Saturday, September 26, 2009

Trying to solve the time problem. What about liquor by the drink?

(Editor’s note: Oregonians are known as bunch of independent sorts. Maybe that’s because a good number, at least in Eastern Oregon, hail from Missouri, though not as many as from Nebraska. But that’s another story. In 1952, they were suffering from a confusion about time and faced a November ballot measure designed set them straight. In an October column my father, editor and publisher of The Ontario Argus Observer, tried to give voters some advice about an effort to clear up the confusion. Maybe it was because of all the confusion that some in the state wanted legalize liquor by the drink. My old man, who was no teetotaler, had some ideas about that as well.)

The Argus Observes
By Don Lynch
(From an October 1952 column)

One (initiative) sponsored by the Farmers’ Union, would make daylight time illegal.

It is designed to end the time confusion Regon has every summer. It is supposed to provide for uniform standard time.

Two years ago voters approved a measure which the majority thought would result in uniform standard time. It provided for standard time to prevail unless the governor decided it would be to Oregon’s special advantage to proclaim daylight time.

Under this law, Gov.McKay did proclaim daylight time in 1951 but the part of the state preferring standard time refused to make the change.

During the past summer he left the state on standard time and Portland and some coastal and Willamette Valley cities adopted daylight time. So that was confusing too.

The Argus-Observer opposed the time measure approved two years ago and I will vote agains this one. Admitting that Oregon does have a confusion of time in summer months now, I can’t see how a law would solve the problem.

To my mind, the state has little business legislating time. It should help if the present confusing time were removed from the books, but not by substituting another time law.

If we would quite trying to legislate time, perhaps the areas of the state would follow their natural preferences and work out some reasonable solution to the time mess.

My suggestion: vote 325X No.


This proposed constitutional amendment would make it legal to sell liquor by the drink in private clubs and in restaurants, on trains, in private clubs and in fraternal and veterans organizations. It also provides local option for communities that don’t want this alaw to apply.

Its proponents argue that I would promote the tourist trade and, they say, promote temperance by enabling people to drink without having to buy a whole bottle ofliquore. They call themselves the”Buy Less Than A Bottle Committee.”

These are thin arguments to me. I just can’t believe that having liquor readily available by the drink promotes temperance. Oregon’s Knox Law has provided excellent handling of liquor in neighboring states. I am opposed to prohibition at the other extreme. The moderate middle course we follow now seems to me the best way of handling one of society’s major problems.

One serious objection to this measure is that it is a constitutional amendment. It would make the liquor by the drink privilege a part of our state constitution. Even if it were to be authorized it should be as a law and not as a part of the constitution.

Another major objection is that it would probably dot the streets of Oregon with saloons under the modern guise of clubs.

I recommend you vote 329X No on this measure.

(Editor’s end note: The problem I have with all of this stems from the fact that history is disappearing from our grasp when questions predate the Internet. To tell you how the vote went on these two items with any certainty, I’d have to order up back copies of Oregon newspapers. That would take weeks if not months from my location in California. My memory tells me that daylight savings time soon came to prevail in all of Oregon, though Malheur County remained confused because it was on Mountain Standard Time while most of the rest of the state was on Pacific Standard Time. As for liquor by the drink, I’ve seen evidence that it won approval. There were already saloons on Oregon Street, Ontario’s main drag. They were called pool halls, and I suspect they served up plenty of beer. I don’t think the number increased with passage of this amendment though maybe a few private clubs began serving up more drinks than before. If people started crashing their cars and bashing their mates more often, I didn’t notice. I was just 14 at the time.)

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