Local Government

Published on July 23rd, 2013 | by TLV News

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To Have Cold Beer, or NOT To Have Cold Beer? About July 23rd’s Aldermen Meeting

To Have Cold Beer, or NOT To Have Cold Beer? THAT Is the Question!

Shouldn’t it just be “to have and to hold beer which is cold”!?!

by Rebecca Long – July 23, 2013

coldbeeraldermenI just returned home from today’s Board of Aldermen meeting at Oxford City Hall. Perhaps I “cheated” and left after the Board discussed the issue with which I was concerned; I usually stay for the whole meeting, but it’s moving week for me, and I just wanted an update on whether or not Joey Vaughan of Joe’s Craft Beer or my friendly cashier on the corner will soon be able to sell me a cold brew.

This has been an annoying issue for Oxonians and Oxfordians who choose to imbibe ever since the moment someone first asked, “Can I have a cold beer?” only to be let down because the refreshing beverages hadn’t had time to chill.

Explaining Oxford’s “Blue Laws” to visitors is sort of embarrassing; they ask us what century we think we’re in, and what harm it would do to have cold beer sold in places other than restaurants and bars. I wonder those things myself sometimes, then I remember that as far as backwardness, Oxford is much better than most places in Mississippi (like my stomping ground: the Delta).

“Blue Laws” are defined broadly as laws mandating that things be done a certain way because of religious bias; instead of religion these laws can also be structured by morals or tradition. Oxford’s and Lafayette County’s Sunday prohibition of alcohol sales (except for those cherished few Sundays after home Ole Miss football games and the parent-celebrating Sundays) is classic as a Blue Law. A separate issue but also a Blue Law is Oxford’s prohibition to refrigerate beer and light wine for sale to consumers.

All of this may change really soon, due to a proposition brought before the Board of Aldermen today by Dee Hobbs. Dee has asked that Oxford’s Aldermen remove the restriction on refrigerated beer and light wine. Below in blue italics is the actual text of the subsection of City of Oxford’s Code of Ordinances he’s trying to change:

Sec. 14-44. Permit or license holder regulated.

It shall be unlawful in the city, for any owner, proprietor, manager or employee of any establishment which has a privilege license authorizing the sale of light wine or beer at retail to violate any of the following provisions:

(1) Hours regulated. Sell, give or dispense or permit to be consumed in or upon a licensed premises, any light wine or beer during the days, Monday through Saturday between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 7:00 a.m. the following morning, and on Sundays or such other times as the mayor and board may designate with the approval of the state tax commission.

(2) Sale of refrigerated wine or beer. Sell, give or dispense or permit to be consumed any light wine or beer which has been refrigerated, except by those holding an on-premises retailer’s permit as required by subsection (8) of this section.

IMG_5343_webThe Aldermen have seen this coming for years. They knew they would eventually have to vote on whether or not to allow us to purchase cold beer.

When Dee was done making his request, Janice Antonow (mayor Pat Patterson‘s right-hand) stated that she thought the Aldermen should just go ahead and “get it over with,” and “get it out of the way”–she suggested that the Board go ahead and vote on not only cold beer, but beer on Sundays as well. She asked Pat what he thought and he said, “Well, I think it’s going to make your job harder, but…” But he agreed to it. A few moments later, Antonow brought up that if either of these code changes passed, some time would need to elapse between the date that decision was made, and the date that change would go into effect. It struck me as a way to delay the inevitable (which, in my opinion, is cold beer) until I considered that retailers would have to have time and money to set up their shops to refrigerate our suds. 

The courtroom in City Hall wasn’t packed this evening but there weren’t many empty seats. New Alderman Jay Hughes suggested that it be explained to the audience how this process works, and Pat obliged. So for all you folks who need a run-down: The Aldermen have to hear three readings of a proposal to make a decision. Pat said they would consider tonight the “first reading,” as the consideration process has already begun. In two weeks (August 6) the Board will hold the second reading of this amendment to our Code of Ordinances, and at that time comments and concerns from the public in attendance will be allowed. Also on August 6, Police Chief Joey East should be expected to return some research on the subject requested tonight by Janice Antonow, and Dee Hobbs still has an uphill battle ahead of him. The “third reading” of this proposition will take place on August 20 (in four weeks), and the Board will vote, with Pat as tie-breaker.

Video of the actual courtroom discussion posted via YouTube below.

Cheers, Oxonians!

 

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We encourage all Oxonians to call, write, email, tweet, FB message, or whatever their Alderman and demand that this archaic Blue Law be repealed

(click here to view a ward map if you don’t know which Alderman to contact):

 

coldbeerJay Hughes, Ward I
1300 Access Road, Suite 100
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
W-662-234-6080
Cell: 662-816-2888
JPHJR@mac.com

Robyn Tannehill , Ward II
1407 Greenway Cove
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Home: H 662-236-6932
Cell: 662-816-6932
robyn4alderman@gmail.com

Janice Antonow, Ward III
3336 Whippoorwill Lane
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Home: 662-234-8486
Fax: 662-234-0553
jantonow@msn.com

Ulysses “Coach” Howell, Ward IV
704 Martin Luther King Jr. Cir.
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Home: 662-234-0938
Cell: 662-816-9393
ulhowell@bellsouth.net

Preston E. Taylor, Ward V
110 Thirkield Drive
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Home: 662-234-5195
prestontaylor04@aol.com

 Jason Bailey, Ward VI
114 Phillip Rd.
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Cell: 662-816-0038
Work: 662-513-9990
ward6oxfordms@gmail.com

John Morgan, Alderman-at-Large
109 Orwood Drive
Oxford, Mississippi 38655
Work: 662-236-5370
Home: 662-234-0582
jmorgan@thehelixxgroup.com

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wewantcoldbeer

City of Oxford, Mississippi Board of Aldermen Meeting Agenda - August 6, 2013 - 6:00 pm
Board of Aldermen Agenda for July 23, 2013 Meeting (Oxford, Mississippi)

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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.



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