No wine on Facebook, no mimosas at wedding shops: Welcome to the new temperance movement

Ok, this has nothing to do with education, but I am wondering if we are seeing a new temperance movement in Georgia between this news story out of West Point and the flap in Barrow over the teacher posting Facebook photos of herself sitting with a glass of wine and mug of beer while on vacation in Europe.

A West Point councilwoman has been arrested after police say they spotted her serving mimosas at a bridal shop she owns in Columbus. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports Monday that 41-year-old Judy Wilkinson was handcuffed in front of about 25 customers around 2:30 p.m. Saturday during a showing at Formal Elegance.

A police officer pretended to be shopping for a tuxedo at the store and saw the drinks made of champagne and orange juice being served.

Police say she broke two city ordinances pertaining to possessing alcohol at a business location without a liquor license.

A hearing on the charges was postponed until Tuesday after Wilkinson’s attorney asked the city to supply a videotape of Wilkinson purchasing her business license at the Columbus Government Center.

I am a non drinker, but this all seems over the edge to me. I have been in shops that served wine as part of special events, especially during the holiday trunk sales.

Are we losing our collective minds? And taking the shop owner away in handcuffs?

22 comments Add your comment

DeKalb Conservative

November 17th, 2009
11:35 am

I hope the city doesn’t have budget problems, especially since it has the resources to send a police officer into this event pretending to be shopping.

V for Vendetta

November 17th, 2009
11:46 am

We’ve let the government run rampant over our individual rights for years. This is the result.

oldtimer

November 17th, 2009
11:48 am

And, the mayor elect of Hatwell, GA….arrested in Greenville,… SC DUI.Maybe peole also need to be more carefull about what they do. I will say teachers do live in glass houses.

Robert

November 17th, 2009
11:56 am

Wouldn’t it only be illegal if she were charging for the alcohol? Lots of shops and salons offer their customers wine, but then maybe they are breaking the law as well.

As far as the teacher goes. People need to get a life! She was doing nothing illegal. Are they going to start arresting priests at churches that use wine for holy communion?

Meme

November 17th, 2009
12:06 pm

What about some of the spas and hair salons that serve wine to their customers. I am with Robert. If she wasn’t selling it, what law did she break. And if just possession of alcohol without a liciense is illegal, what about all the CEO’s that keep bottles in their offices to serve to clients. Government gone wild!

Doug

November 17th, 2009
12:09 pm

This is beyond ridiculous. If you don’t want to drink, temper yourself. Why can’t a nervous bride and her associates enjoy a mimosa with the bridal shop owner? Why can’t a teacher enjoy him/herself while NOT at school? There is no good reason for either of these ridiculous incidents.

DeKalb Conservative

November 17th, 2009
12:13 pm

Want to experience this yourself locally in Atlanta? Head into David Yurman in the Lenox Mall. You’ll be offered champagne as you look at jewelry. Both this example and the story have retail settings, just in different states / counties.

Meme and Robert have it right.

Jennifer

November 17th, 2009
12:27 pm

Yep – losing our collective minds. But in the case of the sipping mimosa, just as in the case of the European tourist/teacher – I bet the same scenario exists. This is a council woman. She upset someone, that’s likely why this arrest occurred- mark my words. Have some fun, have someone investigate. I will bet you a buck since you don’t drink that I am on target.

Jessica

November 17th, 2009
12:57 pm

If she was breaking the law then of course there should be a consequence, but taking her away in handcuffs seems excessive. Something like a fine would have been more appropriate.

Magenta

November 17th, 2009
1:04 pm

I don’t necessarily blame “government run amok.” This mindset originated with groups like MADD, who have put pressure on legislators to systematically tighten laws by influencing public perceptions. Yes, there is a new temperance movement. Instead of basing it on religion, it’s “save the children.” One person takes a drink, we now expect that person to get into a car and kill all our families. The police in some areas will park outside a bar and arrest anyone who comes out and even looks like they’re getting into a car. It’s the same with prescription and over the counter medications — anybody who takes a perfectly legal remedy for pain is at risk for being branded a “druggie.” All self-righteous, hypocritical prudery. If someone BREAKS the law and endangers someone, throw the book at ‘em. But we’re turning into the “minority report” society, where we’re ready to lock someone up because it looks like they MIGHT be doing something that MIGHT lead to something dangerous to somebody. Sheesh.

lmno

November 17th, 2009
1:44 pm

We haven’t lost our minds in Georgia. We never had them. We are a very backwards state.

ihorizon

November 17th, 2009
3:21 pm

If it is matter of not having an alcohol business license in a place where wine is normally served then maybe it is a case but to arrest someone in front of their customers???? What is the harm or not if there was no charge to the drink itself then how is that different than serving wine at home with dinner….however, I strongly feel that the policeman should have identified himself/herself before placing a charge or arrest as is that not the same as concealing a fact that the policeman is not really a customer??? And if I am not mistaken, wine or champange has far less alcohol content than beer?

