Should beer and wine be provided on a trip to meet with state legislators?
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - For the three Cape council members going and others on the trip, alcohol is provided on the bus. But it's covered by private sponsors. Still, some say it's a bad idea.
As Cape council members Rana Erbrick, John Carioscia and Lenny Nesta boarded a bus to the state capital, there was alcohol up front.
"Can't they wait eight hours without having an intoxicating beverage?," asked Cape councilman Chris Leetz. "Is that too much to ask?"
It's part of a three-day trip called Lee County Days in Tallahassee. An opportunity for local leaders to meet with legislators.
"It has been a phenomenal trip," said Heather Mazurkiewicz, the trip organizer. "The citizens of Lee County have benefited from this trip exponentially."
But as the itinerary shows, do they benefit from the beer and wine provided en route to the capital?
"The refreshments have been a part of the trip since day one," explained Mazurkiewicz, who's planned the trip for years, since it was called Cape Coral Days in Tallahassee. This is it's 10th year.
At Monday's council meeting, Leetz asked whether alcohol was a necessary part of the trip. Today he said on-camera to Fox 4, "I would like to extend that apology to council member Erbrick. I'm very sorry you can't go eight hours without a drink."
Raising the issue didn't sit well with Erbrick, who declined to comment when Fox 4 asked her about it on the bus. But Mazurkiewicz let us check out their liquor options for ourselves.
"We have sponsors that sponsor the beverages, the refreshments on the bus," Mazurkiewicz explained.
A total of $300 toward all beverages and food for 25 passengers.
"Everything should be done that's possible to keep transportation safe including the level of intoxication on our nation's highways," suggested Leetz. Fox 4 reporter Gabrielle Sarann asked, "Whether you're driving or not?" Absolutely," he replied.
Council members will head back from Tallahassee on Thursday afternoon. Each seat on the bus cost $800. Cape taxpayers paid for the three city council members to go.