By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Here we go again: So, this is what the inside of a handbasket looks like. Kind of cozy, actually. Too bad it's hauling us all off to eternal hellfire and damnation. The good news is that at least we might be able to have cold, conveniently purchased beer while we enjoy the ride.
That's right, it's time once again for a petition drive to do away with the city's antiquated dry laws, a sort of quadrennial rite of spring in these parts. Buzz has lost count of the number of times we've been hit up to sign various anti-dry law petitions, and still we can't buy beer in the same store we buy milk.
Progress Dallas, a political action committee of retailers, residents and politicos, has been created to push the latest petition drive, which kicked off Tuesday. The PAC has hired Texas Petition Strategies to collect the nearly 70,000 signatures on two petitions needed to get its two propositions on the November ballot. One would allow beer and wine sales in grocery and convenience stores, the other would do away with the "private club" requirement for restaurants in dry areas—you know, that silly little rule that requires some restaurants to write down your driver's license number before they can serve you a drink.
Gary Huddleston, director of consumer affairs for the Kroger Co. and a leader of the PAC, says a host of big retailers have signed on to the effort, which will affect only stores and restaurants in the Dallas city limits. By making the propositions apply to all of Dallas, the group can avoid problems that plagued a similar effort in Justice Precinct 3 in 2006. That petition effort failed when it turned out no one knew quite where the boundaries for the precinct were. The group estimates that expanding alcohol sales could mean an extra $10 million in annual sales tax revenue for the city, he says.
Which leads to the obvious question: Who opposes this? Who are you people who think Buzz's morals are somehow improved by the fact that we have to drive across Walnut Hill Lane to buy booze? Do you seriously think guys like Buzz sit at home at night and think: "You know, I was going to drink a 12-pack and beat the wife tonight, but that extra mile is too far to drive. Guess we'll just play Bible trivia instead."
Listen, whoever you are—and the most likely opponents are competing retailers—it takes more than some piddly dry law to improve our morals, so why don't you let us save the gas and sign the petition?