A Better East Texas: Wet/Dry Debate More Viewer Responses - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

A Better East Texas: Wet/Dry Debate More Viewer Responses

I'd like to thank James Tompkins from chandler who wrote me about the wet/dry issue in Smith County.

Here's what he said..."at this very moment 5 towns in Angelina county: Burke, Diboll, Hudson, Huntington, and Zavalla have had all their petitions verified and a vote will take place in November to decide to prohibit the sale of beer and wine off premises.

I don't know about other East Texans, but to me, it seems as if there are a lot of people that regret making the choice of making the county wet and here they are, less than a year later, trying to make what they can dry again.

We checked it out and James is right. The residents in these cities will vote on November 6th if their city will become dry while Angelina county remains wet.

 Now that's democracy in action at a local level! You can write me at a better east texas at kltv.com or got to our website kltv.com, click the community section and then a better east texas.

Viewer Comments:

Thanks for bringing the wet/dry debate into the light. I hope that KLTV will pursue this issue more in depth.  It's time we let the voters decide if alcohol can be purchased in Smith county. The only people benefiting from Smith county's prohibition are the owners of county line liquor stores, that have limited competition.
~Dave


A dry county only encourages people to go out to clubs and drink, then drive home. Some of us wish to NOT drink and drive, or travel mare than an hour roudtrip to the county line just to purchase a LEGAL substance. In Longview, and its HALF dry.(????) You can drive across town to purchase alcohol and bring it back home. Explain that!!
Jeff

 

Smith County needs to end the hypocrisy and should legalize beer and wine sales at the very least.  As a county, we consume large quantities of alcoholic beverages (note the liquor sales taxes) but somehow try to hide behind the dry county status to make some feel more moral.  Legalizing local sales would be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Eliminate driving to the various county lines which wastes fuel and increases traffic hazards since there is a concentration of vehicles at the limited sales points.
  • Legalized sales would help reduce the bootleg sales which provide an easier access to underage drinking and unregulated sales.  Don't think they aren't around.
  • Increase legitimate businesses that pay rent, salaries, and taxes that improve the county.
  • Reduce the paperwork and burden on local restaurants so that they don't have to worry about how TABC inspectors interpret the myriad of regulations that now place them in jeopardy of large fines and constraints on their business. 
  • I also think it would help with tourism and general development since the present system seems terribly illogical to many new to the area. 

I have not noticed any derelicts hanging out in front of the KE wine store on South Broadway.  This is a concern of some that every site will become littered with cans, bottles, and bodies.  Facts don't validate this concern.

I am glad you brought this subject up for discussion.  Thanks.

Fred

It seems that it is time for Smith County to catch up with the repeal of prohibition in the 1930's.  People currently drink alcohol in Smith County restaurants and people drive to nearby wet counties to purchase alcohol for personal consumption.  What exactly is being accomplished by the county remaining dry?  Is it a moral issue?  No liquor stores, but there are strip clubs in the county, is this considered to be morally better than purchasing a six pack of beer?  Is it a crime issue?  Apparently there is enough crime in Smith County to justify spending over $100 million dollars on a new jail.  Is it a safety issue?  Isn't it currently more dangerous to the public for people that have been drinking to drive all the way to the nearest wet county and then drive back home?  Or maybe is it a small group of holdouts trying to control the rest of us?  It's time that the people in Smith County be treated as adults and allowed to live their private lives as they see fit.  Banning liquor stores is the same logic used by anti-gun groups to ban guns.  Don't continue to punish the responsible adults of Smith County, at least get into the 1930's and move towards the 21st century.  In addition, their may be enough money to lower property taxes and build a new jail.

Best regards,
Emile

Boy is this a issue in Smith County, the wettest dry County in Texas. I do not drink, and do not approve of drinking, however, this said, people who are going to drink will drink. The same as people who over eat will eat.

If you are going to offer drinks in almost any sit down restaurant in town, you might as well sell alcohol in stores and allow Smith County the profit from the alcohol instead of sending all the profit to the outlying communities.

Not only would Smith County have the extra money to build the jail which we desperately need, but there would be less drunks on the road driving back from Kilgore, or Coffee City or wherever.

I say open the doors and let those who want to drink and let them buy their alcohol in Smith County.

J. Wood

 

Let's face it we are the wettest "dry county around" let's put it to a vote and end this hypocrisy and increase the tax revenue  to help cut property taxes that will never go do down no matter what the Governor says. Make it easier on the restaurants and maybe we can get some better ones at the same time.

David


I feel strongly that Smith County should be wet. The additional revenue generated could be put toward payment of a new jail and/or other necessary projects.

~Wally


Way to go Brad for the wet/dry issue for Smith county !  I am tired of my tax revenue going to other counties.  We can use those taxes right here in this county for countless issues!

~Leon


Dont consume  alcohol or buy alcohol, but why pass the tax dollars to places close to dry areas, as if someone wants to drink they will get alcohol.  And why is the excessive tax on cigarettes not extending to alcohol----is it because people in washington drink, but quit smoking?

~Steve

I am not even a drinker, but have always thought that it would be safer, in some ways, to have Tyler wet.

