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Heights alcohol rule change petitions verified

The item will be on the ballot, pending Council approval.

beer

City Secretary Anna Russell confirmed that the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition gathered 1,759 valid signatures for its petition submitted last month, 248 more than required by law.

The Houston City Council is now slated Wednesday to formally call the election for Nov. 8, as required by state law.

The ban predates Prohibition. It first went into effect in 1912 and was kept in place when the Heights was annexed into Houston in 1918.

If the ban is lifted, residents would be allowed to buy alcohol at grocery and convenience stores. The change would not affect alcohol sales at restaurants.

See here, here, and here for some background, and here for my interview with Steve Reilley, who led the petition effort for the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition. I should note that the petitions specified “off-premise beer and wine sales”, so hard liquor would still not be available for purchase within this zone. As is always the case with dry areas, there are two liquor stores right outside the zone – they’ve been there for as long as I can remember – so no big deal.

The ballot proposition has now been approved by City Council, so it will officially be there. Only people who live in the historic dry area will have this item on their ballot, so administering it ought to be interesting. There is definitely some opposition to this, and as it is an affluent area I expect a fair amount of money to be spent by both sides between now and November. I consider the change effort to be the favorite to win, but anything can happen. The Press has more.

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4 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    Even Quaker founded Friendswood went wet in the historic, moneyed, old section of town. I’m sure this will pass, too. There just aren’t enough tea totaling Babtists (with two b’s) left to keep this from becoming a historical footnote.

  2. Doris Murdock says:

    How can voters find information on financial contributors to the Houston Beverage Coalition PAC? I can’t find it on the Texas Ethics Commission site? HEB has owned up to supporting it, evidently, and of course distributors would.

  3. Bill Shirley says:

    I’m still wondering how they’re going to manage to vote. My voting precinct straddles the dry and wet zones, how would they differentiate voter?

  4. voter_worker says:

    @Bill Shirley The Voter Registrar’s staff creates subprecincts in their election management system that the County Clerk then uses to determine the ballot styles for the area.