Monday, June 30, 2014

More New State Stores (that are not near grocery stores)

Greetings, PLCB real estate specialist. Your mission is to find, have built or renovate, 4,500 square feet of retail space within walking distance of a grocery store. You have at least a dozen grocery stores in the area and three years to accomplish your mission. If you fail, the PLCB will deny any knowledge of your existence, your mission, and any money spent on it.

As an addendum to my post of the 26th, and a prime example of why "modernization" is going to turn out to be just another raft of lies, here's a bit more proof that the PLCB may not want to do -- or get done -- what they say they want to do. In 2011 the State Store at Crestview Drive in Lebanon closed. Now, over THREE YEARS LATER, the PLCB is going to open a new store in the Kmart shopping center at 1745 Quentin Road, supposedly in September of this year right between a hairdresser and a Dollar General. Given the PLCB's stated "modernization" goal (which the Democratic (and pro-PLCB quasi-Republican) legislators wave as an alternative to privatization) of locating more stores in or near grocery stores, that sounds great, right?

Well, guess what: there isn't a grocery store in the Kmart shopping center. While Kmart does carry food, it isn't a full-fledged grocery store, like the Weis, Giant, Aldi or Foodland (the nearest, in a different plaza across the street), all of which are in nearby shopping centers. Maybe the Dollar General store next door fits the PLCB idea of a grocery store? Or is it that Foodland being across a busy street in another plaza is the PLCB's idea of "one-stop shopping"?

Remember, this is after having over 3 years to do what they say they want to do. It's not like it snuck up on them. So you have to they really give a damn about consumer convenience, or are they just giving lip service? Then ask yourself why it even took three years to replace the store that closed? Would a private retailer ignore customers for that long? Of course not, but a monopoly can because they know the customers aren't allowed to and can't go anywhere else. That is what they call world class service.

It seems to be another fine example of the PLCB not doing what they say they want to do. But at least we do know what floor polish will be on the floors.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wendell Young still lies and I can prove it Part 3

Trust me; it's all true, even the lies.
On the 25th of June, UFCW Local 1776 President-For-Life Wendell W. Young IV sent out another press release. In this new bit of fallacy, he again says that 5,000 PLCB jobs are at stake. Wendell, Wendell, Wendell...he's lying again!

To start with there aren't 5,000 PLCB employees, according the State. But don't take my word for it; unlike Wendell, I can back it up. Just click here,  then pick Employees and then Employee Count by Agency. Could it be that Wendell is talking about some no-show jobs somewhere where people get paid but aren't really there? No, wait, we're talking about the PLCB; that's kind of a given. Even if there were 5,000 jobs at the PLCB, they wouldn't ALL be at stake, because there would still be the stuff a normal state liquor agency does: regulation and licensing and possibly audits of liquor stores, and something that isn't done in PA today....age checks in liquor stores. Maybe the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement (currently an embarrassing arm of the State Police) would even go back into the PLCB, since there wouldn't be the conflict of interest that caused them to be created in the first place.

Mr. Young goes on to talk about the PFM report from October of 2011; an evaluation of privatization that was drawn up on a completely different plan, but that little fact doesn't stop him. He goes into turbo-spin mode, his second favorite thing to do after lying talking (and getting haircuts). 'The Governor's own report says it will cost $1.4 Billion to wind down the PLCB over 4 years,' he cries. At least that isn't a lie -- the report did say that -- but he also doesn't tell you that it will cost over $2 Billion to keep the PLCB running for those same 4 years, using the same PFM numbers. How does he keep from getting dizzy?

Mr. Young commented on Rep. Gene DiGirolamo's plan that would create more stores inside of or adjacent to grocery stores; and allowing for more flexibility in pricing. All well and good except the PLCB has had the power to put stores in grocery stores or near grocery stores...

