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Cocktails for Chatham?

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Chatham County's business community and its slow-growth citizen groups have fought contentious battles over suburban sprawl and economic development priorities over the last decade, but members of both sides have allied behind one mission: A call for mixed drinks.

During early voting now under way, and at polls on May 5, citizens have the chance to agree or disagree with a change that would allow hard liquor by the glass in Chatham establishments. With the exception of a few places that hold special permits, Chatham restaurants and bars currently may sell only beer and wine on site.

Here's a look at the issue, by the numbers
2 Number of referendum committees campaigning for the change
0 Number of referendum committees campaigning against
3,254 Dollars raised by committee Positive Revenue Options (PRO) from contributors, including the Distilled Spirits Council, a national lobby group based in Washington, D.C., ($2,000); and local restaurant and bars, such as Pittsboro's Carolina Brewery ($250), City Tap ($200) and Virlie's restaurant ($100). The second group, People's Alliance for Spirit Sales (PASS), has raised $195 from individuals, $100 of which came from Pittsboro Mayor Randy Voller, an organizer of both PACs.
37,000    Dollars the county expects to spend on the special election
951 Number of voters who had cast their ballots in early voting as of April 27
101 Number of active, permanent alcohol permits of all types registered in Chatham County
306 Equivalent number of permits in Orange County
917 Equivalent number of permits in Durham County
2,252 Equivalent number of permits in Wake County

Proponents are planning a rally with food and live music Friday, May 1, at Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro; see chathamvote4mixedbeverages.org for more info.

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