Apart from the Caesar salad, there wasn't much to report from the Keep the Dollars in Dallas press conference at the NorthPark Maggiano's that couldn't be found in Ray Perryman's 25-page report, which we've already posted. So instead of back-and-forthing it with the respective pro and con groups, who've already had their say here and then some, Unfair Park decided to find an impartial juror to discuss getting Dallas wet.
After making some calls and using the Google Machine, we stumbled upon David Hanson, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of sociology of the State University of New York at Potsdam. He's the author of two books and numerous articles on alcohol abuse and national alcohol policy. He didn't sound too surprised when he heard about Dallas's wet-dry status: "Some districts in Chicago have gone dry in an attempt to close up liquor stores," he said. "But I don't really think people believe it will curb alcohol consumption."
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When asked what he thought about people insisting dry neighborhoods are safer neighborhoods, he responded: They're "naïve. Well-meaning, but naïve."
Without brushing them off as a bunch of "Grandma Nellies" (my term) he remarked that folks opposed to expanding the off-premise sale of beer and wine "are usually wrong in what they think is going to happen."
And before we even mentioned the release of today's report, Hanson already knew most of the arguments that the Keep the Dollars in Dallas campaign would use, mostly of the economic variety. "The economic benefits, depending on the place, are usually not dramatic, but there is improvement."
Consider this the first installment in an occasional series of brief chats with outside experts on the subject.