Vote Yes for Propositions 1 and 2?

by Larry Little

Bill Klaes' tobacco shops near Lufkin and in Huntington have been burglarized several times over the past few weeks. Just Tuesday night, Klaes says thieves tried to rob his Huntington shop. He is growing tired of the break-ins.

"If there was a cop to go by three or four times a night and cruise through the parking lot, stop out front and look, they would be more afraid. They don't have time to tear the front door off of a building," says Klaes.

Huntington city officials confirmed several businesses have been burglarized in the past few weeks. They also agree there is a need for more officers, but they don't have the money to hire them. "If we had more officers, we would have to have more cars, and we are not a rich city. Most of our tax money that comes in goes directly to paying our debt services, so we don't have the extra tax money to buy police cars, vests, uniforms, or new officers," says Huntington City Secretary, Betsy Gregson.

Klaes believes legalizing beer and wine sales in Angelina County could solve Huntington's tax revenue problems. That's why he is proudly displaying a "vote yes" sign for Propositions 1 and 2.

"They [opponents to the propositions] think it is going to protect the children. That's not stopping from getting it now. It's not going to make anything any safer for kids. We will be able to hire more police. For me, that's the biggest thing," says Klaes.

"Any additional taxes -- whether it be liquor or raising property taxes -- it is going to help the city. But I don't think that is the way to do it, personally," says Gregson.

City officials say it will be 2026 before the city can hire additional officers.  Huntington currently has a total of five officers.