McMinnville residents may have to wait if they want liquor stores in the city as the driving force behind the liquor campaign and its narrow failure two years ago says he is not going to bother with it this year.
“I didn’t really get good support from the community,” said local businessman Mike Sheth of the legal liquor question which failed by 200 votes in a city referendum in November 2010. “I doubt I do anything on it this year. Maybe some other time.”
According to election administrator Donna Smith, Sheth is the only person who has inquired about the requirements to get legal liquor on the November ballot. Election officials suggest anyone wanting to circulate a petition to get the question on the upcoming ballot to consult with them first to ensure the wording is correct. The deadline to submit a petition to the election office is Sept. 7.
“The petition would have to contain 335 names of registered city voters,” said Smith, noting that reflects 10 percent of the number who voted in the last gubernatorial election.
Such an election would only be on the city ballot since liquor stores would only be allowed within the city limits if it were to pass. Liquor by the drink passed in 2002 after several defeats in referendum over the years.
During the narrow 1,556 to 1,356 defeat two years ago, Sheth cried foul, maintaining churches had violated federal law by raising cash from the pulpit to fund their fight against legal liquor. The movement against legal liquor spent over $7,000 in fighting the measure in the month leading up to the referendum.
Sheth, who himself does not drink but believes legal liquor would boost the economy here, says the churches proved too tough to beat.
“It’s hard when you have the churches coming out, posting signs everywhere and fighting it,” Sheth admitted. “What can you do?”