Friday, April 14, 2017

Despite fake news headlines, you won't be buying liquor at grocery, drug or convenience stores in MoCo

You may have seen fake news headlines over the last few days trumpeting that "liquor" will soon be sold at "privately-owned stores" in Montgomery County. The careful wording was designed by the Montgomery County political cartel, to give casual readers the false impression that beer, wine and spirits would be coming to the shelves at Giant, CVS, 7-Eleven, etc. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it was surprising that many in the local media enabled the deception with false headlines. This is one of the more audacious public misinformation campaigns I've ever witnessed from the MoCo cartel.

Here are the facts:

The Maryland General Assembly just passed a bill which will only allow privately-owned beer and wine stores to sell liquor. Clever language in the bill specifically excludes grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores. Even popular convenience stores that currently sell beer and wine, like Talbert's in Bethesda, will be ineligible to sell liquor.

Even those beer and wine stores that qualify to sell liquor under the bill will still have to buy that liquor from the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control - the government monopoly. That means they will be competing on retail price directly with the Montgomery County government liquor stores. Merchants like Bradley Food and Beverage have pointed out in the past that such competition is unfair to the small private businesses being forced to compete with the same government-monopoly seller, who sets the prices they have to pay for stock.

The new law allows the DLC to decide the criteria for the granting of contracts with private beer and wine stores by itself, with no public input or transparency. DLC, in other words, can decide the terms of competition itself. Profits for whichever few retailers DLC decides to "compete" with will likely be limited by the monopoly control over price, and that means no savings for you, the customer.

It's also unlikely that private beer and wine stores could be competitive with County-owned liquor stores on inventory, because the County stores are physically larger than stores which have been only allowed to sell beer and wine. And they'll still have to deal with the same DLC inventory and delivery problems that have hampered their existing beer and wine sales.

Once again, County politicians have tried to "look busy," even as they bolster and preserve the government liquor monopoly. Real change would be full privatization of beer, wine and spirit sales in Montgomery County, and being able to buy Bud Light or a bottle of wine at Safeway or Rite Aid. That did not happen with this new law.

Fact check score for fake news "liquor to be sold at privately-owned stores" headlines, designed to fool people who don't read the articles for the details?

Four Pinocchios/Pants on Fire


  1. Screw it, let's go back to Prohibition!

  2. Insiders at 100 Maryland Avenue say this propaganda was the brainchild of George Leventhal. Leventhal, who is running (scared) for County Executive, is very fearful of multi-millionaire David Trone, who is self-funding his run for County Executive. For obvious reasons, Trone, the co-owner of “Total Wine,” has been pushing for legislation that allows for the sale of alcoholic beverages in private stores (not just MoCo DLC stores). Leventhal’s lie is an effort to undermine Trone’s plans to disband MoCo’s historically corrupt Department of Liquor Control and weaken a pillar of Trones’s platform.

    1. Don't worry about Leventhal... He'll get plenty of campaign cash from his developer friends.

  3. During this election cycle, which started on January 1, 2015, Leventhal raised over $60,000 from his developer friends, before there was talk of “publicly funded elections.” Keep in mind that the beginning of an election cycle is a very slow period for raising campaign cash (and yet he raised $60K). Since MoCo publicly funded elections legislation was enacted, Leventhal told his developer benefactors to hold off and then collected much less than a quarter of the above $60K from other supporters in order to make himself eligible for matching public funds and make himself “look” like a “peoples’ candidate.” From within his own campaign, the word is that Leventhal will abandon the “publicly funded” route after the last campaign funds report is visible to public before the primary. Reliable sources say that Leventhal will then take in massive developer contributions (already lined up), which will allow him to flood mailboxes with multiple last minute flyers.

    1. CORRECTION: Publicly funded elections passed in 2014. Leventhal now has two active campaign accounts on file with the MD Board of Elections, “Friends of George Leventhal” (which took in hundreds of thousands in developer dollars over many years) and “Montgomery County for George Leventhal” (which has only taken in contributions $150 or less). Why does Leventhal keep the “Friends of George Leventhal” account open? Does he have BIG plans for it?

    2. Excellent point. Shouldn't he have to close and liquidate that account in order to activate his public funding account? Then again, as I predicted at the time, "public funding" was their grand plan to have the taxpayers fund their campaigns.

      Developers won't have to spend as much each election, but only machine politicians like Leventhal can possibly reach the number of "small contributions" required to qualify.

      If only they had spent as much time on economic development, and making sure there was a back-up system for 911, as they did on these kind of schemes.

      A real public funding system gives every candidate some money, not just those who have hundreds of deep-pocketed criminal associates.