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Editorial: City council right to penalize liquor store

The lawyer representing Rosemount Liquor had the opinion of an independent arbitrator on his side when he asked the Rosemount City Council to consider a less severe punishment for his client. Rosemount City Council members had common sense on their side when they turned him down.

On April 24 an employee of Rosemount Liquor got caught selling alcohol to an underage individual. It was the store's third violation in the past 36 months, the fourth going back to March of 2005. That is unacceptable. Whether or not there was willful negligence involved, three violations in less than three years is hardly evidence the store is living up to its civic responsibility.

And yet, despite the repeat violations the arbitrator who reviewed the case recommended a punishment that included only a software purchase and stayed 21-day license suspension. As at least one council member pointed out last week, that's less severe than the punishment handed out when the store was caught for its second violation in 2006.

The punishment suggested by the city seems more in line with what is called for here. The store has a choice: either close for six days and install a $1,500 software system that will ensure no transaction goes through without some form of identification being checked or forget the software and close for 10 days.

The days with closed doors will almost certainly hurt business at the store, but if it doesn't hurt it's not much of a punishment.

According to the store's lawyer the owners of Rosemount liquor have already started looking into the software system. We think that's the right move. It's right from a business standpoint because it will reduce the length of the store's license suspension but more important it's right because it is a step toward making sure the store is not cited for further violations.

A big part of owning a liquor store is taking on the responsibility of making sure people who are not supposed to have alcohol do not get it. We think any step that brings a store closer to that goal is a good thing.