Marketing analyses and Bible readings took a back seat during a hearing last week on a proposed repeal of Takoma Park's anti-liquor law as the debate took on international proportions.
Armed with statistics from international conferences, Ernest H.J. Steed, executive director of the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Drug Dependency, opposed a proposed state bill backed by the City Council to end the ban on liquor sales in the city's Montgomery County section.
"The whole purpose of Takoma Park is to have a place where people can feel they don't have to have a liquor store on every corner," he said.
"The higher the consumption of alcohol , the World Health Organization says, the greater the abuses," Steed said. "How comendable that a city doesn't have that problem."
Council members Louis H. D'Ovidio and William A. Eckert told Steed and a sparse gathering of residents that they thought the voters should decide the issue.
"There is a vested interest behind this bill," charged council member Frank V. Garcia, referring to downtown revitalization plans that call for a restaurant, which proponents have said must be able to serve beer and wine to prosper.
After a string of other speakers urged the council to bring it to a vote, resident Rolena Hill, who had prepared a statement and brought her "Bible Readings for the Home," presented an abbrieviated appeal:
"I'm wondering why we should want to take a fence down that is between us and a poisonous serpent. If they study their Bibles, people will see what God thinks of this. I love Takoma Park and I don't want to see this [liquor ban] taken away."