    It has been rumored, all my life, that Tyler is one of the wettest dry cities around.

     There are so many pros and cons to this, but one thing I always think about is our teens driving on dangerous highways, or going into bad parts of town to get alcohol. Teens will get it if they want it. They always find a way.

       I think maybe just selling it in one part of town would be ideal, as it would keep us from having these buildings next to everything, such as the mall, etc.

        I don't think it is bad to have beer and wine sold in our grocery stores.

        I remember a bumper sticker during the last election that said, "For the sake of my children, I will vote dry."

        My thought is you can not keep the news of alcohol away from children, and for many children, keeping it a mystery intices them more.

       I believe parents should talk openly about alcohol and what it can do. They should talk about responsible drinking, etc. 

       It is something most teens will try, at least once, so we should not bury our heads in the sand when it comes to education about it. It is another form of drugs and it should be known as this.

      Maybe the sale of alcohol can support a new jail.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

 

Wet vs. Dry ? In my 35 years living in Tyler Texas I have seen beer in the former Chuck E Cheese on South Broadway to every retaurant chain that comes to Tyler. We have clubs eateries even Pizza parlors that serve alcohol, but we are dry. It seems very irresponsible to me to tell the community you can go sit at a restaraunt bar or local club and get hammered get back into your car and drive home, but you cant have a liquor store in the city limits. We would rather you drive 20 miles out of town drink on the way back in town that seems safer. Wake up Smith County stop putting ticket $$$dollars before human life. This is the wettest dry county in Texas!!!!    
~Cecilio

I understand that Smith County is a dry county but your not really dry. It as Private clubs that sell alcohol and most restuarants sell alcohol so it is not totally dry.  Maybe just maybe the revenue that you get from the alcohol sales would help pay for that new jail that everyone wants but one want's to pay for.

~Tammy

 

Concerning the "dry" county of Smith County. I feel if Smith County was to go to a "wet" county, there may not be as many drunk drivers out on the road. Also, from what I understand, Smith County is one of the "WETTEST" "DRY" counties around, with all the establishments that sell alcohol in their businesses. Also, the main concern is that it would bring MORE revenue for Smith County instead of Gregg County. We, in Smith County need that revenue! Although I do NOT promote drinking & driving, I feel there would be less of it if Smith County would become a "WET" county.

~Peg

 

KE Cellars made me Texas proud.  I'm amazed how good Texas wines are.

Why can't we open this county to Texas liquor only.  If you want to open a microbrewery or a Texas distillery, you should be able to.  Why can't one county stand up for our own product.  Most hard liquors are imported, but we have an opportunity to buy Texas vodka from Tito's.

Why would we support a beer company like Miller that absolutely disrespects our core beliefs when there are even better Texas beers like Shiner Bock.

Robert

Whenever the wet/dry debate comes up there are always high emotions on each side, whether you are for or against it. Sure, Smith County desperately needs funds for a new jail, but is legalizing the sale of alcohol in Smith country really the solution? I just wanted to comment on a few of other viewers comments and make a rebuttle.

One viewer stated, "The only people benefiting from Smith county's prohibition are the owners of county line liquor stores, that have limited competition." 

My response: Have you seen how many liquor stores their are in any given area? There are anywhere from 4-6 stores. How is that limited competition? With that many stores in such a concentrated area, most of those areas are engaged in price wars, thus decreasing the amount of profit those stores receive. In Cuney, TX, 30-pks of beer have been sold nearly at cost price for almost 2 years because of the 6 stores that line the highway are fighting for customers. Many of them are barely afloat as it is. However, I know that's hard for people to believe.

Another viewer comment for the making Smith County wet: "increase legitimate businesses that pay rent, salaries, and taxes that improve the county."

My response: Are existing liquor stores not legitimate? Do they not pay rent, mortgages, salaries and taxes? I was not aware that they were exempt from all those things.

Another viewer comment for the making Smith County wet: "Reduce the paperwork and burden on local restaurants so that they don't have to worry about how TABC inspectors interpret the myriad of regulations that now place them in jeopardy of large fines and constraints on their business"

My response: Regardless of whether Smith County is wet, the TABC will still inspect and do their jobs because the availability of alcohol will be even greater. Just last year, the TABC had huge operations in the DFW area, busting bars, clubs, etc. Just because Tyler is a smaller city doesn't mean it won't happen.

Another viewer comment for the making Smith County wet: "There are so many pros and cons to this, but one thing I always think about is our teens driving on dangerous highways, or going into bad parts of town to get alcohol. Teens will get it if they want it. They always find a way."

My response: Teens will be driving on the "dangerous" highways regardless of their destination. Also, if the wet areas are automatically called "bad parts of town" as this viewer stated, then why to we want to bring that element into Tyler? Just because a teen enters a liquor store does not mean they will get it. Many of them will check I.Ds at the door. 

All in all, a large number of people want Smith County to be dry for the 2 following reasons: (a) to keep tax dollars in Smith County and (b) Convenience. What many do not consider are that many of the county line liquor stores are sole proprietorships, owned by single families, that have put their entire lifes into running their business and hundreds of thousands of dollars. A sad example of Angelina County becoming wet, numerous business owners had to close down and it will take years for them to recover from their financial loss. What does that do for our surrounding counties? Does it not matter because they are not in Smith County and we don't have to drive by the empty shells of once bustling businesses everyday? How does that make us a Better East Texas as a whole?

