Monday, November 9, 2009

11 Least Influential Countdown: No. 9 — Todd Dominey

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 1:37 AM

click to enlarge Dominey can't get teetotalers to relax their death grip on state lawmakers
  • Dominey can't get teetotalers to relax their death grip on state lawmakers

Welcome to CL’s annual catalog of impotence: the 11 Least Influential. You’ll meet folks who tried to achieve an ambitious goal, but fell short; people who’ve devoted themselves to a personal mission in near-total obscurity; and ordinary Joes who can’t get anyone to pay attention to them. Every day until the full issue hits the streets on Nov. 11, we’ll bring you a new story of failure — some noble and heroic, others abject and pathetic.

Subject: Todd Dominey

Failing: Can't convince lawmakers to overthrow Sunday blue laws

Just think: Waking up on a day like today and craving some bubbly — and then sipping mimosas on your couch. Heading home from church and picking up a sixer of high-gravity beer. Sipping on newly purchased brandy while making a cake for your Sunday book club. All these freedoms could be yours — if you lived in a different state.

For 10 years, Virgina-Highland resident Todd Dominey, a 38-year-old software developer and Atlanta native, took a detour from his birthplace to live in Charleston, S.C. While he was there, the Palmetto State changed its state law to allow people to buy alcohol in stores on Sunday, ending decades of frustration for residents and tourists alike. When friends back home would rib Dominey about living in the sleepy state, he'd remind them that South Carolina was progressive enough to repeal the Sunday sales statute. Argument won.

Dominey lost a little freedom when he moved back to Atlanta. He learned to live with the ridiculous law that forbids liquor from being sold in stores — but not bars — on the Sabbath. Then a friend tweeted him a link to a 50,000-signature online petition seeking to overturn the ban on Sunday booze sales. Dominey added his name with the all-caps message "REPEAL THIS ARCHAIC LAW."

So far, no luck.

"The law in place appeases a particular voting demographic," Dominey says, referring to religious fanatics who smell brimstone whenever someone loosens the cap on a bottle of bourbon. "Politicians don't want to change the law because it’s their way of expressing allegiance to a particular group of voters."

Every year, a courageous state lawmaker inevitably tries to overturn the statute. The lawmaker typically cites polls that show overwhelming support across the state for sipping on Sunday and will remind colleagues that sales tax revenue could be a boon for deep-in-the-red Georgia. But the majority of legislators, fearful of repercussions from the religious right, always stonewall the measure. Gov. Sonny Perdue recommends that Georgians buy twice as much on Saturday or drive to a nearby restaurant. And then ostensibly drive home.

The situation enrages Dominey, who continues to rail against the law in vain.

"It’s a ridiculous proposition in general," he says. "It’s a point that can’t be argued. There’s no logical reason, other than religion and voting groups, that it would stay on the books. It just defies logic."

(Photo by Joeff Davis)

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