This headline in Tuesday's Inquirer caught my eye
Pa. May Ease Liquor Rules For Democratic Convention
Here's the piece, describing likely temporary changes in The Almighty Liquor Code for the duration of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia later this summer.
Short version: the Legislature feels politicians' pain, but not yours.
|"C" is for "Cheat"|
Our version: Someone in the Legislature got a rush of blood to the brain and realized that conventions run on booze -- they do, even the Democrats, and don't even start on the whole weed thing -- and that our booze laws suck so bad that it could hurt future convention business...no, wait, if that was it, they'd make these changes permanent for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, because that's true for every convention, not just political ones.
No, this is, as usual, about different rules for the ruling class, and charging you to pay for them. Because if you think that the bars who get those special licenses are going to pay for them in four days, or even try to pay them off in four days, you're dreaming. You'll be paying for them. Lucky you. (Okay, what's likely to happen is that some deal will be struck that the licenses are paid for as part of the venue payment, or covered by the donations of free booze.)
DONATED ALCOHOL ACQUIRED FROM LICENSED AND UNLICENSED ENTITIES SO LONG AS IT RECEIVES BOARD APPROVAL PRIOR TO DOING SO. THE DONATED ALCOHOL DOES NOT NEED TO COME TO REST AT A PENNSYLVANIA LIQUOR STORE PRIOR TO ITS USE BY THE PERMIT HOLDER, UNLESS THE BOARD SO DIRECTS. MALT OR BREWED BEVERAGES DONATED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL NOT NEED TO COME TO REST AT A LICENSED IMPORTING DISTRIBUTOR PRIOR TO THEIR USE BY THE PERMIT HOLDER, SO LONG AS
THE DONATED BRANDS ARE REGISTERED WITH THE BOARD AND THE BOARD APPROVES THE ARRANGEMENT." Note that this kind of arrangement would be exactly the kind of thing that could normally cause a licensee to be fined, possibly even lose their license.
Leave out the longer hours, which is window-dressing: all they'd have to do to achieve this is to tell the BLCE to stay away from Philadelphia and give the bars the high sign. This is nothing more or less than an admission that the PLCB can't deliver what wholesalers and retailers in other states do routinely: put new products on the shelves (not in some airy-fairy "online store" that no one can search properly) in a timely manner by delivering them directly to bars. An admission that the state's booze monopoly is a failed, broken system that can't do what business needs.
If it needs to be fixed for four days...it needs to be fixed for good. And we know the way to fix it. The Inquirer knows, too. They ran this editorial on May 20: have a look. The House GOP caucus should belatedly redeem themselves by refusing to pass this deeply cynical bill. Failing that, the Governor should veto this unabashed deal-making. And if they don't, we the people should raise hell.
Privatize it. The time is now.