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Column: Don’t let alcohol sales vote divide Jemison

By Stephen Dawkins

Whether or not the vote turned out the way you wanted, it’s hard to argue that the people of Jemison won’t be getting their way when it comes to alcohol sales in the city.
On Jan. 12, 466 Jemison residents voted “yes,” and 213 voted “no.”
“The people have spoken,” Jemison Mayor Eddie Reed said about the referendum. “They sent a strong message.”
Reed said the city would work with its attorney and the ABC Board to complete the process necessary to begin selling alcohol in the city. Reed would not estimate when sales might actually begin.
Proponents of alcohol sales probably want to see the restaurants start popping up at the city’s interstate exit, while those on the losing side of the vote might be convinced their city is headed south…in a hand basket.
The truth, as always, is probably somewhere in the middle.
It can’t hurt Jemison’s chances at landing new business that those businesses can sell alcohol if they want. And there will surely be some problems caused by alcohol sold by city businesses. Whether those problems would have been avoided in a dry Jemison—where residents could still make a short drive to Calera or Clanton for their purchases—is another matter for debate.
The important thing is that the state Legislature, and then Jemison officials, put the decision in voters’ hands, and the voters made their decision.
The democratic process isn’t over, though. No matter which way you voted, you still have the task of making sure alcohol sales in Jemison are done responsibly.
Instead of becoming divided over an issue that has been settled, the only course of action now is to work together to make Jemison the best it can be.

– Stephen Dawkins is sports editor of The North Chilton Advertiser.