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Originally published October 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 21, 2008 at 4:00 PM

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Lynden repeals Sunday liquor ban

LYNDEN — The city's prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales has been repealed after 41 years on the books.

The Bellingham Herald

LYNDEN — The city's prohibition on Sunday alcohol sales has been repealed after 41 years on the books.

In a 4-3 vote Monday, Oct. 20, City Council members lifted the Sunday ban.

A five business-day period must pass for the repeal to be official. That means it'll be after next Monday before the ban is officially lifted.

Council members Gary Bode, Gerald Kuiken, Doug Adelstein and Tobey Gelder voted in favor of repealing the law. Council members Ron De Valois, Nick Laninga and Dave Burns voted against repeal.

Council members grappled with various issues, including whether or not repealing the ban might create more work for a police force that will be looking at a "hold-the-line budget," as De Valois put it. They discussed whether the community's values and character might be damaged and whether the conservative, Christian population in the town might be adversely affected.

In the end, the majority decided that a one-day-a-week ban made no sense.

"In my heart I don't believe that by lifting this ban we are going to see a change. It's the people in this community that make this community what it is," Kuiken said. "And I believe people should be given a choice."

Laninga, though, expressed concern that the city might change in some negative way by repealing the law, which has been in place since 1967.

"Many people do laugh and scoff at our town but we feel secure in the things that are part of our embedded culture and they're secure in that," he said. "I'm talking about the values that people have held in this community for many years."

Adelstein, like all council members, said he saw valid points on both sides of the argument. But for him, it came down to the fact that six days of the week residents can purchase alcohol. So why not a seventh?

"I really have trouble supporting a law that says to our adults that we know better," he said.

Adelstein also was concerned about some of the public comments on the issue at a previous council meeting.

"I didn't like some of the insinuation and judgment and questioning of people's morality or Christianity," he said. "I didn't like words being bandied about like pious or piety or hypocrite. This is a topic around which reasonable people can disagree."

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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