Rangers’ alcohol petition is a winner for Arlington

Posted Monday, Oct. 21, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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To newcomers, the patchwork quilt of Texas liquor laws is a puzzle and an embarrassment.

But to Texans, it reflects the hallowed principle of local control.

Since 1891, voters in each city, county or justice precinct vote whether to allow or ban liquor, beer and wine sales in any combination.

In the last two years, more than 100 Texas localities have voted on expanding liquor sales.

Only 11 voted “no.”

Against that backdrop of an increasingly libertarian view of alcohol and growing frustration with Texas’ laws, Arlington voters will decide Nov. 5 whether to end a 111-year-old ban on sales, including retail outlets.

The ballot is plain: A “Yes” or “no” on “The legal sale of all alcoholic beverages including mixed beverages.”

A “yes” vote ends an era in Arlington, the largest U.S. city that mostly has no liquor stores.

But two years ago, in a similar election, Southlake voters chose “no.”

Some leaders there were frustrated because state law prevents cities from strictly limiting the number and location of outlets, except to ban them near parks, churches, schools, hospitals or other stores.

That concern has not been raised as often in Arlington, where the primary criticism revolves around the Texas Rangers baseball team’s role in the petition drive.

A Rangers spokesman has said the team hoped to simplify wine sales to fans under the stadium’s various licenses. But the petition allows all liquor sales citywide.

Arlington voters deserve that choice.

According to a 2008 study by the Waco-based Perryman Group, Texas cities with liquor stores not only collect added sales taxes but also see increased retail and leasing activity overall.

In the final scoring, it’s a winning argument.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends a vote for the sale of alcohol.

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