Letters to the Editor

Seeking support for liquor referendum

To the Editor:

During last week’s Borough Council meeting, both Mayor Kearney and Council President Grove commented on the possibility of a referendum this year to make Swarthmore a “wet” town. As the group ready and willing to lead that effort, we thought this would be an appropriate time and venue to share our plan and rationale.

A group of Swarthmore residents have formed “Swarthmore21” whose objective is to end our town’s dry status. Specifically, we are taking steps to initiate a referendum in 2017 to allow the sale of beer, wine, and spirits in accordance with Pennsylvania law. We fully recognize that this alone won’t solve all of the challenges of the business district, but believe it to be necessary to attract entrepreneurial investment here. Every member of the group is passionate about Swarthmore; we believe this is the right thing to do now for the future prosperity of our town.

To secure the issue as a referendum on the ballot in the May, 2017 primary, we must first collect at least 1,000 signatures on a petition. This will take place during a 3-week period in February and March. Swarthmore21 will provide more details as we move forward about our planned actions here.

Some initial public comments were made this past week about this licensing. We invite community businesses and residents to visit www.swarthmore21.com to learn more about our intentions, the facts about the referendum and license process (both for now and the future), and how to support us in this endeavor.

In closing, we fully appreciate the importance and history of this issue to the residents of Swarthmore. We look forward to having an open, honest, respectful, and fact-based examination of this option to ensure our community makes the best possible decision this year. Thank you.

Swarthmore21
Vince Barrett, Ben Berger, Rob Borgstrom, Patrick Francher, Bill Furia, Billy Hodges
Mel Jurist, Dean Michelson, Linda Montgomery, Clair Oaks, Martha Perkins
Lora Pietrangelo, Will Randall, Ines Rodriguez, Andy Rosen, Carol Savery

Tread lightly, please!

To the Editor:

As a longtime resident of my beloved town, I ask those pushing a liquor referendum to think very carefully before making any decision that might compromise the long history and uniqueness of “our town.”

First, a little background. In the year 2000, when “revitalizing” the town began, I was the Borough Council member who was responsible for a survey that showed the number one choice of the community to be an inn, which had been my wish ever since the Strath Haven Inn was destroyed. I worked toward an inn for many years since that time.

(And a little side note: under the picture in a recent Swarthmorean, which showed me enjoying the first drink at the new Inn, the caption read that “I had waited a long time for this.” Yes, I had waited a long time for the Inn, not necessarily the drink.)

As much as I felt that any sort of bar in our village could hurt our history, our uniqueness, and also our children, I realized that we could never have an Inn with fine dining, without liquor. Therefore, as a Council member, I went out and acquired the last names needed on the petition for a license “for liquor served only in an inn on a college campus.” We got the license but had no inn. Then the College took over and the rest is history.

I have also lived through a number of other liquor referendums. They all lost, and we have survived. I realize that some of the merchants are hurting, but do we really need to solve our problems with liquor? The children see liquor in their homes and on TV, but they do not walk past what could become a darkened bar with intoxicated people inside, five years from now. It may bring more people into the village, but who will those people be? Will they go shopping in town?

And as malls are closing to give way to more specialty shops, how hard have we really worked to bring some unique shops to Swarthmore? I realize that there is a barrier to people who can’t afford the rent, but how hard have we tried to appeal to “love of community” with the “powers that be?” Some rent is better than a vacant store.

I am not an old biddy who is against liquor (I may be an old biddy, however). I loved champagne and a glass of wine occasionally, but we have such a special town where children can walk uptown freely and safely, and we do not know what the future could bring. Don’t tempt it.

Let’s be that town of Quaker values and traditions, and go elsewhere if we want a drink. Is the Inn not enough? Let’s be different. We always have been, and look at the town we have. Respectfully submitted,

Alice “Putty” Willetts
Swarthmore

Generosity, doubled

Swarthmore Community:

Thanks so much for your donations of school supplies in honor of Martin Luther King Day. With your generous donations and the Store’s matching gift, we were able to provide over $1,270 in school and craft supplies.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to our Swarthmore Rotarians, who enthusiastically kicked off the project.

On Martin Luther King Day, Swarthmore College students sorted and distributed these much-needed supplies to nearby after-school programs, including Chester Boys and Girls Club, Chester Eastside Ministries, Norris Street Shelter, Male Achievers Program, and Chester City Teens Ministries.

Thanks to your generosity, the kids served by these programs will have notebooks and paper, drawing pads and crayons, pencils and calculators. Thank you, Swarthmore!

Paula Dale, Director
Campus and Community Store Swarthmore

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