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Washington Liquor State Licensing, Initiative 1183 (2011)

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Initiative 1183
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Type:State statute
Topic:Alcohol
Status:Approved Approveda
The Washington Liquor State Licensing, Initiative 1183, will appear on the November 2011 statewide ballot in Washington as an Initiative to the People.

The measure would close state liquor stores and allow state licensing of private parties. Privately owned stores would be required to have at least 10,000 square feet of retail space to sell and distribute liquor.[1]

The initiative calls for a 17 percent fee from retailers on all liquor sales, as well as other fees from distributors. The fee was developed in response to opponents of the 2010 measure who previously argued that the proposal would have cut millions of dollars from state revenue. In fiscal year 2010, the state of Washington received an estimated $302 million from selling liquor.[2]

The state office estimates that the 2011 initiative may generate an extra $42 million a year for the state and $38 million for local government over the span of six years. This would total an estimated $480 million.[3]

Additionally, the proposal would limit the number of stores that sell liquor and makes no changes to the way in which beer is distributed and sold.[2]

According to proponents, the proposed measure would generate $200 million more than the current system for both state and local governments in the measure's first two years of enactment.[4]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Washington Initiative 1183
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 685,979 59.69%
No463,23740.31%

Source: Washington Secretary of State, results as of November 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm PT

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title reads:[5]

Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 1183 concerns liquor: beer, wine, and spirits (hard liquor).
Concise Description:This measure would close state liquor stores and sell their assets; license private parties to sell and distribute spirits; set license fees based on sales; regulate licensees; and change regulation of wine distribution.
Should this measure be enacted into law? Yes [ ] No [ ]

Summary

According to the description prepared by the Washington Secretary of State:

This measure would close state liquor stores and sell their assets including the liquor distribution center. The state would license private parties to distribute spirits and to sell spirits in retail stores meeting certain criteria, subject to specified training and compliance requirements. The measure establishes licensing fees for sale and distribution of spirits based on the licensee’s sales revenues. It would change some wine distribution laws and allow non-uniform wholesale pricing for wine and spirits.

Background

2011 legislative bill

On June 15, 2011 Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill - Senate Bill 5942 - to that may lead to privatizing the state liquor wholesale-distribution system. The legislation, specifically, requires the governor's budget office to solicit competitive bids to lease the state liquor warehouse and wholesale distribution system. However, the state would continue to control the retail liquor stores.[6][7]

Washington is one of 18 states where the government runs the sale and distribution of liquor.[8]

Alcohol on the ballot in 2011
NevadaUtahColorado 2011 ballot measuresNew MexicoArizonaMontanaCaliforniaOregonWashington Liquor State Licensing, Initiative 1183 (2011)IdahoOklahomaKansasNebraskaSouth DakotaNorth DakotaIowaMissouriArkansas 2011 ballot measuresLouisiana 2011 ballot measuresAlabamaGeorgiaFloridaSouth CarolinaIllinoisTennesseeNorth CarolinaIndianaOhio 2011 ballot measuresMaine 2011 ballot measuresVirginiaNew Jersey 2011 ballot measuresVermontVermontMarylandRhode IslandRhode IslandMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMichiganAlaskaHawaiiWyomingTexas 2011 ballot measuresMississippi 2011 ballot measuresMinnesotaWisconsinKentuckyWest VirginiaPennsylvaniaDelawareDelawareConnecticutConnecticutNew YorkNew HampshireNew HampshireCertified, alcohol, 2011 Map.png

According to reports, supporters of I-1183 asked the governor to veto an emergency clause in the bill. The emergency clause allows the state to expedite its efforts. The clause was not vetoed. If a legitimate bid is filed, a contract can be issued. According to supporters of I-1183 and opponents of the legislative bill, the emergency clause was retained in order to undermine the proposed initiative. Officials say that is "hogwash."[6]

It remains unclear what may happen if an initiative is approved while the state is entertaining bids.[6]

2010 related measures

See also: Washington Privatize Liquor Distribution, Initiative 1100 (2010) and Washington Revise State Liquor Laws, Initiative 1105 (2010)

In 2010, two ballot measures that called for state liquor privatization appeared on the statewide ballot - I-1100 and I-1105. Costco Wholesale supported I-1100 and is supporting the 2011 effort - I-1183.

