So Proposition 1 and 2 passed easily in the election last night, which means that without a legal challenge grocery stores and convenience stores will have the ability to sell beer and wine and restaurants won’t have to operate as private clubs when serving alcohol.
And yet despite the overwhelming public support, Andy Siegel, sounding more and more like Ebenezer Scrooge, still plans to fight the election on behalf of his clients (two prominent Dallas based liquor distributors).
And so we bring you the third installment of The Siegel Letters. These letters have taken Siegel’s primary arguments against the election and attempted to offer counter arguments as to why they don’t hold water… or beer as the case may be.
Listen here son, I’ve thoroughly reviewed and given much thought to your now-futile efforts to
convince the 5th Circuit that the election was invalid. In particular, I’ve got a thing or two
to say about your ill-advised, if poorly translated and ironically “wetted down” claim that JP7’s
inclusion in the City of Dallas renders the election invalid as to JP7 (which of course, includes
my coveted Oak Cliff). You may think I’m just an old maid, but I’ve been around the
block a time or two and let me tell you something, A.S. You’re flat out wrong – in multiple respects.
You assert JP7 voters must decide their wet/dry status by a separate vote, and that a city-wide
election is “unlawful and risks overwhelming those voters’ choices by votes form persons
who do not reside in their historical political subdivision.”
Come on, A.S., do you really think that’s gonna fly south of the River?
I’ll give it to you, and as Corkscrew so eloquently pointed out, you are correct in that under
the local option system, voters in the smallest political subdivision are allowed the maximum
possible control over the status of the sale or prohibition of alcoholic beverages. Of course,
you’re referring to section 251.73 of the Alcoholic Beverage Code, which states that the results
from a JP district election prevail against a city election if the JP precinct is wholly contained by
the city. What you’ve either failed to recognize – or deliberately ignored – is that’s no longer the
case her in the O.C. Here’s why.
Though it’s verging on painful to repeat the obvious, in 1891, local option was added
to the Texas Constitution. As you well know, in 1903, Oak Cliff was annexed by the city of
Dallas. In the applicable section of the Act of Annexation, the Supreme Court of Texas stated the
The said territory of Oak Cliff hereby added to the city of Dallas, is hereby declared to be
a residence district, and the city council of Dallas shall never have authority to permit any
intoxicating liquors to be sold, bartered or exchanged within said limits. That the present
statute of local option, as it now exists in said territory of Oak Cliff, shall not be repealed
or changed by any act of the city council of Dallas, and should any election be held on
said question, it shall be held solely in the entire justice precinct in which the city of Oak
Cliff was, and is, situated prior to the adoption of this act, to-wit: Precinct No. 7, Dallas
county, Texas, as it is now constituted. Section 10 of 1903 Annexation Act.
Are you not aware that this long-forgotten amendment has been given clear meaning by
the Supreme Court of our great state and, if not for your lengthy attempt at reviving it, is all but
forgotten? The Act does not prohibit a City wide election, A.S., you just wish it did. You correctly
note, but strangely seem to ignore, that The Texas Supreme Court has made clear its stance on
the issue: “The effect of Section 10 is to declare the law as it was at the time the charter was
amended, and in no manner affects the rights of the citizens of Oak Cliff, on that question,
as they existed prior to the adding of that territory to the city of Dallas. It was useless, and is
harmless.” If you’re wondering how to interpret the Court’s words, you might first try reading
the opinion in City of Oak Cliff (79 S.W. 1) which you yourself attempt to cite.
That’s right, A.S., the Supreme Court of Texas laid it all on the line – clear as the Dallas
skyline from atop the Belmont Hotel.
As you’ve been told by now, Justice Lang-Miers got it right. And you, my friend, have got it wrong.
My dear A.S., rather than bore you with further legalese or give the time of day to your
attempts to forbid my beloved Oak Cliff from enjoying the fruits of this well earned election victory,
instead I will simply say: This mama looks forward to “wetting up” the neighborhood.