Yesterday in Dallas County District Court, attorney Andy Siegel -- who, from the very beginning, has contested the citywide off-premise sale of beer and wine -- filed an amended version of his November complaint. It reads much the same (he says city called election without enough valid signatures to do so, etc.), save for one significant alteration: He's asking the court -- on behalf of his two clients, one of whom is never-calls-me-back Dallas Area Rapid Transit board member Jerry Christian -- to "suspend the implementation of the legalization of beer and wine for off-premise consumption in the City of Dallas until their election contest is adjudicated in order to avoid the improper issuance of permits to sell beer and wine across Dallas during the pendency of the election contest."
The filing follows, as does a companion doc in which Siegel asks for a March 2011 trial date. Messages have been left for Dallas city attorneys and City Hall spokespersons to see if the city has a response to the latest filing. (It already filed this nunh-unh in court at the end of November.) I've also left a message for Carolyn Beck, the spokesperson for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. (Update: TABC says that "until the court rules on his request," it will not impact its issuing permits.)
We went over this a month ago, but the TABC issues permits to sell beer and wine after the city, county and comptroller review their applications. TABC expects to begin doling out permits around Christmastime.
Siegel says via press release today that "the city is already getting flooded with applications for new beer and wine sales permits. [And] if those permits are issued, they'll likely stay in place for two years, even after we prove the election was illegally called and illegally held. That's not fair either to the folks who want to protect their dry neighborhoods, or to those who want to get into the business of alcohol sales."
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Update at 1:38 p.m.: City Attorney Tom Perkins tells Unfair Park he has a statement forthcoming.
Update at 3:58 p.m.: Here's the statement from Perkins:
The City acted in accordance with the law in certifying the petition, calling the election, conducting the election, and canvassing the results. The citizens overwhelmingly voted in favor of the propositions. Under state law, an election contest does not suspend the enforcement of local option laws in the political subdivision in which an election is being contested. The City will vigorously defend the decision of the voters of Dallas.