It’s time to analyze the various referendums on the ballots Tuesday. All over the nation, common citizens are asked to say “yes” to an issue that is supposedly for their benefit and financial future. More times than not, the consequences of such are harmful and slanted to a greedy few. Such is the case with “Question 7” appearing on the Maryland ballot on November 6. Question 7 ads in support of gaming flood the airwaves in the D.C. metro region, with claims flying left and right about what it means for Maryland.
The former owner of the Payless Market in South Los Angeles, gleefully described how the Black community’s passion for malt liquor and his “unofficial grassroots advertising campaign” allowed him to significantly increase his store revenue within a few weeks and save his business. The store had a license to sell beer and wine, but to compete with liquor stores in the area, he happened upon the idea of painting on the front of his store a large sign that shouted “Cold Beer” (although then-Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and community activist forced him to the remove it). He returned to the drawing board and put an old claw-foot bathtub filled with bottles of malt liquor under crushed ice in the middle of the store. The crude marketing ploy worked, and his malt liquor sales increased by 60 percent.