This spring, I wrote that next month’s wet-dry election would be a donnybrook, with mud slinging and TV commercials flying. Guess I missed that one.
The runup to the election has been so dull that it barely qualifies as a campaign. Save for a brief flurry of legal maneuvering six weeks ago, neither side has been heard from. Every single person in the liquor business that I have talked to about this has been stunned at the lack of excitement. And, now, almost everyone expects the two issues on the ballot to pass — allowing retail beer and wine sales in the currently dry two-thirds of the city and eliminating private club restrictions for restaurants in dry areas.
If the retail issue passes, here’s something to consider. Spec’s, among the largest independent liquor chains in the state, has stores in every major market but this one. It has long been assumed that Spec’s will eventually get to Dallas, but will have to buy a local retailer to do so. But if we vote wet for retail, a lot of people in the liquor business think Spec’s won’t have to do that. The company will be able to put stores in choice Casa Linda, Lake Highlands, Preston Hollow and Far North Dallas locations for pennies on the dollar, courtesy of all of the retail space — closed grocery stores, vacant storefronts, and the like — left empty by the recession.
I have been calling and emailing Spec’s for three or four months to ask about this, but have not received a reply. So there may be nothing to it. But everyone else I have asked says it makes sense.
Finally, thanks to everyone who has sent emails with kind words about the wet-dry cover story in this month’s magazine. As I always say, one reason we enjoy doing this is because our readers appreciate what we do.