A local politically involved man is collecting signatures to allow voters to decide if liquor can be sold within the city of East Ridge.
Earl Wilson, who serves on several boards in the city, has set up shop at 5740 Ringgold Road, the old Golden Gallon and most recently a Goodwill Store drop off site, for residents to sign a petition to get the measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot. Wilson said he is acting as a private citizen and not in any capacity as a member of any city board.
“We need 25 percent of the people who voted in the 2018 gubernatorial election,” Wilson said Friday evening during a telephone interview. “So we need 706 signatures to get it placed on the November ballot.”
The deadline for the petition is August 20.
The referendum is necessary because package sales of liquor within the city was prohibited since the founding of East Ridge in 1921. To allow the sale of liquor in a store requires a change in the charter. The referendum would give citizens a voice in allowing the sale of liquor which would contribute to tax revenue.
Wilson said that on Friday several people stopped by the site to ask what was going on. He said he’s got a prominent sign that says “Petition for Progress.”
“All I want is for the citizens to have a process where they can have a voice in the future of their city,” Wilson said.
Anyone who signs the petition must be a resident of the city and a registered voter, Wilson said.
The COVID-19 pandemic is creating challenges for the effort to get this proposal on the ballot, Wilson said.
“Signing the petition can be contactless,” Wilson said. “I’ve got on a mask and gloves. Anyone can pull under the canopy and sign. I will sanitize it. Community safety takes precedent.”
Wilson said he has the site at the corner of Ringgold Road and Keeble Street through August. He said anyone who wants to volunteer to help man the site and collect signatures is welcome.
“I need all the help I can get,” he said.
If you want to volunteer you can reach Wilson through his email at [email protected] Wilson said that he welcomes people to take petitions with them back to their neighborhoods to solicit signatures.