Too Early For a Drink? Updates From Case Trying to Unwet Dallas After Beer, Wine Vote.
As you should be well aware by now, attorneys Andy Siegel and Leland de la Garza are trying to overturn the November 2010 referendum that made it legal to sell beer and wine citywide. That case is scheduled to go to trial next month. All that remains is a single claim: The attorneys insist then-City Secretary Deborah Watkins told the city council last summer to hold the election come fall despite there not being a "sufficient" number of valid petitions. The city says: That's simply not true.
And it says it for close to 500 pages in the motion for summary judgment that follows, including exhibits and depositions. (And, no, I've yet to read the whole thing since coming across the filing early this morning; let's see if we can find some choice excerpts from the exhibits.) Filed late last week, the city says Watkins counted only valid signatures, didn't count any twice, and insists that no matter what, there were far more valid signatures obtained than needed to trigger the election besides. The city also says that real-estate veteran Marcus Wood, to whom we spoke in April, is plaintiff in name only: "Unidentified business interests are funding the lawsuit."
Speaking of: Siegel and de la Garza's efforts to dump the petitions began well before last fall's vote: Not long after the Kroger-led Keep the Dollars in Dallas (then known as Progress Dallas) turned in its petitions to the City Secretary's Office, triggering the local-option election, Siegel filed a writ of mandamus insisting, well, they didn't get enough. He also insisted, when we spoke, "This lawsuit says this is not just about folks who peddle spirits. This is about what you want in your neighborhood for your family."
Accompanying the court document was an affidavit from Tim Reeves, who says he counted the petitions for Siegel -- same thing he told Unfair Park in a Q&A. But in a second filing late last week, the city says that someone named Tracy Taylor actually conducted the petition review -- not at the request of Marcus Wood, who didn't even know Taylor, but his attorneys. Says the city, "Reeves and Wood's counsel were guiding, advising and directing Taylor in his review" of the petitions, per Taylor's deposition. The city wants to know, really, who was doing what in its compelling motion to compel, which also follows.City Motion to Compel
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