Five months ago, there was a story in the Chicago media about a local anti-alcohol group that was accusing beverage makers of targeting youth-oriented media with ads for so-called "alcopops" such as Bacardi Silver, Smirnoff Ice, and Mike's Hard Lemonade. Of course, this group was demanding government action and my State Senator, Carol Ronen, was carrying their water.
I called this "Lying for a Worthy Cause." I wrote about it on my blog, but I also put more-or-less the same sentiments into letters to both the director of the complaining organization, and Senator Ronen. I emailed Senator Ronen and USPS-mailed Mr. Sandusky, the director of the anti-alcohol group. In all versions I called Mr. Sandusky a liar. I was deliberately provocative because I find that sort of dishonest political grandstanding offensive and because I wanted a reaction. I think my overall tone was reasonable, but decide for yourself. It's all right here.
When you call someone a liar, you need to be prepared for anything and I was. The one response I didn't expect was ... none. One typically expects at least a non-committal form letter from one's own representative, but there was nothing. I haven't otherwise corresponded with Senator Ronen, that I can recall. I know she captured my email address, because now I get her email newsletter.
As sponsored by Ronen and several other legislators, Illinois Senate Bill 1625 prohibits Alcopop sponsorship of athletic events where the intended audience is primarily youth and bans billboard advertising of Alcopops within 500 feet of schools, public parks, amusement parks, and places of worship. It passed both houses of the Illinois General Assembly yesterday.
I haven't seen anything in the media about it since January and haven't seen anything yet about its passage.
The law as it ultimately passed is fairly innocuous, but it will inconvenience the beverage makers and its benefits to the public, especially "the children," are dubious.
Meanwhile, the state's largest public transportation systems are in crises, the state isn't meeting its obligations in pension, health care, and education funding, the governor and the legislature are barely speaking to each other, and Illinois government is its usual corrupt mire. But at least the kids will have to walk 500 feet from the playground before being subjected to a billboard for Mike's.
We get the government we deserve.