Natchez better than regressive leadership exemplified by ‘go-cup’ vote

Published 11:43 pm Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Everything in Natchez does not revolve around race, even if a few elected officials continue to insist differently.

Tuesday night, the Natchez Board of Aldermen approved on a split vote to adopt the proposed “go-cup” ordinance and submit the plans to the Mississippi Department of Revenue for approval.

The law would allow patrons of bars and restaurants in a pre-described zone to walk outside the premises with any kind of alcoholic beverage in a disposable cup.

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The city had to determine the exact area in which this would be allowed and it wisely chose to limit the boundaries — at least initially — to downtown.

That makes sense as the vast majority of Natchez’s tourists eats and drinks downtown.

The vote came after Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis read a prepared statement that seemed intent on trying to stymy approval at the state.

Unfortunately, Aldermen Billie Joe Frazier joined in the opposition, causing something simple — a move intended to potentially help bolster business for bars and restaurants patronized by tourists — to become racially divisive.

Natchez should be better than this and our leaders should lead progressively, not regressively.

Downtown bars and restaurants serve people of all colors because like many businesses they focus on green dollars, not shades of skin.

As all aldermen are well aware — or should be — any ordinance the city passes, including the go-cup zone, can later be nixed or modified as the city’s leaders see fit.

We applaud the city for starting small and keeping the looser alcohol laws confined to downtown, and we encourage leaders to monitor and revise the law in the months ahead, when and if needed.