Battle over booze brews

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - It's all the "buzz" in Smith County. Supporters say if JP Precinct 4 remains dry it will continue to be a danger zone, both inside, and outside the county line.

"You can buy beer and wine anywhere in Smith County," said Anwar Khalifa, with Keep Precinct 4 Dry. "You may not be able to buy it and take it home but you can drink it. You can get drunk and you can go out and drive."

"I think anytime you have to drive 25 and 35 miles away to get liquor you're asking for disasters to happen on the way back," said Larry Holt who supports alcohol sales.

"You sit and you look at the traffic coming from the places where people are buying alcohol," said David Woods who also supports alcohol sales. "I always wonder how many people are popping the top."

But, those who oppose, say alcohol on every shelf in that precinct would only stir-up more temptations.

"With it being closer it seems like more people would be drinking and they would be popping that top in that 10 mile instead of that 30 mile and a lot more people would be doing it," said Khalifa.

And, another big point of division is money, with supporters saying their tired of losing business to other counties.

"I have to drive 30 miles to get a case of beer and that's ridiculous," said Wyatt. "I'm wasting gas. I could be buying it locally."

And opponents who think the extra cash is not worth it.

"California's got all kinds of drugs legal, so people may be going there to get some drugs," said Khalifa. "Why don't we keep that money here too? When they say economic impact, they don't understand that Smith County being dry is a draw. People come here because Smith County is dry."

It is an issue of morals and money, that voters will ultimately decide.

If passed, the measure would legalize the sale of mixed beverages in restaurants, and the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.