By Adam Pagnucco.
The Montgomery County Government has issued a solicitation seeking bids on a propaganda video defending the county’s liquor monopoly. The solicitation comes after the County Executive’s task force on the issue concluded its meetings with (so far) no apparent resolution.
The informal solicitation, captured in a screenshot from the county’s website below, invites companies in the county’s Local Small Business Reserve Program to bid on an opportunity to create a video about the Department of Liquor Control (DLC). The solicitation describes the project scope as, “The creation of an impactful, high quality, television ready, 2-3-minute video. To include videographer, audio services, design and editing of a short film or commercial on the benefits of a control jurisdiction, and dispelling myths. The short will be directed at educating the general public. We hope to have the project completed by December 30, 2016. A high quality public service announcement in a format that can be shared and posted on a website for public access.”
This is not the first time the county has used public resources to spread political propaganda supporting the liquor monopoly. Last January, the county distributed flyers defending DLC at county liquor stores while the county’s state legislators were debating its fate. The flyer distribution ended shortly after it was exposed by Fox 5.
The cost of the video will not be known until a bid is accepted, although the solicitation’s fine print states that it cannot exceed $25,000. The cost of distribution could be much more, especially if the county runs the video as an ad on private television channels.
All of this comes after the county’s state legislators, who have purview over DLC since it is established in state law, asked the County Executive last year to consider various models of liberalizing the liquor monopoly. The Executive agreed and convened a task force to study various options, but the task force’s three meetings ended without a visible result.
With this solicitation, the county appears to be digging in to defend the monopoly despite its massive failures and the protests of thousands of residents against it. The liquor monopoly is one of several reasons why MoCo residents voted for term limits and yet the county is staying the course.
Will they ever learn?