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Union voters defeat liquor again
by Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal
16 days ago | 4098 views | 10 10 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NEW ALBANY - For the second time in just more than three years, Union County voters on Tuesday rejected the legalization of wine and liquor by 3,597 to 2,277, or 61 to 39 percent. The margin bested that of a November 2008 referendum, when legalization was defeated by 57 to 43 percent.

Influence from Baptist and other congregations that teach teetotaling was strong, with red-and-white "VOTE AGAINST LIQUOR" yard signs visible throughout the county of about 27,000 people.

"There was a concerted effort of many pastors that spearheaded some rallies," said Pastor Mark Bishop of Victory Church in New Albany. "Youth from a number of churches were involved in putting out signs and doorhangers. It seemed like a good unity of church of all denominations that worked hard and put forth a good effort in defeating this."

"I appreciate the grassroots efforts of people who worked to turn out the vote against it," said Pastor Rick Blythe of New Albany's First Baptist Church. "I see it as a positive sign for Union County that we want to remain the family friendly community we've always been."

One of the group's outreaches was a newspaper ad that showed the deterioration of a person's handwriting under the influence of increasing amounts of alcohol.

"When you drink too much, you can't handle a car," the ad stated. "You can't even handle a pen."

Sheriff Jimmy Edwards, who was elected to the office in November, has often spoken against legalization.

"I'm glad it failed," he said. "I'm proud that Union County voted against it."

Proponents of legalization had been encouraged by New Albany voters' legalization of beer within its city limits in early 2010. Arrests for several alcohol-related offenses subsequently dropped among area law enforcement agencies. (DUIs inside New Albany, however, were up by more than half, which Police Chief David Grisham attributed to the addition of a fulltime DUI enforcement officer.)

Citizens for Development had presented legalization as a "step FORward."

"Vote FOR increased property value," "Vote FOR decreased crime and DUI rates," and "Vote FOR more job opportunities," one of their ads stated.

Under Mississippi law, referendums on liquor legalization may be put forward as often as every two years if 1,500 voters petition for the measure.

Logan Rutledge of Nashville, formerly of New Albany, said a lot of factors went into the legalization proponents' loss at the polls.

"The voting results tonight do not necessarily mean that the entire county is against legalization of alcohol," he said. "We didn't get enough of the people who are for it to show up. We had strategic errors, but we're not discouraged."

errol.castens@journalinc.com
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americasgone
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January 11, 2012
There must be some serious alcoholics in Union county if they can't wait till they get home to drink their booze after buying it in Lee county.
JANGA
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January 11, 2012
Boy Howdy....Ya'll are some mean drunks!!
silversmith
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January 11, 2012
You people who vote aganist this are as bout as stupid as they come. If a person wants it they will go to tupelo and their tax dollars with them. Then they drink and drive back home. Why don't some of you people ask our chief of police about that. Oh and let's see preachers that drink. Judges and lawyers also. What is wrong with you people. NOT HAVING IT IN UNION COUNTY IS NOT GOING TO STOP IT.
ultracreep
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January 11, 2012
True that, silversmith. We in Tupelo will enjoy continuing to take New Albany's money, but no one will enjoy the continued drunk driving that will go on down 78 to get home.
wommuck
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January 11, 2012
Great news for Tupelo. Keep that money coming. Maybe install some bumber rails down 78 though.
JANGA
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January 11, 2012
They did install the center Bumber...right?
LogicalLeo
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January 11, 2012
Bumber... is that anything like a bumper?
JANGA
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January 11, 2012
It is the best the gumment can do for $100K per mile.

...And did I read somewhere that they will charge you $5,000 if you use it? If we ain't supposed to use it, what good is it?
jasonlp
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January 10, 2012
I don't see why a town in a dry county can't vote to allow liquor sales like they can for beer. It is silly to be dry in this day and age and if you look up the stats alcohol related crime tends to be higher in dry counties than they do in wet.
LogicalLeo
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January 10, 2012
Good news for Tupelo, since Tupelo will be on the receiving end of the taxes from liquor sells to Union county residents who come here - and they will come here - then many of them will drive right back to your county drunk. If folks in Union county think for a second that not allowing alcohol in their county will keep someone from partaking of the spirits, they are sadly mistaken. You folks were very misled by the ads in the media.

You could, however, have stopped a lot of people from driving to other towns to get alcohol and then driving home while drinking or drunk.

I wouldn't care if we didn't have liquor anywhere, but since we do, we have to try and do what's best all around.