Although both I-1100 and I-1183 related to privatizing state liquor stores, unlike I-1100, I-1105 priced liquor licenses based on the volume of liquor sold. I-1100, on the other hand, did not include price controls. Both measures would have removed the state from the liquor business and allow retailers to sell "hard alcohol."[9]

On November 2, 2010 both measures were defeated. I-1100 was voted down by 53.43%, while I-1105 lost by 65.04%.

According to the Office of Financial Management the state could have lost an estimated $17 million a year if the 2010 measure had been approved.[2]

Support


Yes on 1183: Look into the Facts, 9-9-11

Supporters include Costco Wholesale Corp., the Northwest Grocery Association, the Washington Restaurant Association and the Washington Retail Association.[4] National grocery store chain Safeway announced its support for the proposed measure.[10]

Supporters

Arguments

  • Kathryn Stenger, Yes on 1183 spokesperson, said, "On the one hand, people love the idea because they already have a good relationship with Costco and being able to go in there and find their favorite brands, but it’s also given them some peace of mind. They know that Costco is selling beer and wine now, they know that Costco sells liquor in other states and has done so safely."[11]
    • In response to opponents who argue that the defeat of 2010's I-1100 and I-1105 indicate a lack of support for the issue, Stenger said, "As a voter, having two initiatives on there that dealt with it, but in different ways, made for a lot of confusion."[11]
  • The Association of Washington Business said, "This measure reflects a number of key changes from previous initiatives on the ballot. First and foremost, Initiative 1183 brings in more revenue for the state and would strengthen enforcement of state liquor laws. It addresses concerns about who sells alcohol, taking into account square footage and restricting sales from corner groceries and convenience stores and makes appropriate provisions for those sales in rural areas where square-footage requirements may not apply."[12][13]
  • The Bellevue Chamber of Commerce supports I-1183 "as a way to end the state’s monopoly of liquor sales and provide a responsible way for businesses to get engaged in this market."[14]
  • The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce announced their support for I-1183 on October 14, 2011. "The Issaquah chamber stands with our peers across the state in endorsing I-1183 as part of our collective goal to help support the Washington economy, encourage government reform and introduce competition into the marketplace within this industry,” said chamber CEO Matthew Bott.[15]
  • Northwest Grocery Association president Joe Gilliam said, "It's a win-win-win. The state of Washington gets revenue for essential services. The private sector picks up a new product line that helps serve the customer. And the customer gets more convenience and a better shopping experience."[16]
  • Attorney General Rob McKenna announced in early November 2011 that he supports I-1183 as a citizen and not attorney general. McKenna said that Washington State is not the first state to go through deregulation and noted that states that had did not see an any social problem increases.[17]

Campaign advertising

See also: Washington Initiative 1183 (2011), supporters, TV ads

Yes on 1183 launched their first TV campaign ads in early September 2011.[18] As of September 28, three TV ads have been released.

Donors

According to the State of Washington Public Disclosure Commission there is one political action committees registered in support of I-1183: "Yes on 1183 Coalition."

PAC info:[19]

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Yes on 1183 Coalition $22,738,021.48[20] $13,582,780.94
Total $22,738,021.48 $13,582,780.94

Top 5 contributors:

Donor Amount
Costco $20,880,659.80[21][22][23]
Safeway, Inc. $50,000[24]
Trader Joe's $50,000[25]
Waldorf Chris, engineer $250[26]
Crowe Stephen $100[27]

(last updated October 2011)

Opposition


Across Washington Public Safety Officials Oppose I-1183 , 9-8-11

Opponents of the proposed measure include a group called Protect Our Communities. According to reports, group members include: members of law enforcement and faith-based organizations, as well as the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 21.[4]

Local grocery store chain Rosauers and trade group Washington Food Industry Association announced their opposition to the proposed measure.[10]

