Politics Has Always Been Part Of LCB Debate

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Politics often clouds
issues and that is certainly the case with the ongoing questions surrounding
the future of the Liquor Control Board for Worcester County (LCB).

Last week it was
reported Delegate Jim Mathias would be requesting an audit of the LCB by the
Comptroller’s Office. That made some headlines around the area and subsequently
lots of feathers were ruffled as a result. We heard this week from three
readers, some more mild mannered than others, adamantly pointing out that the
delegate’s request is not newsworthy and is actually anti-climatic because
licensees had already requested an audit of the LCB.

The audit request was
reportedly granted by the comptroller months ago and is to be performed in the
coming weeks. Whether the results of that audit will ever be known depends on
what it finds.

It goes without saying
the callers we heard from this week are not Mathias supporters and clear
champions of his prime opponent for the Senate seat, Michael James. That’s all
well and good and passionately backing a candidate is an exciting and compelling
thing.

These folks objected to
Mathias getting publicity because they say it wasn’t deserved. It was said he
was portrayed as a “hero” in some papers. While they may be right in saying the
audit was already in the works, an argument could be made having a delegate add
his voice to the discussion does not hurt matters with the folks in Annapolis.
Maybe it got more play than it should have in some outlets, but the fact the
Senate hopeful said he would introduce a bill to abolish the LCB if the ongoing
investigation confirms wrongdoings and a revenue replacement plan is created by
local liquor license holders certainly is noteworthy.

That’s the major news,
particularly when “the business plan” Mathias requested from the liquor
licensees is a divisive topic for those in the local industry. Objective minds
surely understand that.
However, in election years objectivity is not always easy. During even numbered
years, people suddenly become incredibly sensitive and put everything under the
microscope. Passion is always laudable, but it can be at times responsible for
dulling people’s reasoning abilities.

It was said last week
that Mathias’s proposal to seek a bill to abolish the LCB if malfeasance is
proved and a means to replace the county’s revenue take officially makes this
ongoing controversy a political issue. That’s a ridiculous claim, one surely a
result of superficial thinking and overall ignorance of the situation.

Money is at the heart of
the issue. It always has been and consequently politics is a central element in
every bit of it. The two are forever linked and this situation is no different,
but removing politics from this discussion is the goal of this newspaper, at
least for the immediate future.

That’s
why we are investigating the LCB’s past and present actions rather than trying
to hear what current and hopeful politicians will or will not do if they are
elected. The wait-and-see approach is the logical tact to take at this point
and will surely be the result of any polling of the candidates, particularly
when there are many more questions than answers at this point regarding the
LCB. 

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