Archive for Sunday, December 18, 2005

Timing of liquor-sales vote draws criticism

December 18, 2005


— When voters here go to the polls Thursday to decide whether they'll allow Sunday liquor sales in town, a big chunk of the community's population will be missing: Baker University students.

They'll be home on Christmas break.

"It really affects the students more than it affects anybody else," said Samantha Hewitt, a Baker University student frustrated with the election's timing. "I really think they should be here to vote on it because a lot of them would."

But City Administrator Jeff Dingman said the timing couldn't be helped. The vote was brought about by a protest petition filed by residents after the council approved Sunday sales; once the petition was found valid on Nov. 17, Baldwin officials had 45 days to stage a vote.

"The sentiment amongst the council members was that having it before the Christmas holiday, and that week of limbo time, was more acceptable than after Christmas when people would be more likely to be out of town," Dingman said last week.

That Baldwin voters are even considering the issue shows how times have changed.

Steve Larrick, who owns Cool Cat Liquor at 215 Ames in Baldwin, is encouraging residents to vote "no" in Thursday&squot;s election on Sunday liquor sales. A "no" vote would be in favor of Sunday sales.

Steve Larrick, who owns Cool Cat Liquor at 215 Ames in Baldwin, is encouraging residents to vote "no" in Thursday's election on Sunday liquor sales. A "no" vote would be in favor of Sunday sales.

Dry history

In 1858, the Kansas Educational Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church sold lots to raise money to build the college that became Baker University. The lots became the town of Baldwin.

That original section stretched from First to 11th streets and Ames (U.S. Highway 56) to Lincoln streets.

Those lots still carry a deed restriction designed to "prohibit forever said lots" from being used for making or vending intoxicating liquors.

According to the stipulation, a violation of the restriction would cause the properties to be returned to the Kansas Educational Assn., which merged in 1988 with the Baker University Board of Trustees.

But the proviso has never been invoked. And Baker President Dan Lambert said in August that university administrators "have confidence in city administrators in these matters."

Ballot text

Proposition 1 Shall the following be adopted: "Within the city of Baldwin City shall sale ate retail of cereal malt beverage in the original package be prohibited on Sunday and shall the sale at retail of alcoholic liquor in the original package be prohibited on Sunday, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day?"

A "yes" vote is against Sunday sales. A "no" vote is for Sunday sales.

Steve Larrick, owner of Cool Cat Liquor, has been pushing for Sunday sales.

"I'm just wanting the choice to be open," he said. "And I've received a lot of requests from customers to be open on Sunday."


Joyce Callahan, owner of Callahan Liquor, opposed the council's vote to legalize Sunday sales - an initial vote was taken when the matter wasn't on the agenda publicized ahead of time. She said Baldwin residents should decide the matter.

"What I'm against is the way it was forced through the city council," she said.

Others, Callahan said, have different problems with Sunday sales.

"No. 1, it's a family day," she said of the opponents' arguments. "No. 2, a lot of people go to church. No. 3, it isn't necessary."

Callahan was skeptical whether she'd open on Sundays; there probably wouldn't be enough business to be profitable, she said.

Both sides are concerned about the wording of the ballot question; to vote for Sunday sales, the ballot should be marked "no." A "yes" vote will be against Sunday sales.

"When they see that ballot, I don't know what they're going to do," Callahan said of voters. "I don't know what they're going to do."

Votes will be counted Thursday night at Baldwin's American Legion Hall.


classclown 12 years, 6 months ago

Hmmmm.... Would the students even be able to vote if they were in town for it? What is their residency status? Are they considered or able to obtain legal residence in the town with all the rights afforded such, or are they still considered to be residents of wherever they came from?

jayhawks71 12 years, 6 months ago

classclown, I think you hit the nail on the head. The article even mentions that "They'll be HOME on Christmas break." (emphasis added). If Baldwin isn't "home" why would they be voting.

I have never understood the continued existence of the "no Sunday sales" law. If you do not want to drink, if it is against YOUR religion, then don't do it. If you run a liquor store and don't want to open on Sunday, then don't! As Shard already said, you can go to a bar and get blitzed but not purchase liquor "it its original packaging" on a Sunday.

People need to get government (and other meddlers) out of their lives when they get the chance. This is a chance!

tolawdjk 12 years, 6 months ago

Jayhawks71, I'm amazed that you are using the language selected by the journal world like a legal definition of residency.

I'm a resident in Chicago. I pay taxes, vote, work, and own property here. That doesn't mean I consider it "home". Regardless of students or life long residents of the town, having a vote in late December is moronic, unless you already have a desire on how to force the vote to turnout.

Godot 12 years, 6 months ago

The Methodist church owned much of Baldwin in its early days. Abstracts for many of the lots in the city state that if liquor is made or sold on the property, then the ownership reverts to the Methodist church.

Baker alumni association should lobby in favor of the ordinance, then call the abstract for any property where there is a business that sells liquor. Ka-ching!

journalism6846 12 years, 6 months ago

Sales in Baldwin ...ha ... hell that town can bearly support two liquor stores on weekdays let along on sudays

Confrontation 12 years, 6 months ago

The students can vote as long as they register in Douglas County. The city council has always hated Baker students. Without these students, Baldwin wouldn't exist. That town would be nothing.

Shardwurm 12 years, 6 months ago

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