Dear editor,

Hello fellow citizens of Milton, Florida. We have enjoyed living here now for over 30 years, because of the strong family atmosphere and wholesome boundaries that have been here until this past year. We have invited people to come here; we have a reasonable cost-of-living rate here as compared with other Florida counties and other states. We have enjoyed the fact that our city has not had freestanding bars until the city council voted for this.

This has grieved us and we feel that it grieves others as well. After hearing of the matter, I wrote out a petition, which I sent to about 30 churches in Milton and the surrounding area. Only one church sent back the petition with approximately 50 signatures. This was Hickory Hammock Baptist Church; Pastor Carl Gallups. I remember a government watchdog/activist once stated that "Congressmen view one petition as representing 1,000 voices." So this encouraged me and so I thought I would share with you what research I have done over several years studying this subject.

I want to thank council members Hathaway, Johnson, Lunsford, and Holley for voting against this issue of freestanding bars. I learned that it was a tie vote, and the mayor broke the tie by voting for freestanding bars.

As you go to the polls this November, consider who you are voting for city council and mayor. Also consider this research as you make your decision. Two candidates that I met at the council meeting that are running for city council are Mr. Farrow, and Mr. Messick. When I questioned these men, they said that bringing in new council members, and a new mayor in, can repeal this vote. These men are against the freestanding bars. So, please consider this research, and give your vote. Senator Ted Cruz stated that there are "54 million Christians who do not vote."

There are many reasons against this decision for freestanding bars. One is "where do we place the stand-alone bars?" One council member said current code dictates where the bars would be, like so many feet from a church, etc. There is also a Veteran's Memorial within or very near the city limits. Life is sacred to those who remember loved ones who have given their life for our country; so this is a good reason to not have freestanding bars anywhere near this vicinity.

Another reason is "does the economic costs really help our city?" In light of the immigration issues, and the fact that we already have an opioid crisis and drugs filtering through our borders, why add to the excess?

We also have the serious matter of the issue of the Affordable Health Care law to deal with. Our daughter works with medical claims, and she has experienced the fact that many claims are not being honored for seniors, and families and they are paying $600 or more a month for health insurance. Our area has also suffered rising house insurance costs due to the storms we have had in the past here in Florida. This county has also raised our taxes to build a new courthouse. [edited for length]

A precedent from history is the period of Prohibition, which lasted about 14 years. This includes the 1920's, an era known for prosperity, "The Roaring Twenties."  I read a book years ago by a man named Deets Pickett, titled "Then and Now." [edited for length] It presents research comparing the days of Prohibition to the days that came after. Billions of dollars were channeled into more wholesome activities.

Comparing the days of Prohibition to the days after, Estes Kefauver, who at that time was chairman of the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce stated, "Without fear of contraction I say that the evil influences and corruption brought about by the marketeers of today in many of our large cities makes the corruption of Prohibition days look like kindergarten play."

After Prohibition, and during the first year of repeal:

crime increased. incarceration increased by 25 percent. the consequential costs of police protection, hospitalizations, etc., is as great or more than the operating costs. liquor consumption increased 2.5 times. Illegally produced liquors have been asserted by the Licensed Beverage Industries to be as great as the legal consumption. So, this shows that freestanding bars are "in excess." arrests for drunkenness increased; so if this is already happening with illegal consumption then freestanding bars will increase DUI's.

Pickett said, "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that we cannot solve our major political problems without dealing with the drug and or alcohol problems."

A postcard called "Weighed in the Balance," by Richard Hobson from the Prohibition days reads, "There are 40 dollars of economic loss to every dollar of revenue." A pamphlet written by the Prohibition group of today states 40 percent of healthcare costs are due to drugs, cigarettes and alcohol.

So, please help me contact the incoming new council member and mayor candidates to ask them how they would vote on this issue. Share your opinion with them. And I would appreciate your comments by sending me an email to go2el_elyon@yahoo.com, and I am also on Facebook.

JANICE DRIGGERS

Milton 

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