King County Elections projects 52 percent turnout for November ballot

October 28, 2011

NEW — 4 p.m. Oct. 28, 2011

Despite inescapable advertisements for the forces behind and against a liquor initiative, and important local races on ballots throughout the state, Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed predicts less than 50 percent in the November election.

Reed forecast 47 percent statewide in the election. In King County, turnout is expected to crest 50 percent, although the low expectations reflect the lack of major races on the ballot. County Elections Director Sherril Huff predicts 52 percent turnout countywide — 53 percent in Seattle and 51 percent elsewhere.

The liquor measure, Initiative 1183, and Tim Eyman’s tolling measure, Initiative 1125, dominate most discussions about the Nov. 8 election.

Issaquah-based Costco is the major supporter behind I-1183, a push to remove the state from the liquor business. I-1125 aims to change rules to allow state lawmakers, rather than the appointed state Transportation Commission, to set tolls.

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Issaquah Chamber of Commerce backs liquor initiative

October 25, 2011

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a November ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, has received support from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce.

Matthew Bott

If passed, I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close by June 2012. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

Local business leaders announced the endorsement Oct. 14. Election Day is Nov. 8, and King County Elections is mailing ballots to voters.

“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,” chamber CEO Matthew Bott said in a statement.

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Issaquah Chamber of Commerce endorses Costco-backed liquor initiative

October 15, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. Oct. 15, 2011

Costco-backed Initiative 1183, a ballot measure to loosen state liquor rules, received support from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce, business leaders announced Oct. 14.

If passed, I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close by June 2012. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

“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,” chamber CEO Matthew Bott said in a statement.

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Press Editorial

October 4, 2011

Yes on I-1183 to end state liquor business

Initiative 1183 — putting liquor sales in the hands of retailers instead of the state —is worth a yes vote. Last year, voters were asked a similar question, challenging the state’s monopoly on liquor sales. The voters said no. But I-1183 is vastly different.

For one thing, small stores like mini-marts will not be allowed to sell liquor, squelching the fear that teens will have more access than ever. Only stores larger than 10,000 square feet will qualify, unless a smaller store is the only option in town.

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Costco-backed I-1183 aims to remove state from liquor business

September 20, 2011

Months after a measure to privatize the state’s Prohibition-era liquor system failed, Issaquah-based Costco ordered another round, and spearheaded a similar measure for the November ballot.

Initiative 1183 aims to remove the state from the business of distributing and selling hard liquor. The measure is less comprehensive than Initiative 1100, a Costco-backed privatization measure rejected last November.

A colorful brand of Puerto Rican rum occupies a shelf at the state liquor store on Northwest Gilman Boulevard. By Greg Farrar

If passed, I-1183 calls for state-run liquor stores to close by June 2012. The measure also aims to require the state to license private enterprises to sell and distribute hard liquor, set license fees based on sales and regulate licensees.

Unlike the unsuccessful initiative from last year, I-1183 limits hard liquor sales to stores of at least 10,000 square feet. (The average Costco encompasses about 140,000 square feet.) I-1100 aimed to allow smaller retailers, such as gas stations and convenience stores, to sell hard liquor.

Still, opponents said safety concerns remain about efforts to privatize the system and sell booze at more locations.

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