Wet-dry petition campaign begins

There were TV cameras. There was a smiling child. There was even a political consultant looking for work. A few thoughts after attending the news conference to announce the start of Progress Dallas’ campaign to allow Dallas voters to decide whether retailers across the city can sell beer and wine and whether restaurants can sell alcohol without  private club restrictions.

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• No word yet on whether parts of Oak Cliff will have to vote twice in the referendum (if it gets on the ballot). John Hatch of Texas Petition Strategies said he is still waiting on the county to deliver a map of the 1956 wet-dry election. As noted previously, if the area that voted dry in 1956 was “wholly contained” within Dallas, voters will have to cast ballots to repeal the 1956 election and vote to approve the Progress Dallas issues.

• Several of the reporters in attendance seemed very confused by Dallas’ wet-dry laws, which doesn’t bode well for news coverage of the campaign. Kroger’s Gary Huddleston, who is Progress Dallas’ chairman, told me he thought he was going to have to spend a lot of time explaining how the system works.

• Voters can sign referendum petitions in Kroger and Walmart-owned stores, as well as Whole Foods and Albertsons. Huddleston said petitions would also be available in selected retailers and restaurants.

• Matt Spillers, who owns Eno’s Pizza Tavern in Oak Cliff, said he would be able to cut liquor prices in his restaurant if voters eliminated the private club rules. I wonder: Will other restaurants agree to follow suit?

• Adding beer and wine sales throughout Dallas could add as much as $10 million annually to city sales tax revenue, Huddleston said. That’s about half of what Far North Dallas city councilman Ron Natinsky estimated beer and wine sales would bring in when I talked to him last month.

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  • Mr. Mac:

    If you live in Oak Cliff, you’re likely to drive to the city of Cockrell Hill to buy beer or wine. If you live in North Dallas, you’re likely to buy in Addison or Richardson.

    I think that’s what they mean, although I don’t know how they’ve come up with the estimates.

  • I keep hearing and reading about all of the “lost tax revenues” that will be gained. I really wish someone could explain where this $10 million is magically to appear. People that drink, such as myself, are already purchasing their beverages and paying the taxes associated with such. As it stands, I don’t drive to Oklahoma or to El Paso to buy my adult beverages therefore my taxes are already in Dallas. If the initiative passes, I don’t plan to drink anymore than I already do.

    The bottom line is it really adds to the convenience of buying it at the store with the groceries or around the corner at the 7-Eleven.

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