Turnagain Times Flag Header
 Vol. 14, No. 15
Serving Indian, Bird, Girdwood, Portage, Whittier, Hope, Cooper Landing & Moose Pass  
August 4, 2011

Opinion

Paddy Waggin'

Paddy NotarIn May, the Anchorage Assembly voted 10-1 to require mandatory I.D. checks for every single person that purchases alcohol at a liquor store. The law was to deter the 486 people that have a red stripe on their license from purchasing alcohol, and to deter the sale of liquor to minors.

There are over 295,000 people that live in the municipality. It’s another ridiculous law that Anchorage has embraced. Also, by law, you’re not allowed to put your dog in the back of your truck unless it’s attached to a leash or in a kennel. I don’t see that one getting enforced too often.

Dick Traini, one of the sponsors of the mandatory red-stripe ordinance said, “This is fair.” Apparently, Mr. Traini is a man of few words. My question now is “how is this law fair?” The people working at liquor stores are now forced to card their every day patrons and chance alienating them if they happened to forget their I.D.

Imagine going into a liquor store that you visit several times a week, seeing the same workers that you see all the time, people that know you personally, and you somehow forgot your license. It’s at home on the dresser. You remembered the cash but you forgot your license. It happens all the time. You’re not one of the people with a red stripe and the people that work there already know that, but to them, the law is the law, and you need to go home and get your I.D. Regardless of that, people who have a red strip on their license can just go get a passport or have their friends buy the alcohol for them.

This law is not a deterrence, it’s just more bureaucracy governing the lives of businesses owners and the public they serve.

Assemblyman Paul Honeman said, “We’re simply asking them (liquor stores) to be a part of the solution. Try to help us make a safer community.” So carding your regulars, who you know are not a part of the problem, is somehow a part of the solution? I don’t understand his reasoning. I don’t think he understands it either.

In addition to mandatory checking of I.D.’s, the ordinance states that the assembly “may impose special conditions, and modify existing conditions that are in the public’s best interest.” What does that mean? Basically, they can revisit the law and modify it to meet whatever conditions they think are necessary in order for us to live more safely under their protection.

Be prepared to watch the Anchorage Assembly take this law into new directions and rip more liberties out from underneath your feet. Mandatory I.D. checks for restaurant and bar owners is next, as would be the wishes of Assemblyman Honeman; there’s also been talk of only accepting Alaska I.D.s for the purchase of alcohol. That should sit well with out of state tourists and the restaurants and bars that rely on their business.

The Turnagain Times contacted Assistant Attorney General John Novak, who provided legal advice to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board regarding the ordinance for mandatory I.D. checks for the purchase of alcohol. When asked if the state statute, which states “Nothing in this section or AS 04.16.160 creates a duty or imposes an obligation on a licensee to physically check the identification of any person entering licensed premises” conflicts with the municipality’s ordinance, he stated that Anchorage or any community in the state can implement its own regulations for the control of alcohol sales.

“If Anchorage chose to do so, the sale of alcohol could be banned,” he said. However, he added that would be a draconian measure and that prohibiting the sale of alcohol would have to pass a majority vote of the people.

When asked how the city can pass an ordinance like the mandatory checking of I.D.s to purchase alcohol without a vote of the people, he stated that it’s a referendum that hasn’t been challenged and left it at that.

An advisory vote on the proposed ordinance for madatory I.D. checks for the purchase of alcohol was passed by more than 60 percent of the voters in the last April Municipal Election, however, it might not give the Assembly the right to vote it into law. That’s interesting.

The problem with this “check for the red stripe every time, regardless of whether or not you know the person law” is that it supersedes common sense or as Thomas Jefferson called it “Natural Law.” Jefferson had this crazy idea that most people just know better and don’t need government to draw them a map through life.

One woman told me that the law was voted in by an overwhelming majority of people and therefore made sense. First of all, a public referendum was never held. That was an advisory vote. It was the Assembly that voted it in by an overwhelming majority.

I then reminded her about past laws that have been approved by a majority of voters like the South overwhelmingly voting for the right to own slaves, and the law banning women from voting as it was approved by an overwhelming majority of voters. Were those laws right?

There’s too much legislation in this state, and it always seems to come at the cost of your everyday person who has done nothing wrong. How about we have random, mandatory drug testing for all the school teachers, administrators and municipality workers? Whoa! Put on the breaks. That’s crazy talk. Instead, let’s just inconvenience the everyday citizen in Anchorage because there are .002 percent of our population that have a red stripe on their license.

It appears author George Orwell was right, Big Brother is watching us. However, like everything else in Alaska, it just took us 27 years to catch up to the rest of the world. Actually, we’re more of a police state than anyplace I’ve ever lived in. The question now is where will the madness end?

 



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