Thursday, August 14, 2008


This flap over the club in Albuquerque that was busted this weekend should get the legislature thinking real hard. As long as the current liquor licensing system is in place this kind of thing will continue to happen. The license owner will fight in court to keep his license because it is worth so much money on the open market. If it were not then the state could more easily enforce its laws. I have some experience in this since I was Director of the old Alcohol Beverage Control Department from 1978-1982. We reformed the laws to take away the value of the licenses over a ten year period. The legislature backed down on the tenth year after pressure from the liquor industry. Now the values of licenses are starting to skyrocket again in the metropolitan areas and the industry will fight like hell to keep it that way.

One of the reforms we initiated in 1982 was the creation of the beer and wine license. It can not be sold on the open market. It is issued by the state for a set fee every year. If a beer and wine license owner is cited, it is much easier to revoke the license, if necessary.

One interesting aside on this busted club is the Sheriff's office publicly saying the Department of Public Safety Liquor Agents were kept out of the bust because they couldn't be trusted. That should make for some interesting developments on future cooperation in crime fighting! Sheriff Darren White has stepped in it again. I think the DPS agents and Alcohol and Gaming Division have done a pretty good job under the Richardson Administration.

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