Although Prohibition was still about fifteen years on the horizon, the drums of temperance were heard louder in the 1905 Santa Rosa newspapers. Reports of W.C.T.U. meetings began appearing regularly; news stories about restrictive alcohol laws elsewhere in the state and nation were reported with greater frequency.
Press Democrat editor Ernest L. Finley, with his terrible track record on matters of race, politics, and other basic Twentieth Centuryisms, produced a remarkably prescient editorial boldly stating that outright prohibition would never work: “Few have been ‘snatched from the depths’ in comparison to the immense amount of energy [temperance] organizations have expended.” The Press Democrat likely received some grief for that commentary, as well as its regular advertisements promoting whiskey and beer.
DRINKING TO EXCESS
A statement has just been issued by the Bureau of Statistics to the effect that the drinking habit is increasing in the United States, and the figures accompanying the statement appear to bear it out. But while this may be the case, it cannot be denied that drunkenness is decreasing. Men are learning by experience and also by example that they can no longer hope to maintain their standing either in the social or business world if they allow themselves to indulge in liquors to excess. The employer has no use for such men; he demands that those to whom he entrusts the details of his business be men with clear heads and men upon whom he can depend. The same thing can be said as to the social side of life — nobody nowadays has much use for the man who cannot be depended upon to keep straight, when out with his friends. The agitation carried on by the various temperance organizations during recent years has contributed to the results here noted, of course, but students of sociology are pretty well agreed that their influence is indirect rather than direct; while they have helped to create a sentiment against excessive drinking, few have been “snatched from the depths” in comparison to the immense amount of energy such organizations have expended. It is sober, every-day common sense rather than enthusiasm and hysteria that is contributing most to the abolition of the habit of drinking to excess, which, speaking in the broader sense, now appears to be well under way.– Press Democrat editorial, May 5, 1905
NEW LIQUOR LAW
Yolo County Supervisors Pass Stringent Regulating Ordinance
Woodland, May 5 – The Supervisors have passed a stringent liquor ordinance which materially affects the saloon business in Yolo county outside the incorporated towns of Woodland and Winters. The new ordinance limits saloons in the county to 34, but does not deprive any now in business of license. The Stringent provisions require saloons to close from Sunday at 6 p. m. till Monday at 5 a. m. and every night at 12. They are prohibited from selling liquor to minors, to any person unfit to attend to ordinary busines affairs on account of drink and to any female. Gambling in saloons is also prohibited.– Press Democrat, May 6, 1905