Opponents

Arguments

  • "One thing that became clear is that voters of the state of Washington really didn’t want to have a huge increase in the amount of outlets selling liquor — and that’s exactly what this would do," said Alex Fryer, a spokesman for Protect Our Communities.[11]
  • About the measure Gov. Christine Gregoire said, "As a matter of policy, the tradeoffs aren’t there for me. I just don’t think it’s the right thing for Washington State." Gregoire argues that expanded sales would help generate more revenue for the state but cautions that more sales may generate new costs to the state. For example, in treatment for drug and alcohol abusers.[28]
  • Opponents argue that the vague wording a potential loophole may allow for minimarts to qualify for liquor licenses. The initiative says that the liquor board may not deny a retail license to businesses if "there is no retail spirits license holder in the trade area." However, the term "trade area" is not specifically defined. "This loophole is big enough to drive a liquor truck through, and that's what they're going to do," said Alex Fryer, a spokesman for the opposition group Protect Our Communities.[16]

Campaign advertising

See also: Washington Initiative 1183 (2011), opponents, TV ads

Protect Our Communities launched their first TV campaign ad on September 6, 2011.[18] As of September 28, three TV ads have been released.

Donors

According to the State of Washington Public Disclosure Commission there is one political action committees registered in opposition of I-1183: "Protect Our Communities."

Total campaign cash Invest.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $22,738,021.48
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $7,426,968.46

PAC info:[29]

PAC Amount raised Amount spent
Protect Our Communities $7,426,968.46[18] $1,094,989.21
Total $1,391,224.04 $1,274,563.90

Top 5 contributors:


Donor Amount
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. $5,784,000[30][31]
National Beer Wholesalers Assn. $500,000[32]
WA Beer & Wine Wholesalers Assn. PAC $500,000[33]
UFCW Local 21 $365,000[34]
Hood River Distillers, Inc. $100,000[35]

(last updated October 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Washington ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Seattle Times said, "We believe state liquor stores should be closed and liquor sold competitively, by licensed merchants. The state's job should be to regulate liquor, not sell it.Most states do it that way. It is a common-sense idea. Yet television here is now infected by dishonest ads made to scare people into keeping the state liquor stores [...] Ignore the ad campaign. It is a heap of distortions and lies. Vote for Initiative 1183, and get the state out of the business of selling alcoholic drinks."[36]
  • The Columbian said, "Last year Washington voters rejected two ballot measures that would’ve privatized liquor sales and distribution in the state. The Columbian endorsed both of those measures. A similar measure — Initiative 1183 — appears on the Nov. 8 ballot, and we again enthusiastically recommend aligning Washington with more than 30 other states that have properly recognized the government’s role. It’s not to sell liquor and wine but to regulate that commerce. No more than we would expect the state to distribute and sell cigarettes (at exorbitantly marked-up prices, mind you), Washingtonians should not expect the state government to sell spirits."[37]
  • The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin said, "I-1183 will benefit more than those who buy booze, it will also benefit the public. It sets aside a portion of new revenues specifically to local police, fire and emergency services throughout the state...Ultimately, I-1183 gets the state out of the liquor business while generating more money for the state treasury. And this will allow the state to stick to the business of regulating liquor. We recommend voters approve I-1183."[38]
  • The Yakima-Herald Republic said, "We have long advocated that the state get out of the liquor business...We endorsed Initiative 1100, and we think Initiative 1183 is an improvement. It keeps revenue for governments while offering the prospect of competition driving down prices for consumers."[39]
  • The Spokesman-Review said, "Getting the State Liquor Control Board out of the business of selling booze and making enforcement its sole responsibility is perhaps the best attribute of I-1183. Coupled with the increase in money for local law enforcement, there should be more, not less, resources to stop alcohol abuse. Vote yes on I-1183."[40]
  • The Tri-City Herald said, "I-1183 isn't perfect, but none of its flaws are insurmountable. More importantly, it may be the voters' last chance to get state government out of the liquor business. The Herald editorial board recommends voters approve Initiative 1183."[41]
  • Sound Politics said, "Big Booze distributors vs Costco. On principle the state should not be in a private business. This initiative would require the state to sell its distribution warehouses and stores to private competition. The state would retain its regulation and enforcement responsibilities. It is estimated that the state would gain $267 million over the next six years if the measure passes."[42]
  • The Herald Everett said, "What will happen is consumers will have greater choice, the Liquor Control Board can focus solely on licensing and enforcement, and strapped local governments will have a new revenue source -- some of which the initiative dedicates to public safety. All compelling reasons to vote yes on I-1183."[43]
  • The Wenatchee World said, "Initiative 1183 allows business to profit, and the state to tax and regulate. It is the relationship as it should be. It will erase the vestiges of Prohibition, allow the state to face up to alcohol with a clean conscience, and at last end this moral conflict. Vote yes on Initiative 1183."[44]
  • The Skagit Valley Herald said, "It’s time that our state government removed itself from the liquor business. Selling liquor to the citizenry isn’t an appropriate function of government. Regulating how it is sold, taxing those sales and setting penalties for violators, however, is indeed government’s job. Initiative 1183 does a better job than earlier initiatives in spelling out what the government’s role should be."[45]

