Bad Decision?

Some Elkins residents against ‘Brunch Bill’

Many of our elected officials tell us they try to govern according to the will of the people who elected them, but is that always the case?

Elkins City Council passed its version of the so-called “Brunch Bill” into law last week, permitting licensed businesses to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption on Sundays beginning at 10 a.m., as opposed to 1 p.m., which had been the case.

Council approved the new ordinance on two readings, fulfilling all the requirements to create the new law. But does Council’s decision agree with the will of their constituents?

Over the weekend, The Inter-Mountain posted an online poll which asked, “Elkins City Council passed an ordinance Thursday night permitting licensed businesses to sell alcohol on Sundays starting at 10 a.m. Do you approve of this ordinance being passed?”

The response to this question was the largest to any poll we’ve posted in some time. And what the voters had to say was very interesting.

In the poll, 31.3 percent of those responding chose “I approve” of Council’s decision.

By contrast, 35 percent of those voting in the poll chose “I do not approve” of the new law.

And an additional 32.5 percent voted for “Alcohol sales should be totally banned on Sundays.”

Adding together the second and third voting percentages shows that 67.5 percent of those responding in the poll opposed the new law, while just 31.3 were in favor of it.

This is not a scientific poll, but it does demonstrate that there was significant public resistance to the new law.

To be fair, City Council did not sweep the new ordinance through unanimously. The vote was 6-2.

Voting against the ordinance were Third Ward Councilman Carman Metheny and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Linda Vest.

The six council members voting in favor of the ordinance were First Ward’s Bob Woolwine and Robert Chenoweth, Second Ward’s Gene Ochsendorf, Third Ward’s Christopher Lowther, Fourth Ward’s Marly Hazen and Fifth Ward’s David Parker.

Not present to vote at Thursday’s meeting were Second Ward’s Charles Friddle and Fourth Ward’s Marilynn Cuonzo.