Guess what?  The grocery stores don't want 'em, anymore than they wanted the Incredible Robot Army of Wine Kiosks, or else there would likely be more than 16 in the entire state 33 years after the first store in a store was done. I'm not even sure the PLCB really wants to do it, since the requirements for the new Washington County store lists 33 pages of what the DGS/PLCB wants...but has not one line about locating near a grocery store (although it does specify what floor polish is to be used before the PLCB moves in).

Then Wendell blabbers about 'alternative pricing strategies' to 'modernize' the State Stores. Been there, muffed that! Almost 30 years ago, in 1985, the PLCB was tasked with developing alternative pricing strategies that fit within the liquor code. This was done but never implemented, and here we are in 2014, hearing that as part of "modernization," they want to develop alternate pricing strategies. What the hell have they been doing for the past 29 years? If my business was this incompetent, I would be working in a liquor store, not wanting to buy a liquor store.

You keep talking, Wendell, and I'll keep writing.  Deal?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

When Theory Doesn't Match Reality - Who Do You Believe?

Today we are going to look at some of, what should I call it -- lies that the pro State Store community uses to try to show that science is on their side.

Remember things like Wendell Young telling us that privatization "...will put alcohol on every street corner and increase crime." ( May 2, 2013). Sounds pretty scary, but Pennsylvania alcohol consumption per capita is already about the same as New York, Ohio, and Maryland, higher than West Virginia and a little lower than New Jersey; Delaware is the highest.  In fact, PA consumption hasn't really changed that much over the years and is slightly higher now than in 1900. (NIAAA Surveillance Report #92 August 2011) Besides being a physical impossibility -- every corner? Really? Where do you put the gas stations and the Starbucks? -- there are local laws that would prevent it too. Still reality has never stopped Wendell before. Do we really need to talk about crime?  PA is dead in the middle for violent crime compared to the border states or the rest of the states for that matter, so it isn't like this is Eden to start with. (FBI UCR report 2012). If we are just average with all this supposed "control," why are all those other states doing better?

Wendell uses this made-up science again and again, but no one ever calls him on it: "The bottom line is we have the absolute lowest death rate associated with alcohol consumption of all 50 states."  Which I disproved not that long ago, so would some debater please call him out on it?

My favorite has to be that consumption will rise 48%.  We heard this in testimony from Dr. Stephen Herzenberg of Keystone Research.  All that effort only to be slammed for using bad science and then for having the gall to not follow his predictions.  It seems that Washington state consumption has only gone up about 9% when you include the increase in in-state sales and the increase in border bleed.  Gotta wonder where that other 39% went to.

Then there is organized labor's tame economist, Dr. Roland Zullo of the University of Michigan, who while working with the Keystone Research Center said that crime is lower in control states, which makes it hard to explain why PA is in the middle of the pack on crime, while being the most onerous control state. I wonder what his reasoning is that DUI fatalities (usually known as the felony of vehicular homicide) went down in Washington state since they privatized.

Both of the above declined to provide any new thoughts on this subject and didn't respond to my emails. Perhaps that was shrewd on their part in light of the fact they have been proven wrong.

Can't forget Dr. Mark Price, also of the Keystone Research Center (I'm beginning to see a pattern here), who agreed with Dr. Herzenberg by using the exact same bad science Dr Herzenberg used in his testimony. His bottom line was that "...privatization will increase negative social impacts, increasing excessive consumption of alcohol (hasn't happened) and traffic fatalities (they went down), alcohol-related violent crime (hasn't happened), and alcohol-related public health problems (the jury is still out on this since only preliminary date is available and mostly only for King County in Washington)

Now Oregon is next up for privatization by the ballot (which would have happened here decades ago if allowed) and their prohibitionists are  coming up with new science to further their cause. However, once again reality doesn't agree with the Power Point presentation (What?  You were expecting peer reviewed journals?) as the respected Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University pointed out.

They say the truth shall set you free so it seems you can pretty much ignore anything from the UFCW, Keystone Reasearch, or Wendel Young. whose only goal is to keep you enslaved to the state store system.