session, when it could theoretically suspend the Eyman initiative. Until then—amid the state's recession-era budget shortfalls—the state would lose out on $101 million annually in liquor-tax revenue, on top of the markup we're set to lose.

"Whatever people think philosophically about privatization, these initiatives are too risky, they go too far," says Sandeep Kaushik, spokesman for Protect Our Communities, the campaign working to defeat both I-1100 and I-1105. Beer and wine interests have pumped over $4 million into Protect Our Communities' efforts. Clearly, beer and wine companies are concerned with competing on grocery shelves with liquor. However, Protect Our Communities' basic argument is that these initiatives pose a public-safety risk. "I-1100 makes Washington the most deregulated hard-liquor state in the country," says Kaushik. "When you have well over 2,000 convenience and neighborhood stores, mini-marts, and gas stations that are able to sell liquor until 2:00 a.m., and less money for enforcement, there are public-safety issues."

But in spite of being potentially disastrous in the short term for the state budget and potentially disastrous from a public-safety standpoint ("Roughly 1 in 20 teenagers succeeds in buying liquor in our state, but that number jumps to roughly 5 in 20" in states that are privatized, says Smith of the WSLCB), odds are that one or both initiatives will pass. During a recent SurveyUSA poll sponsored by KING 5, 59 percent of voters said they were certain to approve I-1100 and 54 percent were certain to vote yes on I-1105. (The poll was conducted with 618 likely voters and had a margin of error of 4 percent.)

And if either or both initiatives pass, the state and local municipalities can always fix the disasters that arise. Cities could follow California's lead and pass ordinances to restrict liquor-store hours of operation, the state could limit the number of liquor licenses a chain could have like New Jersey does, and cities and counties could enact land-use regulations governing where liquor could be sold. The legislature could also toughen up the state's DUI penalties. Arizona has some of the most relaxed liquor laws in the country—it still allows drive-through liquor stores—but a first DUI offense includes having an interlock device installed in your car for a year.

What happens to the law if both initiatives pass?

A fucking mess ensues. "There is no rule in the state to dictate what happens when two [similar] initiatives pass at the exact same time," says Dave Ammons, spokesman for the secretary of state's office. But it might actually force the legislature to do its job. "The legislature or the courts must figure out what to do," Ammons explains. "They could conceivably adopt an approach to say that the most popular of the two would prevail, or the legislature could try to harmonize the two." Ammons says that the legislature would need a supermajority—or two-thirds approval in both houses—to mesh the two, as stipulated in the state constitution.

The legislature refused to act on this issue when it had the chance, but it would not be able to ignore the will of the voters. And after nearly a century of dealing with a crappy system, the public sentiment is that something needs to change—even if change comes in the form of a mess that needs to be cleaned up later. After all, if neither initiative passes, the legislature may take that as a sign to keep doing nothing and leave an archaic liquor system in place. Now voters are left with no choice but to play chess with a sledgehammer. It'll be the legislature's job to pick up the pieces. recommended


Comments (35) RSS

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So... the basic premise of this article is:

"The current system is "crappy" purely because it inconveniences my ability to get hard liquor after 5pm on the weekends (beer and wine sure... but that's just not quite good enough). So it's a wonderful thing that there are two initiatives on the ballot that I can provide absolutely no arguements in support of since basically they will both pretty much decimate state and municiple bugets, and will most likely also pose a signifigant public safety risk, according to anyone who doesn't stand to make a fortune if they pass"


Nice... that's just the kind of rational thinking we need going into this election season. Thanks!
Posted by SimplyNotClever on September 1, 2010 at 4:17 PM · Report this
I-1100 certainly sounds like the best initiative to me. It keeps the liquor tax in place, which would provide hundreds of millions of dollars for state and local budgets. And it gets rid of the distributors' monopoly.

A couple things to clarify:

--The liquor control board would have all the funding it needs if 1100 or 1105 passes. The wine tax in this state is specifically set aside for liquor board operations and would provide $20 million a year. Combine that with the licensing fees and the board has more than enough, according to its own projections. The liquor board isn't using the wine tax money for operations right now because it's overflowing in money from the 51.9 percent markup it charges on liquor.

--32 other states (32!) have privatized their liquor sales, and they are doing the same if not better than the 18 "control" states in all the major alcohol statistics, including alcohol consumption, underage drinking and DUI arrests.

