On the evening of February 17th, 2014, Kevin Roden hosted an "Idea Meeting" at Rubber Gloves where he asked people to come prepared to give their elevator pitch on an idea that would improve our city. That evening, Andy Odom, hoisted a beer in his hand on the stage and asked the gathered crowd of citizens "Why don't we make Denton wet?" a question so many of us have asked as we drive 15 - 20 minutes down the road to the next city to purchase our libations.
Denton First, a local organization with the goal of making Denton's liquor laws less restrictive, spent some time a few months ago acquiring over 7,000 votes in order to get this proposition on the ballot which you'll see when you go cast your vote. We asked Andy Odom, a Digital Marketing Manager, sometimes writer for the Dallas Observer, and all around good dude, to expound a little more about his thoughts on why Denton should go "wet." You can read his thoughts below and reply in the comments with your thoughts.
We like to think of Denton is a thoroughly modern town. We have a vibrant arts community and a world-renowned music scene, a nightlife that rivals larger cities, and an emerging technology and start-up scene that gets national headlines. Denton is ready for the 21st Century. So, why do we allow Prohibition-era policies to dictate our liquor laws?
Beer and wine are available for sale within Denton city limits, but not liquor. That is, not unless you operate a “private club”. Have you ever wondered why you have to scan your license to attend a concert at Dan’s Silverleaf or a community event at Oak St. Drafthouse? It’s not to check your age it’s to register you as a member of that private club. That might be a strange inconvenience for us, but it’s actually much worse for these local businesses.
State law dictates that these clubs must form a board and meet to “approve” new members of the club, taking valuable hours away from running the business. Banking and accounting are more expensive than normal businesses because each “club” has to form 2 separate companies to comply with TABC rules. Not only that, but each business pays up $20,000 in annual fees to the state PER “CLUB” for this privilege, in addition to renting extra equipment and paying a third party service to scan IDs. Finally, all that information they gather from your license must be kept on file for years. These laws are an undue burden on our local businesses.
But Denton First isn’t just about getting rid of these draconian fees and protecting your information. It’s about keeping our hard-earned dollars in our city. When Denton’s citizens choose to purchase alcohol, they have to do it in other cities. That means that tax revenue is also given away to other cities instead of staying at home in Denton. According to The Perryman Group, Denton gives up to $700,000 in tax revenue to other cities. By changing these laws and allowing liquor in the city limits, the city reclaims this extra revenue and could add up to 300 new jobs.
Cities all over Texas have recently modernized their liquor laws to the 21s century. Plano, Tyler, Lufkin, Longview, Lubbock, and many others have gone fully wet. They have enjoyed increased revenue for the city and new jobs, but a decrease in alcohol-related road incidents. That’s right, studies show that a wet city is safer than a dry city.
It’s time that Denton fully joins the 21 Century, casts off the state-imposed burden of a club status, and turns completely wet. Vote FOR the Local Option and the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages.