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Interview with Bill Baldwin of Keep Heights Dry

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As you know, there will be a referendum on the ballot for a very limited electorate this year, to alter the existing ordinance that enforces a dry zone in the historic Houston Heights to allow the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption – for retailers, not for restaurants and bars, in other words. This referendum, formally known as City of Houston Proposition 1, was placed on the ballot by a petition drive led by the Houston Heights Beverage Coalition, which in turn was backed by HEB, which has announced its intention to open a store in the old Fiesta location on North Shepherd at 24th if this referendum passes. I did an interview with Steve Reilley of the HHBC back in June when petitions were still being circulated to clarify some questions about this. At the time, I noted that I was unaware of any organized opposition to this effort.

Well, formal opposition to this effort does exist, and it’s called Keep The Heights Dry. I’ve seen a few of their yard signs around the neighborhood in recent weeks. Their argument as you can see on that Facebook page is one part preservationist and one part neighborhood protection, and last week they reached out to me to see about doing an interview. Bill Baldwin, who has a real estate office on Heights Blvd at 16th Street, is one of the leaders of this opposition effort and the person I spoke to about it. Here’s the conversation:

Interviews and Q&As from the primaries are on my 2016 Election page. I will eventually get around to updating it to include links to fall interviews.

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4 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    Thanks for posting this. I agree with most of it, although I am on the “other side” of Durham, where, in fact, there is an HEB that sells beer and wine. It’s an eye opener to see how one company can, with $100,000, fund a petition and get it on the ballot, and run a campaign to change a law, all the while portraying it as quality of life when it is their own profit that motivates the change. As well, the Fiesta that was there did fine without beer and wine. I sure miss that store. Fiesta, though, is the only grocery chain closing stores rather than expanding. The Heights is already being eroded, with the “private clubs” selling alcohol, and the character of the neighborhood is already changed, unfortunately.

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    If the Fiesta was doing fine, why did they close the store?

    By the way, a liquor store chain I never heard of got a local option proposition on the Pearland ballot to sell liquor for off premises consumption, AKA to legalize liquor stores.

    What does it matter who backs a proposition that expands freedom, for both businesses and the public? It’s not as if HEB was pushing something that would only benefit themselves and no other businesses, like Rick Perry’s “Texas Enterprise (Slush) Fund, or on a national level Solyndra-esque pay to play cash payments from government to favored private businesses.

    Blue laws can’t die soon enough for me. If I wanted to live under religious law, I’d move to Afghanistan and live under the Taliban’s version of Sharia.

  3. […] Bill Daniels on Interview with Bill Baldwin of Keep Heights Dry […]

  4. C.L. says:

    @Bill Daniels… If you believe having to drive a mile to buy liquor at an actual liquor store is akin to living under Sharia law in Taliban controlled Afghanistan, you have bigger issues than just needing a drink.