--There wouldn't be any negative impact to public safety if either initiative passes. This public safety argument is a smokescreen created by the No campaign, which is funded almost entirely by the beer companies and beer distributors. Do you think these guys care about public safety? No, they care about their profits.
Posted by 23wen on September 1, 2010 at 6:42 PM · Report this
California's basically bankrupt; Yay, $20 Maker's Mark!

At least we'll all be able to drink our problems away.
Posted by Dammit Barbie! The math isn't _that_ hard. on September 1, 2010 at 10:50 PM · Report this
Uh, bars are allowed to buy from stores other than their home stores. Some bars do it regularly. Did you use up all your research hours on that clubfoot ballet simile?
Posted by jmms on September 2, 2010 at 1:11 AM · Report this
the liquor store on 4th ave. s in the sodo district is open until 9:00 p.m. mon-thurs,
10:00 p.m. fri-sat, and 12-5 on sundays. any
class h can shop here no matter what store they are assigned to.
Posted by wslcb#101 on September 2, 2010 at 11:17 AM · Report this
I've lived in California and spent time with relatives in Arizona. I appreciated the option of being able to buy liquor at mulitiple locations,limited restrictions on when it could be purchased and the opportunity to stock up during some great sales.
However, unless there is a significant turnout of voters under the age of say 40, in this upcoming midterm election, I think that polling numbers indicating that the electorate is ready to end a state monopoly are simply statistics that won't carry over into the initiatives on that mail in ballot. I have older friends and they don't have much enthusiasm for any of these two initiatives. Approval of either of these measures is doubtful. Because....older voters take the time to vote in midterm elections and younger voters, even with the convenience of mail in ballots, frequently don't.
Posted by friedclam on September 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM · Report this

I think you might find an interesting coalition of redneck (anti-nanny state)/yuppie voters (pro-cheap booze). Also, Washingtonians are very fond of initiatives.
Posted by Thunderbird on September 2, 2010 at 11:42 AM · Report this
I-1100 makes the most sense. It ends the state's outrageous markup that, combined with our liquor taxes, gives Washington the highest state government markup on liquor of any state in the country -- 20 percent higher than the next state, and 150 percent higher than all but 7 other states. And what do we get for this outrageous markup? A 3-member Liquor Board appointed by the governor that decides what spirits we can and cannot buy, and that utilizes less than 10 percent of its employees on enforcement and about 75 percent on selling and marketing liquor. If you want public safety, vote for I-1100 and force the Liquor Board to focus on enforcement and education, where it should be focused, rather than selling and marketing liquor.
Posted by arthurofrhodes on September 2, 2010 at 3:37 PM · Report this
The liquor store employees are represented by the UFCW Union which is not the main state employees union. That would be the Washington Federation Zof State Employees. Just wanted to clarify that as a WFSE MEMBER.
Posted by eric1972sea on September 2, 2010 at 5:26 PM · Report this
With all the words that are available in the English language I was impressed by the fact that the writer of this article seemed to think that "crappy" and "shit out of luck" did the best job of making two of her points At least one of those points was simply untrue. When she says "And if a liquor store runs out of something a restaurant needs to make its customers happy? Maker's Mark, for example? Until that assigned store gets a new shipment of Maker's, that restaurant is shit out of luck." This is simply not true. State liquor store manager regularly transfer stock from another store in order to fulfill a restaurant order. The Stranger does not have to pretend to be "objective" but a well researched story and some logic, and a vocabulary, would be nice.
A few other points to note. If these initiatives pass there will be many more outlets for buying liquor but very few, if any, will have the kind of selection that is carried by the average state liquor store. Oh, and by the way, where was it that you planned on getting boxes the next time that you're going to be moving.
Posted by anilk on September 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM · Report this
growler 11
nope, they both suck. neither will pass. not a chance. nice try strangler.
Posted by growler on September 3, 2010 at 12:09 AM · Report this
Sir Vic 12
@10 Which WSLCB store do you "work" at? Ever seen a real business operate?

I'll take someone like Pete Hanning's word about how bars get their liquor than some paid government shill's talking points.
Posted by Sir Vic on September 3, 2010 at 7:49 AM · Report this
@12 That 'talking point' happens on a weekly basis. Stores transfer alcohol. Bars make purchases from non-assigned stores. They're not constricted to their home store's variety. They're just not.

