Girdler’s put up about alcohol on the Virginia tastes like bitter grapes | Opinion

I can vividly keep in mind the time I used to be most impressed by former Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler, and the time I used to be least impressed with him, from the standpoint of political ideology.

As a lot of you recognize, I used to be all for Somerset going “moist,” permitting the sale of authorized alcohol, a public vote that occurred beneath the watch of the Girdler administration. And Girdler did not shrink back from it. Within the months that adopted, when the state permitted 5 preliminary licenses for liquor shops — typically smaller shops, as an alternative of a bigger liquor retailer that might have been extra useful tax-wise for town — Girdler pursued authorized motion to liberate extra licenses.

I can keep in mind doing tales about this difficulty, and sitting there at my desk speaking to the mayor on my telephone, and we’re on this dialog about the way it’s foolish that the state dictates a sure variety of shops primarily based on inhabitants, and it ought to be a matter of the free market and open competitors as an alternative. And my little liberty-loving soul is sitting there pondering, “That is actually cool. This man will get it. He understands how essential free enterprise is.” I used to be by no means extra impressed with Girdler as a mayor.

And, personally talking, I used to be equally disillusioned with him a yr or so later when Girdler spearheaded the plan for town’s fuel pumps to promote to the general public, to compete with non-public gasoline retailers. I used to be within the camp, like Chris Girdler — who tried to cease the mayor’s efforts by way of a invoice in Frankfort when the youthful Girdler was a state consultant — that felt that was an unfair infringement of presidency on the free market, an entity not involved with revenue affecting the costs charged by entities which might be involved with revenue. It appeared to me to contradict the sooner spirit with which the mayor had challenged the state on liquor licenses, and I discovered myself saying, “This man would not get it in spite of everything. He solely ‘will get it’ when it is politically handy for him to take action — when he will get to wield the weapon that’s authorities as an alternative of getting it used towards him.”

Now that Eddie Girdler is making an attempt to reinsert himself into the political enviornment, having introduced his intentions to run once more for mayor towards the person who beat him 4 years in the past, Alan Keck, these two moments have been introduced again to thoughts by probably the most complicated mess of hypocritical political speech I’ve seen in a while.

Apparently, primarily based on what we supposedly know, Girdler is okay with liquor shops promoting liquor. And he is okay with authorities promoting fuel. However authorities promoting liquor? Nicely, that is only a bridge too far.

Girdler on Tuesday put a put up on Fb stating that the Metropolis of Somerset has filed a request to promote alcoholic drinks at the Virginia as soon as it is up and operating once more as an area for performances and occasions.

“Your metropolis authorities would instantly turn out to be an alcohol supplier and promoter,” writes Girdler. “… Your metropolis authorities by way of the Mayor goes to promote and promote a product that’s typically addictive, may result in drug abuse, and home violence. Publicity to our children and residents who don’t drink have to be averted—not praised.

“It’s a authorized product—however does the residents of Somerset need a facility for youths and healthful neighborhood occasions to be included within the sin metropolis efforts by being the proprietor of a alcohol enterprise?” he added. “No manner ought to hundreds of thousands of your tax {dollars} be spent on renovations in order that the Mayor can promote extra alcohol. I believe it’s unhealthy sufficient to permit alcohol gross sales on metropolis streets/property. Will the subsequent transfer by Mayor be to promote alcohol on the water park, or perhaps Rocky Hole or Somersport?

“I’m completely against the thought. Did Metropolis Council approve this dangerous use of tax {dollars} and assets? The place does the promotion and false hope of bourbon and alcohol finish?”

Let’s be sincere — greater than something, Somerset’s “moist” period could also be Girdler’s enduring legacy as a mayor. I do know he’d most likely somewhat or not it’s about pure fuel (it is not) or constructing that ridiculous front-doorless authorities Taj Mahal referred to as an “Power Heart” (it is not that both), however the introduction of alcohol into the neighborhood round eight many years after Prohibition ended is probably the most transformative factor that occurred on his watch — and his position in it was to attempt to deliver extra alcohol enterprise right here, not much less. He wished extra liquor licenses, not fewer.

However now proudly owning alcohol-related companies are “sin metropolis efforts”? Would that be the case if Girdler had been nonetheless mayor, or is it solely when another person is in that workplace?

First, let’s be very sincere about what we’re speaking about right here. Similar to after we had been voting “moist” or “dry” in 2012, and there was numerous hyperbole concerning the devastating results of alcohol on a neighborhood — despite the fact that most communities appear to handle it simply high quality — we have to look elsewhere to see whether or not promoting alcohol in a theater is a recipe for chaos. What number of of you could have been to a movie show outdoors Pulaski County within the final decade or so? Ever been to Film Tavern in Lexington? “Tavern” is correct there within the identify. They promote meals, they promote drinks, they’ve motion pictures that cater to all audiences. Every thing works because it’s speculated to. It is a movie show, not “Street Home.” I have been to see a number of motion pictures in IMAX in the previous few years on the Regal Hamburg Pavilion. They’ve a stunning little cocktail bar. A lot of youngsters got here to observe the newest Spider-Man film once I was there in December. At no level did the presence of the cocktail bar and the tiny Spider-fans ever intersect. Now, the brand new Virginia could also be extra of a stay efficiency house than a film home prefer it was once, however the precept is identical. You may have your loved ones audiences and drinks each, and it isn’t going to seem like the final days of Sodom in there. It’ll seem like another theater expertise you have ever had.

Additionally, town is already far more an “alcohol supplier and promoter” already than it could be due to a concession stand on the Virginia that pours beer. Moonlight Competition ring a bell? A part of the theme of town’s downtown fall occasion is spirits and bourbon. Beer and bourbon are a giant side of town’s meals truck festivals as effectively. I have never heard many complaints about these occasions; looks as if individuals are okay with Somerset being a “promoter” of alcohol if everybody is ready to be accountable and have time in an affordable manner — and I am unable to think about that not being the case on the Virginia.

Would I want the Virginia be in non-public arms? Sure, I might. However the free market had its likelihood with the sentimental outdated film theater that closed in 1994, and successfully rejected it. Town purchased it and is making an attempt to make use of it to assist deliver extra site visitors to downtown, which can assist different enterprise house owners within the space. Its solely actual competitors so far as a efficiency venue is The Heart for Rural Growth; if the new-look Virginia ever reveals motion pictures, it will not be as a aggressive different to Somerset Cinemas 8. So far as authorities getting concerned in issues, I believe complementing different downtown entrepreneurs is about one of the best motivation I may hope for, talking as a free enterprise man. I hope it succeeds wildly in that regard.

Frankly, I want Girdler had performed that. I want Girdler had proven extra curiosity within the Virginia. I want Girdler had cared extra about downtown Somerset, about encouraging companies to find there and develop and thrive. I want Girdler had taken benefit of Somerset’s “moist” standing to carry enjoyable food-related festivals within the metropolis streets. I want Girdler had thought of the way to get a distillery into Pulaski and get Somerset on the famed “Bourbon Path.”

However he did not do any of that. The man who adopted him did, making full use of the “moist” legacy that started beneath Girdler. And now, the previous mayor is appearing like the brand new mayor — the man he desires to beat on this yr’s elections — is the unhealthy man for doing so.

If the Virginia finally ends up serving wine, they ought to make use of bitter grapes for one drink and identify it “The Eddie.” As a result of that is precisely what the previous mayor’s newest Fb put up tastes like. If hypocrisy had a taste, bitter grapes can be it.