Beer, Wine Debate

By: Tyler Helms
By: Tyler Helms

"We feel like, if we can get here, then we will be able to properly serve this community," said Susan Hammendorp, owner of The Coffee Bean.

She is talking about the sale of beer and wine, and that's why Hammendorp, along with three other businesses, has petitioned the Board of Aldermen for an expansion of the sale of beer and wine in restaurants. Joe Tullos, an alderman for Ward 1 says it would be a good economic move.

"I think it would give the city of Philadelphia a lot of curb appeal. We have 18,000 people come though this city and some of them might want to enjoy what these businesses want," said Tullos.

But four months following the original petition, there has been no vote. In fact, the aldermen have been somewhat silent on the issue.

Bobby Jackson of Ward 4 refused to speak to Newscenter 11 on the issue. Roy White of Ward 2 said, "I am wading through the issue. It's a really big issue."

The city of Philadelphia is not completely dry. In fact, you can buy beer and wine at any convenience store, leaving business owners to ask why not restaurants? The board of aldermen has yet to give a definitive answer.

The board has, however, voted to hold a referendum vote. Janice Payne, an alderman at large said, "I prefer people to vote on it. I believe the board will follow."

But that vote would cost nearly $6,000 and is non-binding, meaning the aldermen would still have to make the decision.

"I think we are going to have a vote one way or the other. If we vote to put it in restaurants, if we vote not to, we need to make a decision to keep it off the ballot," said Rayburn Waddell, mayor of Philadelphia.

But this is a very complicated vote. For some, it is economically beneficial, and idealistically compromising for others.


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