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Posted: October 31, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Thoughts on alcohol by the drink

The economy and job creation are the two most important election issues around the state and, locally, the alcohol by the drink sales issue is one component of the broader economic debate.

The District 2 Board of Commissioners race between Republican Rickie Corley and Lanier Sims is the only one in 2010 that will directly affect the future of alcohol by the drink.

Sims has said repeatedly that he believes the issue should be brought to the public for a vote as soon as possible. While he said most recently that he neither opposes nor supports alcohol by the drink, he also said he believes allowing alcohol by the drink sales in some form will help the county attract more high-end restaurants to Newton County.

Corley has been less definitive. He agrees with Sims that if alcohol by the drink is passed, it needs to have strict provisions to prevent the formation of bars. However, when asked, he said Friday that he would have to do more research before deciding to put the issue up for a vote, especially if it required spending extra money for a special election. He said in lieu of doing more research, he would only call for a referendum if nearly all of his constituents told him they were in favor of a public vote.

In early August, the BOC voted down a public referendum, by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioners Mort Ewing, J.C. Henderson and Earnest Simmons opposing the vote.

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