City Hall

While We Wait for Suit Over Wet-Dry Vote, the Campaign Kicks Off With a New Name

Several Friends of Unfair Park have asked in recent days: When's Andy Siegel filing that lawsuit in which he, and a coalition of businesses and clergy (and suburbs?) opposed to the pending wet-dry referendum in November, will insist Progress Dallas didn't collect enough valid signatures to get it on the ballot. Siegel said only yesterday, via e-mail, it's forthcoming either today or tomorrow. The reason for the delay, he writes: "By design or default, the City has (again) delayed certifying (as official, true & correct) all of the documents we need to file our Mandamus of the City Council's unlawful calling of a local option election to legalize the sale of beer for off-premise consumption."

I will post as soon as the suit is filed. In the meantime, Progress Dallas has changed its name: This morning the rechristened Keep the Dollars in Dallas kicked off its campaign and announced that the Real Estate Council, the National Association of Industrial Office Properties and North Texas Commercial Association of Realtors endorse allowing the off-premises sale of beer and wine throughout the city.

Says Jon Napper, president of the NAIOP, in the morning's press release, "We cannot stand on the sidelines and watch millions of dollars in tax revenues go to the suburbs because Dallas is still following outdated laws created in the 1880s." To which Mickey Ashmore of United Realty Corporation adds, "The wet-dry law put our city at an unfair competitive disadvantage."

And don't forget that whole private-club membership. Jamee Jolly of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association says in the release: "Our customers tell us this election is about convenience. The convenience of being able to buy a bottle of wine or a 12-pack of beer along with their groceries or order a drink at a restaurant without purchasing a club membership."

Keep Dollars in Dallas -- which, like Progress Dallas, is headed by Kroger's Gary Huddleston, insists that the city has left $20 to $30 million in tax revenue on the table "because of the wet-dry laws that only allow the sale of beer and wine in parts of the city."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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