Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Standard-Examiner Proposes Treating Tourists as Grownups

Even Don Porter would appreciate a quick "pop" now and then, we guess

Three cheers for the Standard-Examiner for today's editorial, entitled, "Liquor laws up for reform." Here's the lede:

When you think about it, it's sort of amazing it's taken this long to have a serious discussion about Utah doing away with its peculiar liquor laws -- especially the private club rules.
But that's exactly what's happening. Gov. Jon Huntsman has thrown his full support behind the Utah Hospitality Association's effort to do away with the statute that requires patrons at liquor-serving Utah taverns to be members of a private club before being served. This involves filling out paperwork and paying a fee to join before being allowed to buy a drink. Or, "guests" must be "sponsored" by current members and pay a fee to have a drink on a temporary basis.
It's theater of the absurd -- squared -- and has always been. Tourists are turned off, and the practice has long branded the Beehive State as a backwater for casual imbibers. Adults could always get a drink, but the cumbersome process guaranteed irritation.
It's time, we think, that Utahns ceased being perceived by tourists and imbibing state residents as "the Amish with more money."

And what say you, gentle readers?


Curmudgeon said...

I favor ending the private club for members laws. Mrs. Curmudgeon and I enjoy, when in other states, walking around downtowns or resort areas, and breaking now and then for a sit down with a glass of wine for a spell without having to pony up for a "membership" we will never use again, or having to order food we don't want. We'd like to be able to do that in Utah at The Gateway, say, or in Moab, too.

That said, the legislature does have a case to make for Utah's restrictive liquor laws on grounds other than religious preference. Utah does have one of the lowest, if not the lowest, DUI rates in the country. So it can be argued, not entirely without reason perhaps, that there is a legitimate secular purpose to Utah's liquor laws.

The question is, does that lower DUI rate result from the liquor laws, or from the fact that something north of 55% of the residents of Utah belong to a church that bans the use of alcoholic beverages to its members. I suspect it's the latter, not the former, and if so, then even the secular purpose of our odd liquor laws disappears.

BTW, I don't know Mr. Porter and have no idea if he'd like a pop now and then himself or even if he is LDS. If he is, and is not an imbiber, then his taking the stand the editorial does is admirable. It leaves him arguing [rightly], that whatever his own view on the matter is, it's his free choice to imbibe or not, and so it should be everyone else's unencumbered choice too. Exactly right.

Finally, maybe we need to keep in mind that what appears in the editorial slot at the SE represents the views of the paper's Editorial Board, and not necessarily the personal views of Mr. Porter, one of whose jobs is I gather to draft the paper's editorials. It's the Standard Examiner that took a stand this morning supporting Gov. Huntsman's proposal, not Mr. Porter personally.

Moroni McConkie said...

Once again, another welcome surprise from the S-E editorial board. My hunch is that Don Porter is a teetotaler; hence the surprise. (They are on a roll this year; is it because we're more than 3 years away from another election and their Godfrey blind spot is currently in mothballs?)

Gov. Huntsman continues to surprise as well. Possibly the fact that he's too rich to be frightened by bourgeois LDS taboos is what enables his enlightenment.

Minor Machman said...

Curm. Porter is a devout LDS and has openly declared he has (or is) his Ward's bishop. Re a Jan 06 OPED he wrote about Why Utah Public Officials "Just don't get it". In that excellent OPED he lays bare the truth about bottom up public decision making versus the LDS traditional top down decision making processes.

Your observations continue to be "spot on" about the Utah DUI rate and onerous liquor laws and pecularities.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

While driving my tractor home past the Huntsville park a local Mormon kid (about 8) pulled along-side on his bike and said, "Mister Bell do you realize it is illegal to drink and drive!"

As I chugged the remainder of my 6 oz. R&B ROOT BEER, I replied, "Thanks kid. I needed that." and laughed all the way home.

Jason W. said...


"Bourgeois LDS taboos."

That made my week.


Curmudgeon said...


Also, as I recall, Mr. Gibson has editorial composition responsibilities at the SE as well. So it's truly truly difficult, and probably unwise, to attribute the paper's editorial stand in unsigned editorials to any particular one of the editorial staff.

Now a signed editorial [usually reserved for a paper's publisher as a perk of ownership] or a Gibson or Porter signed op-ed piece is another matter entirely.

Post a Comment

© 2005 - 2014 Weber County Forum™ -- All Rights Reserved