Is Dallas ready to go all 'wet'?

Beer aisle

Credit: WFAA-TV

Dallas supermarkets in "dry" areas of the city are not allowed to sell beer and wine.

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on October 22, 2010 at 7:35 PM

DALLAS — One of the races driving voter turnout in Dallas has nothing to do with Republicans and Democrats; it's about alcohol.

There are two propositions on the ballot: One to allow beer and wine to be sold in stores citywide and the second to let restaurants serve beer and wine without requiring customers to obtain a membership card.

Beer and wine are sold in some Dallas stores but not in others because of the patchwork of "dry" precincts about the city.

During a taping for "Inside Texas Politics," Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway — who opposes the store proposition — questioned whether southern sector dry areas are ready for them.

"The communities don't want it; the communities are not ready. We've not put the proper plan together, and we've done the proper research to see what the impact is going to be and how that can be best handled," Caraway said.

But the group supporting the propositions, Keep the Dollars in Dallas — funded mostly by grocers and restaurants — says it has worked on the issue for months and voters are ready.

"Having [the propositions] during a gubernatorial election gives the vast number of residents in the city of Dallas the opportunity to choose," said Kroger executive Gary Huddleston, who spoke on behalf of Keep the Dollars in Dallas.

Caraway doesn't think there's enough zoning in place for more beer and wine stores.

"We already have a problem with crack houses, K2 and drugs and all of that," he said. "Why should we impact them even greater?"

But Huddleston argues there are enough zoning protections and state regulations. "In terms of distance from a school, church, day care or hospital, so we do not see that as a huge issue," he said.

The city projects beer and wine sales would add about $11 million a year in tax revenue.

If the propositions pass on November 2, stores wanting to sell beer and wine would need to first get state licenses and that would take months.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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