Alcohol Availability an Issue in Salt Lake Mayoral Race

Alcohol Availability an Issue in Salt Lake Mayoral Race

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Sarah Dallof Reporting The November election is less than six weeks away, but if it were held today, Ralph Becker would likely be voted Salt Lake's new Mayor. That's according to an exclusive Dan Jones survey for KSL-TV and the Deseret Morning News.

Fifty-one percent say they would vote for Becker or are leaning toward voting for him. Thirty-three percent of those surveyed say they'd vote for Dave Buhler or are leaning toward voting for him. Sixteen-percent don't know.

One of the issues those candidates face is Utah liquor laws: Should it be easier to get a drink in Salt Lake City? According to this poll, the majority of people living in Salt Lake would like to make it easier to get a drink in town.

Once you've caught the attention of a bartender, getting a drink in a Salt Lake bar is pretty easy, but getting into the bar isn't, for some.

Chris Wakefield is visiting Utah. He was disappointed to learn there was a cover charge to get into a bar. "A cover charge to me is when there's a band, you're paying for something," he said.

He didn't actually pay a cover charge. He bought a temporary membership, something Salt Lake Mayor Rocky Anderson has been pushing to get rid of, along with rules limiting the amount of alcohol in mixed drinks.

Deno Dakis, with Port O' Call, says, "I'd like to see them fix the visitor membership, make it easier for people visiting to get in and enjoy themselves."

The Dan Jones poll reveals 56 percent agree and would like Utah to loosen liquor laws; 38 percent disagree.

And while liquor laws seem strange to some newcomers, they're a relief to others. Kim Woodbury says, "We just moved here from Oregon and there was like mounds of wine in the grocery store, at everyone's fingertips. And so I appreciate it's in the state liquor store here."

In the new downtown City Creek Center, a project headed by the LDS church, some restaurant tenants who operate on land not owned by the Church can apply for licenses to serve alcoholic beverages.

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