Applicants deserve answer from county

Published 1:27 am Saturday, December 1, 2012

There is an old joke about politicians.

“Some of my friends are for this,” the politician said. “And some of my friends are against it. Me, I’m with my friends.”

Members of the Covington County Commission, who this week could not find the nerve to say “yes” or “no” to Tabitha and Ricky Harrison, owners of Straughn’s Tiger Quik Stop, appear to be living the cliché.

The couple, who seek a beer license to make their store near Straughn School profitable, have said they will keep coming back to the commission until they are treated fairly and get an answer. They previously have been denied a license locally, and appealed to the state ABC board.

With a new commission, they started again. But these commissioners were stony silent when new Commission Chairman Bill Godwin brought the agenda item to the floor of Thursday’s meeting. Quizzed after the meeting by a representative of this newspaper, Godwin was noncommittal; Commissioner Joe Barton, who represents the district in which the store is located, said he was waiting for someone else to make a motion so he could vote against the proposed license.

Taking any other position would be tough, given the roomful of educators who have protested the license. But the Harrisons presented compelling arguments that stores that sell alcohol and schools can coexist, citing among others, T.R. Miller in Brewton, where beer and wine are sold in a grocery story and in a pharmacy yards away from the campus.

The odds of the Harrisons getting the license are very slim. Still, the commissioners were elected to conduct business for the county, and the Harrisons deserve an answer.