Commonwealth Journal

September 25, 2012

Carr’s pleas to limit annexation met with silence

By JEFF NEAL, CJ News Editor
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

One of the community’s most outspoken critics of Somerset’s alcohol boom spoke to Pulaski Fiscal Court yesterday.
But the response was nothing to write home about.
David Carr, the owner and operator of the Christian-based King of Kings Radio Network, spoke to magistrates about the City of Somerset’s recent corridor annexation. Carr claims the city is annexing “to expand alcohol sales.”
“I am not against annexation or growth for the city or the county,” Carr told magistrates. “I am here to protest the current annexation abuse or the overextended annexation the City of Somerset is doing in order to expand liquor sales.”
Carr is particularly miffed that Nelson Valley Grocery asked to be taken into the city, and soon they’ll be able to sell alcohol in the Caney Fork precinct, which voted “No” by a 221-216 margin to alcohol sales in April.
The City of Somerset voted to go wet by a large margin in June.
“I’m all for democracy ... the City of Somerset voted in favor of selling alcohol. That’s what the people wanted,” Carr said. “But the Caney Fork precinct voted no to alcohol. Now the city has annexed part of the Caney Fork precinct on Ky. 39. It’s mocking the demonstration of democracy.”
Carr admitted it seemed the city’s corridor annexation is legal. But he still asked that Pulaski Fiscal Court take a stand.
“I am asking Fiscal Court to protest this current procedure until a better understanding can be made between the city and the county and the legislators (concerning corridor annexation),” Carr said. “I would also ask them to consider an immediate stay (of all annexation) … until a full explanation can be established by law. The law gives Somerset permission to bulldoze the citizens of our county through annexation and corridors of annexation without any say.
“It seems like we have a city mayor and council who want to be mayor and council of the county,” Carr added. “They have invaded the county with annexation to allow convenient stores and gas stations in the county to sell alcohol without the people’s vote and permission in their perspective precincts.
“Gas stations, truck stops, dollar stores and grocery stores could be selling bourbon, vodka and other hard liquors,” Carr continued. “These businesses will be selling pints and half pints of cheap hard liquor. Children will be walking the aisles where they can stick in their pockets this dangerous substance.”
Despite Carr’s hard sell, he was met by silence from Pulaski County Judge-executive Barty Bullock and magistrates.
Without discussion, they moved on quickly to the next topic on the agenda.
Earlier this month, Carr aired his grievances in front of Somerset City Council, to no avail.
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler has emphasized since the annexation process began that the move had been an effort to help the city’s population growth goals. 
“Corridor annexation was done quite well before that (the wet/dry vote) was put on the ballot,” said Girdler in response to Carr’s statement in a September council meeting. “They (the councilors) were doing it based upon the growth of the community and what we need to do for outreach.”
Girdler told Carr that those who object to alcohol sales in a certain location have the right to make their objections known to the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. 
“That’s what the ads in the paper are for,” Girdler said.
Carr was disappointed that Pulaski Fiscal Court did not discuss his concerns.
“I really don't understand the excess of the city's annexation and the silence among our leaders,” Carr said last night. “Corridor annexation is good when assisting factories or such, but to annex to expand alcohol sales seems to be totally inconsiderate.
“I respect the decision of the people of Somerset to have alcohol, but I don't believe they were voting on such activity by the city leaders and the silence of Pulaski Fiscal Court.”