Opposition

  • The Olympian said, "When voters receive their ballot, they must ask themselves, “What problem is Initiative 1183 trying to solve?” In our opinion, I-1183 creates problems by increasing liquor outlets, increasing consumption with the potential to increase teen drinking, and alcohol-related collisions and violence. Vote “no” on Initiative 1183."[46]
  • The News Tribune said, "The downsides are self-evident: Drunken driving, alcoholism, domestic violence, cirrhosis of the liver and other diseases, higher health care costs and on and on...Washington state does seem stuck in a post-Prohibition, New Deal regime of liquor regulation. Having reconsidered the alternatives, we’re just fine with that."[47]
  • The Pacific Northwest Inlander said, "If I-1183 is passed, big-box retailers would be given a big edge over small businesses. In fact, only retailers with 10,000 square feet and above would be allowed to sell hard alcohol. That’s the problem with having interested parties write public policy — they inevitably pick winners and losers. And we have too much to lose on this one."[48]
  • The Daily Evergreen said, "We are doubtful of the argument that I-1183 will continue to provide revenue sources for state and local governments. This is an experimental initiative at a time when the economy is not suitable for experimentation. We are also skeptical of the argument that I-1183 will allow customers to pay less for hard-liquor. In the short-term, yes, but we fully expect companies to raise their prices in the future – just as they do with all their other products."[49]

Polls

See also: Polls, 2011 ballot measures
  • An August 24, 2011 poll by pollster Stuart Elway revealed that 50 percent of surveyed voters support the proposed initiative, while 38 percent oppose it and 11 percent are undecided.[50] According to reports, a total of 407 registered voters were surveyed.[51]
  • A September 20-21, 2011 poll by pollster Stuart Elway revealed that 46 percent were in support of I-1183, while 40 percent were opposed and 15 were undecided.[52] The September 20-21 poll surveyed 408 registered voters and had a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points.[53]
  • A September 21-22, 2011 poll by SurveyUSA revealed that 47 percent of surveyed voters supported the proposed initiative, while 38 percent opposed it and 14 percent said they were undecided.[54] A total of 529 registered voters were surveyed.
  • An October 10-30, 2011 poll by The University of Washington revealed that 50.3 percent were in support of I-1183, while 42.8 percent were opposed and 6.9 percent were undecided. A total of 938 registered voters were surveyed. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.2%.[55]
Legend

     Position is ahead and at or over 50%     Position is ahead or tied, but under 50%

Date of Poll Pollster In favor Opposed Undecided Number polled
August 24, 2011 Elway Poll 50% 38% 11% 407
Sept. 20-21, 2011 Elway Poll 46% 40% 15% 408
Sept. 21-22, 2011 SurveyUSA 47% 38% 14% 529
Oct. 10-30, 2011 University of Washington 50.3% 42.8% 6.9% 938

