Public drinking ban could be decided by voters
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 09:59:20 PM MST
A proposed open container ordinance for Butte could wind up before voters next fall.
On Wednesday, the commissioners voted 6 to 5 in favor of an ordinance that would ban public drinking between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. But, commissioner Mark Moodry was absent, and he tells us he's against the ban.
That means, at the next reading, the vote could end in a tie. And if commissioners choose, they could put it up for a vote in the next election.
NBC Montana took to the streets to ask folks -- if the decision becomes up to them, how will they vote?
"I would vote for the ban," said resident Linda Lovshin.
It's not hard to find folks with an opinion on the proposed ordinance. We stood outside the Albertson's on Harrison for about an hour. Of the 20 people we spoke with, it was split 50-50.
"I would vote not for it," said resident Helen Michael.
The reasons are familiar. Some believe it will cut back on crime and help keep Uptown clean.
"Butte is really known for a drinking town, and I think a lot of things have been happening, especially in the newspaper, and I don't think they need to be drinking past 2 a.m.," Lovshin explained.
But others say it will take away from the Mining City's unique heritage.
"This is Butte and Butte needs to remain Butte," said Jill Smith. "We're 'Buttians' and we love Butte and this is part of our heritage, part of our culture, and part of who we are."
We spoke with Butte-Silver Bow County Attorney Eileen Joyce to find out just what it would take to put the measure before voters.
First, commissioners would have to choose whether to move forward with the ballot initiative. If that happens, 15 percent of the registered voters would have to then sign a petition.
But some residents think this isn't even an issue worth fighting over.
"I think that's a ridiculous thing to put on the ballot when there are so many more important issues," explained resident Kathy Parsons.
But others disagree.
"Take the drinking out of the public and put it where it belongs, in the bars," said John David Bradley.
Resident Robert Rojecki said, "I don't like. It's not broke, so don't fix it!"