Monterey OKs alcohol propositions

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, November 21, 2007

VIDALIA — While Monterey voters may have initially circulated a petition to restrict some alcohol sales, when voting ended Saturday they had added an alcohol option to the district.

The alcohol referendum was called when 426 of District 5B’s approximately 1,465 voters signed a petition asking for it.

The first four propositions concerned the sale of alcohol with less than 6 percent alcohol per volume — such as many beers and wine coolers — and hard liquor, both by package and for consumption on the premises, such as in a bar.

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The fifth proposition will allow restaurants — which the district does not currently have — to sell both types of alcohol.

All five propositions passed with at least 55 percent of the vote.

Business owner Jake Rogers, who owns and operates the district’s only bar — J.L.’s Place, which would have been essentially shut down if four of the five propositions the referendum failed — said he was a little nervous about the election.

“I always had a kind of a bad feeling,” he said.

But Rogers campaigned for the propositions, taking out an ad in a local newspaper, circulating fliers and telling customers they should vote for all five propositions.

“I’m glad it’s all over with and I’m glad that it turned out how it did for everyone involved,” he said.

Businessman Jeffery Paul, owner of Paul’s Grocery, said he tried to keep track of the election Saturday.

“After the polls closed, I made a couple of phone calls,” he said. “I’m pleased I can still sell beer.”

But Paul said he wasn’t completely satisfied with Saturday’s results.

“I am against the sale of hard liquor, and I won’t be selling it,” he said. “I think the ministers and some of the leaders in the community had a chance to rid our area of hard liquor.”

The problem, Paul said, was how the propositions were worded and how they seemingly overlapped — the propositions concerning hard liquor would have restricted the sale of any alcohol with more than one half of one percent alcohol per volume.

And while Paul said he couldn’t speak for the entire Monterey community, he said his customers have been congratulating him for still being able to furnish them with beer.

“We had a good day Monday,” he said. “I guess they were celebrating.”