Two business owners have been granted a permit to sell beer in Alexandria.
The Alexandria Beer Board, made up of the city aldermen, voted 4 to 0 Tuesday night to grant Bobby Kenneth Clayborn's application for a permit at his convenience store, C & C Market at 212 Brush Creek Road or Highway 53.
Aldermen Eddie Tubbs, Charles Griffith, Derrick Baker, and Tony Tarpley voted to approve the application. Clayborn's wife Shelia, who is an alderman and member of the beer board, abstained from voting. Another member, Maureen Tubbs, was not present during the vote.
The second application, filed by Robert Simpson, owner of Big Rock Storage on Nashville Highway or Highway 70, was also approved. All five members present voted in favor including Tubbs, Griffith, Baker, Tarpley, and Clayborn.
Prior to the vote, City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. explained that "state law requires the city to approve them (applications) if they (applicants)have met the requirements. From what we see, they have technically met the requirements by state law and by the city ordinance."
Two concerned citizens, Robert Walker and Stein Prichard, raised questions prior to the vote and Prichard had petitions bearing 340 signatures including names of 148 Alexandria city residents who he says are in opposition.
The following is a summary of the discussion:
Robert Walker: "What about the citizens of Alexandria that don't want beer in this town? We have 148 signatures here."
City Attorney Parsley: "There's always going to be someone who doesn't want beer but if they (applicants) meet these requirements then it's up to the aldermen. It's not up to me."
Walker: "I think if you're going to go against 148 citizens of the City of Alexandria then I think everyone of you should resign. They didn't have three readings on that (ordinance). They didn't post it in the paper or anything."
Alderman Eddie Tubbs: Yeah, we had three readings and we posted everything in the paper."
Mayor Ria Baker: You're representing 149 people. There are more than 149 people in the city of Alexandria. There's about 700 people in Alexandria."
Walker: "Why do you want to sell beer in this town? It's not going to give you much more revenue. You're going for two people and two people only."
At this point, Mayor Baker was ready to move the meeting along and to allow Stein Prichard to speak for two minutes, but Walker wanted more time. The following is a summary of the discussion:
Walker: "I have a right to talk"
Parsley: "The mayor can decide whether you've used your time up and if she says you have, then you either stop or you'll be escorted out, one or the other."
Walker: "That's not right. I'm a citizen of this town."
Parsley: "I understand you are and she has given you a right to talk but you don't have an exclusive right to just talk all night. We're not going to be here all night. If she says she's going to end your part of it she can go to the next one and go as far as she wants to."
At this point in the meeting, Mayor Baker gave Stein Prichard an opportunity to speak:
Prichard: "I just want to ask the board if they think that everything that has been done to bring beer into the city, if it's completely legal and if everything has been done according to the law. Everything that brought beer into the city, if it was done right?"
Alderman Charles Griffith: "If we didn't, we wouldn't do this Stein.
Mayor Baker: "What we have done, we have done right."
Prichard: "Do you feel like you are representing the people of Alexandria as aldermen and the beer board? You haven't asked the people."
Griffith: "I think we're doing what's within the law. It's in our charter now."
Prichard: "Are you representing the people? You haven't asked the people. Are you representing them as aldermen of the town of Alexandria?"
Alderman Tony Tarpley: "Stein, I've asked several people and I've had some yes's and some no's. A lot of them feel like we are losing revenue to towns that are close to us. If people are going to buy beer, they're going to go and get their beer. It would probably actually keep people from being out here drinking and driving, if they're going to Watertown or Gordonsville or wherever to buy it."
Prichard: "I just want to know if you feel like you're representing the people because you didn't have a vote, you didn't ask them and this is a major thing that you are doing. You should really as a vote, you should ask the people."
Griffith: "There's so many things we have to do. We just can't ask the people on everything."
Prichard: "But this is a major thing. You had to change several things to make this come about and you still didn't ask the people. It doesn't seem that you're representing the people at all when you don't ask them."
Griffith: "Like Tony said, we've asked some people and it varies."
Alderman Eddie Tubbs: "When they brought liquor in at Gordonsville, did you go over there and voice your opinion on it?
Prichard: "I don't have anything to do with Gordonsville."
Tubbs: "You live in Smith County."
Prichard: But I work here. I'm here all the time and I go to church here. I don't have any ties to Gordonsville."