Cienna got this wrong. I don't see where Hanning backs her up, but if he does elsewhere, that's unfortunate - he's wrong, too.
Posted by jmms on September 3, 2010 at 8:12 AM · Report this
1100 yes, 1105 no. Don't protect distributors. They've been coddled too long. Frankly, boutique shops will be more likely to pop up if Costco and other big box stores dominate the volume business. We'll be able to get the good stuff at long last. Right now, distributors have little incentive to try hard at getting anything "exotic." And they get to define what "exotic" means. Our selection sucks - and small batch producers are shut out because they simply aren't worth enough money to the distributor to bother. Let people buy right from wholesalers. Take the distributors out of the loop.
Posted by nullbull on September 3, 2010 at 12:15 PM · Report this
I'm not scared of privatization. In Michigan you could get hard liquor at most convenience stores (we called them "party stores" there) and it didn't create any problems I could see. If you wanted something special there were specialty liquor stores to cater to you.
Posted by Orv on September 3, 2010 at 2:11 PM · Report this
Either initiative's impact will mainly be felt in the restaurant industry. I'm sure many have noticed how many bars and restaurants have closed down in the last few years, certainly due to a bad economy. But finally being able to have access to wholesale prices will allow them to sell liquor for less $ with a better profit margin. And that is a wonderful thing!

If a business if forced to mark up on retail prices (the current system) there's so little room for profit, as people are only willing to pay so much for a drink. If you're a bar, that drink price has to be set to pay overhead, taxes and profit, on a very very slim margin.

A typical business like a shoe store or grocery store gets it's wares from a wholesaler, and marks them up %100. Bars typically mark up closer to 50%, and are expected to pay larger licensing fees and taxes, than a regular business.

I think as consumers we would all enjoy cheaper prices, both for home consumption and when out on the town.

*one last rant: teenagers will always figure out ways to drink if they want to. doesn't matter what state they're in, that's what big brothers and sisters are for. No need to legislate on that fear, the horse has already left the barn!
Posted by sassipants on September 3, 2010 at 5:10 PM · Report this
@12, I don't know who Pete Hanning is, but, his claims are extremely inaccurate, as are yours!
Posted by gov on September 4, 2010 at 9:27 PM · Report this
@12, I don't know who Pete Hanning is, but, his statement is completely inaccurate, as are yours!!!
Posted by gov on September 4, 2010 at 9:34 PM · Report this
Clearly the intro is a bit of a satire "simplynotclever"... But most importantly, if revenue is the states biggest argument, remember a certain NBA basketball team we used to have? Wonder if they would have contributed some sort of an income, some how. How right they are now a playoff contending team with a huge upside bringing millions of dollars to Oklahoma City... Fucking OKC, seriously?
Posted by jakevchefy on September 5, 2010 at 3:14 AM · Report this
Texas10R 20
Keep in mind, even if the state-run monopoly of distribution and retail operations is effectively dismantled, the state's claim to those tax proceeds will not necessarily follow suit. The state government is collectively unwilling to adapt to a market-based retail environment. It could well mean that the final cost per 750 Litre of booze, wine, or beer, could stay the same or increase substantially.

There is nothing in the law that prevents a huge liquor tax increase in the name of school funding, the general good of the public, or some other bullshit rationale. If you don't believe it, just ask any smoker.
Some (many) people would be thrilled shitless if all alcohol could be taxed out economic reach for all except the very wealthiest.
Just ask a smoker.
Posted by Texas10R on September 5, 2010 at 8:35 AM · Report this
Texas10R 21
...sorry, should be 750 mL
Posted by Texas10R on September 5, 2010 at 8:37 AM · Report this
I went to Japan recently and over there noticed that there wasn't ANY curfew on sales of alcohol. You could buy a bottle of whiskey from a store at 3 or 4 in the morning if you wished. They also had a variety of interesting pre-mixed and canned hard-alcohol based drinks on sale. It doesn't seem like Japan has a huge problem of alcohol related crime due to it either.