Blake

November 17th, 2009
3:28 pm

This is so base. It really highlights a class divide issue in this country. In plain speak….”how common”.

jet skis in the keys

November 17th, 2009
3:56 pm

Prohibition ended in 1933! The South isn’t the only region with a drinking problem. She must have had something baked in those hors d’oeuvres!

Oregon gets a Cannabis Cafe, and once again, the East Coast gets ransacked by Conservative nut jobs.

DeKalb Conservative

November 17th, 2009
4:31 pm

@ ihorizon

Wine has a higher alcohol content than beer and to make up for it wine is also typically served in a smaller glass. Hard liquor is obviously much stronger and is either served straight up in very small portions, or is diluted with a non-alcoholic mix.

Not totally relevant here because each state seems to have its own nutty take on how to classify booze.

Old Tech

November 17th, 2009
4:47 pm

The city ordinance says it’s illegal “for any person, corporation, partnership or other legal entity to possess, sell, or possess for the purpose of sale at any business location … any alcoholic beverage where the person does not have a valid alcoholic beverage license.”

The Columbus city ordinance quoted above states that it is just as illegal for a patron at a restaurant to have a beer. He would be a “person” possessing an “alcoholic beverage” at a “business location” where he “…does not have a valid alcoholic beverage license.” Anyone holding a beer, glass of wine or mixed drink at a “business location” would be just as guilty as Mrs. Wilkinson. Are the fascist Columbus Police Department going to handcuff everyone at every bar in town? The ordinance is poorly written, confusing and obviously selectively enforced.

Old Tech

November 17th, 2009
4:49 pm

BTW according to an employee of the shop the mimosas were about 2 oz. of champagne and 6 oz. of orange juice. Probably more alcohol in a shot of NyQuil.

Look before I leap

November 17th, 2009
5:28 pm

I think another poster had it correct. This reeks of a political hit. In most jurisdictions, even if the constable had reason to think a law was being broken, at worst a citation would be issued and the salon owner can tell it to the judge. This event seemed orchastrated to cause maximum embarrasment to the salonowner/councilwoman. The investigation should focus on WHY there was an undercover cop in the shop to begin with? Was he responding to a complaint? If so, who filed the complaint and when? What is the proper procedure for determining if a scofflaw should be taken into custody? Did the cop follow proper procedure? If not..why not?

DB

November 17th, 2009
6:55 pm

So, I guess all those businessmen who have a bar in their office are ALSO breaking the law? This is a no-win case for the city — I hope she finds an attorney who is prepared to have a walloping good time!

Anastasia

November 17th, 2009
9:08 pm

Ok, I am going to give a slightly different perspective on this issue.

First, I completely agree this was handled improperly (the wedding store situation), as were the “code violations” at the Atlanta Eagle. Violations of this type should be pointed out to the owner in a civil manner by appropriate authorities. Of course it is outrageous to run an undercover operation and arrest someone over this.

BUT here’s the reason that I am not quite as outraged as others. There are numerous businesses in Atlanta and nearby, that are supplementing their revenue by renting out their space in off hours as an “event venue.” I could give you a list of 20+ that actively solicit this type of business in Atlanta – boutiques and other retail stores, art, recording and design studios, etc. These places are allowing third parties to use their business space, and to serve alcohol on the premises. They are often in violation of zoning laws, occupancy limits, as well as alcohol laws.

There may not be a direct exchange of money for alcohol, but if you pay $10 to attend an event in this type of space, and you get free beer, the State of Georgia clearly considers this selling alcohol without a license, as would most local governments.

I realize this is several steps away from offering a mimosa to clients trying on wedding dresses…but just be aware that it is a slippery slope to situations that really do cross the line and cause unfair competition to those legitimate businesses that have jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops to get licensed to sell and serve alcohol, just to see other businesses regularly skirt the laws with no consequences.

Georgia Teacher

November 17th, 2009
9:14 pm

Old Tech,

You are incorrect in your reading of the law. Simply put, a business cannot have any alcohol for the purpose of sale. She can give away as much alcohol as she wants to legal age drinkers, provided is not part of any service. The moment it is included in the price, she has to have a pouring permit.

The same applies to a resturant. A resturant can choose to allow patrons to bring their own alcohol and not have a pouring permit.

The question is “Was this a service?”

Boundaries, I has them « Three Ring Mom

August 25th, 2010
7:14 pm

[...] To be completely safe, we have to hermetically seal ourselves in our homes, avoiding internetland entirely and any breath of controversy entirely. We never know who will see a completely innocuous picture of us having a glass of wine with friends and turn it into a scandal that would make Rod Blagojevich blush. That’s no kind of behavior for a teacher, a torch-bearing mob will scream at our administrators. Let’s strip her naked, cover her in honey, and put on top of an anthill in town square. That’ll teach that brazen hussy to imbibe that devil juice! Some are going as far as to call this treatment of private citizens with jobs in the public spotlight the new temperance movement. [...]