Alcohol impact areas (restricting sales of certain alcohol products in designated parts of Everett) are being touted as a solution to the crime and incivility problems we are having downtown. I would like to point out a few things:
1. This is a fix that infringes on everyones’ freedoms because of a misbehaving few. Not every buyer of thees products is a public inebriate.
2. AIAs are especially hard on mom and pop retailers — small convenience stores and so forth — which may already be struggling.
3. AIAs are not especially scientific. Do you know how they decided which products to restrict in Seattle? They collected litter and noted which products were most heavily represented in the empties. I hope that they picked up some other trash while they were at it.
4. Beverage makers have been know to adjuct their product lines — changing ounce sizes, for example, to get around AIAs.
5. AIAs may push problems from one neighborhood to another. Public inebriates have time to walk to other areas.
6. I don’t know about Tacoma and the other cities, but I lived in an AIA area in Seattle and problems with things like panhandling weren’t noticeably reduced. So the AIA proponents may be disappointed when there isn’t a dramatic improvement.
7. I think Spokane and other cities did this before hard liquor came to grocery stores in Washington. So this will make the AIAs more complicated and unpopular for Everett to implement. For example, if supermarkets and liquor stores on Broadway or Heweitt aren’t able to sell things like mini bottles of hard liquor (which I use in cooking) a lot of law-abiding drinkers will be unhappy.
Remember, heroin and meth use are responsible for at least as many problems in downtown Everett — and they’re already illegal.
Della A. Scott