I'm sure the state could make tons of money in taxes if they opened up the sale of liquor not only in stores but 24/7! Too bad it's not a scenario like that we're discussing here.
Posted by Chew-high on September 5, 2010 at 3:15 PM · Report this
@16 While you have something of a point, the simple fact is most restaurants fail in the first year. This isn't going to magically change that fact, in the same way that is true outside of Washington State.
Posted by Still shitty, shitty initiatives, even if it is a good idea. on September 5, 2010 at 9:15 PM · Report this
Sure Ok 24
i have not browsed the whole article as of yet but in the opening it is mentioned that you cannot get liquor on Sundays in the state... yes you can and i have done so many times. its called tribal land. i have this option save me many times. of course you will not find any open location on the WA liquor website when they say they are closed and have locations open on holidays...ha. anyway these are options and if you are close to tribal land i would suggest getting your Sunday holiday buzz on.
Posted by Sure Ok on September 6, 2010 at 3:53 PM · Report this
Will I finally be allowed to bring wine to a picnic without getting arrested if these pass?
Posted by JesseJB on September 6, 2010 at 11:24 PM · Report this
The thing all you pro-1100 people are missing is that for good or ill, our state taxes liquor--both the mark-up and retail taxes--as a means to fund the state budget. We don't have an income tax like nearly all other states. So, doing away with the mark-up means that hundreds of millions of dollars that currently go to cities and counties for essential services(half of the mark-up, the other half goes to the general fund) will disappear. This is money that will now go into the pockets of Costco, Walmart, Safeway and QFC, to name a few. That's fine as a public policy concept, but do you really want to line their pockets while cutting police and other law enforcement at the same time you are making a ten-fold increase in the number of places people can buy hard liquor? It's not all about underage drinking--yea, that will happen. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that being able to buy hard liquor everywhere and at essentially anytime will lead to more drunk driving and other alcohol-based problems in our society. Maybe it'd OK, though, if it was your kid who got killed by the drunk driver and not mine.
Posted by Mr. Sensible on September 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM · Report this
devon rocketship 27
@19, @24, & @26: ..Ugh, I don't even want to bother.
Posted by devon rocketship http://swimtothemoon.livejournal.com on September 7, 2010 at 7:20 PM · Report this
Sir Vic 28
@17 & @18 I actually read the article, so I know who Pete Hanning is. Also, I've been to his well-run bar a few times. Good guy, whose livelihood is not dependent on a government sponsored monopoly.
Posted by Sir Vic on September 7, 2010 at 9:13 PM · Report this
22 stores for 27,000 people. About 70% of the population doesn't drink, so make that 9,000 people. 23% of the population drinks 75% of the alcohol. Any restaurant can go to any liquor store to purchase alcohol with proper license documentation for an emergency purchase. 51% mark-up is a common wholesale/retail business practice. Most everything you buy anywhere has been marked up 51% or more. That's how stores have sales "with giant markdowns" without losing money. Liquor stores have a hugh base of special orders for items not part of normal stock. These items can be transfered between stores.
Posted by Veloni51 on September 8, 2010 at 7:46 AM · Report this
There couldn't possibly be a connection between WSLCB's tight restriction of liqour sales and their high compliance rate w/r/t underage sales. I mean obviously they are just naturally good at preventing underage sales, regardless of the rules in place. I bet private-side liqour retailers would be JUST AS GOOD.

That being said, a trip into a Cali convenience store is like heaven for a UW student on a road trip.
Posted by fetish on September 8, 2010 at 9:08 AM · Report this
There are many stores open on Sundays. 12th and Pine, Lower Queen Anne and 4th ave South to name a few.
*If your a homeowner, you may be interested in your already lowering property values. They will surely plummet even more when liquor is available at the corner market. They'll plummet even further if you live downtown when all the street drunks the city has worked so hard to eliminate return en-mass.
*Any restaurant or bar may purchase up to TWENTY FOUR CASES OF DIFFERENT LIQUORS at any liquor store on walk-in basis.
*I personally have served many a Stranger staff member while employed at the 12th and Pine store, and I take exception to your portrayal of store staff as 'sad little employees in their colorless uniforms'(previous feature in which you also incorrectly said the WSLCB was incompetent.
Posted by GeeJosh on September 9, 2010 at 6:08 PM · Report this
...so the Stranger didn't think it important to admit their sloppy errors in this article, eh?

It's somehow heartwarming to know that even Seattle has its own version of Fox News. It's the shame that binds us together.
Posted by jmms on September 21, 2010 at 12:24 AM · Report this
best article around on initiatives-

Posted by imiss america on October 2, 2010 at 6:46 PM · Report this
SO who didn't think of an initiative that has all liqueur stores open 7days a week till 8, and anyone acting as a distributor, selling liqueur be taxed equally per each item, so regardless of consumer purchase price, item be taxed equally. The govt. would still get its money, and everybody can get what they want when they need it, DUH?
Posted by Issue breaker on October 9, 2010 at 10:04 AM · Report this
SO who didn't think of an initiative that has all liqueur stores open 7days a week till 8, and the wholesaler would pay taxes up front, TBA by govt., so anyone down the line (stores, bars, etc,)will not have to deal with liqueur taxes.
The govt. would still get its money, and everybody can get what they want when they need it, DUH?
Posted by Issue breaker on October 9, 2010 at 10:20 AM · Report this

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