Vote Santa Rosa County "Wet"
For sale of alcohol



To the best of my knowledge all states and territories accepted the Twenty-First Amendment with open arms. However, many counties within some states choose not to sell liquor. Unfortunately, I live in a liquor-dry county – Santa Rosa County , Florida . My county does permit the sale of beer and wine cooler, which I suppose makes us a “damp” county.

Amendments XVIII and XXI to the Constitution
of the United States of America

The Eighteenth Amendment

Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The Eighteenth Amendment was ratified January 16, 1919 . However, it was repealed by the Twenty-First Amendment, December 5, 1933.

The Twenty-First Amendment

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The Twenty-First Amendment was ratified December 5, 1933.

Since the Twenty-First Amendment was ratified in 1933, the citizens of Santa Rosa County have had the opportunity to vote on many occasions for the sale of liquor, each time rejecting it. I believe the people living in Santa Rosa County consume as much liquor and wine as the people do in adjacent counties where liquor is legally sold.

I know of only three things that cannot be enforced with any degree of certainty: prostitution, illegal aliens crossing our country's borders, and the sale of liquor. During the 24 years of prohibition at the beginning of the 20 th Century, illegal “rotgut” or “bathtub” liquor was made, transported and sold throughout the United States . The bootleggers had a ball, and they did not have to look for customers nor pay taxes.

While living in the Northwest panhandle of Florida for almost 20 years, I have not gone to a restaurant for dinner in Santa Rosa County because I enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with my food. That is not to say that I “need” that glass, but I do want the option.

As it stands now, the economy of Santa Rosa County leaves a lot to be desired. Primarily agrarian and bedroom communities, this county has not benefited from the sale of alcohol that our neighboring counties have, nor has it attracted the industry, upscale restaurants nor upscale retail that our neighboring “wet” counties have.

It is obvious, that this issue, on an individual basis, is a very personal one, and for many a moral issue. The sale of intoxicating liquors, wines, or beer containing more than 6.243 percent of alcohol by volume can be considered an economic development issue and a means to develop a revenue stream that would improve the county infrastructure and promote a more progressive business environment.

As we see business communities around us growing, we still must travel out of county to find upscale restaurants and shop at upscale retailers. This has also had an impact on prospective employers not relocating to our industrial parks. When our residents travel to surrounding counties to shop and dine, those businesses benefit and those county governments benefit from the associated sales tax. Those counties also see their tax base increasing while we see ours remaining nearly stagnant. They prosper while we see our roads deteriorating with no funds to repair them. A local county commissioner was recently quoted as saying: “We've already depleted our reserves. We're working off of people paying their ad valorem taxes.”

The people living in the adjacent counties of Escambia and Okaloosa are laughing all the way to the bank with millions of dollars in tax revenue gleaned from the residents of Santa Rosa County.

After losing those alcohol revenues and associated tax dollars for 62 years, we now see a light at the end of the tunnel. A newly formed committee called (GOLE) Grow Our Local Economy, chaired by Chuck Pohlmann, supports the effort, and will conduct a petition drive to get the issue on a referendum in Santa Rosa County.

We can only hope they are successful, and with all our help it will be. We will then have the opportunity to decide whether Santa Rosa is a progressive county or remains a regressive one. It isn't about that glass of wine or drink with dinner, but more about attracting upscale restaurants and retailers that will increase our ad valorem tax base and take the pressure off individual home and land owners, increase our sales tax revenues, and actually make a future for our residents.

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(Archive - Week of April 16, 2005)

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