The Chamber's report provided the results of an e-mail survey distributed to all Chamber members, as well as research conducted by Chamber of Commerce Board Member Gene Gilliland.
Primarily in question are the use of statistics detailing DUI and crime rates in neighboring counties. Marshall 1st contends the statistics included in the report do not provide an apples-to-apples comparison of Marshall County's bid to legalize alcohol sales.
"I don't find the majority of these statistics as being relevant to the July 17th vote. The report showed Calloway, Lyon and Marshall County DUIs. These are all dry counties with a moist city. How does that relate to a county voting from dry to wet? The residents and tourists of these counties must still drive to purchase alcohol. Why did they not report on the city of Murray and Kuttawa?" said Kathy Wood, Marshall 1st member.
Also in the report, the Chamber included statistics on wet and dry counties in the Jackson Purchase region which included Paducah and McCracken County. Marshall 1st contends any such comparison is misguided.
"We will never be a Paducah. We do not have the issues that come with larger cities, dense populations and we will not even have bars. Plus I am not sure how long Paducah and Fulton have been wet, but counties that are repealing prohibition today are enacting ordinances that control alcohol down to not allowing alcohol signage, not even in windows. The only place a word relating to alcohol can be on a sign is in the name of a business. I support these type or ordinances 100% These counties are also limiting the alcohol related businesses by areas. There will be no "Southside Liquor Row" as in Paducah." said Wood.
Wood was also critical of statistics in the report concerning tourism growth relative to alcohol sales.
"This report also showed a slight increase in tourism but again, that was based on alcohol by the drink ONLY in city limits. How many resorts and tourist attractions are not located inside the city limits of Kuttawa and Murray? Did the Chamber forget about the lakes area? Why not report Trigg County showed an increase of $850,000 in tourism expenditures from 2010 to 2011? They are a true dry to wet scenario," she said.
Wood further criticized the Chamber on the timing of the release of the report which was not made available to The Tribune-Courier until just hours after their press time on the date of the last paper to be published prior to the election.
"They waited to publish until after the newspaper ran for the last time, not allowing us time to advertise why we disagree." Wood stated.
Venita Fritz, General Manager of the Tribune Courier, confirmed the report was not made available to the paper prior to press time.
"The release of this report after the deadline of the paper is a decision I have a great deal of trouble understanding. They are very aware of our deadlines and I have already made my disappointment in this known to Chamber Director Debbie Buchanan," said Fritz.
"If you look at the sample size of the survey, however, the results are largely irrelevant," said Fritz.