Pro-alcohol group recycles campaign materials, saves money

Those in favor of alcohol sales in Oneonta were able to “go green” and recycle their campaign materials from the last alcohol referendum which allowed proponents more money to spend on other means of advertisement, such as billboards.

Richard Phillips, Lisa Wester, and Bonnie Peavy, members of A Better Oneonta, say they have currently spent approximately the same amount of money, $3,000, as they did during the county-wide alcohol referendum vote in November 2012 except this time they have been able to use their campaign materials more effectively.

“This time we were able to focus on getting material out to just the city of Oneonta instead of blanketing the whole county,” Phillips says. “We’ve been able to use our money more wisely because of the smaller area.”

The proponents have utilized multiple gateways to broadcast their information besides the billboards including yard signs and radio ads.

“We’ve been very savvy in the way we’ve maneuvered the campaign,” Peavy says. “I want people to see the fantastic plans we have for our city. We’ve never kept out alcohol. We’ve kept progress out.”

They say they haven’t experienced a need for a fundraiser.

“Local donors walk up to us on the street and give us checks,” Wester says. “We also posted an open call on our Facebook page informing people how to reach out in support, and we had great response from that.”

She says the campaign during the last election prepared the group for this vote.

“It kind of got dropped in our laps last election, but we signed up for the job this time,” Wester says. “It’s absurd we’ve had such a hard time getting this vote to even happen, now that it’s here, we are very confident it’s going to pass.”

Prior to November of last year, a law excluded Blount County municipalities with more than 1000 residents from being able to vote on an alcohol referendum. Blount County Judge Steven King ruled that law unconstitutional which set municipalities, including Oneonta and Blountsville, in motion to organize alcohol referendums.

Those against the sale of alcohol have filed a lawsuit challenging King’s ruling, but members of A Better Oneonta say they have been told the Alabama Supreme Court has yet to agree to hear the case.

Nevertheless, the issue will be voted upon June 3 in Oneonta and Blountsville.