Regardless of what some people would have you believe, allowing the sale of beer and wine in Mineola will not be the end of the small town atmosphere in our town.
Last week I had a phone conversation with Bruce Feagin, Chief of Police in Emory, Texas. As you likely already know, two years ago the town of Emory voted to allow the sale of beer and wine in their town. Their city council was very proactive in getting the associated ordinances in place for their town. Such ordinances keep merchants from putting up huge beer signs, prohibit the building of unsightly beer barns and some of the other things that we have seen other towns in east Texas not do. Some of the other towns in East Texas now have really unattractive beer barns and other things that detract from the overall look and feel of their town.
The Mineola City Council did the same thing. They have put in place ordinances that will keep our town from looking like a giant beer store. This legislation is done, passed and already in place in case these propositions pass in Mineola.
In my conversation with Chief Feagin, I specifically asked him if Emory has seen an increase in crime since enacting the sale of beer and wine. His answer was a solid “no.” I then asked him if they have seen a spike in public intoxication problems. Again, “no.” I asked if there has been a spike in DUI arrests. Again, “no.” I really tried to find a downside to the propositions, but I was unable to.
According to public sales tax records, the sale of beer and wine in Emory has resulted in about $88,000 per year in income to their city. My estimation, and this is pure speculation on my part, is that Propositions 1 & 2 will add about $150,000 to the budget of the city of Mineola. We have a large national retailer that Emory does not. We have more population in the surrounding areas that Emory does not. So my estimate may very well be low, but the important thing is that a very similar community just 30 miles away has done this and has not had all of the problems with the sale of beer and wine that you have likely heard about or read about in the Mineola Monitor.
Whether you are someone who consumes alcohol or not , or whether or not you agree that alcohol is good or bad is not the question. The fact is that people will drink. Some will drink a little, some will drink a lot. But people will drink and living in a dry town only makes people drive to the next town to buy their alcohol. It is a money issue.
Early voting starts today, May 4th, 2011. Please vote YES to Propositions 1 & 2. The money they generate will help make Mineola better for us all and will certainly make Mineola more competitive in the East Texas marketplace.
Scott Hazard – Publisher