London voters reject packaged alcohol sales

By Paige Quiggins | 

After months of heated debate, the city of London is staying "moist" after voters rejected packaged alcohol sales.

Around one-third of the approximately 5,000 registered voters went to the polls on Mar. 6, 2012.

Around 1,700 London voters decided whether gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses could sell alcohol. In the end it ended with 801 people in favor and 958 no votes so it was defeated. Some say they are glad things will not change.

“This was up to the citizens of London,” said Randy Bingham of Citizens United Against Alcohol.
“They have spoken loudly obviously by the results of the election here tonight and I am very pleased and i am proud of the people for taking the stand that they did.”

Laurel County Clerk Dean Johnson said he was glad the voters decided they did not want to sell booze.

“I am not a supporter of alcohol and I don't think it does any good for any community and think it is a detriment to the community as opposed to being something positive,” said Johnson.

Johnson, who has been clerk for 26 years said he was not happy to see the city go moist 8 years ago and certainly did not want to see it go wet. Alcohol will continue to be sold by the drink in places like restaurants but businesses like gas stations will not see it on the shelves. Those who work in one gas station think it would have helped the city. but they believe people are going to make their own choices one way or the other.

“I feel that it is one of the worst possible options that could have come out of it because it is going to really impact the economic standing of the county,” said Geoff Ison, a manager at a Marathon in London.

Another cashier at a gas station said she believed it would have been economically beneficial as well,
“Especially when you got surrounding counties selling it and they are losing out,” said Felicia Fisher.
“People are going to drive to Richmond to get it anyway, why not be able to get it here.”

Law enforcement officials said they did not think it will make a difference.

“This was up to the people and we will continue with our daily practice just like we always have,” said Laurel County Sheriff John Root.

Voters in 10 precincts went to the polls and the clerk said it cost the county at least $10,000. No problems were reported and another special election can not happen for at least three years.