‘We’ve already won’

Referendum elegy. Guess which side.

Referendum elegy. Guess which side.

“We’ve already won, regardless of the election,” said Keep Blount County Special spokesman Larry Gipson. “We’ve stood on our convictions. You always win when you do that. It’s often said ‘if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.’ We’ve stood for what’s right.”

That was his answer to the question “How do you think the referendum is shaping up? Do you expect the dry side to prevail?

“I think the election will be close, but I’m optimistic,” said co-spokesman Glenn Bynum. “I think God will come up with just enough ‘No’ votes to swing it. When the dust settles, I think we’ll be all right.”

A final pre-election message to the electorate?

Gipson: “Do you think it’s an accident that Oneonta and Blount County have remained dry over the years? No. Your fathers and mothers and grandparents kept them this way. They understood the evils of alcohol and knew it would hurt this special place, so ‘No’ was their vote on sale of alcohol. To honor them, please go to the polls on June 3 and vote ‘No.’ Remember what you were taught and how you were raised.”

Bynum: “I’d repeat what I said at the last interview: ‘I beg of you, please don’t unleash the wrath of alcohol on our people, our children and our families.’”

To understand the scope of the effort made by Keep Blount County Special to swing the decision on alcohol – through court action last year, and by influencing the referendum this year – The Blount Countian posed several questions to the spokesmen and to finance chairman Chris Jackson about financing. Here are the answers; all are estimates.

•Money spent to prevent sale of alcohol, 2013 and 2014: $20,000 range

• 10 biggest contributions: $2,500 (1); $1,000 (1); $500 (2); contributions between $200 and $500 (five or six). One more $2,500 contribution possible.

•Percentage of funds raised from collections taken by churches or church associations and turned in corpo- rately vs. contributions from individuals: about 50 percent from each; perhaps 55/45, with slightly more coming through churches and associations.

“I would like to say this about the subject of money,” said Bynum. “I think the life of one child saved from any of the various consequences of alcohol is worth every penny of the money we’ve spent. And there are many more than one child at risk. Saving one child from spending his or her life maimed is worth everything we’ve spent.”

“I can’t top that,” Gipson said. “I agree with Glenn.”