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Make It a Double

Ginning up support for liquor sales at the Moorestown Mall

This is a multiple-choice question. Please feel free to stop reading right now if you don’t enjoy test taking or you have never been able to make up your mind about anything and instead rely on a Ouija Board to make all your important decisions.

I do NOT want to see alcohol come to the Moorestown Mall because:

a) I don’t need liquor in order to shop foolishly
b) I love paying high property taxes due to our lack of ratables in town
c) I am afraid of change
d) I don’t drink, ergo no one else should drink

I have been avoiding this particular atomic bomb of a topic because of my mixed feelings and because there are still some people in town that don’t understand the difference between journalistic writing and opinion.

Journalistic writing is when the author states the facts in a straightforward way. Opinion writing is when I get all riled up about something that many Mo’towners are feeling but are afraid to say out loud. I’m the only one dumb enough to commit these deep dark thoughts to paper, thus inflaming those that sit by their computers on an hourly vigil, waiting to fire back. 

It gets a little tiresome being the lightning rod atop Town Hall. But since the other issues dividing our town have quieted down for the time being, it seems that we need to explore the bothersome booze issue. It’s not as if we can avoid it, what with robo-calls, mailings and the petition that wholesome young 20-somethings are carting right to our doorsteps. PREIT and TR4M (the latest in our local parade of acronyms) mean business folks, so let’s hash this one out. First let me put down my martini.

I made the observation, several columns ago, that our mall has always been the ugly stepsister to the Cherry Hill Mall. This has nothing to do with alcohol. The Cherry Hill Mall has always been a destination, a must-see. It was the first mall east of the Mississippi river when it opened in October 1961. The main reason our homely mall was built three years later was to “protect” the Cherry Hill Mall, so even from the beginning, our ‘lil mall was relegated to second-class status.

On the same day that a cheerful young woman in an Eagles jersey appeared at my door, petition in hand, I received a folksy letter from Joe Coradino. This letter starts out like this: “I hope this letter finds you and your family well.”

Right away, I want to shoot Joe, or at least tell him how my family is really doing. “Thanks for asking, Joe. My husband is in a hospital in Denver and I’m really worried. Also, my dog just threw up what looks like a small mammal, maybe a chipmunk, so your concern is truly touching.”

I will state my position right now. Despite my annoyance at Joe’s clumsy opening salvo, I am totally in favor of allowing alcohol at the Moorestown Mall. I think it is the only way to save our snooze fest of a mall and pump some much needed capital into our small town. I know that there are rabid anti-liquor folks out there and while I certainly understand their position, I believe that change is in the air and that if we don’t move forward with this, we stagnate and watch our taxes continue to rise and rise and rise.

I do not drink. Not for any moral reasons, it is just that I like to eat way more than I like to drink. If you want to have a cocktail with your dinner, you have only to traverse Lenola Road to one of the many establishments across from the mall, or at the Acme Plaza. If you crave a margarita, Don Pablo’s, which used to be in Moorestown but is now magically in Mt. Laurel, can sate your craving. In other words, alcohol is already in our backyard, so take off your blinders and pull up a barstool.

People keep making ludicrous comparisons, saying that Ocean City, Collingswood and Haddonfield are “dry towns,” and they’re doing just fine. Here’s my reply to that: Ocean City = beach, boardwalk, OCEAN. As for Collingswood and Haddonfield, they are both closer to Philly, making them much more cosmopolitan (and hip). Their main drags are filled with revenue-producing stores and restaurants. Our main drag is NOT doing just fine, thanks for asking, and everyone knows it.

being proposed would a) allow the sale of alcohol in Mo’town, and b) restrict the sale of alcohol to restaurants at the mall only and would prohibit liquor licenses in other parts of town for any purpose.

If you’ve gotten “the letter” you know that the above comes directly from “the letter.” You are also aware that we, the citizens of Moorestown and NOT Town Council, could renew these restrictions. May I give my own interpretation of that last statement? PREIT is giving us a say in this because we don’t trust politicians and we deserve to regulate this issue.

For those of you convinced that gin mills and seedy taverns will dot Main Street if this referendum passes, may I respectfully remind you that we have an abundance of churches and several schools on Main Street? Laws already in place prohibit the sale of alcohol near these establishments.

PREIT has apparently learned from its first attempt. The referendum is now more succinct: booze at the mall? Si! Booze anywhere else in town? No! The Little Acme will not become the Moorestown Speakeasy, but the Moorestown Mall might actually start bringing some revenue into the town coffers.

Just an opinion, folks. Care to join the fray?

KJL July 20, 2011 at 01:08 PM
That field is the worst. And as bad as it is for field hockey, it is worse for football if we have another dry spell like last summer/fall. Tackling drills were painful to the point of dangerous....boys bouncing off the ground like it was concrete. I heard a number of 500k per year in additional tax revenue. That pays for KIDS debt service, some additional investment debt service (think fixing lights at Maple Dawsown or Jeff Young), AND eliminates the need to use OS Funds for Rec Dept expenses as has been done for the past several years.
Our Town July 20, 2011 at 08:48 PM
If this passes, I am buying one of the abandoned, run down, dilapidated stores on Main Street and opening a raucous biker bar. BOO! Like the op ed. author, I don't drink, not for any particular reason so in that regard, I have no skin in the game but we residents of this town better start getting serious or the only thing new coming to Main Street will be tumble weeds. From the Mall to downtown, Moorestown is a mere shadow of its former self and continues the downward spiral. Unkempt properties, trash, weeds, broken sidewalks, all the telltale signs of a town in decline. While we arrange the deck chairs in the overgrown parking lot of the library, wring our hands over a gopher hole between 3rd and home, or pass yet another empty store on the one time a year we actually go to the mall, Rome is beyond burning and is a smoldering, unrecognizable heap. Time to go big or go home before there is no 'home' left.
Carmen H. von Wrangell July 21, 2011 at 12:07 PM
What happened to civilized discourse on the issue at hand? People have gone far afield, words have become hand grenades and the temperature of the arguments has been raised to ridiculous levels. Still, nobody is convincing anybody else. All of a sudden it's about grammar -atrocious, I see, so the good schools of Moorestown must be failing or most of the commentators are drunk already. I'm not referring just to spelling (it's instead of its and so on) but clarity of composition. Low-down nastiness in one hand and superciliousness in the other won't win the day. And by the way, what's a Tee-Totter? Last time I heard it was tetotaller. Please correct me if I'm wrong. And pass the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bryan Reddan August 01, 2011 at 02:40 AM
I agree!!! Except...don't you think the additonal revenues would serve more of the Moorestown population by getting a new Library/Town Hall complex built than they would getting new Rec Fields built??? Let's do that first, then we can focus on the fields - unless you have a solution to do both at the same time....
Elephant utr August 01, 2011 at 03:26 AM
People have said that it's the crap that come with the booze. Next, I hear that the booze won't really help our town. It's the self interests or owners that want it. even the local restauranteurs don't want the booze. And yes, the liquor went down 2-1 four years ago and that clearly shows the big majority of the citizens don't want it. The town doesn't "need" liquor. It doesn't appear to gain much and therefore doesn't need it either. It has done fine during good times and bad economic times without liquor. The "mall and grassroots" seem to try to take advantage of this bad economic time to try to sway others into thinking it would help, when it actually financially would seem to be neutral and leaving this wonderful town with all the crap and problems that could occur with liquor licenses.

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