Reports and analysis

OFM impact report

In early August 2011 the Washington Office of Financial Management released fiscal impact statements for initiatives scheduled to appear on the 2011 ballot, including Initiative 1183. Below is an excerpt:

The fiscal impact cannot be precisely estimated because the private market will determine bottle cost and markup for spirits. Using a range of assumptions, total State General Fund revenues increase an estimated $216 million to $253 million and total local revenues increase an estimated $186 million to $227 million, after Liquor Control Board one-time and ongoing expenses, over six fiscal years. A one-time net state revenue gain of $36.4 million is estimated from sale of the state liquor distribution center. One-time debt service costs are $5.3 million. Ongoing new state costs are estimated at $158,600 over six fiscal years.
Read the full report here

Path to the ballot

See also: Washington signature requirements
I-1183 initiative petitions submitted on July 8, 2011
Photo credit: Washington Secretary of State's office

In order to qualify for the ballot, supporters are required to submit a minimum of 241,153 valid signatures by July 8, 2011.

A total of five initiatives were filed: 1172, 1177, 1178, 1180, 1182 and 1183.

An estimated 361,339 signatures were submitted on deadline day. According to reports, an estimated 150,000 signatures came from customers of Costco. The initiative made the ballot on July 28, 2011 when the Washington Secretary of State certified it.[56][57]

Due to the large number of submitted signatures, the initiative qualified for a random sample of 3 percent. A total 11,035 signatures were sampled with 9,714 accepted. The error rate was 13.98 percent.[58][59][60]

Initiative Required sig. Submitted sig. (unofficial) Result (official)
Initiative 1183 241,153 361,339 Certified - 13.98% error rate

Timeline

Calendar.png

The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
Initiative filed April 25, 2011 The initiative was first filed with the Washington Secretary of State
Petition drive deadline July 8, 2011 A total of 361,339 petition signatures were submitted
Certified July 28, 2011 The initiative was certified and referred to the ballot

See also

By Bailey Ludlam
Ballot measure writer

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EmailSubmit a link

Related measures

Defeatedd Washington Privatize Liquor Distribution, Initiative 1100 (2010)
Defeatedd Washington Revise State Liquor Laws, Initiative 1105 (2010)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Washington Liquor Privatization, Initiative 1114 (2011)
Proposed ballot measures that were not on a ballot Washington State Liquor Sales, Initiative 1157 (2011)

