The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

July 23, 2013

Pro-Sunday liquor group begins money drive

ENID, Okla. — The group that organized against Garfield County’s dry-Sunday law has begun raising money for a fall campaign.

Mike Stuber said the group hopes to raise $30,000 to fund the campaign, which will end with a countywide election Oct. 8. If the measure is approved, licensed businesses will be able to sell and serve liquor on Sundays.

“We’ve really been getting phenomenal support thus far,” said Stuber, who is an elected commissioner for Enid’s Ward 2.

Stuber and Ward 5 Commissioner Tammy Wilson previously asked the county commission to make the change in law, but were turned down. Instead, they got to work collecting signatures from registered Garfield County voters — 4,025 in all.

The push to serve or be served alcohol on Sunday emerged from the frustration of losing chances to snag chain restaurants that rely on their beer, wine and liquor sales. The restaurants commonly listed as the ones that got away include Logan’s Roadhouse, Santa Fe Cattle Co. and possibly an Olive Garden.

Stuber said there was a lag time after that petition drive to focus on family and work, but he now is ramping the campaign back up. So far, the group’s Facebook page is asking supporters to donate funds for the effort.

“The support is there. Everybody’s been more than willing to contribute so far,” Stuber said. “I see no problems in collecting enough to run a full campaign.”

He declined to say how much has been collected so far, though. Of the people who have been and will be asked to donate, Stuber said he is confident they will give.

“There’s still a ways to go, but, literally, we’ve really just been focused on it for the past few days. I’m extremely happy with the response thus far,” he said. “It’s just so fresh that it may be an underwhelming number so far.”

Stuber said the group, known as Garfield Advocates for Progress, will wait until the election looms closer to start canvassing neighborhoods, asking folks to vote. Any public push for support of the vote — like advertisements — likely would come in September, he said. That way, voters don’t have election fatigue before Oct. 8.

“What happens is they’ll see it, and they’ll see it, and they’ll see it — and then they quit paying attention to it,” said Stuber. “And that’s not what we want as we get closer to the election date.”

As the campaign presence grows, the pro-ballot measure group probably will have volunteers on call trees, door knocking and old-fashioned yard signs.

“If people want signs in their yard, then we will have signs available much like a political campaign,” he said.

Those wanting to donate to the campaign can find a link through the group’s Facebook account “GAP — Garfield Advocates for Progress.” They also can contribute directly through Stuber or Wilson, or mail a donation to Central National Bank.

The dry-Sunday law is at least 28 years old. In 1985, Garfield County voters marked their ballots in a special election to enhance state liquor laws. Their intent was to prohibit the sale of individual drinks of alcohol on Sunday and certain holidays.

The new law, if it passes, specifically would allow the sale of alcohol by the drink on Sundays between 10 a.m. and midnight. The proposal also opens up Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day, but keeps Thanksgiving and Christmas dry.

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