Second, if you do your research, you will notice that in other areas that are entirely wet counties, the price of beer is outrageous. For example, Nac and Palestine have some of the highest beer prices in the state. Why is that? Because the distributors have to get more trucks, more drivers, more employees to sell the same quantity of beer, so to increase profit somewhere, the price of beer goes up. In most county line stores you can get a 30pk for about $20, give or take. Make the county wet, I'm sure that'll be about $3-$4 more. In conclusion, let's think of the entire picture here, of all the livelihoods and people involved in this decision. Think deep down, what will really make a better East Texas?

Anonymous

I think it would be good for Tyler to become wet because if people are able to get alcohol locally they will not be going to bars and restaurants to drink as often, therefore, reducing the risk of drinking and driving.


~Brandy


Dear Mr./Mrs. Anonymous,

Since you have an infinity for rebuttal, may I have a chance.

"My response: Have you seen how many liquor stores their are in any given area? There are anywhere from 4-6 stores. How is that limited competition? With that many stores in such a concentrated area, most of those areas are engaged in price wars, thus decreasing the amount of profit those stores receive."  Isn't this the premise of our great national economics, capitalism.

"In Cuney, TX, 30-pks of beer have been sold nearly at cost price for almost 2 years because of the 6 stores that line the highway are fighting for customers. Many of them are barely afloat as it is."  You seem to be keenly aware of the business news of liquor stores in Texas.  Perhaps you don't like competition.

"However, I know that's hard for people to believe."  No not really.

"My response: Are existing liquor stores not legitimate? Do they not pay rent, mortgages, salaries and taxes? I was not aware that they were exempt from all those things."  No but the few individuals who bootleg don't pay the liquor tax- well in Smith County anyway.

  "My response: Regardless of whether Smith County is wet, the TABC will still inspect and do their jobs because the availability of alcohol will be even greater. Just last year, the TABC had huge operations in the DFW area, busting bars, clubs, etc. Just because Tyler is a smaller city doesn't mean it won't happen."  Well we would hope so.  Remember they work for us. ( government employee reference )  I read the statement as that it is driving potential businesses away, and the idea is to help Smith County.

"My response: Teens will be driving on the "dangerous" highways regardless of their destination. Also, if the wet areas are automatically called "bad parts of town" as this viewer stated, then why to we want to bring that element into Tyler? Just because a teen enters a liquor store does not mean they will get it. Many of them will check I.Ds at the door."  See you do have a great knowledge of the workings of a liquor store.  We ALL drive on these "dangerous" roads and that could be a long dissertation in its self.  My observation is that there is an increase in "dangerous" driving activity by all, around the county line stores.  The level of dangerousness does not go down, just the concentration of them.  They are not automatically bad parts of town because of liquor stores.  Maybe the rent is cheaper for a store front there.  Maybe there is more of a demand there.  Who knows.  Military bases generally have "package" stores and they are quite nice.  If there is a McDonald's in a "bad part of town"  does that mean its a bad McDonald's?  Oh right the military base was already on the "bad part of town" and we won't get into fast food. 

 "All in all, a large number of people want Smith County to be dry for the 2 following reasons:"

You did mean wet right?

"A sad example of Angelina County becoming wet, numerous business owners had to close down and it will take years for them to recover from their financial loss."  Wow, capitalism- so harsh isn't it?

"What does that do for our surrounding counties?"  Again its ALL about us, the residence and tax payers of Smith County.  Do the surrounding counties care about us?

"Does it not matter because they are not in Smith County and we don't have to drive by the empty shells of once bustling businesses everyday?"  To me yes, for what its worth.  I drive through Gregg and Rusk county everyday.

 "How does that make us a Better East Texas as a whole?"  Eventually with laws enforced equitably across the land it would make it better.  Folks would stop hurting each other and people would stop trashing the land.  Yeah right.

Well thanks Anonymous, you made me voice my opinion.  I don't drink, strike that, I can't.  Not because of Demons of Religion, but because my doctors opinion.  I do not like hypocrisy,so lets get on with it and allow it.  It could help the tax base ( as long as it goes for improvements ) It could help those Suburban driver out by the airport not spend so much in fuel to get a case of beer of some Baileys.  Oh wait, that could hurt the oil companies!  Dang it.  ; )

Thanks

Walter



The turnout in Angelina county less than a year ago did result in near record voter turnout. It's sad to see that it takes the stake of where you get your alcohol to bring people to the polls. Not tax issues, school zoning, county improvements, etc.

However, at this very moment 5 towns in Angelina county: Burke, Diboll, Hudson, Huntington, and Zavalla have had all their petitions verified and a vote will take place in November to decide to prohibit the sale of beer and wine off premise. All this information can be found through the TABC's public information records. I don't know about other East Texans, but to me, it seems as if there are alot of people that regret making the choice of making the county wet and here they are, less than a year later, trying to make what they can dry again.

JT

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