Commonwealth Journal

Local News

July 10, 2013

Spirited Debate

Girdler & Turner’s disagreement over liquor stores creates brew-haha among alcohol control officials


Somerset —

Turner also told the Commonwealth Journal that citizens have raised concerns that Somerset is using taxpayer money to hire an attorney (representing the city in the effort to get more liquor licenses) “to represent big liquor.”
Turner, who said he is opposed to liquor sales in the first place, added, “I don’t think taxpayer money should be used like that.”
Girdler again responded sharply to the Commonwealth Journal.
“That’s nonsense,” he said. “This is a voter-approved situation. I respect the voters’ wishes. Once the voters decide something, implementation of it is up to the city council and the mayor.
“The idea that we’re using taxpayer money to support the liquor industry? It’s actually the reverse,” he continued. “They’re using the political process to create monopolies. To me, you’re helping taxpayers and citizens who buy the products by having free competition. The other way is the socialist, communist way.”
Turner said he was opposed to the extra licenses for multiple reasons, including those mentioned and the perception that because Girdler has mentioned Liquor World specifically, that the licenses would be pre-selected before the ABC’s review process — “which is illegal,” noted the state representative.
“Was there an attempt or something here to help pre-select who it was going to be (getting the licenses)?” asked Turner rhetorically. “Some people said that it could be interpreted as pre-selection.”
The subcommittee voted unanimously with one member passing to find the ABC’s regulation deficient. That sends the question to the governor who can still implement the regulation, which could then only be overturned by a vote of the full General Assembly when it convenes, reported Ellis.
According to Girdler, it gets hairier than that, however. 
“The way the process works, (the subcommittee) asked if the ABC board concurred with Mr. Turner’s motion to stop Somerset, and the ABC said no, they stood by their recommendation,” said Girdler. “The only recourse the committee had was to make the entire rule-making deficient for the entire state. In order to attack Somerset, they stopped regulations for the entire state. Unfortunately for the other 23 cities — in order to punish Somerset through the political process, they actually had to punish the entire state of Kentucky.”

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