Thursday, February 26, 2009

Back to Priorities

Like Obama listed his 3 priorities for the nation, I list my 3 major talking points on this blog: drinking, public transportation, and general political idiocy with a bit of my questionable morals thrown in to spice things up.

Back to the number one priority - drinking.

Pittsburgh is a drinking city. This guy chronicled bars in all 90 of our neighborhoods. We have a brewery in a church. Hofbrauhaus picked Pittsburgh as their 3rd location in the country. And from football games to art galleries, beer drinking goes with the territory. With proper precautions (i.e. drunk driving education and enforcement), I'm all for it.

For such a city, though, why do we put up with the yoke of the PLCB and the case law?

Oftentimes as a city we look to the East for inspiration. Is that it? We want to resemble the liberal state of Massachusetts (who historically didn't allow beer and liquor sales on Sunday) or Connecticut (who physically places tarps over the beer in grocery stores after 9pm and on Sundays ) or perhaps live-free-or-die New Hampshire (who runs a similar state-run liquor store plan yet somehow manages to have the cheapest prices in the region). If so, we need to start looking West to California, where if you want a bottle of vodka, you pick it up with your orange juice.

Do we really believe deep down inside that drinking is evil? And that we need the PLCB to protect us? After all the wording of the law which created the PLCB says the following:

This act shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the Commonwealth for the protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals of the people of the Commonwealth and to prohibit forever the open saloon, and all of the provisions of this act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of this purpose.

Or perhaps it's because our state continues to make money hand over fist because of the aforementioned slick setup? In this year of economic downturn, the only bright spot in the economy appears to be liquor sales. PLCB reported record sales last year. They're making so much money they've even hired an image consultant to make us like them more. Fat chance. Personally, I feel if the PLCB is going to pillage my wallet, they should at least turn their excess profits over to the state instead of working on their branding.

Is it really a surprise that when the state gave Pittsburgh options for funding Port Authority their only viable option was a drink tax? No. What's surprising is that we continue to put with it.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

"Do we really believe deep down inside that drinking is evil?"

I heard on the radio the other day a discussion of proposed reforms to alcohol sales in Georgia. They're discussing many of the same reforms PA is discussing, like sales on Sunday. One state legislator came out and said, pretty explicitly, that yes, the state DOES need to protect people from demon alcohol.

I suppose there may be similar sentiment in some parts of this state.