Drink up, Dreamers: As TABC Preps Permits, Judge Sets January 18 for Wet-Dry Hearing

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Swear, this is the last item about the wet-dry legal fight you'll read here for the rest of the year. (Maybe.)

But yesterday, reps from the City Attorney's Office, the attorneys fighting to overturn the results of the November 2 election allowing for the citywide sale of beer and wine and the presiding judge hopped on a conference call to hash out some of the legal matters -- and all agreed to a January 18 hearing, at which time Judge Laurine Blake will rule on "any number of preliminary procedural matters," says City Attorney Tom Perkins.

Among the issues at hand: the intervention of Keep the Dollars in Dallas, attorney Andy Siegel's request that the judge put off the permitting process till the case is resolved, and whether the court even has the power to issue injunctive relief. "Additionally we also don't believe these plaintiffs [Marcus Wood and Jerry Christian] have standing to ask for injunctive relief," says Assistant City Attorney Charles Estee. "They're just voters. They have to be somehow personally harmed by the permitting."

Carolyn Beck, spokesperson for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, tells Unfair Park that the agency hasn't issued a single permit yet, but still plans on doling out the official OKs shortly before the new year. Those permits will be good for two years, meaning: Even if the judge halts the permitting process sometime after the January 18 hearing -- and she won't rule on the request at next month's hearing -- those who received their permits will be good to go for at least the term of the permits.

The court, says Estee, "also needs to let these people who may already have permits or are in the application process have the opportunity to defend their rights."

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