I've been trying on and off throughout the afternoon to keep up with the city council's attempts to canvass the results of last week's election -- specifically, the votes overwhelmingly in favor of Proposition 1 allowing for the off-premise sale of beer and wine citywide. About half an hour ago, the council emerged from executive session behind closed doors, after anti-wet-Dallas opponent Mayor Pro Tem Caraway went off on City Attorney Tom Perkins and Mayor Tom Leppert. By the way, he doesn't give a damn about your trees, Lakewood. Go to the tape.
Caraway, see, spent most of the afternoon trying to stop the sale of beer and wine in the southern sector, which didn't go for Proposition 1. "Why is it we have to rush to begin to put out the permits?" he asked, before demanding Perkins come to the podium. "Is there a law starting when we canvass this, we have a deadline before the city of Dallas has to begin issuing our permits?" (Clearly, Caraway doesn't read Unfair Park as often as he claims -- we covered the process last week.)
Said Perkins, "The city of Dallas is wet now as a result of the vote of the citizens of Dallas." But permits won't be handed out tomorrow or the day after. There's still a lengthy to-do list involving the comptroller, the city, the county and the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. TABC told us last week permits wouldn't be handed out till mid-December, at the earliest.
When council came back from exec session shortly before 4 p.m., Caraway made a motion to delay permits from even being accepted till at least December 15. Said the mayor pro tem: "That would give us time to further address the concerns we are bringing to the table on behalf of our constituents and neighborhoods [that] will be impacted." Steve Salazar, who says his district's "plagued by beer barns," came out of exec session to say he too wouldn't be able to sign off on the election results. "I can't in good faith support this." Carolyn Davis chimed in: "I will not be supporting this as well."
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Sheffie Kadane then asked Perkins: "Can we not give out permits? Can we give a date later to start permitting, or do we have to permit the day after?" To which Perkins strongly suggested, because he hates giving out legal advice in public, "You proceed after the canvassing with accepting permits."
In the end, the three council members in opposition wouldn't sign off on the election results; everyone else did. Starting tomorrow, the city will begin taking applications; the process is on.
Incidentally, Andy Siegel also addressed the council -- and claimed, yet again, that City Secretary Deborah Watkins certified petitions that weren't valid, leading to what he claims is an illegally called election. He's also making the case, once more, that Oak Cliff and Preston Hollow can't be made wet by a citywide election, since they're "historically dry enclaves." The city thinks they're part of, ya know, the city.
"Regrettably we're going to be forced to go to the courthouse on Friday or Monday," said Siegel. That's no empty threat, neither.