As a counterpoint to the petition drive to do away with the Washington State Liquor Control Board, the Board is fighting back with flyers at its retail outlets.
The board's mission, the flyer says, "is to contribute to the safety and financial stability of our communities by ensuring the responsible sale, and preventing the misuse of, alcohol and tobacco."
Arguments in Bureaucratese continue: The no-sales-to-minors compliance rate is higher with liquor-board enforcement than with private-sector enforcement. Revenues ($330 million a year) flow directly to essential state and local government services. And the kicker: Consumption is lower. The Board argues that 5 to 20 percent less alcohol is consumed in "control states" like Washington than "open states" like California, which in turn translates to "lower societal costs." Those costs, according to the WSLCB, are not just medical but associated with alcohol-related crimes and violence.
No outright lobbying, just the flyers, headlined "Benefits of Washington's Liquor Retail and Distribution System." The board's spokesman, Brian Smith, explains that he wrote the flyer during the legislative session, when bills to privatize liquor sales were under consideration. Pointing out that state employees are forbidden from taking positions on ballot measures, Smith said the flyers are available now to address customer questions without cashiers having to engage in long conversations about the proposed Initiative 1100.
The flyers were made available electronically for individual stores to print and circulate, Smith said. They were not printed by the state's Department of Printing, as initially reported here.