All frogs are not green

Did you ever take a logic class in college? Do high schools even offer logic classes? They should. The skills that come from a logic class are life-changing.

I loved my college logic class. It was one of the first signs that my future included law school. Right after debating everyone in my high school, regardless of position, and organizing a variety of protests. It was the '70s, after all.

But logic stuck with me even after I became a much mellower person, not inclined to frequent debate or protest.

In logic, everything comes down to the premise. If your premise is faulty, your entire argument falls apart.

For instance, if your premise is "All frogs are green." Then testing the statement that "Kermit is a frog" would get you to the correct conclusion that "Kermit is green." It would tend to prove the premise.

If, however, you tried to test the premise replacing Kermit with one of those weird African frogs that are multi-colored with big, red, buggy eyes, well, it would soon become apparent that your premise was incorrect and that you needed to start again. All frogs are not, in fact, green, you would deduce.

I've used logic with the Allow Alcohol Sales in Bellevue arguments, and I'm having major problems supporting some of their premises.

AASB, for short, has stated the following premise: People buy homes in towns where they can walk to get a drink.

Now let's test this. People can walk to get a drink in Avalon. People can easily walk from many areas of Bellevue to get a drink. Therefore, people are buying homes in Avalon, and at least in the areas of Bellevue within walking distance of a bar.

Well, Avalon's population has dropped some 20 percent in the last two decades, and the AASB people will tell you that they are concerned about the lack of home sales in Bellevue. Ben Avon's population has dropped considerably less than either Avalon's or Bellevue's, but Ben Avon is about as remote from a bar as you can get in the North Boroughs.

The premise is faulty. It just doesn't hold water...or whiskey, for that matter.

The next premise is that a couple bars -- no matter in what kind of "restaurant" they might be found -- will cause an increase in business for everyone else in the business district to the extent that the town will experience "prosperity."

That would certainly explain why Avalon -- home to a half dozen bars -- has the highest property tax millage rate in the North Boroughs and a crumbling main street business district. Or not, as the case may be.

The logical conclusion here is that Avalon and Bellevue share many of the same problems in addition to the same demographics. Alcohol isn't saving Avalon any more than it's going to save Bellevue. Bars are businesses -- some good, some bad, some truly obnoxious -- and they have the capability of adding or detracting from any business district.

While all this passion has been put into supporting an illogical conclusion that bars will be a Godsend for Bellevue, no one has stopped to look at what the true economic challenges are in Bellevue and Avalon, and what can be done about them.

That's the place to start, folks. Until you get your foundation shored up, don't start adding rooms to the house and expect them to be able to bear the weight of a crumbling infrastructure.

In short, don't throw alcohol on the fire.

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