County Clerk Chris Jacobs has conflicting positions on the county’s prohibition of alcoholic beverage sales that are so conflicting that they require a sincere explanation.
Jacobs’ has stirred much controversy since seeing a poll three months ago that suggested that a majority of likely Republican Party primary voters supported changing bar closing times from 4am to 2am, though only 14% of respondents said it was an important issue.
Jacobs, long seen as a calculating and cautious politician whose political views are opportunistically pliable, found his soapbox and ran with the poll. That has angered independent voters and unlikely voters, who make up over 75% of the electorate.
Simultaneously, Jacobs continues to support the “Mimosa Law,” that would make it legal to sell alcohol before noon on Sundays. Jacobs is a member of the wealthy family that owns Delaware North, which sells beer and other concessions inside Ralph Wilson Stadium on game day.
Bills fans are known to begin tailgating many hours earlier than noon, and they are free to consume store bought beer in the stadium’s parking lot. Many get tanked ahead of the game so that they don’t have to pay the exorbitant prices that Delaware North charges for beer inside the stadium.
Seeing revenue potential, Delaware North sought the change in state law that would narrowly allow stadium sales while continuing to ban restaurants from selling before noon on Sundays. Delaware North contributed $5,000 to former Senator Mark Grisanti shortly before he publicly called for precisely that change.
Now, observers wonder why Jacobs would be supportive of restricting bar owners from selling alcohol after 2:00am, but would support it being sold prior to noon on Sunday?
Some speculate that the motivation to close bars earlier is to force Sabres fans to do more of their drinking at the First Niagara Center, where a beer sells for nearly $10. Delaware North operates concessions at the arena, too.
Jacobs did not respond to a request for an interview.