(Addition on Saturday July 16 – the city council will be voting Monday July 18 on the resolution to allow beer sales at the Ox Roast. If you have an opinion, this is the time to send it to the council members. An additional section has been added to the end of this post with responses from the chair of the Rec committee Panzera, and President Greta Kearns.)
(After the vote) Council unanimously voted to allow beer sales during the Ox Roast. Sales and consumption will be limited to a specific area, and only after 5PM.
I read in the TVN that the Grandview Heights Bobcat Boosters are trying to get permission from the city to sell alcohol at the Ox Roast. There has never been beer sales in the past, and although there is small stakes poker being played in a tent to raise money, this marks a major new step in flirting with vices for the school group.
I can’t predict how this request will be treated by the city council – if we go by the recent addition of beer sales to the Hop event on Grandview Ave, and sales at the bike race, I’m guessing it passes. Still, this is for the most part a school event, and the ethics of “what will the kids think” might give some council member pause. There are some questions that should be answered before the city adds to the list of alcohol sales events.
Where did this come from?
The Bobcat Boosters have been around for a long time, not sure but decades at least. In all that time, it must have come up in discussion before to add alcohol sales, it’s an obvious, sure fire money maker. Something changed that made it acceptable for beer sales to now be proposed to the city.
What changed? Was it seeing other groups like the Hop start selling, and that made the Boosters feel like they were missing out? St. Christopher parish festival has been selling beer for many years, why didn’t that event cause the Boosters to ask for permission?
Has there been a shift in public perception for alcohol sales? Is it now OK to bring beer into an event that has to be seen as more of a school related event than any other festival or celebration in the city?
The root of all beer
The story in the TVN said “the Boosters netted about $11,000 from the Ox Roast, which “isn’t as much as we would like” given the number of man-hours that Boosters and other volunteers put in to set up and operate the festival”. Is there an expectation for the amount of money that volunteers should be able to raise, and if less that that expectation is raised, is the event to be judged a failure? Are volunteers wasting their time if they don’t raise a certain number of dollars?
Booster pres Jump is quoted saying “We think we might be able to double our proceeds if we had beer sales.” Is the amount of money that alcohol might add a vital part of the ethics of the question? What if the beer sales only added 10% to the profits from the roast, would that change the perception of the change in policy? Will the Boosters keep track of the money made from the beer sales, and do they have any proposal to stop the sales if they don’t make enough money? What would that number be?
Think of the kiddley divey doos
There is no getting around it – a community that tells its children that alcohol is dangerous, but then brings it into a school event, is hypocritical. We spend most of our lives being hypocritical in front of our kids, like when we break the speeding laws while lecturing teenagers about their use of cars. We ask kids to be careful with their money, while we rack up the credit card debt for a fun lifestyle. We are all hypocrites, to some degree. The question is, what degree do you feel that selling beer at a school event rates?
One of the best answers to this question of how we can justify bringing alcohol around the kids is the standard “we are teaching them how to have a good relationship with alcohol”. There will probably be very few sloppy drunks at the Ox roast, so this can be a valid argument.
Here is a counter argument – we know that beer sales could make a lot of money for the boosters, but because we think it is a poor precedent, we will decide to forgo that money for the sake of teaching the kids that alcohol should not be used at school events. We don’t make the sales, because we want to teach that money is not the most important thing.
Which one of the preceding two arguments would teach the best lesson to the kids?
Where does that slope lead?
If the boosters bring alcohol to the Ox roast, it sets a precedent . What school event will be next? Will we hear the chant of “beer here!” in the stands at football games? What would the reasoning be for saying that alcohol shouldn’t be allowed at school sports events, when the Ox Roast is allowed? After all, the money raised by selling beer in the stands will help the school. If you are against it, are you against helping the kids?
How about wine sales at school plays and musicals? As long as a strict limit is enforced, wouldn’t that help teach the kids to have a good relationship with alcohol? And think of the money!
The school buildings sit idle most evenings. Think of the potential money raised by booking bands, and installing bars. Sure, you might have to throw some left over drunks out the next morning, but think of the profits!
Sorry. That last one was a little over the top. Might be the scotch speaking. Here is a quote from 1577 – It sloweth age, it strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it cutteth flegme, it relisheth the harte, it lighteneth the mynd, it quickeneth the spirits, it cureth the hydropsie, it repelleth gravel . . . and trulie it is a sovereigne liquor if it be orderlie taken”.
And it makes money, too.
I was a little silly in my examples above, the school wouldn’t allow sales of alcohol on its property. I guess. For an example of a possible slip down the slope, suppose if the Boosters added another event like the mulch sale – only this would be a “fine wine” event, held in cooperation with a wine store. Adult booster members would go door to door, asking residents to buy wines, and some of the profits would go to the school. I think this would be legal, and it would be profitable – as long as the group is OK with being associated with alcohol sales.
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