Alcohol Petition Drive Underway...Again

You may have to ask to see it, but several restaurants in Nacogdoches have petitions calling for a special election concerning alcoholic beverages. This low key approach is not a concern for backers. They're optimistic they'll get enough signatures without a lot of publicity.

In previous petition drives to do away with private club memberships there was difficulty gathering more than 4,000 signatures in two months. As of August a new state law requires fewer signatures helping boost the confidence of petition organizers. Petition organizer Jim Boiles said, "The new law brought the number down to 1800 which is a really doable number."

Following a clerical error in 2003 petition organizers are spending more time on accuracy and less time on publicity. After four attempts they believe most Nacogdoches residents know what they're trying to do. Boiles explained, "This is not a wet dry issue. Whether this passes or not alcohol will still be served the same way."

The club membership requirement may be an inconvenience to some, but for others it's a way to prevent alcohol abuse. Pastor Joseph Barboza said, "I believe the necessity to join a club was way of controlling the amount of liquor that is offered or consumed in restaurants."

Backers say doing away with club memberships will actually lead to enforcement of more important alcohol laws. Boiles said, "We feel like its a little more responsible. We've been told by TABC that if they don't have to worry about enforcing the membership regulation and the private club laws we could spend more time on meaningful issues like underage drinking."

Boiles said more education on the issue will surface just prior to November after they obtain enough signatures to call the special election. The petition can be found at most Nacogdoches restaurants that serve alcohol. Only registered voters who live in the city of Nacogdoches can sign the petition.