By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Hurry up and wait: Pardon Buzz for a moment while we lose our shit: BEER AND WINE HAVE BEEN AROUND AS LONG AS FREAKIN' BREAD! CAN A MAN HAVE A CONVENIENTLY PURCHASED BEER?
Sorry about that, but we get a little het up around the holidays, which is one of two reasons we drink (the other being "life"). Speaking of drinking, how about that little vote we all had last November that was supposed to allow retailers across Dallas to sell beer and wine? Howzat stand? Let us see: Lawyers representing both the city and the liquor stores fighting to overturn the vote were on a conference call with a judge last week, hashing out a bunch of procedural matters that will eventually determine whether adult voters will be allowed to decide for themselves whether they can buy a beer at their local grocers.
You know, the usual: Voters vote, lawyers decide and roughly half the populace gets screwed.
The good news is that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will continue issuing permits for formerly "dry" areas of town at least until sometime after January 18, when District Judge Laurine Blake will hold a hearing on, among other things, whether Keep Dollars in Dallas, the pro-wet group of retailers behind the vote, can intervene in the case. A ruling on anti-wet lawyer Andy Siegel's request for an injunction prohibiting the TABC from issuing permits in formerly dry areas will come sometime after that. Regardless of the case's outcome, permits issued in the interim will be good for two years, so if you are planning to get religion you might want to postpone it for two years to see what happens.
Gary Huddleston, treasurer for Keep Dollars in Dallas and a Kroger executive, tells Buzz his grocery company plans to move ahead with seeking new permits, and he sounded pretty confident that the wets would eventually prevail over the antis' claim that the election was conducted improperly.
"I think the law is clear," Huddleston says. "I think Andy Siegel and his group are grasping at straws and costing the city money, as well as retailers."
On the city's part, attorneys are challenging whether Siegel's two named plaintiffs—Marcus Wood and Jerry Christian—even have standing to ask for an injunction barring new permits. "They're just voters," Assistant City Attorney Charles Estee told the Observer's Robert Wilonsky. "They have to be somehow personally harmed by the permitting."
Yep. Just voters, he said. And we all know where they stand in the pecking order of democracy these days.