MILLEDGEVILLE - Donning riot gear Thursday night, City Councilman Ken Vance fielded questions from nearly 50 Georgia College & State University students upset over his proposal to outlaw alcoholic drink specials in the city's bars and restaurants.Vance, the director of GC&SU's public safety department, discarded the flak jacket and face mask before outlining the reasons why he proposed the ordinance.
"I've been in law enforcement 29 years, an elected official for 22 years, and I've seen so much destruction, personal and individual destruction, much of it unintendedly self-inflicted," Vance
said during the meeting of the university's College Republicans organization.Vance
had been "dead-level, loblolly drunk" in the past, adding it's not something he's
proud of.But he
said that heavy drinking among college students has become "part of our social fabric" and that drink specials like those he
wants to ban encourage binge drinking.
"In the business peoples' eyes it's about money," Vance
said."In your eyes it's about choice.If I choose to spend my money that way why can't I? Some of me agrees with that.The hardest person to protect yourself from is you."
The audience was unconvinced and argued that Vance
's proposal would encourage private keg parties that might lead to higher incidents of drinking and driving, a point Vance conceded.
"That is what scares me about this," Vance
A GC&SU professor at the meeting told Vance
, "Your conception of the role of government scares me.I want government to protect me from other people.I don't want to be protected from myself."
"It may not be government's job," Vance
said."I'm not trying to impose my will on you, but I am.I'm kind of getting the feeling I knew how this was going to go."
The proposed ordinance is now before the Milledgeville City Council's
governmental affairs committee.Vance
said there would likely be hearings before a vote, and if the committee approves the proposal, it will go before the entire council for a final vote.
Noting that Vance
also was behind a failed ban on smoking in the city's restaurants, Danchak said some may get the perception that Milledgeville too often seeks to regulate small business.
said Milledgeville shouldn't get a reputation for being unfriendly to businesses.
"Look at what happened to (the smoking ban)," Vance
said, noting that he
couldn't get a second to move it out of committee.
After the meeting, Vance
may rethink the proposal, but he
believes the debate is important.
"I'll put it out there and if it doesn't fly, it doesn't fly," Vance