Oneonta alcohol sales

Kudos to Nicole Singleton and The Blount Countian for the article last week on Oneonta going wet. I worked with the pro-wet group “Citizens for Blount County’s Future” last year to vote the county wet. We lost by only 151 votes county-wide. Had our state representative Elwyn Thomas not opted Blount County out using House Bill 175, then Oneonta, Locust Fork, Cleveland, and Blountsville could have held their own elections because they have a population greater than 1,000 people.

Mr. Thomas in the past always said let the people vote and decide on issues like this. I personally asked him why he did not do that on this issue. His answer was that the county voted in 2008 to stay dry, so he figured that was reason enough to opt the county out. That was his decision alone and as far as I know he never did try and get a consensus from the people he represented. Given the controversy on this subject, the people were denied their constitutional right to vote. The right to vote has been paid for by the blood of our military since 1776.

As an American citizen and a U.S. military retiree (31 years), I do not appreciate Mr. Thomas taking my and the people of Blount County’s vote away.

Larry Gipson, minister at Oneonta First Baptist Church, is quoted in this article as saying “I respect and I pray for our mayor and council, but my concerns have to do with what alcohol would bring to this city such as destruction of the family unit.” What about illegal drugs, crystal meth, prescription drugs?

It is legal in Blount County to drink alcohol, you just can’t purchase it unless you belong to one of the two country clubs.

Brother Gipson says he and his group will go door to door speaking against alcohol, and will hold anti-alcohol rallies if Blount County is opted back in on HB 175. I am against preachers or anyone else telling people how they should vote. My family are Christians and attend a local Baptist church. We pray together daily. Our minister never preached for or against voting on alcohol sales, he merely said to vote your conscious. There were no “Vote No” signs on church property.

It is time now for our newly-elected Dist. 34 Representative, David Standridge, to opt Blount County in on HB 175. We want our constitutional right to vote on this issue reinstated.

R.C. Smith III

Smsgt. U.S. Air Force, retired