Group petitions to put alcohol sales on November ballot - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Group petitions to put alcohol sales on November ballot

Courtesy: Syracuse Wine Works Courtesy: Syracuse Wine Works

As more and more East Texas cities go 'wet,' a newly-formed committee is aiming to convince Lindale voters to put the issue back on the ballot this November.

Back in 2005, 69 percent of voters rejected beer and wine sales, but former Mayor Jim Mallory says things have changed since then, and wants to see it back on the ballots.

Of course some say making alcohol more accessible is a bad idea.

Driving around Lindale, you will still see signs urging voters to keep the city 'dry,' but Mallory argues going 'wet' is a "business decision" that will boost the local economy.

"We are surrounded by people that can sell beer and wine, so we have lost a lot of sales here," Mallory said. "It is a significant drain on the sales tax."

Mallory has formed a political action committee that is launching a campaign to allow off-premise alcohol sales for JP precinct 5, which includes Lindale, Hideaway and a large portion of Smith County.

Right now, you can enjoy a beer or glass of wine at a restaurant, but you can't buy alcohol at any store or gas station.

"We actually could lose some businesses if this doesn't pass because the sale of beer and wine is very important for a revenue stream for these companies," Mallory said.

But many people don't see it that way.

"I'm not a proponent of making it any more available than it already is," Pastor Bruce Rudd with Mt. Sylvan Baptist Church in Lindale said.

As a former alcoholic, Rudd says finding Jesus made him realize how destructive alcohol can be -- and ultimately saved his life.

"I have seen the effect of alcohol on the individual, on marriages, on families," he said. "To me, it has nothing productive to give to the city, other than maybe a financial gain."

He says passing the vote would be a huge mistake for the people of Lindale.

"What price do you put on your family? What price? How much gain do we have to have financially as a community to begin to compromise our morals? I think that's what's wrong with America today, is we have compromised our morals," he said.

As of now, there are only 11 'dry' counties left in the state, and Mallory says he's confident voters will pass the alcohol vote there this November.

The group plans to begin circulating a petition Thursday.

They would need signatures from 398 registered voters to have the issue placed on the ballots inside the city of Lindale, and another 2,654 signatures to be placed on JP precinct 5 ballots.




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