Articles

External links

Campaigns

Additional reading

Campaign contributions

Editorials and blogs

References

  1. Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1183 text," retrieved June 10, 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 The Seattle Times,"Costco revamps liquor-sales initiative," July 16, 2011
  3. OFM predicts new liquor Initiative will pump millions into Washington," August 12, 2011
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 The Columbian,"2 sides set up cases on liquor," July 16, 2011
  5. Washington Secretary of State,"Initiative 1183 brief description," retrieved July 18, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 The Seattle Times,"State moves closer to privatizing liquor," June 15, 2011
  7. Associated Press,"WA moves closer to privatizing liquor distribution," May 25, 2011
  8. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Olympia passes liquor privatization bill," May 25, 2011
  9. Washington's: From Our Corner,"What if both liquor initiatives pass?," July 2, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Spokesman-Review,"Cash rolls in for, against liquor sales initiative," August 24, 2011
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Issaquah Press,"Costco-backed I-1183 aims to remove state from liquor business," September 20, 2011
  12. The Olympian,"Realtors, AWB oppose Eyman's toll measure," September 29, 2011
  13. AWB,"AWB 2011 Candidate, Ballot Measure Endorsements," September 23, 2011
  14. Bellevue Patch,"Opinion: Bellevue Chamber Says No on 1125, Yes on 1183," October 6, 2011
  15. Issaquah Press,"Issaquah Chamber of Commerce endorses Costco-backed liquor initiative," October 15, 2011
  16. 16.0 16.1 Associated Press,"Costco refines pitch on Wash. liquor privatization," October 17, 2011
  17. KIRO FM,"AG Rob McKenna approves of I-1183," November 5, 2011
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 The Herald,"State's latest battle over booze certain to be heated, costly," September 19, 2011
  19. Washington Public Disclosure Commission,"Initiatives 2011," retrieved October 13, 2011
  20. The Seattle Times,"Costco, Kemper Freeman and SEIU putting money on initiatives," July 13, 2011
  21. $20,880,659.80 contributed to "Yes on 1183 Coalition", accessed October 13, 2011
  22. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Costco gives another $1.7 mil to liquor init," October 4, 2011
  23. Oregon Public Broadcasting,"Costco Breaks Records With $22M To Privatize Liquor," October 19, 2011
  24. $50,000 contributed to "Yes on 1183 Coalition", accessed October 13, 2011
  25. $50,000 contributed to "Yes on 1183 Coalition", accessed October 13, 2011
  26. $250 contributed to "Yes on 1183 Coalition", accessed October 13, 2011
  27. $100 contributed to "Yes on 1183 Coalition", accessed October 13, 2011
  28. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,Gregoire on liquor privatization: Not right for Washington," September 28, 2011
  29. Washington Public Disclosure Commission,"Initiatives 2011," retrieved October 13, 2011
  30. $5,784,000 contributed to "Protect Our Communities", accessed October 13, 2011
  31. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Alcohol wholesalers give another $3.4 mil to fight privatized booze," October 18, 2011
  32. $500,000 contributed to "Protect Our Communities", accessed October 13, 2011
  33. $500,000 contributed to "Protect Our Communities", accessed October 13, 2011
  34. $365,000 contributed to "Protect Our Communities", accessed October 13, 2011
  35. $100,000 contributed to "Protect Our Communities", accessed October 13, 2011
  36. The Seattle Times,"Ignore the scare campaign and vote for Initiative 1183," September 29, 2011
  37. The Columbian,"'Yes' on Initiative 1183," October 9, 2011
  38. Union-Bulletin,"EDITORIAL: I-1183 is right way to get state out of the booze business," October 15, 2011
  39. Yakima-Herald Republic,"Initiatives' verdict: No on 1125 and 1163, yes on 1183," October 16, 2011
  40. The Spokesman-Review,"Editorial: Getting state out of liquor business makes sense," October 17, 2011
  41. Tri-City Herald,"Initiative 1183: Yes," October 21, 2011
  42. Sound Politics,"Recommendations for November 8, 2011 Elections," October 24, 2011
  43. The Herald Everett,"A wiser system for liquor," October 2, 2011
  44. The Wenatchee World,"An exit from the liquor business," October 22, 2011
  45. Skagit Valley Herald,"Editorial: ‘Yes’ on I-1183," October 23, 2011
  46. The Olympian,"Liquor initiative creates far more problems that it solves," September 27, 2011
  47. The News Tribune,"We’re better off without I-1183’s liquor privatization," October 22, 2011
  48. Inlander,"Deja Voting," October 5, 2011
  49. The Daily Evergreen,"Vote against I-1183; vote against corporations," November 2, 2011
  50. The Seattle Times,"New poll shows voters split on liquor, tolling initiatives," August 23, 2011
  51. The Stranger,"Why the Elway Poll Shows the Home Healthcare Initiative With 77 Percent Approval," August 24, 2011
  52. Publicola,"New Polling Shows Support for Liquor Privatization Slipping," September 26, 2011
  53. The Elway Poll,"Liquor Privatization Initiative Loses Ground," September 26, 2011
  54. Survey USA,"Results of SurveyUSA Election Poll #18580," September 23, 2011
  55. The University of Washington Poll,"2011 Washington Poll," October 31, 2011
  56. The News Tribune,"Liquor privatization headed toward ballot," July 8, 2011
  57. Washington Secretary of State, "Another Costco booze measure back on ballot", July 28, 2011
  58. Washington Secretary of State: From Our Corner,"Another Costco booze measure back on ballot," July 28, 2011
  59. Puget Sound Business Journal,"Costco's liquor initiative qualifies for the ballot," July 27, 2011
  60. Seattle Post-Intelligencer,"Costco booze initiative makes the ballot," July 27, 2011